Thursday, 14 October 2010

Ghostly Ladies in Saltwood, Kent

This is one of the most energetic walks in this book, involving steep climbs up and down the slopes of the South Downs. The effort is rewarded by sweeping views across the Downs and out over the Straits of Dover. The supernatural is never far away from the walker on this route, with the atmospheric ruins and remains of the past providing a suitable backdrop to the unusual tales of ghosts and phantoms.

The Walk

1) Park in the Brockhill Country Park car park just south of Sandling railway station on the lane that runs from Saltwood to Sandling. Brockhill is signposted from the A20 and the A261. Leave the car park to find yourself on the Sandling Road. Look to your right.

This stretch of road is the haunt of two ghosts - or possibly just the one. The first is by far the more gentle of the two. This is of an elderly lady dressed in a sensible tweed suit who is out walking her little dog. Those who have seen this particular phantom report that she is at once both quite ordinary and yet noticeably odd. She appears quite solid and real in all respects, not semi-transparent nor floating above the pavement, and yet she attracts attention by some indefinable strangeness.

This is not at all unusual for a ghost. Despite what fiction writers or film makers might have us believe, ghosts are more often solid than not. Some people do, indeed, mistake them for real people until they vanish or otherwise behave oddly. And yet there is always something strange about them. Perhaps the shadows are not quite right. Or they are in bright sunshine, when it is in reality a cloudy day. Whatever it is, there is something odd about this quiet lady and her dog that attracts attention as she wanders down the lane and into Brockhill Country Park.

The second phantom is altogether more dramatic and alarming. This is the ghost of a woman who steps off the pavement straight into the path of oncoming vehicles. More than one driver has slammed on their brakes or swerved to one side, desperate to avoid a collision with the mysterious figure. Descriptions of this phantom are vague. She is seen for only a second or two and the drivers are understandably more concerned with avoiding a crash than noticing what the person looks like.

There are some who think the two phantoms might be one and the same. Perhaps the old lady in tweeds crosses the road, and causes alarm and shock as she does so. It is, after all, more likely that the same ghost is responsible than that there are two different ghosts on the same stretch of road.

This is an extract from Ghost Hunter Walks in Kent by Rupert Matthews

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