A walk around Nonington and Barfrestone

Description: An easy stroll around Fredville Park, Barfrestone and Nonington. The route is simple, without too much in the way of gradient, mainly across arable land and along lanes.

O/S ref: TR257519
Length: 6 miles
Approximate time: 2 – 2˝ hours
Parking: Small parking area near the junction of Easole Road and Vicarage Lane, Nonington.

Refreshments: Royal Oak pub at the beginning, also during the walk, at The Wrong Turn, Barfrestone.

The walk

Leave the parking area to the left, walking through a gap. Keep along an enclosed path, following it in the same direction after emerging into the open. The area of land here is Fredville Park, a 247 acre parkland, with some splendid areas of ancient woodland. Keep ahead following a way-marker, to the right of some trees initially. Bear right after passing a clump of trees, onto what can sometimes be a rather indistinct path. The path bears right at the edge of Box Wood at another way-marker. Keep in this direction until you come to a barrier onto a road.

Turn sharp right onto the road, following a signpost in the direction of Frogham and Woolage. Keep along this pleasant leafy road for about 400 metres, turning left at a yellow-tipped way-marker to walk up 7 steps into Limekiln Plantation (1). Bear right very soon, then left soon-after. Bear right at a way-marker, to walk along a fairly indistinct path – there’s currently a large uprooted tree soon to tell you that you’re on the correct path!

There are some great place/road names around here. There’s Pie Factory Road, leading to a pub called The Wrong Turn. One can only imagine these were dreamt up during a session at the pub!

The path soon opens up, coming to a gate. Go through it then turn right immediately, to walk to the right of a car parking area. Turn right at the corner, still following the edge of the car park, soon exiting on to a road. If you want to explore the wonderful Norman church at Barfrestone, you can turn left at this point – if you’ve never seen it before, it’s well worth a visit. You may even be lucky enough to find it open!

If you’ve visited the church, return to this point, then turn left to walk in a southerly direction, on the right of a hedgerow. At the end of the hedgerow, bear slightly right to follow the path, now going gently downhill. At the far side, cross a boundary to walk in the same SSE direction. On approaching a narrow belt of trees, go through a gap then turn right to keep a hedge to your right. Go through a gap at the far corner onto a road (2). Turn right join the North Downs Way, following the road for about 750 metres.

At the end of Long Lane (said road) turn left over a bridge, crossing the London-Dover mainline. Turn right to keep along the North Downs Way (3), walking along a bidleway, to follow it for about 1.4 km. The bridleway descends to a road – bear left onto it, then look out for a footpath sign to the right. Turn right then left here to follow the road, albeit to the right of a hedge. The road becomes visible after a short while, which signals the next turn is imminent. Turn right at a footpath signpost (4), to walk in a NNE direction and follow the path to a corner. The fields here can be heavy with crops at some times of the year, so there are two options here:-

1 – If there isn’t too heavy a growth of crops, keep ahead at a way-marker leaving the North Downs Way to follow the path, bearing slightly left after a while to a road. Cross it, go through a kissing gate then follow a path the other side in the same direction (5).

2 – If progress looks as if it may be hampered, turn left at a way-marker, following the path in a westerly direction to a road. Turn right along the road to walk in a NE direction. Don’t follow the North Downs Way as it dives off to the left, but keep along the road, eventually coming to a footpath signpost on the left. Go through a kissing gate then carry on in a NNE direction (5).

Head diagonally across the field, going through a gap then briefly walk across the corner of another,  going through a gate for the last part of this gentle downhill saunter. After the third field walking in this direction, go through a gap then turn half-right onto a bridleway (6), keeping a hedge to your right. After walking past a boundary, there’s a gap – walk though this, then an area of trees, coming to a road.

Cross the road, doing a slight dog-leg, left-right, to follow the bridleway the other side. Walk under a rail bridge, soon to be on the right edge of a field. Continue for about 500 metres, coming to an access road for a property, then soon-after, arrive at a road junction. Go straight ahead here, to walk along Church Street for about 600 metres. Before turning right at Vicarage Lane (7). You may want to visit St Mary’s, Nonington, by making a short detour left. There’s been a place of worship on this site for more than 700 years!

Walk the short uphill length of about 600 metres along Vicarage Lane, coming to a junction with the Royal Oak pub at it. Slightly left, you’ll be able to see your car parked on the hardstand.

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