Otford’s Rod Shelton hunts mammoths in the Darent Valley – Sevenoaks Chronicle

Rod News

Sevenoaks Chronicle – Thursday, April 23, 2015

By Doug Kempster doug.kempster@sevenoakschronicle.co.uk

Woolly mammoths and straight-tusked elephants roamed its foothills. Roman architects constructed villas by its waters at a rate of knots. The first English soldiers marched along its banks on their way to a battle which established their first kingdom in these isles. And it powered the industrial revolution.

So when Otford historian Rod Shelton sat down to pen a sweeping biography of the River Darent and its valley, he had a fair bit of material to be getting on with.

But thousands of years of history weren’t enough for him.

In addition to tales of artistic endeavour, fierce battles and pioneering feats of engineering, Rod wanted to chronicle the Darent’s wildlife and uncover little-known stories about its communities.

So he walked vast swathes of the valley’s 133 square kilometres, logging its plants and animals. He did forensic research into its 13 villages and three market towns – often going door to door.

And now – 290 pages, more than 1,000 photos and illustrations, and two-and-a-half years later – he’s bracing himself for the book’s launch.

I’m hoping there won’t be a single page where the reader doesn’t say ‘I never knew that’,” he told the Chronicle.

In a nutshell, I’ve tried to touch upon any facet connected with the river and its communities.

Read more: http://www.sevenoakschronicle.co.uk/Story-ancient-river-life-attract-flood/story-26373171-detail/story.html#ixzz3Yhqfk6AD
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Sevenoaks Chronicle 23 April 2015