East Hollingbourne Walk
- Credit: Archant
The village of Hollingbourne is nestled just below the beautiful North Kent Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Just five miles from Maidstone this is the perfect way to escape busy daily life to enjoy a walk through some amazing countryside and experience several fantastic views
Location: Hollingbourne (ME17 1TX)
Distance: 6 miles (9.66 km)
OS Explorer Map: 148
Terrain: Mostly along public footpaths in fields and woodlands. One relatively steep climb.
Parking: Pay and display parking at Hollingbourne Station (start point)
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Refreshments & facilities: A number of pubs and restaurants Hollingbourne
The walk takes you through parts of the extremely rare ancient woodland of Britain which has remained untouched for hundreds of years and probably existed prior to human settlement.
The walk starts at Hollingbourne Station, so is highly accessible by train. Walk to the left of the station and up a footpath that climbs a bank. Cross the stile and head right. Once you reach a field, bear left across it towards a stile. Cross it, and walk along the field edge and then in between two hedges. Follow this path over another stile. When you reach a road turn right and then at the T-junction turn left on to Musket Lane. This will bring you to the small hamlet of Eyhorne Street. The word ‘street’ in its name suggests it was located along a Roman road, and therefore, the settlement must date back to this time.
Once you reach another T-junction, turn left and then take the footpath down the side of the Windmill pub. As you come to a large, modern barn bear left and go through the field gate behind it. Continue along the path until you reach a waymarker post. Then walk diagonally across the field towards large tree. Cross the stile and turn right following the path into a garden. Keep right and cross another stile. Head straight on, before bearing left and crossing a stile into another garden. Leave it by crossing a stile onto a small bridge. Follow the field edge on your left before heading towards an arch under the railway. Pass through it and then over the stile and up a driveway.
Cross the road and continue on the footpath. When you reach another road, turn right and then left down Greenway Court Road. Head right and follow the road until you reach a Byway on your left. Follow the Byway until you reach a T-junction where you should turn right, joining the North Downs Way. You should then reach a junction with two tracks off to the left, take the second one. As you walk uphill stop to look at the amazing views of the beautiful countryside below.
When the path divides, head left through woodland. Follow the byway along the edge of the wood and then across a field between two fences. After a short distance you will come to a narrow strip of woodland on your left. Not far from here is a WWII ‘fox hole’ This is part of a network of secret bunkers found here to prepare in case of an invasion. A ‘secret army’ were recruited whose task would have been to sit in bunkers through an invasion and then emerge behind enemy lines. They were recruited in utmost secrecy and were likely to be farmers who had a detailed knowledge of the area.
When you reach a road turn left and continue on the Byway to the right through two sections of woodland. Once you have passed through a gate, turn left and look out for a stile on your left. Pass over it and walk diagonally across the field, heading for the stile to the right of some farm buildings.
Cross the stile and eventually turn right up the side of a small valley. When you reach a road, cross it, and take a footpath leading into the woods and eventually past a small pit to your right. These are believed to be ‘Deneholes’, small medieval chalk mines. Cross the stile into a large field and turn left and keep straight towards the woods. On a clear day it is possible to see the North Kent coast from here.
Cross a stile into the woods and when you eventually reach a lane, turn right. Then take the Byway to the left. This path then leads into a section of rare ancient woodland. At the junction bear left. You are now in Hucking Estate, managed by the Woodland Trust.
Stay straight until you reach a marked junction where you turn left onto the North Downs Way and into woodland. Pass through a kissing gate and through to open downland with excellent views. Follow the North Downs Way left through a series of thin sections of woodland and kissing gates. Once you reach a waymarker post, turn right through a kissing gate and then walk along the edge of the field. At the corner of the field continue downwards alongside a main road. After the steps, turn right onto the road. Continue straight over the cross roads into Hollingbourne. You may wish to stop for a drink at the Dirty Habit, an excellent pub, popular with walkers.
Keep a look out for Hollingbourne Manor to your right, a grade I listed building from about 1570. Once the road passes the church take a footpath to the right of it leading to a large field. Head across it and follow the path down by the school towards the main road. Turn right and head under the railway. Take the next right after this back to the station.
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