Eastry and Woodnesborough

OS Ref: TR310548
Length: 7½ Miles
Approximate time: 3-3¼ hours.
Parking: Free car park off High Street, Eastry.
Refreshments: Pubs in Eastry. Plenty of choice in nearby Sandwich.

1 - Generally uneven on the byway near the beginning of the walk (between TR302546 and TR294550).
2 - The path just before Beacon Hill (TR298569 to TR302569) can be very treacherous if it hasn't been properly maintained.

The walk

Start by leaving the car park onto the road. Turn left along Eastry High Street, then continue to Mill Lane, turning right to follow it. Pass Eastry Mill on the left – a grade II listed building, believed to have been built around 1770 – now a private residence. Carry on ahead to walk along a raised pavement, turning left at the end, down steps to the road. Walk the short distance to a footpath signpost ahead. Keep in the same direction here, to walk along a byway, keeping in the WNW direction you’ve been following along Mill Lane.

The byway descends for a short distance, and it can be a bit muddy in places. Also, footing may be an issue in places, as there are some fairly deep grooves along the path. After a slight left/right further on, walk through an enclosed section. It can be muddy and a bit more uneven here for a while. Views on the right to Ash (mainly the church) open up soon. Progress can be hampered here along the more muddy parts! Keep ahead at a byway signpost, walk to the left of the hedgerow, along the right edge of a field, the path soon becoming enclosed.

On coming to a road, do a slight left/right to follow a footpath signpost. Climb a slight bank, then walk along this footpath, going gently uphill. At the crest of the hill, go through a gate and then walk the short distance downhill to another gate. Don’t go through it, but turn right to follow the edge of this meadow with a wire fence to your left. The meadow tapers to the far end – go through a gate, then turn right for a few paces up to a bank. Walk to the edge of the adjacent field, then bear left to walk between two fields. A fence appears on the left after a while. Walk to the right of it until you come to a lane.

Turn left onto said road (1) (Chalkpit Lane), to walk to the left of a farmyard with two small silos. Keep along the lane for 360 metres or so, coming to crossroads. At a public footpath signpost, turn sharp right to walk in an almost due east direction, making for a corner in the hedgerow ahead.  Bear slightly left at this hedgerow, to keep it to your left. The boundary to the left seems to be more like sporadically spaced trees with a wire fence, rather than a hedgerow. Anyway, keep the boundary to your left, coming to a waymarker. At this waymarker, deviate slightly from the course you’ve been following by turning half-left, still following a wire fence. Turn half again, walking upwards to the corner of an enclosed parcel of meadow.

Go through an opening in the corner and keep in the same direction to walk along a bank between two fields. Woodnesborough can be seen to the right now. We’ll be there shortly! Keep ahead to a bright white house, passing to the left of a farmyard. For a while, you can see the church at Ash again (just in front, then to the left a bit). On coming to a road, bear slightly right to follow a footpath signpost the other side. Cross a track between two fields – you’re making for a path, just to the left of the right edge of a wooded area. On the far side of this field, go through a bank, over a drain, cross a lane then follow a public footpath signpost to walk through a narrow belt of trees (2). Bear left on coming to the open, to follow the left edge of a field.

At a waymarker (currently more of a stick), bear left again to walk diagonally across a field. It’s worth noting that at some times of the year, this can be a really treacherous path across the field, with little option of using the field edges as they’re equally as bad. Suffice it to say, you can expend a lot of energy here! At the far corner, go through a gap then walk with a wire fence to your right.

Just before coming to a road, turn left to clamber up a fairly steep bank. Bear left at the top, now walking parallel to the road. Bear slightly right where another track joins from the left, soon crossing a lane to walk through a gap in the hedge opposite. First, go through what is currently a rusty metal gate, then turn right to follow the path, which is now enclosed. Keep ahead where the path opens up, soon coming to a road. Make use of a pavement which fortuitously begins, coming to the road!

Cross the road where the pavement ends, to walk along an enclosed path the other side. On coming to another road (Foxborough Hill), cross it to take the refuge of the pavement the other side. Turn left just before a church, following a public footpath signpost to walk along Church Street (3). The church of St. Mary The Blessed Virgin is a Grade II listed building, with parts of it dating back to 1182! It’s normally open and well worth a visit before you press on. Follow the lane for a while walking past some attractive cottages, one with a thatched roof. Keep along the lane where it bends right a bit further along, past Keepers Cottage. Keep ahead past Waggoners Cottage to the right, go through a gap then turn left to follow a path between two fields.

Keep ahead where a track joins from the left – after a short way, Sandwich is visible to the left. Turn left where the hedgerow finishes on the left. Keep a hedge which appears on the left, to the left for a while, walking parallel to some power lines. When you’re almost level with a pylon where the two circuits divide go through a gap on the left, then turn right to follow the right edge of the field you are now on. The path comes out into the open later, with a ditch to the right. Keep ahead at the end of the ditch to walk under a pylon, where one of the circuits mentioned earlier joins it!
Walk to the left of a pen further along, which currently has pigs in it. At the far end of the pen, turn right on a path parallel to the A256 road, which is part of the White Cliffs Country Trail. We’re essentially on this trail until the end of the walk. At the end, making use of the pedestrian refuge halfway across the road, carefully cross the busy road at a roundabout. Turn left to walk along the verge for a few paces before diving right to safety, at a footpath signpost (4)! There’s some arable farmland to the right and orchards to the left initially. The field on the right gives way to an orchard soon. Keep along this path to come to the farmyard of Felderland Farm, then left/right at Felderland Road to walk along a bridleway.

Where the boundary on the right ends, keep ahead, now with a field to the right. Where the track goes right, keep ahead. At the far corner turn right to continue along the White Cliffs Country Trail with some woodland to the left. Where the field ends on the right, keep ahead to walk along an enclosed path.  The woodland on the left gives way to an area of scrub, with the distant Eastry church now in view. A bit further along, there’s a little left/right turn, where the path also dips down a bit. The path becomes a bit “sketchy” soon after, before passing to the left of a sewage treatment plant. You ears will be telling you that you soon have to cross the A256 again! Do so, to follow the path the other side.

Cross a stile to walk along the left side of a meadow, with a wire fence immediately to your right. Keep ahead where a path joins from the right further along. Turn left (5) to walk along a pleasantly tree-lined path, heading gently uphill into Eastry. A concrete public footpath sign on the right guides you into the village, with a wooden fence soon appearing on the right. The path becomes tarmacked for the last section. At the end of the footpath, cross a road, going slightly left/right, to walk along an alley. A gap in the net fence on the left takes you back to the car park.

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