The DogPeople Blog
Dog friendly articles and ideas
Parking is available at The Bowl Inn for patrons. We parked here and started and finished the walk here.
TURN HARD LEFT on lane in front of pub and follow the lane downhill. At the bottom of the hill TURN LEFT on to a bridleway as indicated by a finger post (on the right hand side of the lane). Cross two fields then enter a wood passing through two metal gates.
DON'T go ahead through a metal gate into a field after a short section of wood but stay in the wood keeping the field's fence on your left hand side. Follow the path by the fence and as it becomes a wider track. Go through a gate (it was open when we walked - and could have been missed) but make sure your dog is under close control beyond here as you soon reach a metalled lane. At the junction with the lane TURN LEFT slightly uphill on to a footpath as indicated by a finger post. Follow the path up through a wood and bear right as indicated by a footpath sign. Go through a gate into a field. The path goes diagonally across the field but the landowner asks that walkers follow the right hand field boundary to reach a stile because young horses are in the field. We did so, and caught the first glimpses of the Thames Estuary between trees on our right hand side, but the horses still wanted to meet us - though they weren't so sure about Lottie and Murphy! The stile is not dog friendly and both our friends had to be lifted over the adjacent locked gate. A dog paddle would have ensured less distraction for both the horses and our dogs!!
Once over the stile we walked ahead a short distance to reach a metalled lane. TURN LEFT along the lane (you might see a sign for Stalisfield on the right as you turn). More views are available to the Thames Estuary and Isle of Sheppey as you walk towards a farm. Follow the lane as it bends right and passes the spot where Hannah Giles was murdered in 1839 and Bunce Forstal Cottage close to where she lived (see note 1 at end). As the lane straightens excellent views are available over the Thames, Whitstable and Dunkirk Hill. TURN LEFT onto a byway marked with a finger post.
Follow the track downhill and through a disused level crossing over the disused Otterden and Boardfield trackway (see note 2 at end). At the bottom of the hill keep ahead as a horse 'toll ride' crosses and then, a short way further on, TURN LEFT onto a bridleway. Follow the bridleway as it climbs between fences with a valley on your left at first and then woods to reach a metalled lane.
TURN LEFT on the lane and follow it back to The Bowl Inn.
When we walked an information notice was pinned onto the gate post of Bunce Forstal Cottage. This told of the murder on 2nd February 1839 of Hannah Giles who lived in Wren's Cottage just to the left of Bunce Forstal Cottage. Most newspapers at the time carried reports of the murder, inquest and her burial. Reports said she had set out to babysit for the Jenkins family as the parents were going to a wedding celebration. She was apparently murdered by a Samuel Seager (or Seagus in some accounts) with whom she may have been having an affair. Another accounts say Seager was arrested in Birmingham (Colehill), where he used the name Rogers, and was tried and hung at Maidstone in March 1839.
Otterden and Boardfield trackway was built by Granville Wheler, of Otterden Place to ferry timber through woods on his estate. Apparently the trackway ran on metal rails (rather than plates as in earlier trackways) and relied on genuine horsepower. It seems it ran from Cuckoo Wood down to Warren Street through Bank Wood.
Click here for news item to see photos.