I'm sure I've mentioned this many times, but I love walking in Mote Park, a place I have visited regularly over the past forty years and enjoyed in all seasons. Over the years I've witnessed new paths being laid and fresh vistas cleared, so don't mind admitting, that from time to time, I have been concerned such 'meddlings' might change the nature of 'our' park ... and I suppose to some extent, they have, but not necessarily for the worst.
Strolling past the Volunteers Pavilion, with Betty
In fact one of the more recent projects (2010) was to renovate the long forgotten, much overgrown, 'Volunteer's Memorial', originally built in 1801 to commemorate a visit by King George III and Prime Minister William Pitt, when they paid a visit to the park to inspect around five thousand assembled troops of the Kent Volunteers. In addition to the troops, twenty thousand visitors turned out that day to catch a glimpse of their King, guns were fired, a feast held and the next day it is reported that the leftover food fed six hundred starving 'Maidstonians' ... I reckon that must have been one heck of a party!
Nowadays the Volunteers' Pavilion stands proud and the park is as popular with locals as ever it was. Families gather with picnics, children ride bicycles along the new paths, wheelchair users have greater access than ever before and of course, we dog walkers relish the opportunity to stroll in such a beautiful open space, in the heart of our town.
And if like me, you have walked in the park for many years, you will know the most peaceful areas in which to walk, avoiding children on bicycles, families with picnics, playgrounds, Segway machines (how I hate those!) and so on. Polly and Betty love to explore the less cultivated areas of the Estate, so that is exactly what we did yesterday afternoon. In fact, Mote Park covers 440 acres, with a perimeter walk of around four miles, so there really is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy!