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From Denstroude Lane Denstroude Nr Whitstable and Canterbury Kent
Blean Woods are Hamish's favourite place; a large area of ancient woodland designated a Site of Special Interest managed by the RSPB, Woodland Trust, English Nature and others. They are North West of Canterbury bounded by the old A2 to Faversham and the A290 to Whitstable.
This route enters the wood from Denstroude Lane opposite Denstroude Farm. Denstroude Lane joins the old A2 (Canterbury to Faversham) at Dunkirk and the A290 (Canterbury to Whitstable). Other access points include Monkey Common at Blean, off the old A2 at Dunkirk and the RSPB car park off Rough Common Road at Rough Common.
Park on the grass verge opposite Denstroude Farm (grid reference TR 0965 6105). Enter North Bishopsden Wood via a bridle path opposite the farm. At the edge of the wood pass by a wooden barrier and an RSPB sign welcoming you to Blean Woods Nature Reserve (the sign suggests dogs should be kept on a lead but we have never found a need to do so). Just beyond the barrier turn right at cross tracks.
Follow the track as it passes through the edge of the wood with a field a short distance on your right and the bulk of the wood on your left. Along the way you may notice a streambed on your right between the track and the field. This is more obvious in some places than others, especially in the dry season when there might not be any water in it at all. After 0.3 miles total walking distance a footpath crosses the track. A post marks this with yellow footpath arrow markers on the right of the track. The post also has a black arrow marker on the far side.
For a short walk of a little over half a mile turn left Turn left onto the footpath towards the wood (grid reference TR 0194 6072). Follow the footpath as it climbs gently uphill into the wood. Follow it after it levels out to wind its way through mainly oak woodland. Pass by a wooden barrier with yellow footpath arrow markers to reach a broad track. Turn left, the track will take you back to Denstroude Lane.
For the full walk continue ahead on the track keeping the field on your right a short distance through the tree line. Follow the track for a considerable distance ignoring a footpath that joins from the left. As it progresses the track becomes more a path. The streambed and field continue on the right hand side as the path climbs slightly.
After about ½ mile from the short cut (close to a mile total walking distance) the path bears left away from the field and streambed. Continue on the path as it continues uphill into a more wooded area. After 100 metres or so ignore a footpath on right. A marker post on the left of the path marks this point but it may be hard to see in the undergrowth. Continue ahead on the path.
Follow the path round a sharp left hand bend as it starts to descend slightly and an old fence appears on the right hand side. Continue ahead through mainly oak and beech woods keeping the fence on your right hand side. After a short distance the wood on the right thins and then opens into a field. As the field appears the fence becomes more obvious. At the point where the field joins the path you will cross a small ditch or land drain (a pipe runs under the path). This is probably close to the site of the Battle of Bossenden Wood (fought between "Sir William Courtenay" and his followers and a contingent of the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment on 31st May 1838). Continue to follow the path keeping the fence and field on the right. As the path climbs a little you should see Bossenden Farm House on your right.
Pass by a wooden barrier across the path to reach a T-junction with a green lane joining from the left (grid reference TR 0885 5995). A marker post with a blue bridle path arrow marks the junction ? there is also a black arrow on the far side of the post pointing in the direction you have just walked.
For a short cut turn left onto this green lane. Follow it to a T-junction with a more made up track. Turn left on this track (more downhill) and follow it back to Denstroude Lane.
For the full walk continue ahead on the path keeping the fence and field on the right. The path narrows and the tree screen on the right widens before the path bends to the right. At this point a path joins on the left at a blue arrow marker post. Turn left onto this path into the wood (i.e. don't follow the blue arrow). Almost immediately pass a wooden barrier across the path. Follow the path as it descends gradually through more mature woodland. Total walking distance about 1.7 miles. After several hundred metres the path emerges onto a broad track or green lane.
The junction is marked by a post with a black arrow pointing back down the path and a short cut sign pointing down the left hand green lane. Turn left onto the green lane (i.e. follow the direction of the short cut). Follow the green lane with mainly mature coppice on the right - a mixture of sweet chestnut and silver birch and almost exclusively silver birches on the left. The coppice thickens on both sides as you progress along the lane. Pass between wooden barriers and black arrow marker pointing right to reach cross tracks. The more major track runs right to left. Ahead is a less obvious track into the wood. The Rod Fall - said to be an ancient earthwork marking the boundary between the King's and Church's woods - can be seen in the wood at this point.
Turn left onto the more major track aiming for a large pine tree on the right of the track. About 50 metres before the pine tree a footpath joins from the right. A choice of routes can be made at this point - they are broadly the same length. Continue ahead on the track and follow it downhill back to Denstroude Lane or
Turn right onto the footpath (grid reference TR 0991 6027 -distance walked about 2.4 miles). This is marked by an RSPB marker post (this indicates that dogs are not welcome but we have often walked this permissive path). On the reverse side of this post is a black arrow. Follow the path downhill through the wood. This area of wood, another of Hamish's favourites, is made up of mainly mature beeches and oaks. As you reach the bottom of the hill a field appears on your right hand side through a narrow tree screen. Continue ahead as the tree screen widens again before the path descends a little more. Another field soon appears on your right as you continue ahead down the path. At the bottom of the hill pass by some posts before regaining the track you started on.
Turn right on the track to pass the wooden barrier before arriving back at Denstroude Lane and Farm.
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