Peters Village residents observing the coronavirus lockdown, have more safe outdoor exercise options than most due to the community’s many walkways and cycleways, destination sites and sights and even a heritage trail.
But it is important to observe Government guidelines on going outdoors:
You can take one form of exercise a day – for example a walk, run or cycle – alone or with members of your household. If you are walking you are advised to only walk locally to and from where you live.
You should walk alone or with people from your household - not with friends or in groups. Keep at least 2m or 6.5 feet away from anyone you pass on your walk.
Walking experts at the Ramblers’ Association have further advice:
· Do not walk anywhere that you could get in to trouble and require the emergency services
· Avoid touching gates, fences etc. If you do, wash your hands as soon as possible.
That said, there are several easy and rewarding exercises in and around Peters Village including:
The riverside esplanade – there is plenty of width here for walking, cycling or even horse-riding without contravening coronavirus regulations. Providing you are mindful of the hygiene rules mentioned earlier, you could rest for a while on one of the esplanade benches.
The riverside also has two of what will eventually be six Peters Village Heritage trail boards…
The Peters Village Heritage Trail – this was designed by a descendant of the Peters family, which founded the Peters Lime & Cement Works and quarry on which Peters Village now stands.
Despite sharing the same surname as the Victorian cement works’ founders, graphic designer Mark Peters (pictured, with one of the riverside boards) had no idea he was related, but became so fascinated by the local history of the area that he eventually stumbled upon the connection with his father, Hugh, who grew up in the Midlands. Read the full story at http://bit.ly/2XLvIEd
The Peters family lived at Wouldham Hall, which had long housed the local ‘lords of the manor’.
Sadly, two 17th century cottages off Keepers Cottage Lane are all that remain of this substantial home – the main house was demolished in 1960.
The cottages are currently being refurbished but were originally one structure that acted as the gatehouse for Wouldham Hall.
The Hall is also thought to have been home to Admiral Lord Nelson (below) and his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton; a retreat from prying eyes while Nelson served at Chatham naval base during the Napoleonic Wars – HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), was actually built at Chatham.
The Heritage Trail boards also highlight links with Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures, the Romans, and other historic figures, and feature a 19th century timeline for the cement industry and the jobs it created, causing a rapid population surge around the Peters Lime & Cement Works and associated chalk quarries that once dominated the east bank of the Medway. For archive pictures of the works and other images of local interedst, please visit our site's gallery at: https://petersvillage.co.uk/page/gallery
The peaceful riverbank at Peters Village now is a far cry from the 19th century atmosphere, when it would have bustled with Thames Barges being loaded or unloaded; the Peters works owned 80 at its peak - one of the largest fleets of this type of vessel (pictured below left)
These Medway and Thames estuary workhorses would bring in cargoes of coal to feed the works’ furnaces, creating lime from the raw chalk quarried nearby, then used to make cement demanded by the building boom in London and also exported all over the world as shown by the picture (below right) with barrels of 'Peters Portland Cement' being loaded onto a vessel rather larger than the distinctively-rigged Thames Barge, apparently drawn up alongside.
Historic St Mary’s Church, Burham – is another fascinating destination walk, taking just 15 minutes from the centre of Peters Village via Court Road and Old Church Road.
The redundant Anglican church dates from the 12th century and has a Grade I Listing enhanced by the fact that its also stands on the Pilgrims’ Way, the historic route along the North Downs worn by pilgrims from Winchester, Hampshire – an important cultural and religious centre in mediaeval times – and the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury in Kent.
After Becket's canonization in 1173, following his murder, and up to the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII in 1538, his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral became the most important site in Christendom after Rome. The pilgrimage was immortalised by Geoffrey Chaucer’s late 12th century classic ‘The Canterbury Tales’.
Unfortunately, St Mary’s (pictured below) itself became isolated when the population of Burham gradually moved away to the current village site, though it has outlived its Victorian replacement, demolished in 1979 after becoming unstable.
This is where the Peters Village team post regular updates on the latest happenings and developments in our new village.