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Tia walked this route, a mix of forest tracks, footpaths and quiet country lanes.
If you would like to receive by e mail a free GPX file (track converted from the trail we walked) produced by our Satmap Active 10 GPS please contact us quoting GPX Thorn Blax. Please note this file is for personal use only and must not be further reproduced without our explicit permission. Those wishing to use the file commercially should make their intentions clear when contacting us. Please note we can not guarantee this file will work successfully on any other GPS, or data might not be corrupted in transfer, but we are confident, in most cases when it is loaded into a robust GPS, it will greatly assist navigation.
We parked in the car park at grid reference TR 1433 6328 (west side of Thornden Wood Road - CT6 7NZ) �" parking for parents with children and blue badge holders is available on the east side.
Start walking along the clear track on the east side of Thornden Wood Road as indicated by a green and white finger post (marked as New Road on the map). Go though the children and disabled parking area with its West Blean Woods notice board. Go passed gates and a Kent Wildlife Nature Reserve board, then a pair of bungalows on your left hand side (the second is Pine Cottage). KEEP AHEAD on the main track through a wooden bridleway gate to the right of a five bar wooden farm gate.
You will follow the main track for quite a way �" after a few hundred metres the trees thin, especially on the right. If you look to your right, almost opposite a large single conifer on your left, you might see an impressive sculpture of a large bird 'landing' in a tree top some way off. Keep to the track ignoring gates and paths until you pass under two sets wires �" the first on telegraph poles, the second joining a row of pylons. After another 100 metres or so look for a blue arrow painted on a tree on your left hand side (there's also a finger post pointing left) then TURN RIGHT onto a path almost opposite.
Follow a clear green track as it soon bends left then runs along a fence-line (or your right). Note another blue arrow marker on the first fence post. GO AHEAD through a double set of wooden pedestrian gates and follow a smaller path through the woods. At a marker post with a yellow arrow marker TURN RIGHT and follow a narrow path a short distance into a field. KEEP AHEAD, following the LEFT HAND side of the field as indicated by a post with a yellow arrow marker. In the bottom left hand corner of the field KEEP AHEAD on a more overgrown path with a fence on your right hand side (DO NOT turn left over a stile as indicated by an arrow marker but keep ahead with a pond on your right at first [dry when we walked]). After a short distance you'll reach another field and Blaxland's Farm House will come into view (ahead left). Keep to the left of the field then TURN LEFT in front of the farm house when you reach it. Follow the farm's drive as it BEARS RIGHT just beyond the house with more buildings on your left.
This is a fine old farm house with historic connections to the once important East Kent Blaxland family (some of whom became 'founders' of agriculture in Australia). Parts of the house are said to go back to the 1400s.
Follow the drive passed a bungalow at a left hand bend then downhill (pylons running parallel on your right) and over a stream, then uphill where the drive is tarmaced. At a T junction TURN LEFT onto a metalled lane. Follow the lane over a small hump-back bridge, then passed a house on your right. Follow the lane uphill then, as it bends hard left TURN 90° RIGHT onto a made up drive as indicated by a footpath sign (don't follow the more acute angle path across a field). Follow the drive, also indicated to Mansfield's Lake when we walked, beyond a terrace of houses (don't take any turn through orchards etc. even if signed to the lake).
After the last house and its garage KEEP AHEAD onto a footpath running through a ribbon of trees to join a track with a gate on your left and pylon on your right. KEEP AHEAD along the top left hand side of an orchard as indicated by a yellow arrow marker on a post. At the end of the orchard TURN RIGHT then LEFT after a few metres (the lake is at the bottom of the orchard). Go through the hedge-line and cross a footbridge to reach a field. Go DIAGONALLY RIGHT across the field as indicated by a yellow arrow marker (CB 41) aiming roughly for a pylon in the bottom right corner. CROSS A FOOTBRIDGE then TURN LEFT along the left hand side of a field as indicated by a yellow arrow marker (CB 41) with a stream on your left. KEEP AHEAD under pylons and follow the path as it bears left through a ribbon of trees into another field TURN RIGHT and follow the right hand side of the field. Before you reach a row of trees going left at the top of the field look for a yellow arrow marker (37) and footbridge on your right hand side. TURN RIGHT over the bridge and through the trees then over another bridge to each a field. TURN LEFT up the left hand side of the field.
As you reach a ribbon of trees going to the right, note footpath markers pointing along the tree-line and into the woods. TURN LEFT into the woods via a footbridge, then another bridge. Follow the path through the woods. You may see a bank (or two) at times on your right hand side. This (these) were originally 'The Radfall' (or Rodfall), an ancient boundary. The path was clear when we walked but may be less so in summer months. Keep ahead when the path becomes a more obvious rutted former extraction track. TURN RIGHT at a marker post pointing ahead (CB 37), and right (CB 79). Follow a clear path slightly uphill at first �" stick to the path (note private woods sign as you turned). At a paths T-junction / cross paths TURN RIGHT as indicated by a blue arrow marker on a post (pointing in both directions �" do not go ahead through a gate marked 'private' and 'warning guard dogs'). Keep ahead on the path passed a lake a short distance away on your left hand side, then under national grid wires and pylons. As you reach the last wire TURN LEFT onto a footpath marked with a yellow arrow marker on a post (gates on both sides close to the turn).
Keep ahead on a clear path down through woods and over a stream. Keep ahead on the path for a fairly long level section, then down into a dip that may be muddy. Keep ahead uphill, then across two banks (about 20 metres or so apart �" The Radfall). Almost immediately after the second bank TURN LEFT onto a footpath marked by a yellow arrow marker (CB 35) and follow the path as it runs more-or-less parallel with The Radfall on your left hand side. KEEP AHEAD as a footpath leaves on your left �" a marker post shows left and right turns (CB 1). TURN LEFT onto a clear track when you reach it (you are now back in The Kent Wildlife Trust's land). Note The Radfall clearly visible on your right hand side after a few metres �" with a statue of a husbandman and wild boar in its centre. Follow the clear track to a gate by a pair of 'totem poles' and a Kent Wildlife Trust board �" passing various statues and displays on the way (you will need to look into the trees to see them all!). Go around the gate and TURN LEFT back to the car park.