Section 11 (Out)
Smarden to Headcorn
|OS Explorer 137 (Ashford)
|5 Miles/3 Hours
|Smarden, Chequers Inn; there is a village car park
|A section with considerable country road walking as footpaths are few and far between and without obvious links. This is low lying country so there may be mud after wet spells.
With the Chequers Inn on your right, walk towards the church and immediately turn right along Water Lane. Walk on the pavement for some distance. Pass the magnificent Cloth Hall on the left and keep on to the end of housing on the right.
As an option instead of keeping on along the road, immediately past the last house, turn right off the road up along the side of a garden fence with a thicket on the left. Where the thicket ends, turn left along the edge of a new plantation, parallel to the road down on the left. On reaching a ditch bear left back down onto the road.
Turn right to continue along the road. Ignore a side road and keep on to a T-junction. Turn left along to the pub at Smarden Bell. Opposite the pub turn right onto the Headcorn Road.
In ½ mile, at a sharp right bend, just past Duckies Farm on the left, go left on a farm entrance drive to Ritoweg Farm. Ignore the footbridge and stile off on the right and go over a stile by a metal gate. Walk forward up the farm drive to a further fieldgate. The path has been diverted. Turn right here to follow the wooden fence on your left around the edge of the farm site. Cross a stile at the top and keep on along by the fence. Eventually reach a long footbridge over the River Beault.
Over this bear right to the hedge along the side of the field and follow this to a stile at the far side of the field. Cross and continue on towards buildings with a wire fence and Headcorn Aerodrome on the right.
At the end of the field is a wire fence but no stile. Step over or use the adjacent fieldgate. Keep on between a farm and the aerodrome to a road. Cross with care to a narrow country road opposite and follow it to a crossroads with the A274. Cross with great care to a further country road. Walk along this for 200 metres to another junction. Ignore footpaths going off left.
Go right along the road again for ½ mile to a further junction at Waterman Quarter. Turn left and soon reach a stile on the right. Cross the field slightly left to a stile and footbridge in the far hedge by two tall trees. Continue forwards to a second stile.
Over this turn immediately left and go through a bushy area to another stile and footbridge. Cross a large field towards houses bearing slightly left to a stile at the top left corner.
Cross to a road and turn left. At the end, ignore a footpath off left and bear right towards Bletchenden Cottage. Go through a pedestrian gate by a vehicle gate and follow the hedgeline on the left to a stile by a fieldgate. Go on in the same direction by the hedge on your left.
At the top of the field follow the edge round to the right to a stile, and then turn left along by the hedge and now a wide ditch as well. Go through a metal fieldgate and bear slightly right across to a humpback footbridge. Over this, go on, slightly uphill, with dairy buildings over on the right.
At the top of the field turn right along a tall wire fence to a corner by a waymark post. Turn left across the field. In midfield, turn left towards a distant oasthouse cap. At the edge of the field, find and cross a concrete tractor bridge. Go directly across the next field to a wire fence by a railway. Turn left along the fence and follow it to a footbridge at Headcorn Station. Cross the bridge and leave the station. Walk up the approach road to the main road.
Turn left to the shops and George and Dragon pub in the centre of Headcorn and the end of the section.