A ramble around Wingham, Wickhambreaux and Littlebourne
My first of hopefully many walks from Kent. This is a walk through what is chiefly arable farmland, and starts from the village in which I currently reside.
O/S Ref: TR244576
Length: 7Ό miles approx.
Approximate time: 2½ - 3 hours.
Parking: Free car park in St. Mary's Meadow, Wingham
Refreshments: Pubs in Wingham and Wickhambreaux
The field near the beginning of the walk (between TR239575 and TR234577) can be treacherous when its crop is mature, especially with rape-seed. Although it is possible to use the A257, then turn right onto Wingham Road, then right again on Baye Lane. I've always managed to press on here though!
The short stretch across an area of scrub (between TR214571 and TR215569) can be heavy-going, as the path never seems to be cleared. It's easiest to turn right then skirt the area. This is actually described in the walk narrative.
The field to the south-east of Brambling Road (between TR223560 and TR224557) can be treacherous if the crop is mature, especially with rape-seed. If so, it will be easier to turn left onto Brambling Road, then right at the next road junction. Follow the road, then turn left after about 250 metres onto the footpath to rejoin the main route.
Walk out of the car park and turn left onto St. Mary's Meadow. Turn left at the T junction to walk along High Street (it may be a good idea to cross St. Mary's Meadow to use the Pelican crossing, as traffic can be never ending). Follow the road to the right, in the direction of Canterbury, passing St. Mary's church on the right.
Where the road swings left, take a footpath which passes to the left of a house with white weather-boarding on its top level. Walk along an enclosed section for a short while, cross a bridge then go through a kissing gate to walk across the middle of a field in a WNW direction, soon crossing a boundary into the next field. On coming to the far side of this field, clamber down to a footbridge, with a rather concerning lean to the right! Cross it, then follow a way-marker to walk through a poplar windbreak, to continue in the same direction. The church at Ickham is soon visible (just to the left of centre). The walk doesn't actually go to this location, but you may want to make the short detour for a visit (or even use it as an alternative route to Littlebourne).
Cross a track after a short while to follow a path, which defines the boundary between two fields. On coming to a lane, cross it, then follow the right finger on a two-way signpost to go half-right (1). Walk to the far right corner of this field. Half way across the field, you can see our next destination the church at Wickhambreaux. The footpath comes out onto a road turn half-left on the road, cross a stream to pass Seaton Mill. Ignore a signpost on the right, but follow the left finger on the next signpost on the left. Walk along the left edge of a field, with a wire fence to your left.
Cross a stile at the far side of the field, then turn left along a road. The road soon swings right to come to the outskirts of Wickhambreaux. At a T-junction with a thatched cottage ahead, turn left to walk towards the village centre. On coming to the village green, by the Rose Inn, follow a signpost across the green. Cross a road and make for the churchyard. Go through an iron kissing gate, then follow the left edge of the churchyard (2). Go through a gap in the far corner, then after a few paces follow the path as it swings left, then right, to follow the left edge of a field, following the course of the Little Stour river initially.
Keep ahead where the river darts left to walk in the same south-west direction - the path goes slightly left then right here. Walk through what can sometimes be a rather scrubby area. The path comes out onto a road soon follow the road for a short while before coming to an iron kissing gate on the right, to use it. Keep to the left edge of a meadow, cross a drive then follow a signpost through an enclosed section. Follow this, first to the right, then left at a wooden kissing gate, soon coming to a paddock area.
Go through a short enclosed stretch to go through another metal kissing gate. Proceed through an area which is currently defined by a wire fence to the left, and what seems to be a temporary electric fence to the right. Continue until you come to a stile you have one of two choices here. You can either turn right before the stile, through a gate into the churchyard of St. Vincent's, or cross the stile then turn right through (another) gate. The first option saves a bit of energy however!
Turn left after either option, to walk past the east end of St. Vincent's church. Turn left toward the lychgate, then left after it, to walk along Church Road. At the T-junction at the end, cross Nargate Street, to walk along a drive (3). After a garage to the left, this narrows to become an enclosed path. Turn half-left across a bridge to walk to the left of a water wheel, walk in front of a house, then turn left along a short enclosed path in a SE direction. Go through a kissing gate to walk across a meadow. Go through yet another kissing gate, to keep up your SE direction across the next field.
At the end of the field, turn right, to walk in a SW direction, passing to the right of a house, walking along a bridleway. At a road (the busy A257), turn left to walk along it until you are level with a metal kissing gate on the opposite side. Cross the road then go through the kissing gate, to walk to the left of a scrubby area. At a way-marker, turn left to walk, with a fence to your left, along the back of a property.
At the far left, cross a stile to be on an area of scrub. The official path from here goes diagonally across this area, but it will probably be easier to turn right and continue along the right side of this area until you come to an orchard ahead. Turn left to follow the edge of the orchard, then bear left at the end. After not too many paces, there is a gap on the right (4).
Go through the gap, then turn right onto the drive that serves Lee Priory Farm. The O/S map shows shows the path going through an orchard,.. this path hasn't existed for some years (according to someone I spoke to who used to farm the area). The current path follows the drive, going to the right of a cottage, then just before the boundary turns left to walk in a south-east direction.
The path swings right after a while, then a little further, left to go through a wooded area. Emerge the far side of this area, then turn slightly left, to keep to the left of a field. Soon we pass a line of poplars, after which the path starts to descend to a road. Cross the road, then walk in the same direction the other side, following a signpost. At a way-marker, turn half-right to walk up the diagonal path on the next field. The far side of this path comes to a gap in the hedge (5) which may be a bit awkward to find, due to there being nothing to aim for. A bit of searching may be needed to find the gap!
Cross a stile, then turn left onto a road. Walk about 150 metres to come to a signpost on the right. Turn right here to walk in an easterly direction for about 500 metres, ignoring the temptation of any paths to the left! Turn right onto a bridleway and follow it towards the right edge of a wood it can be a bit overgrown and indistinct here on occasions. On coming to Broome Wood, turn left to walk along the northern edge of it. Enter the wood at a corner, turning right to follow the path through the wood.
Exit Broome Wood at its south-most apex to walk gently downhill, coming to Bossington farmyard. Walk past some farm buildings on the left, then continue along a concrete track for a short distance. Turn left at a bridleway way-marker to proceed in a NNE direction. Keep a hedge to your left, to follow what can be another rather indistinct path, turning first left, then right after about 100 metres. There is the building of the former Wingham water works visible to the right, dating from the Edwardian era.
We lose the fence to the left soon to walk out into an open space, still in a NNE direction. There's a gap in the hedge ahead visible after a while which we're aiming for. Go through said gap, then turn a few degrees left, to walk in a northerly direction for about 550 metres. The route here can be somewhat ambiguous after the crop's just been harvested.
Turn right onto a road (6) for about 200 metres, before coming to a junction. Turn left to walk a few paces along Snake Hill, then turn left at a public footpath sign. Here again, the route can be pretty much undefined after harvesting, but if you keep in a northerly direction, you won't be far out - there will be the steeple of Wingham church over the crest of the hill to guide you soon aim for that.
Near the far side of the field, there are metal railings (7), which mark the boundary of Wingham Primary School. Keep the railings to your left, soon walking into a driveway. Bear right onto a road, to pass Wingham village hall. On coming to a public footpath sign, turn right to walk along an alley. Cross a zebra crossing at the end of the alley, then turn left to walk to the centre of Wingham. Turn right into St. Mary's Meadow, to take you back to the car park.
Click here to get an OS map with the route highlighted.
Click here to get a GPX file to load into your GPS gadget. (Right click, then Save As).