Section 6 (Out)
Brabourne Lees to Mersham (The Forstal)
|OS Explorer Map 137 Ashford
|3 Miles/2 Hours
|The Woolpack; some onstreet parking in the village but ask at the pub if intending to take refreshment at the end of the circular walk.
|Tough walking in this section with paths obscure and overgrown. Smeeth church is well worth a visit. The other side of the A20 the path is difficult to find; having crossed the railway a network of paths is much harder to follow than appears on the map. Finally make an interesting approach to The Forstal through a former mill building.
With ‘The Woolpack Inn’ on the left, go forward along the road soon passing a school. Just after a road junction on the right, look for a footpath on the left. Pass through a metal swing gate into an enclosed path. Cross two stiles to a field. Keep on, uphill, to a stile by a wood.
Do not enter the wood but turn right to follow the edge of the wood. Walk the length of the field, keeping on where the wood ends to a waymark post in the hedge at the far side of the field. Turn right along the hedgeline to a stile onto a road. Turn left along the road to reach Smeeth Church. Here cross the road to a stile opposite and cross into a field. Head down left to pass the end of a hedge and go on in the same direction, down the field to the far bottom corner. You may have to fight your way through bushes to an overgrown footbridge out onto a road. This is the old A20 but still busy so take care.
Across the road is a fingerpost but the entrance to the path may be blocked with brambles. Go a few paces to the right to a metal fieldgate. Cross this into a rough field. Across this field is a row of conifer trees. Cross diagonally heading a third of the way along from the lefthand end of the treeline. A pushed down section of wire fence shows where the path goes through the trees. Go ahead in the next field, diagonally right across a football pitch to the far righthand corner and a gap up a bank onto a road where there is a fingerpost and marker stone.
Turn right on the road and cross the M20. Immediately turn right over a stile by a mobile phone mast, and step over a wire fence. Keep along the field edge to a second phone mast then turn left to cross the field, aiming to the left of industrial buildings at Wembdon Farm. Emerge onto a road and turn right. After 100 metres, look for a footpath going left into a field. Cross an overgrown stile by a bush.
Cross straight across the field (do not drift to the right), aiming for low farm buildings behind a stone wall. Reach a stile by a fieldgate leading to a farm track. Turn left on this track, passing the buildings, and cross a cattle grid. Keep on the broad track, downhill by a hedge to a new railway bridge over the Channel Tunnel line. Go straight downhill to a cross path then turn right to a metal fieldgate in the hedge on the right (it may be necessary to find another way over to the fieldgate according to the crop) and go through into a large field. Bear diagonally right across the field, heading towards a distant church on a hill and find a stile in the far hedge just before the railway.
Cross a rough pasture to a lone tree and a further stile. The line of the path is obscure if not marked out in the crop. Head straight on across the huge field with a stream on the left. Keep parallel with the railway over on the right and the stream on the left. As the treeline at the far end of the field becomes clearer look to the left end of houses searching for a long footbridge of grey metal poles. (If the field is impossible to cross go up to the top edge by the railway and follow this to the top corner. Turn left, downhill and keep on to the footbridge).
Cross this bridge and immediately turn right on a path between two streams. This leads to a former mill. The path seems to come to an end but go through a wrought iron gate and on through a passageway to a roadway. Follow this up to the car park of the ‘Farriers Arms’ public house at The Forstal and the end of the section.