ESW’s programme of walks has now been published and is available on our web site. Please ensure you keep checking the site as at time of writing we have had to amend the programme in consequence of the fuel situation. We also plan to add walks on some of the currently vacant dates.
Many of our walks are based within East Surrey however we frequently walk in other locations and counties, and in so doing discover points if interest. An example can be found in the Kentish Village of Chiddingstone. The clue is in the name of the village deconstructed it becomes Chiding Stone. Indeed there is such a named stone in the village. The Chiding Stone is situated at the end of a footpath adjacent to the school. It is formed by a large rock of sandstone, formed about 135 million years ago when that part of the country was underwater and swamp like.
Folklore plays a significant part in the name of the stone if not the village. Variously versions include that the stone was used in ancient druid rituals including as a location where judgements were handed down. Similarly that it was used by the ancient Britons as a place to conduct judicial hearings. Possibly it was used as a boundary marker in Saxon times.
From the Medieval era folklore indicates nagging wives, wrongdoers and witches were brought to the stone to be chided by an assembly of villagers.
Perhaps a little more prosaically it’s said the village name means ‘stone of Chidda’s tribe’. The Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names indicates that Cidingstaene means a stone associated with someone called Cidd or Cidda.
I’d like to think that aspects of the folklore have some merit but will leave it to the reader to decide.
ESW wish you happy walking,
(ESW Publicity Officer)