It seems that financial pressures brought on by the Covid lockdown and reduced footfall in winter has led to the closure of this beautiful, historic, and challenging public course and its owner Sencio’s other leisure facilities in Sevenoaks and Edenbridge. It’s very sad news not just because I’ve enjoyed the odd round at Lullingstone for many years, but because the course is a key component of the country park; the wild grasses, woods and scrub in between fairways is highly biodiverse and is home to a decent array of flora and fauna. I should know, I’ve tentatively had to search for my ball in these wild fringes often enough. Without the course you wonder what might happen to the rest of it what with the pressure for new housing. Let’s not worry about it too much for now; Sevenoaks District Council says it is confident that a new operator can be found for the course and the other Sencio facilities so let’s hope for the best. My main Lullingstone walk starts from Eynsford station but, if you’re driving, you can park just outside the golf course entrance (presumably shut now) and do a complete 5-mile orbit of the country park.
In the meantime it’d be good if people enjoying the new freedom in the park stay off the greens; I’m sure it’s fine to cross the fairways if you want but please leave the wildlife-rich rough well alone.
Skylarks nesting and wildflowers: put dogs on the lead
Skylarks provide us with the soundtrack of the countryside in southern England as they mark out their territories from around 100ft in the air. There are quite a few of them at Lullingstone, whereas birds that used to be seen in the park such as lapwings and yellowhammers have largely disappeared. I’m a bit worried that without the golf, people and their dogs will range all over the grassy slopes and will inadvertently destroy skylark nests. The birds nest in hollow scrapes in reasonably grass between 20 and 50cm high. I noticed last Sunday that quite a few dogs were bounding around in areas they wouldn’t normally be because of the golf closure. It’d be a shame to lose the skylarks and other flora and fauna that was protected by being in “islands” of grasses and meadow in between fairways.