WALKER DUNELM strides back into action with this ramble through a beautiful part of Kent
Start at the junction in the centre of Penshurst. facing Quaintways Tea Room, turn left on the B2176 (signposted Southborough). Just before the archway entrance to Penshurst Place, turn left under a Tudor arch (Leicester Square) and follow a brick path to the left of the church.
On entering parkland, bear left towards a kissing gate in metal railings. Turn right along a road for 500 yards, climb steps on the left, cross a stile and go along the left edge of a field. After crossing a farm track, turn right on a downhill path with a hedge on the right, then bear right on a waymarked path “tunnel” going through woods.
At a river turn right, then left over a footbridge, bear right and go over a stile beside a gate. Turn right over another stile into a large field then make for the far right-hand corner where there is a stile beside a gate.
Continue along the right hand edge of the next field to reach a road.. Turn right and then left on a signposted footpath. Walk across a field towards a gap and stile in the hedge on the far side. At the end of the next field, do not cross the stile ahead, but turn right on a path across a field leading to a road at Chiddingstone. Turn left for the village centre and Castle Inn. Note the footpath on the left signposted to the “Chiding Stone”, which may be visited before or after a visit to the pub.
For the return to Penshurst, retrace your steps as far as the stile where you turned right for Chiddingstone. Turn right over the stile and immediately left on a footpath, which, after 220 yards merges with a bridleway coming in from the right and bears left through a kissing gate. After 600 yards turn right along a road for 50 yards, and take a bridleway on the left through a meadow, through a gate and turn left on a Tarmac road.
After 300 yards the road bends left; at a fork, turn right with buildings on your left and follow the road, which becomes a stony track, for half a mile. When the road turns left with a footpath on the right and wooden gates ahead, turn left and, almost immediately, right on a footpath for 60 yards. Turn left through a kissing gate, follow the enclosed path around two sides of a field, then turn left through a kissing gate and continue on an enclosed path for 200 yards. Cross a footbridge, make for a stile on the opposite of a field and walk uphill with a hedge on the left.
On reaching a concrete road with houses on the left, go straight ahead. After 800 yards the lane reaches a road by a school. Turn left to return to the centre of Penshurst.
Map: OS Explorer 147
Distance: 5¼ miles Time: 2½hrs Grade: Easy to moderate
Terrain: A mainly level walk on field paths, bridleways and farm lanes with one short stretch on a fairly busy B road
Start/Parking: Grid ref: TQ52614375. Approaching Penshurst on the B2176, there is a fairly long lay-by on the right hand side just before the start of the village. There is some roadside parking in the village.
Nearest towns: Tonbridge; Royal Tunbridge Wells
Refreshments: Penshurst: TheLeicester Arms; Fir Tree House Tea Rooms; Quaintways Tea Room. Chiddingstone: The Castle Inn
Public toilets: Near the lay-by in Penshurst
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