Walk 76: Grove Ferry and Preston
Distance: 11 miles (5 Hours) circular or 9
miles using shortcut indicated
OS Map: Explorer 150 (Start at grid
first part of the walk follows the Saxon Shore Way. Starting at the
Grove Ferry car park (A) climb the embankment to the river Stour and
turn right. Drop down as you approach the wind turbine and boatyard at
Red Bridge, skirt the side of the field and turn left through a gate.
Cross the entrance to The Boat House and turn left. Bear right to a
derelict barn, then swing left and continue alongside a hedge to a turf
bridge; turn R and follow track (bearing left) to a marker post; turn
left for 100 yards by the Little Stour.
the route should cross a bridge but at the time of writing (August 2014)
the bridge is closed (please let us know if you find that the bridge is
open again). Instead pass closed bridge and continue to the pumping
station. Cross the bridge and turn immediately left along the riverbank
Plucks Gutter (B) go under a bridge and cross a foot-bridge over a small
dyke. Continue by the river past another pumping station for 650 yards.
Look for a post with a way mark showing a footpath to the right through
a gap in the hedge passing a gate marked "Private" on the
left. Walk 440 yards alongside a drainage channel, to reach the third
line of trees on the left. Follow a track round the edge of a field to
the R of the trees then bear right onto a main track (Westmarsh Drove),
which after 650 yards comes to the corner of a road in Westmarsh. Take a
path to the right marked Stour Valley Walk along right hand edge of
the end of the orchard go through a small gate to the left of a double
farm gate, across the field to a footbridge into another orchard. Cross
and turn R for a short distance until you see a gap in the pattern of
the trees and then turn left through fruit trees. When you reach a ditch
on the far side of the field, turn left until you reach a main track.
Leaving the Stour Valley Walk, turn left for 220 yards along concrete
track. At corner go straight ahead along grassy track, eventually
bearing right through Santon Farm then left along the farm's exit road.
After 110 yards when it bends right there are two footpaths crossing a
field; take the right hand path. According to the map the path goes
diagonally across the field, however the field is now planted as an
orchard, and the path is impossible to find. So head anticlockwise round
the orchard to the middle of the far side and take path through hedge on
right across field to lane.
lane (Park Rd), continue on the footpath to the corner of the field. At
the road take the footpath to the right, to bring you to Preston village
for a welcome break, either at the Nursery Café which only serves
drinks and cakes (but not sandwiches) or the Half Moon & Seven Stars
Inn. (5.5 miles)
the footpath beside the nursery turn left down the main road for 220
yards. Take the footpath on the right, just before the village shop and
at the end of the field turn left. When you reach a road you have a
the walk by turning right along lane and then a track until you reach
the river, then turn right along bank to the Blue Bridge.
right then turn L along Park Lane. At the road continue to a junction
and turn right towards the church. Go through the church yard to a gate
behind the church. Pause to admire the unexpected collection of old
steam engines, before you cross a stile opposite and take a footpath
across a field.
500 yds and 5 more stiles go through a small wood which has excellent
bluebells in the spring. When the footpath meets a crossroad, take the
marked track opposite. Follow this footpath for 380 yds to the corner of
the field and into a wood. Take the right hand footpath downhill, then
turn right to follow the river (Little Stour) northwards for 1.7 miles
to a road at Blue Bridge (Grove Rd). Cross the road and bridge to the
opposite river bank. Follow a permissive path along the river bank track
for 980 yds; then take a track to the left, retracing your starting
route back to Red Bridge and Grove Ferry car park.
This walk was
originally published on a calendar produced by White Cliffs Group.
Thanks to David Jones for originally devising this route (later
updated) and Andrew Boultbee for the idea.
Points of Interest
Ferry has a good car park with a small charge, toilets, picnic site and
1960 the river was crossed here by a passenger-operated ferry. The
picnic site is where Canterbury lavender was grown. The surrounding
marshlands were once under the waters of the Wantsum Channel.
Plucks Gutter the Great Stour meets the Little Stour
The old pub at Westmarsh has been turned
into the Rose
Garden Tea Rooms, open 11 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays from
May to October. (The web site may not display correctly in older
version of Internet Explorer including version 7.)
Saxon Shore Way
more about this 153-mile walk from Gravesend to Hastings here.
Stour Valley Walk
more about this 52 mile walk from Lenham to Pegwell Bay here.
Our book of Ten
Favourite Walks in the Kent Countryside has routes for ten more
walks like this one.
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
If you find that the directions and map
for this walk are incorrect in any way, please report the problem to email@example.com.
Map based on Ordnance
Survey mapping released into the public domain under the OpenData