The route for today’s 6.5 mile walk took us past nine farms. Fourteen of us set off from Shamley Green to walk past Tanyard Farm, up Reedhall Hill to Haldish Farm then right on Green Lane to Greenlane Farm and a bridleway to Farley Green where we stopped for refreshment.
After Farley Green we walked through a static caravan park to Dilton Farm, then a footpath to Knowle Farm, turned west to pass Lockhurst Hatch Farm, then Shophouse Farm and Mayor House Farm. Here we turned left on a byway then, in a short distance, took a footpath on the right (south) to reach Madgehole Lane byway. We turned right (west) on this and continued on it to Woodhill Lane. This took us past Reelhall Farm back to Shamley Green.
Today’s interesting story was about the lions of Blackheath. In the 1970s the owners of a house visible from Green Lane, Candleford Cottage (near Heathfield), had two large cats—a lion and a lioness—called Napoleon and Josephine which they kept in a big cage the size of about three tennis courts. They’d been given the animals at the end of a foreign diplomatic tour and, not wishing to offend the donor, had taken them back to Surrey. Our storyteller used to be asked to lion sit when they went away. She was given a list of emergency phone numbers which included one for a vet and one for a marksman. Napoleon used to roar for his food every day at 6pm. One dark evening a passerby, hearing the roar of a lion, had such a fright that he had a heart attack. Blackheath Village Archive has a photo of the lions.