Kent Ramblers Walk of the Month

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April: Benenden and Rolvenden

Distance:  7.5 Miles (3h 45m)

OS Map:   Explorer 125 (Start at grid reference TQ808328)

 

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Park around or near the village green in Benenden.

Go along main road past Bull Inn on right and turn down Walkhurst Road. When after half a mile or so road bends left, take footpath on right.  [See Note 1.]  There are two footpaths – keep left of barn and head downhill through gate along right hand side of remnants of fence towards sewage works.  Go round right hand side and along back of sewage works, down to stream and across footbridge.  Bear right along path rising gently through wood – there are pieces of yellow tape on trees to mark the route.  On joining broader track at top of wood (see Note 1), turn right then follow the track around left hand bend.  At a junction, keep right (path WC349).  Continue through wood (with ponds on your right) and then out of wood.

Follow track between hedges past cottages on right to Mount Hall Farm.  Take path on right just before large barn.  Cross scrubby area and enter field.  Follow left hand side between fences then cross next field to jutting corner.  Follow hedge on right, go through gate, pass pond on right and aim for gateway in middle of bottom edge of field.  Cross middle of field to well-hidden footbridge in ghyll at bottom.  On other side go over stile and climb along left hand edge of field with superb views of Weald looking back.

At lane bear right then left up concrete farm track opposite, past cottages on left and through wooden gates.  Take track on right (WC347) just before converted oast houses, soon bearing left through orchard.  On entering open field path should go diagonally left across field but is often cropped, in which case it may be easier to turn left along top edge of field then go right downhill at corner.  Immediately past section of woodland on left, go left through gap to Christmas tree plantation.  The path should go diagonally across the field but the tree planting may have obstructed the correct route, in which case go down right hand side of plantation then along the bottom for 100 metres to stile.  Over stile head downhill through short section of woodland, bearing left to cross two footbridges over stream in ghyll.  Through gate, follow right hand then left hand edge of field towards oast house then through gates to pass just to left of oast onto farm track.  Turn right into farmyard then left on track, enter field at corner and go straight across towards woodland.  At corner of field enter woodland through kissing gate, descend into ghyll, cross footbridge and climb up through another kissing gate.  Follow left hand edge of field (with more classic Wealden views looking back) then along track into Rolvenden.

There are seats for lunching on the village green on right.  Turn left past pub then right along main street towards church.  Bear right at church then take path on right just before the village school.  Bear left across playing field.  Go through section of woodland into field and bear left across field to gate.  Cross narrow field to footbridge and stile.  Cross next field diagonally to far corner then follow left hand edges of a couple of fields into woodland.  On far side, bear left across field to lane.

Across lane follow path along left hand edges of field and then orchard to corner.  Through gap into next orchard follow right hand edge and bear left at corner.  At next corner go right through section of woodland and into field.  Follow fence on left to protruding corner then bear left to bottom corner.  Go through gate and turn left along bottom of field.  Follow round left hand edge of pond to lane.

Turn right along lane passing junctions on both left and right (bear right then left).  Just after crossing stream by short strip of woodland take path on right following clear waymarks alongside and through woodland.  Cross stream in Strawberry Wood over an ancient and recently excavated culvert then climb through wood into open field.  Bear left to top corner of field and go through gate onto track.  Turn right but soon take path on left diagonally across corner of field to gate.  Continue in same direction diagonally across another field to scrubby area.  Bear right to road and turn left back to Benenden village green; alternatively keep left passing to left of school, follow left hand side of two fields to church and return to green through churchyard.

Note 1.  At the time of writing the step is missing from the stile leading from Walkhurst Lane to the footpath.  If this remains the case and makes the stile too difficult to use, continue down Walkhurst Lane and, just past lowest point where lane crosses stream, take footpath on right through woods becoming the “broader track” mentioned in the directions.  In due course follow this round left hand bend and continue according to the directions above.  The alternative route is shown in orange on the map.

Points of Interest

Rolvenden Windmill

The mill, seen early on the return leg from Rolvenden, could have been built as early as 1580. It is a post mill - the whole building rotates on a post embedded in a brick roundhouse to achieve optimal orientation with the wind. The mill was last used around 1885 and restored in 1956.

Strawberry Wood

In the wood your route crosses an old stone culvert.  This has recently been restored but its age remains a mystery.  It was certainly built to allow heavy loads to cross, which could suggest a connection with the Wealden iron industry in Tudor and early Stuart times (see Kent Ramblers Annual Review 2013 for more details).  However it could be much older, perhaps dating to Roman times. 

Public Transport

There are buses from Tunbridge Wells to Benenden and Rolvenden.


In addition to the walking routes on our web site we have published three popular walking guides:

Guide to Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk and other walks in the area

Guide to the Kent Coast Path: Part 1, Camber to Ramsgate

Guide to Three River Valley Walks in West Kent: Darent Valley Path, Eden Valley Walk and Medway Valley Walk


Please report any problems with this walk to info@kentramblers.org.uk.


Ramblers' volunteers in Kent work tirelessly to ensure that our paths are as well protected and maintained as possible.  Of course we also organise led walks but most of our members are independent walkers who simply want to support our footpath work.  Please join us and become a supporter too.  You need us and we really need you.


Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2020.  Some paths on map are based on data provided by Kent County Council but do not constitute legal evidence of the line of a right of way