Walk of the month: Westerham

Glorious views and pretty houses

Glorious views and pretty houses - Credit: Archant

Enjoy this five-mile country walk with Westerham as your starting point

Enjoy a peaceful walk high into the hills, through tranquil woodland and the pretty village of Westerham. Explore its many independent shops and enjoy refreshments in one of the traditional pubs or numerous coffee shops and restaurants.

As you leave Westerham’s main road at Lodge Lane you will pass a row of charming cottages. Leaving the bustling town behind you, your walk will lead further into the peaceful Kentish countryside.

Take the path on your right to join Mill Lane and climb the hill ahead.

Wandering through this beautiful area of countryside you can enjoy stunning views over rolling hills, historic houses and farms. Your path will soon wind through semi-mature woodland, abundant with bluebells in spring, rhododendrons in early summer, and a vibrant mass of colour and sweet chestnuts in autumn.

Your trail crosses Squerryes Park, land attached to the 17th-century manor house, which has been home to the Warde family since 1731. As you meander through this patch of peaceful woodland, look out for evidence of coppicing.

The path will soon emerge from the park and lead to Goodley Stock. Upon reaching Kent Hatch, turn left from the Link route to join the main Greensand Way.

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Your trail will lead you among the imposing beech trees and younger yew, birch, chestnut and maple.

Making your way through the woodland, look out for standing water or patches of mud, which indicate the presence of the many springs that feed into the beginnings of the River Darent above Westerham.

The springs within the area encourage the wide variety of habitats found among the woodland.

Follow the path down the steep incline, turning right past April Cottage and onto the road below. Cross over the B2026 and follow the Greensand Way into the woodland of Mariners Hill.

Within the woodland you will be able to see the impact of the great storm of 1987 and the fierce winds that ravaged the original trees. Today you will notice remains of these trees, as well as the unique forms of some mature trees which have grown from their felled trunks.

Crossing the Mapleton Road, your path will soon travel alongside the grounds of Chartwell, the much-loved home of Sir Winston Churchill from 1924 until his death. Today the house and grounds are owned by the National Trust and offer a fascinating visit (see also page xx).

At the top of the hill your path will cross the lane and head towards French Street. Turn left before reaching the road. Continue to meander through Hosey Common, an area which boasts beech, maple and hornbeam.

Having crossed Hosey Common Lane, cross Hosey Common Road and head into the formally planted pines of Tower Wood.

The path will soon reach sloping pastures, providing views over the valley, Westerham, and the North Downs. Finish your walk with a relaxing stroll towards the town and the River Darent. n

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