Section 7 (Return)
Kingsnorth to The Forstal
|OS Explorer 137 (Ashford)
|3.5 Miles/2 Hours
|The Queens Head, Kingsnorth
|This return route is caught up in the housing expansion of Ashford, especially at Cheeseman's Green. Hopefully the rights of way will be protected but they may not be waymarked and may be a mixture of roads, alleys and little greens. Keep a close eye on the map and check the compass direction.
With the Queens Head behind, cross the main road to the road opposite. Walk away from the pub, uphill for some way. Pass a car park on the left at the top of the hill and a footpath going into it. Soon reach the parish church. Turn left into the churchyard and follow the path to the right of the church, to a stile in the hedge at the bottom of the churchyard. Cross the stile into a paddock and keep on down, past cottages, to another stile.
Over this, turn right to follow a hedge. Soon pass through a gap into an open field and cross towards the righthand edge of a new housing estate. Cross two stiles with a track between and enter a sloping field. Bear slightly left on the path going uphill and reach another stile and footbridge at the far side. Cross into a path enclosed between bushes. Keep uphill (ignoring a footpath off right), then pass houses on the left, on a broad fenced track.
Go through a kissing gate (gate missing) at the top and keep on, passing a car park on the left and a school on the right. Go straight ahead onto a path entering a corner of a wood. Keep forward following the edge of the wood with the school fence on the right. At a corner ahead meet a new housing estate. Here turn left on an asphalt path down the side of the wood. On meeting a road turn right a few paces then immediately left onto another asphalt path continuing in the same direction with a stream down on the left.
At the end of the houses turn right up to a road. Here turn left over a bridleway bridge over a main road and railway. From the highest point of the bridge it is possible to see a grey barn building, slightly to the left, in the distance. This is Bilham Farm where the route is heading. Currently a large housing estate is being built in the field just over the bridge. Hopefully the footpath route will be kept through the development.
Basically bear diagonally left on what is currently a bridleway. In 100 metres or so, bear right onto a footpath. At the far side of the development this crosses a gravel track then a broad grassy bridge over a deep drainage stream. Keep forward over rough ground to a metal kissing gate into a large field. Bilham Farm can be seen ahead.
Cross the field to a further metal kissing gate and footbridge. Cross into a pasture and bear right over to a third metal kissing gate in the hedge. Go through and turn left on a farm track. Follow this to the right passing the grey barn on the left, then go left around the front of the barn to a metal fieldgate and on to a T-junction by the farm office. Here turn right down the farm entrance drive for some way. On nearing the end, ignore a footpath off left and continue to reach the public road at Cheeseman’s Green.
Here turn left along the road, for 20 metres, then turn right through a gap in the hedge, to a footpath leading slightly left across a large field towards a lone tree by a hedge in the distance.
Having reached the tree, look for the distant distinctive timber clad buildings of Swanton Mill. Go gently downhill aiming to the right of the mill buildings, to a footbridge and stile in the bottom hedge. Cross into a large pasture and bear diagonally left across towards trees at the left end of the mill buildings.
On reaching the far fence go through a new metal kissing gate and over a footbridge. Keep forward between sheds past a pond on the left, to a narrow concrete footbridge. Cross and go straight across the field under power lines, to a stream in midfield. Find a bridge to cross it then bear right uphill. Aim to the right of a church tower in the distance. Go up, then down, to a metal footbridge with bars making it difficult to climb, then on over a field in the same direction to a road.
Turn right on this road and soon reach a T-junction. The Farriers’ Arms is on the left at the start of the section.