A dog friendly walk from DogPeople

A dog-friendly walk from DogPeople
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Boughton under Blean circular via Dunkirk and Old Wives Lees (14 moderate)

111 The Street Boughton Faversham Kent ME13 9BH

The route starts at The Queens Head in The Street. Car parking is available at The Queens for patrons but spaces can be tight on busy days. There is often on street parking available close by. From The Queens cross the road and TURN RIGHT (towards Canterbury). Use the pavement and pass a post box and Saint Barnabas Parish Centre before reaching a footpath finger post on your right hand side (RHS). TURN LEFT as indicated by the sign to follow a path up a drive between houses at first, then between fences (with fields on your left hand side (LHS), then past a path joining from your left, then through a tree line to reach a metalled lane.

TURN LEFT on the lane then, after 50 metres or so TURN RIGHT into Mount Ephraim's drive. KEEP AHEAD, pass buildings and start to descend with Mount Ephraim Gardens on your RHS (well worth a dog friendly day out).and their car park on your LHS, on a clear day you should get the first good views of the Swale and beyond and Hernhill Church - from here.

TURN LEFT when you reach a metalled lane TAKE CARE, this is a short section of lane but it is narrow and used by some traffic. Pass a pair of semi-detached houses on your RHS then TURN HARD RIGHT opposite a pair of white weather-boarded cottages to follow a metalled drive marked as a footpath (concrete marker) up to a wooden gate. Go ahead through the gate into an orchard, keeping ahead, more-or-less towards the church tower and just to the LHS of a row of electricity poles. On the far side of the orchard turn right a little to reach a metalled lane.

TURN LEFT along the lane, pass the church and green on your RHS then keep ahead past Kays Lane on your LHS. Keep ahead past the Old School, then, just by the last house on your RHS, and before the sports field, TURN RIGHT on a foot path marked by a green and white finger post. Follow the path between fences for the house and field then BEAR LEFT as the path emerges into a field. Keep close to a fence on your LHS, then pass through a series of metal kissing gates and down some steps to reach a metalled lane. KEEP AHEAD over the lane onto another path marked by an arrow marker and concrete sign. Keep close to a tree line on your LHS at first then between a fence and tree line to reach a metalled lane.

KEEP AHEAD (i.e. turn left) WITH CARE on the lane past a road 'Woodlands' on your RHS. As the lane bends right KEEP AHEAD (i.e. turn left) on a drive marked as a restrictive byway and "Old Gate House, private". Follow the drive until you reach a T-junction where the drive is better made ahead and to the left (towards a big house). Note a marker post on you LHS indicating a footpath left and right and byway ahead. DO NOT continue ahead on the byway to reach a metalled lane BUT TURN RIGHT across the field, aiming just left of a telegraph pole, then cross a footbridge to reach a path enclosed by a fence on both sides. Follow the path to reach a metalled lane.

TURN LEFT on the lane, again taking CARE, for a short distance until the lane bends left by white weather-boarded house. TURN RIGHT onto a bridleway marked by a green and white finger post. Follow a clear track between house gardens at first, then uphill along the RHS of a field, then into woods (it will be worth looking back before you get to the woods to get views across the Swale and Thames estuaries, the coast at Seasalter and the Isle of Sheppey). Keep to the track, steadily uphill, through the wood, noting a bridleway marker post en-route, to reach six bar metal gate just before farm buildings. Keep ahead when you reach farm buildings, then on a better made drive to reach a double metal gate, Go through the gate as another drive forks in from the right (more good views to your RHS of the Swale, Sheppey and 'mainland' Kent) to reach a metalled lane.

KEEP AHEAD across the lane joining another bridleway on the opposite side. Go ahead around or over a low metal gate across the bridleway, back into woods. A little way ahead on your LHS, in a field, are remains of one of the original 'Chain Home' radar stations (and, beyond it, its modern day successor). Further on, on the RHS is the entrance to Bofors Tower, an anti-aircraft gun emplacement that once protected the radar station, now converted to a home. Keep ahead as the bridleway becomes muddier when it passes a mobile 'phone mast on your LHS (note marker post). Keep ahead through a gate by a house just before the old A2 at Dunkirk.

TURN LEFT and follow the pavement and cross Courtenay Road (with tall communications mast on your LHS). CROSS the main road WITH CARE and follow the grass verge on the opposite road towards, then round a right hand bend. Cross the bridge over the new A2, then TURN RIGHT on a metalled drive signed Foresters Lodge, private road (also marked with a green and white footpath finger post).

Follow the drive past silos on your RHS. TURN LEFT opposite a black weather-boarded house on your RHS onto a footpath between houses on your LHS, note a yellow arrow marker on a BT telegraph pole across the drive to the houses. Follow the path between fences, then AHEAD across the RHS of a field.

KEEP AHEAD into a wood via a wooden bridge over a ditch. Follow a fairly clear path in the wood to reach a double wooden finger post. KEEP TO THE RIGHT of the post, following the RIGHT HAND FORK as indicated. Follow the path as it winds down through the wood passing a number of marker posts as you go (most no longer have arrow markers on them, some have green and yellow tape). KEEP MORE-OR-LESS AHEAD as you pass a fence with wooden finger posts pointing back up the path walked and ahead. KEEP AHEAD over a wooden bridge with arrow marker on its LHS (the path bears slightly right and uphill). The path is narrow and may be a little indistinct some of the year as it climbs through mainly coniferous woods, look for green and yellow tape on some trees and a post with a marker arrow after the path widens a little. KEEP AHEAD past a disused stile and broken fence, still up through the wood, then past another arrow marker to reach a T-junction with a more major path.

TURN LEFT on the more major path, the signs have been tampered with at this point, a yellow arrow marker pointed left on a Silver Birch tree opposite the junction when the route was recced (and, if you look back at the junction after you leave the minor path you might see an arrow marker pointing in both directions along the more major path). About 50 yards further on KEEP LEFT at a fork, the path to follow is to the left of a fairly large Oak tree. The path widens to a track in places. Some way further on KEEP LEFT at another fork, the way ahead is a little overgrown by tree branches at first but soon becomes a more obvious track again. Keep to the path as it narrows through a more open section of wood, then as it widens a track again through more mature wood. Follow the track downhill, after some distance passing a large Beech on your LHS with ruined buildings beyond it. Pass a metal gate to reach a clear track at the bottom of the wood.

TURN RIGHT on the track, quickly passing a field with a post and rail fence on your RHS. Follow the track as it becomes a metalled lane with grass growing in the centre at first. Follow the lane as it bends hard right by a pair of white cottages on your LHS. The lane descends a little before climbing quite steeply after a while. KEEP AHEAD as the lane joins a more major road (if you look to your left at the junction you may see the lane you are leaving is Primrose Hill and the road you are joining is Hatch Lane). TAKE CARE and keep to the right hand side of the road although this is a short section of road it is used by reasonable amounts of traffic. As the road bends hard left KEEP AHEAD onto a metalled track signed by a green and white footpath finger post. Follow the track past gates to Brackenside on you RHS, then an orchard on your RHS and trees on your LHS. KEEP AHEAD as the track becomes a concrete drive and bends a little right (with a North Downs Way arrow marker on your LHS and, then a black barn on your RHS). KEEP RIGHT at a fork in the track, then past a black and white house on your LHS.

As the concrete drive bends hard left KEEP AHEAD onto a footpath into an orchard, then after a few yards onto a footpath just inside the wood (not down the edge of the orchard), both sections marked by North Downs Way markers. Follow the path through the edge of the wood to reach a metalled lane. TURN LEFT as indicated by a North Downs Way marker then through a railway arch.

TURN RIGHT immediately after the arch through a metal farm gate. Follow a clear track with the railway on your RHS. Pass fruit pickers caravans then BEAR LEFT on a clear track through an orchard (the track will appear white at most times of the year), a North Downs Way marker is on the RHS by a level crossing over the railway but this may be after you start the change of direction (do not continue along the track by the railway!).

Keep ahead on a green track just after the brow of the hill (there's a slight dog-leg after the gravel on the track finishes but you continue in more-or-less the same direction). KEEP AHEAD over, or around, a stile with a North Downs Way arrow marker then TURN LEFT along the edge of the field with a tree line on your LHS. TURN RIGHT at the bottom of the field still with the field on your RHS and a tree line on your left, then steeply downhill to reach a track.

TURN RIGHT on the track as indicated by a North Downs Way arrow marker then, after 50 yards or so TURN LEFT across a field (again marked for North Downs Way). KEEP AHEAD over or around a stile into a wood. Follow the path through the wood and then between orchards.

TURN RIGHT onto a metalled lane, then almost immediately LEFT at a junction. TURN RIGHT a short way further on at another road junction and follow the road uphill through the outskirts of Old Wives Lee (passing the 40mph and 30mph signs as you go). At the top of the hill TURN RIGHT at a multiple junction then RIGHT again into Green Lane now leaving The North Downs Way.

Keep ahead to the end of the road, then into a play area (dog scoop bin at end of lane). Follow the footpath along the RHS of the play area as indicated by a green and white footpath sign. Keep to the path as it leaves the right hand corner of the play area.

TURN LEFT as the path joins a metalled lane then after 80 yards or so TURN RIGHT onto a metalled drive into Lower Ensden Farm (as indicated by a green and white bridleway finger post).

Follow a clear track past converted Oast Houses on your RHS and an old quarry on your LHS, then across a field and over a railway bridge (Selling Tunnel to the LHS).

As the track bends right (towards a private woods sign) KEEP AHEAD on an indistinct (at first) path towards the woods (i.e. turn off the track). After a short distance, as you enter the woods, the way becomes clearer. Keep to the main path, generally up hill, following a number of blue arrow markers to reach a metal gate with a blue arrow marker.

Go ahead through the gate and TURN IMMEDIATELY RIGHT, keeping to the RHS side of the field. The route of the bridleway is unclear at this point but following the field edge connects to another footpath. In the corner of the field TURN LEFT to follow the field edge, now with a fence and tree line on your RHS (note a stile leading into the wood as you turn in the corner of the field). Go through a metal kissing gate to reach a broad but muddy track.

TURN RIGHT on the track, then AHEAD through a metal kissing gate besides a seven bar metal farm gate. Keep ahead on the track (don't bear right to a field through the tree line). After another 100 yards or so TURN LEFT into a field (great views ahead). Follow the LHS of the field down to trees, and then keep ahead through the trees in the bottom left hand corner of the field. Keep ahead with a post and rail fence on your RHS and a stream valley on your LHS, and then follow a track towards house. Pass around a double metal gate to reach a metalled lane.

TURN RIGHT on the lane past a row of cottages. Follow the lane to its end, then keep ahead up steps, through an underpass of the A2, then down the steps on the opposite road to reach another metalled lane (and houses). KEEP AHEAD to a road junction, then AHEAD again into a no through road (Woodside). Keep ahead using the pavement on the LHS until it ends, then ahead again into the top of the road.

TURN LEFT onto a foot path marked by a green and white finger post (by a lamp post). Follow the path a short way, then up steps to reach the main road (old A2).

TURN LEFT towards the village and follow the pavement on the RHS of the road (having crossed it WITH CARE). KEEP AHEAD over Staplestreet Road. Keep ahead past the 30mph sign and garage on your LHS before reaching The Queen's Head on your left hand side, time for a dog friendly drink and something to eat...?

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