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Roundoak Farm – Sutton Valence Kent

A friendly Suffolk Mule

Another outing, another farm, but this one has real animals! Roundoak Farm is a CAMC CL that we found on Pitch-up and immediately booked. Yes, it cost's more but we had an immediate confirmation complete with directions. The link to the farm-site is here where you can also see the main business, Conservation Grazing & Breeding Heritage Breeds. The owners also offer a Bothy which would be useful if you have non-caravanning friends. Note - Site is Adults only.

A trip round the M25 and then down the M20 either goes quickly or you get delayed. On this trip we had no problems either way! You leave the motorway at Junction 8 and follow the directions past Leeds Castle, where the road narrows and a bit of care is needed, until the final turn into Henicker Lane. Henicker Lane is single-track with a few passing places and five 90 degree bends to the gates of Roundoak Farm. The turn-in is tight for longer vans but the owners are well used to helping you negotiate the gates.

The owners were very welcoming and we were offered a choice of pitches, all of which were large, and you could pitch how you liked. They also explained the ground rules and where everything was. As this is a livestock farm there are staff around all day and you see them checking the stock late in the evening.

The area we used were all electric pitches but there were also 5 non-electric pitches in the adjacent hay meadow. Whilst we were there the hay was cut, turned and then baled with the tractor and bailer snaking around the pitches.

Spacious Pitches

There is an adjacent wood where you can walk in the shade and you can walk up the hill into the village. It took us about 45 mins including the time to admire the apples and enjoying the views across the valley. We made it to the Queen's head for a light lunch and the walk back was quicker. The fish and chips on Friday night in the Queen's Head were good and well supported by the locals - suggest you book.

Headcorn

The local garage, down the lane and immediately on your left as you join the main road, supplies newspapers and groceries. Headcorn is the nearest village with a supermarket and a range of small shops and take-aways.

If you want some more gentile shopping then Tenterden is the place to go.

The site is about an hour away from the sea both north and south. We went across to Whitstable and spent an enjoyable couple of hours walking along the cliff-top with suitable breaks for refreshment. A day-out at the Bedgebury National Pinetum was completely different. It was very hot so we wanted to walk in the shade. The sign-posted walks were very open so we struck off and walked through the rides so that we did not boil. There are cycle tracks through the woods and you can hire bikes, might try that next time.

One thing that intrigued us was - where was Sutton Valence Castle? We saw the signs but they appeared to point downhill and who builds a castle at the bottom of a hill? We eventually gave in and followed the signs and found it! Those Norman knights had a better feel for the land - they found a large flat area halfway up the hill and then built a 3 storey castle from which you could watch the road from Maidstone to Winchelsea and most of the Weald of Kent.

On our last evening we were invited to meet the bulls. They are the key to the Conservation enterprise. We heard where they came from and got the opportunity to get up close. But as the owner said - at 1.5 tons the only reason this guy is in the pen is because he is happy to be in there.

Note

Whilst we were there the facilities block was not available. It was being used by key workers who were accommodated in caravans located in a separate area off the stable yard.

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