Text copyrighted © Colin Bridge 2009-2019
Section 10 (Out)
Bethersden to Smarden
|Map||OS Explorer 137 (Ashford)|
|Distance/Time||4 Miles/ 2 Hours|
|Start||The George, Bethersden; some on road parking|
|Comment||Pretty villages and interesting churches in varied countryside. However the walking is not all easy with many stiles and feint paths. Also farms with cattle can create access problems and heavy terrain. The many ponds and streams in this area indicate possible muddy tracks at wetter times of year.|
From the ‘George Inn’ turn left a short distance to enter the churchyard. Walk across on a paved path with the church on the left, to a gate at the far side by a large tree. Keep on, by a fence, to a kissing gate and on again by a house to a road.
Cross the road and pass though a metal fieldgate to go on by a fence. On entering the next field, go right, ignoring a path going straight ahead, and continue along by the hedge on the right down to the bottom right corner. Turn left and continue along the field edge to a stile on the right (local walkers go diagonally right across the field and down to the stile). Cross this and go down to a footbridge.
Over the bridge, turn left on a paved way with the stream on the left. At the top of the wood, go over a stile into a field and continue uphill with a strip of woodland on the left to a further stile. Cross and go on again, uphill, to another stile.
Continue on by the woodland on the left. At the top of the rise a line of trees goes off on the right. Here, leave the line of woodland on your left and enter a field. Strike out across the field aiming towards the largest tree ahead. Keep on past the tree and a large pond on your right, to a stile on the right. Cross this and follow a field edge to a further stile.
Cross the field ahead, aiming to a house well concealed in trees. On reaching the hedge in front of the house, with a pond the other side, turn right and follow the hedge around to a gate onto a drive by Tippet Farm. Go forward down the drive to a T-junction.
Cross straight over to a stile and on into a field. Walk straight across to the end of a line of trees and a pond. Keep forward with a hedge on your left, to a gap on the left into and adjacent field. Go through and turn immediately right to a gate and a stile by a road. DO NOT LEAVE THE FIELD but turn left, away from the road. Go along the field edge by a hedge on the right. At a corner follow the hedge around to the left (do not enter adjoining field) and go on down the side of this large field towards a house with a deep sloping roof.
Follow the field edge all the way down to a stile in the very bottom corner by road signs. Cross the stile and a footbridge out to the road junction at Wissenden Corner. Go ahead a short distance down the road signed to Bethersden to an obvious footpath sign.
Turn right into a farm drive and immediately left over a stile into a field. Go diagonally right across the field aiming between the left pair of isolated trees in the centre. Continue to a footbridge and ladder stile over a fence beyond. Keep forward over the next field to a further footbridge and stile. DO NOT CROSS but turn right and walk uphill with a ditch and hedge on your left.
Follow the hedge to a stile at the top of the rise and keep by the hedge to a second stile in bushes. Cross and turn right along a leafy path, unfortunately with a boggy patch, leading to a road. Turn left on this.
In 200 metres, where the road bends right, cross a stile on the left and walk over a field, heading towards farm buildings ahead. Leave the field by a metal fieldgate at the far end. Pass a farm building on the right to reach a junction with a concrete farm road.
Turn left on this towards two large new cattlesheds. Just before the first one, turn right on a broken brick track up the side of the building. At the top meet a tall hedge on your right. Keep forward with the hedge on your right along the field edge to a stile by a tree.
Cross this and the field beyond to a metal gate where trees meet a hedge. Through this, head up by the hedge to a stile leading to a path in a pleasant woodland strip with the unusual brick tower of Romden Castle beyond.
On nearing the house the path bears left to a stile (currently there are several fallen trees to be negotiated). Cross into a pasture and aim to the right of a pond hidden in bushes with farm buildings beyond.
Keep on past the pond and cross the rest of the field to exit via a fieldgate onto the concrete farmyard (the path goes right then left between cowsheds into the field beyond, then turns right to a stile in the hedge to emerge onto a road). The proper route can be difficult and dangerous with deep slurry, so turn right on the concrete track and walk past the farmhouse and out to a road.
Over the road, opposite the farm exit is a metal fieldgate. Go through the gate and look leftwards, across the field, to see the end of a wire fence running away towards a distant treeline.
Walk over to this fence, there may be gates or hurdles here to control cattle, and go along with the fence on your left. At the end, cross a concrete footbridge into a wooded area, with a stile at the far side. Enter a field with the houses of Smarden ahead. Follow the hedge on your left all the way to a car park. At the entrance to the car park, go left, down a short residential close with bungalows on the right.
Pass a large detached house on your left and immediately go left up a footpath to a field. Turn right along the field edge at the foot of gardens. Eventually emerge onto a narrow road by the last house. Turn right and walk along to reach a T-junction in Smarden. The village centre with the Chequers Inn and post office is on the left. This is the end of the section.