The DogPeople Blog
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Via RSPB car park, Rough Common Road,Church Wood, Rough Common, Canterbury
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 the RSPB car park off Rough Common Road at Rough Common (on the north-western outskirts of Canterbury at grid reference TR 1231 5945). Other access points include Monkey Common at Blean, off the old A2 at Dunkirk and opposite Denstroude Farm on Denstroude Lane.
The car park has an information board provided by the RSPB. This includes a sketch map of marked walks of 1, 1¾, 2¼ and 7¼ miles. These are mostly not intended for dogs in the RSPB section of the wood although they do include sections of public right of way. The marked routes can be accessed from other parts of the wood and can be used as the basis of longer routes. If you chose to do this you should return to the car park via a dog welcoming route – we suggest ‘New Road’ – see below. There is a marked dog route through the RSPB wood of about 1½ miles, all on good track suitable for pushchairs in all but the wettest conditions.
The car park also has benches, a picnic area and wood sculptures.
For this walk turn left out of the car park onto the track you arrived on. Head back towards Rough Common ignoring a footpath on the right almost as soon as you leave the car park. Continue towards the road for 100 – 200 metres until a playing field appears on the left. Also at this point a board on the left welcomes you to Blean Woods Nature Reserve. Turn right opposite the board onto a grassy track. Follow track into woodland. Continue ahead at cross tracks. After several hundred metres the track reaches a T junction with another track – the track is marked with a bridle path blue arrow. A footpath is directly opposite (making the junction more a cross-roads) – it is marked with a footpath yellow arrow (more-or-less straight ahead). Follow the footpath straight ahead. The footpath soon divides at a fork. Take the right hand fork (almost straight ahead). The path soon starts to descend (the path was dry on this occasion but we know it can be slippery in wet winter months).
At the bottom of hill cross wooden footbridge. Continue ahead and follow a sunken track uphill. The track more-or-less follows the same line as the path just descended. Continue on this track as the land levels out, passing through a mostly mature coppiced area. After about ½ mile total walking distance the track joins a multiple junction marked with a post with blue and yellow arrows. Turn right onto a track. Continue ahead on this track ignoring a footpath on left. Follow track as it goes downhill passing a large oak on the left. The track then climbs a little to join a cross track marked with bridle path post (blue arrows). Turn left onto the track joining at this point.
The track climbs gently uphill before levelling out. Soon after the track levels you reach what appears to be a cross track – a path certainly leaves on the right. Continue ahead on the main track. This part of the walk has especially heavy clay soil. This often allows puddles to lie for much longer periods than in other parts of the wood. Follow the track for several hundred metres through several small bends until you reach a cross tracks. The left hand track will take you to a bank of rhododendrons. Continue ahead – total walking distance about 1 mile to this point. After about 50 metres ignore a footpath on the left – continue ahead on track.
After another 300 metres or so turn right at T junction. The track is much grassier at this point – more like a green lane. The track passes through less mature woodland with a conifer plantation through the willow and sallow screen on the left. After several hundred metres ignore a footpath on the right hand side (total walking distance about 1½ miles to this point) and continue ahead on green lane.
After several hundred metres more turn right onto track at T junction (there is a small footpath going straight ahead at this point – the T junction is just past a pile of track making stones). After 200 – 300 metres turn right onto a track as it joins at a diagonal T junction (this is marked as New Road on some maps). Almost opposite this junction a green lane marked with an RSPB marker. There is a small clearing with a bench. Total walking distance is now about 2 miles. Continue ahead on the more major track (New Road) – this will eventually bring you back to the car park.
Continue on New Road ignoring all minor footpaths and tracks on either side. Shortly after another pile of track surfacing material there is another cross tracks. The left hand track is marked with an RSPB post with a yellow footpath marker (just beyond the junction is another post showing a dog symbol pointing down this track). If you want to extend this route by about another mile follow the track on the left hand side and subsequent dog route signs. If not continue ahead on New Road. Pass between concrete bollards previously used to block the track. After another 100 metres or so pass another track on the left marked with an RSPB post (this is the return leg of the dog walk). Continue ahead to reach car park on the left just beyond a wooden gate.