Text copyrighted © Colin Bridge 2009-2019
Section 1 (Out)
Dover To West Hougham
|Map||Ordnance Survey Explorer 138 (Dover, Folkestone & Hythe)|
|Distance/Time||4.5 miles (2.5 hours walking)|
|Start||Dover Priory Railway Station (cars may be parked further out of the town centre thus avoiding road walking at the beginning and end of the walk)|
|Comment||This walk begins near the busy heart of Dover along a main road. It soon swings up and away from the town into quiet, secluded countryside and villages a world away from the urban rush. The return is almost straight back along an extended ridge with fine views of Dover Castle directly ahead. The pub at West Hougham has closed and there are no other services. However directions are given to an alternative just off the route.|
From the main entrance to Dover Priory Station turn right up the approach road. Soon take a flight of steps up on the right to reach the main Folkestone Road (B2011). Keep along here for half a mile to reach a distinctive Y-fork. Bear right here onto Hougham Road. In a short distance look for a narrow, rather rough, road forking left up behind shops and houses. This is Cow Lane although there may not be a name sign.
At the top, at a T-junction, cross to a patch of open ground. There are two rough paths. Take the righthand one which rises steeply away from houses on the left alongside some old fence posts. Soon a chalky cross path is reached. Turn right along this. In a few metres reach another path. Turn left on this path and climb steadily with houses down below on the right.
Keep uphill on this path past a wartime concrete pillbox. Ignore paths going off downhill and cross tracks. Sometimes the path is indistinct but it leads up to a section completely enclosed within thorn bushes where walking is actually easier. Eventually emerge onto the top of Coney Hill. Keep forward towards a distant transmitter mast. Walk along an open, grassy ridge for over a mile.
On reaching a junction with a broad cross track on the outskirts of Church Hougham, turn left. Follow the track downhill for a short distance. Immediately after the second of two fieldgates on the right, cross a stile on the right. Follow along the field edge with a hedge on the right. Look for a stile in an angle of the hedge and cross into a rough pasture.
Head diagonally left across the centre of the field towards buildings behind a stand of evergreen trees. At the far side of the field reach a stile by a fieldgate and cross onto a roadway. Bear left up the road to a junction. Turn left and keep forward along the road into the village.
(TO REACH AN INN AND TRAVEL LODGE STAY ON THE ROAD. TAKE THE FIRST LEFT TURNING STEEPLY DOWNHILL FOR 200 METRES. RETURN TO THE CHURCH TO CONTINUE THE WALK)
Soon turn right along a ‘no through road’ towards the Church of St. Lawrence. Go through the church gate then immediately turn right along the edge of the churchyard. Leave the churchyard through a gap in the hedge and reach the edge of a large field.
Walk straight into the field away from the churchyard, bearing slightly diagonally left towards a tall tree in the distant hedge just left of centre. Cross a stile in the far hedge and turn left on an enclosed path between the hedge and a tall wire fence. Pass animal enclosures on the right to emerge onto an entrance drive.
Cross this drive to a stile and go ahead along the foot of a garden to cross another stile onto a road. The huge transmitter mast now stands away on the left. Cross the road with care and keep ahead along the field edge on an unmarked bridle path, with power lines overhead and a hedge on the left.
Where the hedge finishes keep straight on following the ridge right across to the far side of the field with a main road ahead. Bear right to a fieldgate and join an enclosed path which goes even closer to the main road.
Do not cross the road but bear right to follow a path steeply downhill with a fence on the left. At the bottom of the slope, just before a fence on the right begins, turn right into a field. Turn immediately left to follow the fence on the left for a short distance then follow the field edge as it turns right with a high bank on the left.
Soon reach a dip in the bank and turn left up into a higher field on the left. In this field bear right and walk diagonally uphill. On reaching the brow of the hill, aim for a white house on the edge of the village ahead. At the far corner of the field emerge onto a road. Turn right along the road ignoring a road on the right and bear left to the village centre at a junction of roads. There is a village hall and telephone box on the right at the end of the section.