The North Downs Way Trail - Hill Walking In Kent

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Why not take a walk in the garden of England, it's free and for most of us a healthy pursuit. The Kentish North Downs is considered amongst the most beautiful countryside in the south of England and offers much unspoilt natural beauty, great views, clean fresh air and lots of great Kent pubs.

The North Downs Way is a National Trail, opened in 1978. It begins at Farnham in Surrey and ends at Dover. Much of the North Downs Way Trail follows the same route as the Pilgrim’s Way; pilgrims  traditionally stopped at Canterbury to pray at the shrine of St. Thomas Becket. If you don’t fancy the entire 150 miles all at once try this circular walk, which follows part of the North Downs Way Trail.

You can begin the walk at Wrotham, with the impressive church of St. George, there has been a church standing on this site since 960, but the current building dates from the 13th Century. There is also the Old Archbishop's Palace, a beautiful building once used as a palace for the Archbishops of Canterbury. The exact age of the building cannot be confirmed but it's estimated to date from the 11th Century.

From Wrotham you can walk up to Holt Common, following the North Downs Way Signs. Holt Common is owned by Wrotham Parish Council. Here you may be fortunate enough to spot some fauna and flora which grow in very few places. Look out in the summer months for the Adonis Blue and the Chalk Hill Blue, these two species of butterfly are totally dependant on the chalk grassland for their survival.

From Holt Common you can walk up to Stanstead whilst travelling directly over the North Downs. The Black Horse is a popular stopping off point on the route, a secluded Victorian Inn serving a good selection of beer and on our last visit Thai food was on the menu.

From Stansted you can stroll down to Fairseat, where you will find a chapel that was built in the 1930’s, the Chapel of the Holy Innocents. This village gained its name from a house in the village, although it was originally known as Farsee Street.

From Fairseat you can strike out for Vigo and the adjacent Trosley Country Park. This village gained its name from a reference to the navel battle at Vigo Bay in Spain, it is also the name of the village pub. This new village was built in the mid 20th Century on the site of a disused second world war army camp. Just beyond the Village is Trosley Country Park. There are several walks within park itself, with stunning views and more rare flora and fauna. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

From the Trosley Country Park, you can return to Wrotham to complete the circle.

More Information

  • www.nationaltrail.co.uk
  • www.ramblers.org

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