Oare, Norton and Luddenham Court

A walk in the area just west of Faversham, mostly through arable land, returning via the historic area of Luddenham Court. There are a couple of places which may be quite boggy after a lot of rain, so it may be worth putting wellies on if the recent weather has been predominantly wet!

O/S ref: TR007632
Length: 8 miles
Approximate time: 2½-2¾   hours
Parking: Along Church Road in Oare. Postcode (for SatNav) ME13 0QA

Refreshments: Pubs in Oare and Lewson Street.

The walk

Walk back along Church Road to the junction, following the private road the other side. Go through a kissing gate to the left of a recreation area, walking along a path which follows the right side of a meadow. Turn right at the far end to follow a path, walking diagonally across a field. The path bears right just before the far corner to come to a road. Turn left along the road, soon passing KPS Joinery and Carpentry. Further along, on the left, is an old gunpowder works. The site is now a country park, so you may want to ponder here for a while The area has had quite a chequered history with explosives – to find out more, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faversham_explosives_industry.

Turn left onto Tin Shop Hill (1), soon following it right. Turn onto Bysing Wood Road for a few paces at a tee-junction. Turn left through a gate, then take the left of two paths to walk through part of Bysing Wood. On coming out in to the open, cross a couple of fields, crossing a railway after the second. Walk across a field to the busy A2 – the path isn’t always obvious here, so you may need to hunt around at the far side!

Cross the A2 (you might have to be patient, as it can be awkward picking a gap in the traffic). The traffic from the right will be possibly slowing down for a roundabout, so you may get a kind driver beckoning you across from that direction! Keep ahead on a road the other side of the A2, soon turning right at a kissing gate, a waymarker and a stone marker. The way isn’t always distinct for a while here, but if you keep in a SW/WSW direction, you’ll not be far off. There’s a power pole with a guy wire near a kissing gate (2), which you need to go through. Turn left the other side, to walk with a belt of trees directly to the left initially, soon veering away from the edge where the line of trees goes left. Make for a stile – at the time of writing, there is no fencing to sides of the stile, so you can just walk round it! Stay to the right of a series of posts (with no fence currently attached). Go through a kissing gate at the end, then bear slightly right to a road.

Cross the road to follow a track the other side. Walk through a hop-growing area, carrying on where they end, gently uphill. Turn left at the top, in front of a couple of masts, to walk in a SSW direction. After following the track slightly right, cross a gate, to walk in the same direction on the adjacent field, with great views to the north-west, overlooking Sheppey. Keep fairly close to the left boundary, going through a gate to walk through a scrubby area for about 250 metres.

Go through a kissing gate just after a waymark post, turning right immediately after, keeping a net fence to the right (although the said waymarker indicated walking ahead). Walk a few paces, then turn left to walk to a line of trees. Turn right there to walk with a boundary to the left, going in a WNW direction. The path dives left after a while to go through some trees, then rejoins the left edge of the field soon-after. At the far boundary the path merges with a track from the right, continuing in the same direction. Follow a waymarker – it’s important to keep to the marked paths here, as some routes go through private land.

Stay to the left of a wooded area, taking the path to the right (which rejoins the other one soon). Bear right on coming to the track, at a waymarker. Walk through a gate, then through a farmyard with converted oast houses to the left. On coming to a road, turn right for a few paces, then left at a public footpath signpost and stone. The path starts with a fence to the left and ditch to the right.

Keep ahead where way opens up to be on the left edge of a field. The splendid church of St Mary’s, Norton, can be seen ahead. Walk between two fences for a brief spell, coming to the church. If you’re a church-visiting type, it’s open during the period from Easter to harvest each year – otherwise closed. After passing the church, keep ahead to walk along the right edge of an orchard, then a recreation area, coming to a road.

Cross the road (Norton Lane) to walk along Lewson Street. Follow the road for about 130 metres, turning into Worlds End (3). Where the road ends, follow an enclosed path in the same direction. The way gets ever more narrow here, and can be awkward with vegetation at some times of the year. Anyway, persevere until you get to the busy A2, again picking a good time to cross! Take the refuge of the pavement opposite, to walk the short distance to a footpath signpost, turning left at it.

The path seems to meander slightly right, eventually coming to an “external” corner – keep ahead here, following a bridleway waymarker. Keep ahead where a wire fence end on the left ends, to a gate. Go through it to walk between some properties to a road, turning left onto it. Turn right at a road after just a few paces, following a signpost to Deerton Natural Burial Ground. Walk about 440 metres to a footpath on the right, just after a row of houses. There’s actually a choice here – you can either use a footpath (which follows a signpost to the right of a track), or the track itself. The track is probably easier if the dedicated path is overgrown!

Where the track bends left, at a waymark post, take the path ahead to walk in a ESE direction. Cross a track to walk to walk on the left of a field, continuing to a road. Turn left along the road, soon following it right at a bend. Pass to the left of a house, which is home to some rather territorial dogs! Carry on in an easterly direction until you come to a footpath on the left (4). Take this path, thus walking in a NNE direction. Stay to the left of a series of fields separated by kissing gates, coming out onto a track in front of Luddenham Court.

Luddenham dates back to Domesday survey, but was called Cildresham at that time. Its current name is after William de Luddenham, former owner of the manor. To find out more, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddenham,_Kent. The area certainly has a great “aura” of the past.

Turn left towards the church, then right at a public footpath signpost just to the left of farm buildings. This area can be quite muddy after long periods of rain, so be prepared for filthy footwear! Go through a kissing gate after about 220 metres to walk along the left edge of a field to its far left corner (which can be really boggy after rain). Carry on along a concrete path, soon bearing right at a waymarker (5), thus walking in an ESE direction.

Over the crest of the hill you can soon see Oare looming up, with its charming church to the left. On the outskirts of Oare, go through a kissing gate, then turn right along a road to walk to the village centre. Keep ahead into the originally named “The Street”! Turn left at the Three Mariners into Church Road, then walk back to your vehicle.

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