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The main car park is at grid reference TR 0215 5010 on the North side of the minor road joining the A251 (Faversham to Ashford) and the A28 (Canterbury to Ashford). Adjacent to the car park are picnic and children's play areas.
There are two information boards - one at the edge of the car park and the other in the children's play area. The first of these gives information about the history of the wood and has a sketch map showing the Beech Walk and Sculpture Trail (way-marked walk of approximately 3 miles) woodland tracks, public footpaths including the North Downs Way. The second a better map of the Beech Walk showing locations of the various art works.
These are said to be one of Kent's largest ancient woodlands. There are many opportunities to walk beyond the Beech Walk. We have spent many hours exploring other routes of our own making.
The woods were once stocked with Royal deer - and are said to be named after King John (12th Century). Fallow Deer still live in the wood but are rarely seen. Other wildlife said to include Adder, Nightjar, Green Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Spotted Woodpecker, butterflies, foxgloves, bluebells and wood spurge.
A dog route leaves the car park at its left hand edge (looking from the road). The dog route, marked by Airedale shaped signs, is a short diversion to avoid the children's play area. It quickly reaches an open area and joins the Beech Way. This normally runs around two sides of the open space. The easiest way of joining the main path is to turn along the left hand side of the open space and to join it in the bottom left corner.
Hamish followed the path clockwise, but it is marked in both directions by footprint signs on posts (supplemented by white arrow markers as needed). The marking was clear and easy to follow except, perhaps, at the cloud chamber (by Chris Drury 1997). The cloud chamber is worth a visit. It stands just off of the path to the left. The route continues uphill, going first right then zig-zagging back left to pass above the cloud chamber before reaching another marker post.
The Beech Walk provides a mixed route in terms of gradient (nothing demanding) and type of woodland. It is a combination of easy to follow paths and tracks. Hamish completed it in about 45 minutes going at an easy pace - but he only stopped to explore the cloud chamber. Obviously, more time would be needed to explore the other art works, admire the woods or take in the glimpses of distant views occasionally available.
Copyright Dogpeople Limited 2002.