Text copyrighted © Colin Bridge 2009-2021
Section 7 (Out)
The Forstal to Kingsnorth
|Map||OS Explorer 137 Ashford|
|Distance/Time||6.5 Miles/3.5 Hours|
|Start||The Farrier’s Arms or old mill access; some on road parking.|
|Comment||This is a demanding section with obscure or unmarked paths and poor stiles. Keep a constant eye on the map and check directions very carefully. The expansion of Ashford reaches out to Kingsnorth.|
With ‘The Farrier’s Arms’ on the left, go ahead down the road, which is appropriately called Flood Street (ignore side road off on the right). Follow the attractive raised pavement which leads to a wayside seat. Here cross the road to a stile and footpath cutting across the righthand corner of a field to a fieldgate by a solitary tree.
Pass through the gate into a second field and bear left, uphill, crossing under power lines to reach a stile just to the right of power line posts. Over the stile, go ahead with a wire fence on the right. Waymarks now disappear for some distance.
At the end of the field, go right, through a double wooden fieldgate into the field on the right. Follow the lefthand edge for some way. Pass a fieldgate in the hedge and, soon after, reach another double wooden fieldgate directly ahead.
Through this gate is a pasture with the buildings of Elm Tree Farm at the other side. Cross straight over this field, parallel with a ditch on the left, to the bottom corner of a wooden fence around the farm garden.
Reach a stile and cross into the farmhouse garden. Keep to the righthand side of the garden close to the boundary wall. Cross a footbridge and wind through a stand of firs and outbuildings to a small gate. Go through this into a small pasture and cross straight over to the corner ahead. Here there is a footbridge but the stile in the fence has been removed. It is just possible to squeeze around the end of the fence but hawthorn branches may need cutting back.
Enter a large field. Head diagonally left, across to the far opposite corner, just left of a bungalow, and cross a stile and footbridge to emerge onto the road at South Stour.
Turn right on the road, soon passing a turning on the left, Gill Lane, by a cottage. Keep on, to reach a footpath going left through a gap in the hedge. Follow power lines uphill to a stile just right of wires.
Cross this and keep ahead with a hedge on the left towards Gill Farm. At the corner of the field, ignore a gap into field straight ahead. Instead turn right for a few paces looking for an old stile and footbridge into the field beyond. Cross and continue up the field with a hedge on the left and power lines overhead.
On reaching the far end of the field, cross a broken stile and footbridge. Keep on in the same direction to a further footbridge and new swing gate leading into a large field. Ahead is a house and evergreen hedge.
The path heads straight across the field then turns to the right to follow the evergreen hedge to a stile in the corner of the field by a road (the path may be marked out in a direct line from stile to stile in which case follow it !).
Turn left on the road to reach a crossroads at Bliby. Cross straight over (with care) and continue up the road signposted Bilsington. Keep on for ¼ mile until reaching a junction with a side road signed Rowling Street. Turn right down this road for ¼ mile. Pass a scrapyard on the right and a wood on the left. Then look for a left turn indicted as a ‘no through road’. Walk up towards the buildings at Rowling Street.
Follow the roadway round to the right. Keep on to the end of the road avoiding house drives to the right, to Rowling Street Farm and left to Rowland Street Farm.
At the end the way passes through white gates onto a gravelled drive. Keep on, to pass a house on the left. Immediately turn left over the lawn and through shrubs to a gate in the fence beyond. Turn left into a broad trackway between hedges. Keep on to a new metal kissing gate and footbridge in the corner ahead by a ditch.
Cross into a field and bear diagonally left across the centre of the field, just below the highest ground, to the far opposite corner. Here cross a footbridge in the hedge into a field beyond. Golden Wood Farm is on the right. Over the footbridge turn immediately left and follow the field edge to a stile with footbridge beyond (this may be very overgrown and the footbridge invisible; take care !). Cross to a road and turn left along it.
In a short distance, at Harding’s Bridge, the road bends left. Here turn right on a wet byway, part of the Greensand Way. Soon cross a railway and a busy road with the greatest care.
On the far side of the road, leave the Greensand Way and keep straight ahead on a wide, treelined, grassy way. At the far end go on up the road a short distance to a fingerpost and footpath going right up the entrance drive to Athen’s Farm.
Pass by farm buildings and keep on up a pasture, bearing slightly right, to a hollybush in the top fence concealing a footbridge and, for once, a stile in good condition. Keep forward up a rough pasture to a further stile just over the summit (views over to the North Downs here). Currently it is impossible to cross this stile due to dense vegetation on the other side. Down on the left is a metal fieldgate. If this is used then turn right back to the rough position of the stile (otherwise you may continue down the wrong field).
From the stile keep on downhill, over a very rough field, bearing slightly left towards the largest tree in the bottom hedgeline. Cross a footbridge and stile and head towards a wood beyond. On nearing the wood head towards the righthand corner, there used to be a waymark post here but it lies rotten on the, rather boggy, ground. Keep on with the wood edge on the left.
At the top corner of the wood find a stile and footbridge in the bushes and cross into a thicket. Turn right on a feint path to another stile and footbridge. Cross these and turn immediately left and follow the hedge and ditch up to a further stile and on along a path enclosed by a wire fence.
At the end cross a footbridge and stile and turn right to go on in the same direction, with the hedge now on the right. At the top corner, go through a wide gap into the field ahead. Turn left along the edge of the field with trees on the left. Where the trees end go on downhill to a gap in the hedge by large trees (take care as low barbed wire runs along here).
In the field beyond bear diagonally right down to a footbridge in a gap in the hedge leading out to a road. Turn left and walk carefully along to a road coming in on the right. This is Bond Lane.
Turn right up here for a short distance. Opposite Taylor Farm, turn left into a field through a double metal fieldgate. Keep straight ahead towards a distant house with one chimney stack. Look for a large tree by the last house on the left and turn right uphill towards a distinctive round reservoir building.
Aim to the left and reach a rotten stile in the top corner of the field. Follow an enclosed footpath by houses and round to the left then out over a very high stile onto a main road. Turn right and follow the main road down to crossroads and the Queen’s Head pub at Kingsnorth village and the end of the section.