Section 18 (Out)
Leigh to Bough Beech
|OS Explorer 147 (Sevenoaks & Tonbridge)
|5.5 Miles/3 Hours
|From the ‘Fleur-de-lis’ pub at the west end of Leigh. The rail station is a short distance down the hill. Parking is usually to be found on the side roads around the village green.
|An excellent walk in tranquil countryside with a mixture of woodland, pasture land and arable, sadly all the hop gardens have gone. There are many stiles.
With the ‘Fleur-de-lis’ on your right, walk up the main street in Leigh, passing the village shop and the ‘Bat & Ball’ pub. On reaching the corner of the village green turn left up the narrow side road opposite to the parish church. Enter the churchyard and bear right, past the church, to exit through the gateway at the far side.
Turn left, passing a Gothick style gateway on your left, and go through a fieldgate and follow a path down the side of ‘Porcupine House’. Keep on along an enclosed path to a kissing gate and enter a field. Go along the edge of the field with parkland over on your left.
At the bottom corner of the field (ignore a footbridge on the right), turn left through a kissing gate into a pleasant enclosed woodland path and continue along for some way. At the far end of the wood reach a stile.
Keep straight in along the field edge to a metal fieldgate and on in the same direction to distant Leigh Park Farm (ignore a stile in the hedge). Keep the hedge on your right all the way to an old oast building. Leave the field by an old fieldgate onto a concrete farm road.
Turn left and follow the concrete road round a bend and on downhill. Look for a line of trees in the distance going off left at the bottom of the field on the left. Just before the trees reach a gate and stile on your left. Cross into the field and walk away from the concrete road with the treeline on your right.
After some way reach a footbridge on the right and cross it to a road. Cross the road and go up a drive opposite towards distant oasts (ignore a stile on the right). Keep on this drive for some way as it winds uphill. Ignore paths going off right.
Stay on the drive to walk past the oasts of Wickhurst Farm and up a short avenue of chestnut trees. Bear slightly right to pass houses on your left. At the end reach an outbuilding. Stay on the main track as it bears right around the building. Ignore other tracks and stay on the main gravel track as it swings left around the back of the outbuilding.
As the track begins to drop downhill and swing left, reach a stile by a metal fieldgate on your right. Cross this into a field and go diagonally right, across the field, to a gap in the hedge on your right, just before the bottom righthand corner. Through the gap, follow the hedge on your left across to the next corner.
Cross a footbridge and turn immediately left along the field edge following a hedge and ditch on your left. At a corner bear right and continue uphill with the hedge still on your left. Zig-zag uphill to the top corner.
Ignoring a stile on your left, go forward through a gap in the hedge into the field ahead and continue on with a hedge still on your left. On reaching a corner of woodland, turn right and continue along the top edge of the field now with woodland on your left. At a corner, turn left into the wood.
Follow a broad rutted track for a short distance to meet a metal fieldgate and broken stile leading into a large field with farm buildings ahead. Bear diagonally right across the field to a gap in the hedge at the far side. Keep on across the next field to an obvious gap by a stile in the far corner. Cross this to a road.
Cross the road to a gate by a metal fieldgate. Go straight across the field to a lone and almost dead tree in the hedge ahead. Here turn left up the field edge with the hedge and ditch on your right. At the top reach a stile in the corner. Cross onto a path going up a narrow strip of woodland.
Pass through a wooden swing gate and go ahead a few paces to a cross path. Turn left to a stile leading into the field on the left. Bear slightly left across the centre of the field to a clump of Sallow trees hiding a pond. On the right of this clump is a stile into a copse.
Cross a footbridge and a second stile and go on up the field with a hedge on your left. At the top corner cross a stile and footbridge and keep on to a gate into a broad grassy, but possibly muddy, track. At the end, by a barn, go through two metal walkers’ swing gates into a field ahead.
Go along by the hedge on your left. Where this ends bear slightly right on across and down the field to a stile at the bottom by a pond. Walk through the trees, past the pond, to a field. Bear right along the field edge with trees on your right.
At the bottom corner go right to a stile and on, diagonally left, down a field to a wooden fieldgate with a gap beside it. Keep forward to a stile by a wooden fieldgate at Polebrook Farm. Walk past a house on your right to an asphalt drive by a pond.
Turn right on the drive and, in a few paces, bear left off the drive onto a grassy track between trees. Keep straight up the track to its abrupt end (ignore gap into field on the right) and cross a stile on the left into a field. Turn right along the field edge with a hedge on your right. Soon exit the field over a stile on the right to go up past a house to a road at ‘Hickens’.
Cross the road to a stile opposite into a field. Bear slightly left across to a stile by a telegraph pole leading down to a road. Cross the road slightly to the right to a footpath going up a bank. Soon reach a stile. Cross and go on to a second stile. Go diagonally left across the next field to the far opposite corner by woodland.
In this corner find and cross a stile and go through trees to yet another stile into another field. Keep across the centre of the field to the far corner, passing stored boats on the right. A stile leads out onto a concrete road. Cross this to a footpath opposite with a pond on the left.
Walk through trees to a stile into a field. Keep on in the same direction to a stile on the far side. Enter a grassy path enclosed between fences, with a reservoir over on your right. Enjoy and easy walk for some way, passing a field, then through trees down to a tall stile into a pasture.
Bear diagonally right across to a footbridge by an oak tree and then on again, bearing right, towards a wooden double pole pylon. At these poles, turn right up the field edge with cables overhead. At the top corner reach a stile on your left. Cross to go up and over railway lines.
At the far side bear right up to a road. Turn right for a short distance, to a crossroads and ‘The Wheatsheaf’ pub and the end of the section.