The Radfall

Rob Turner is currently the Resident Armchair Artist at The Beaney in Canterbury. 

I didn’t know I was going to start this residency with the Radfall, it just jumped out at me. I was looking through a cabinet of old Ordnance Survey maps in the local studies section of the Library in the Beaney. I was looking for Reculver, but while I flicked through the large sheets I saw something I recognised instantly in a blink of an eye. It was the Radfall. It was drawn exactly the same on an old 1896 map (or whatever) as it was on my OS Landranger map. Exactly the same with a lost section in the middle.

I know the Radfall very well as I drew a Drover using it, to take his live stock to sell at the market in Canterbury. This drawing was used on an interpretation panel and was commissioned by The Kent Wildlife Trust and placed in the Thornden Wood right smack in the middle of the Radfall. I have also ridden my bike along it and I used to  walk along it with my dog Cosmo.

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What is the Radfall? Ancient drove-ways through The Blean known as Radfalls. These tracks are bounded by earth banks on each side to prevent livestock browsing on the valuable young coppice shoots. Later woodland reeves were responsible for keeping these drove-ways clear and it is recorded that they could take any wood from the clearance as a perquisite, a perk of the job for their own use.

In an instant on seeing this Map in the cabinet I said to myself I will walk the entire length of what remains of the Radfall and see what happens at that section in the middle where it fades away? I will draw a map and record what is actually there. My Drawing is nearly 7m long and 0.3m wide. The walk was about 3 and a half miles from the outskirts of Herne Bay to Tyler Hill mainly through Thornden Woods.

Here is a small selection of my Radfall drawings

(Click here) to see an electronic book I made about the walk

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The map has 13 photos covering the entire length of the drawing (Click here) to see more of my Radfall drawings. I then drew some small paper trees and stood them on my map and photo graphed it.

rob turnerrob turner copyright

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