A Season of New Walks: Aylesford Priory


Gold and purple viola in stone urn, Aylesford Priory, Kent March 2014

Gold and purple viola in stone urn, Aylesford Priory, Kent March 2014

Spring has surprised me. I’ve been awaiting winter, which for me means soft white snow quilts and sparkling sheets of frost and instead, there’ve been grey rain blankets and more grey rain blankets followed by – pillows of spring flowers.

I have geraniums and fuchsias which haven’t stopped flowering since last summer. I have a rambling rose that’s kept on rambling and honeysuckle that’s continued to suckle.

The Rosary Walk, Aylesford Priory. I like the juxtaposition of living sculpture (the yew) and the stone 'station' of the rosary

The Rosary Walk, Aylesford Priory. I like the juxtaposition of living sculpture (the yew) and the stone ‘station’ of the rosary

Two days ago my joints were aching, making me feel every bit of my 62 years and I was researching daylight-replicating lamps on the Internet, only to find, the following morning, the sun was shining and my body jaunty with the energy of a newborn lamb.

Our visit to Aylesford Priory was a scouting outing, looking for new local walks rather than a walk in itself. The priory has been on our list of places to visit for a while.
What a gem!  And only 20 minutes away by car. Some folks visiting had walked from Rochester so it’s going to be one walk we will be doing this year.

I like the mystery of steps

I like the mystery of steps

What a destination! It’s a beautiful place to have on one’s doorstep.
It’s a spiritual retreat and venue.
It’s full of art: there’s a pottery (we bought a gorgeous blue/purple vase).

The principal altar, which is outdoors, is decorated with ceramic tiles. (I’ll post more images of these ceramics in another blog which are uncannily like a recent artwork I’ve produced).

There’s a Rosary Walk, a Peace Garden which includes mosaics; and a moss-covered thatched restaurant and shop.

Principal and outdoor altar, Aylesford Priory

Principal and outdoor altar, Aylesford Priory

We lunched in the restaurant on soup, cheese panini and carrot cake stuffed with walnuts.
The staff is supernaturally warm and welcoming.

There is a programme of pottery workshops, spiritual retreats and pilgrimages, and lots of swans, geese and ducks.

Black Swan : Cygnus atratus

Black Swan : Cygnus Atratus

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The refectory has a window recess decorated with old tiles, each a different design.

Old tile, window recess, Aylesford Priory

Old tile, window recess, Aylesford Priory

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe choir chapel has acoustics to die for (and I tried – the acoustics, not the dying).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a feeling we’ll be visiting often.

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Have a happy Spring!

Ann

About Ann Isik

Artist/Writer, Proofreader/Copy Editor
This entry was posted in Art, Consciousness, Ecology, Fauna, Flora, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Walking, Walks and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Season of New Walks: Aylesford Priory

  1. Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing spring!

  2. Well, didn’t this take me back. When I went to the Sacred Heart Convent as a kid, we used to go to Aylesford, to walk the stations of the cross. To be very honest, I used to be bored witless, but it was good to read about this place now, 60 odd years later!

    • AnnIsikArts says:

      Ah, synchronicity! I’m sure I would have been bored witless too, forced to ‘walk the stations of the cross’ as a schoolkid. I enjoyed the cake and tea.

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