Text copyrighted © Colin Bridge 2009-2021
Section 15 (Return)
Five Oak Green to Castle Hill
|Map||OS Explorer 136 (The Weald)|
|Distance/Time||5 Miles/3 Hours|
|Start||Five Oak Green village centre; some on road parking.|
|Comment||A varied walk with orchards, even a hop garden, and some excellent views. A short section of roadwalking where no linking paths exist, and an excursion into Brenchley village. Thereafter a boggy section into the final approach to Castle Hill. Some stiles.|
With the village shop on your left, walk on along the road for a short distance looking for a concealed footpath going off left through a tunnelled passageway in a terrace of houses. Keep on down an enclosed path to a stream. Bear left around to a footbridge. Cross and continue along a field edge by a stream on your left.
At a junction of paths, bear left over a stile and continue on an enclosed path. Cross an entrance drive and keep on through trees then over a footbridge, a stile and a further footbridge into a hop garden. Here turn left and follow the hedge and stream on your left (this seems to be the last hop garden in an area once famous for them).
At a corner, bear right, under power lines, and go on down a broad grassy track for ¼ mile. At the very far end the track begins to bear right as it approaches a gate across it with a hedge either side. Before reaching the gate, turn left off the track through a rusty metal fieldgate in the fence on the left into a pasture.
Walk away from the gate with the hedge on your right to a stile in the corner ahead. This currently leads into an old orchard. Go on up the side of the orchard to a gate, and continue up a field edge to a further gate into a back garden. Keep on along the side of a house to a busy road.
With great care, cross the road, and turn right up it. In 50 metres turn left on a side road signed to Matfield. Keep along this for ¾ mile. Ignore a footpath going off left and keep on past Walnut Tree Farm and Crittenden Farm to reach Crittenden Farm Cottages.
Immediately past the gardens of these houses, where the road bears right, turn left on a concrete farm track. In a few paces reach a field on your right and turn off the track up the side of the field with trees on your right.
Where the trees end bear left up and across the field towards the bottom corner of a large garden at the other side. At the corner is the beginning of a line of poplar trees going uphill. Go on uphill with the poplar trees and garden on your left. At the top emerge onto a drive.
Turn left on this drive and soon pass a bungalow on your left. Keep on along the drive and soon approach further buildings at Gedyes Farm. On reaching the first house the drive turns sharp left. Here go straight ahead on a grassy track along the side of Orchard Cottage.
Continue down to reach a field and turn right up a field edge with a wire fence on your left. At the top corner of the field turn left to continue to follow the wire fence with trees on your right and a farm with oasts ahead.
On reaching an asphalt drive, turn left, and walk along to the oast. Here bear left on a roadway passing cottages out to a road (excellent views to the left and a sight of the warehouses passed on the outward route).
Cross the road slightly right to go down the entrance drive to White Barn Farm. Keep along here to the point where it turns sharply left. Here turn right through a gap in the hedge then left on an enclosed path. Soon emerge into an orchard and continue along with a hedge on your left.
At the end of the orchard, go through a gap into the corner of a rough area with a reservoir on your right. Continue in the same direction with a wire fence on your right (take the high path on the left as the proper route is waterlogged).
Having passed the reservoir go through a gap into an orchard ahead. Here turn left down to a corner then right to continue along with the hedge on your left for some way. The path is easy to follow through several orchards until oasts and houses appear ahead.
Just before the oast swing right, down towards a house and exit between wooden posts onto a private drive. Walk along this to a gap on the right and join a path following the wooden fence through chestnut trees with a drive over on your left.
Soon enter the top of an orchard and continue with a tall hedge on your left to eventually go down steps to a road. Turn left up the road for a few paces, then right, down Holly Bank, to a T-junction. Turn left along the road into Brenchley village centre. Pass the village shop on the left and ‘The Bull’ pub on the right.
Turn left up the little village green past a large tree towards a butcher’s shop. Just left of the shop enter an enclosed path going down the side of Town Farm Cottage. Go down this muddy path for some way.
On reaching a junction where the main path swings left, go straight ahead to a stile into a field. Go steeply downhill to a narrow boardwalk at the bottom. Use this to cross a stream and a very muddy area. Go steeply up the field edge on the far side with a hedge on your right.
At the top keep forward towards houses and emerge onto a road. Turn left for ¼ mile up to a road junction. Turn right here along a busy road to return to the Castle Hill and the Inn and the start of the section.