Robust Rambles

Folkestone to Farnham Robust Ramble

Section 1

Folkestone to Horne Street

Walk Details
Walk Instructions


Section 1  Out

Folkestone to Horne Street

Map: OS Explorer 138 Dover, Folkestone & Hythe

Distance/Time: 7 miles/4 hours

Start: The walk starts from the Royal George pub at Folkestone Harbour. However, a start may be made anywhere in the first mile as parking by the grassy clifftops of The Warren may be easier.

Comments: This an excellent if strenuous start to the ramble with contrasts of scenic views with sea level walking. There are some very steep climbs and a couple of difficult stiles. Allow plenty of time if making the circular walk as the chalk downland will be muddy in all but the driest weather, and grazing cattle too, can make the going slow. There is a crossing of the A20 which will need patience and care. On the return section regular buses run from Sandgate back to Folkestone for those not wishing to walk the long stretch of promenade (there is plenty of interest for those who do).

From the Tourist Information Office at Folkestone Harbour, look for a low arch under the harbour railway line. Go through this arch to the fish market and walk along the side of the outer harbour.

Where the harbour ends, keep on along a promenade, past a café and toilets. Where the promenade ends, climb steps up to a grassy area.

Turn right and walk up onto the grass, to continue up, past a Café and Restaurant, and on, to pass a cream painted Martello Tower (this is a Visitor Centre). Past the tower, the grass slopes down, towards bowling greens.

Go to the right of the bowling greens onto a gravel path. Keep on up, to rejoin the grass, and head towards a grey Martello Tower by a seasonal car park.

Past the car park, join an access road to a Caravan and Camping Club site. Where this road soon turns right around the Martello Tower, keep straight on, up a steeply rising footpath. Cross a concrete bridge and keep on, uphill (this is the Saxon Shore Way).

Near the top bear left at a Y-fork and soon emerge onto a main road by the ‘Valiant Sailor’ pub. Cross with great care to a minor road opposite called Crete Road East. Go through a kissing gate into a field and follow the North Downs Way alongside the road for ½ mile.

Eventually the path nears a metal fieldgate with a communications mast beyond. Look for a wooden kissing gate on your right and go through to a road. Turn left to pass a side road and immediately reach a metal kissing gate. Through this, keep ahead for ½ mile, by the field edge, with a road still on your right (ignore a footpath off left to Folkestone town centre).

By Yon Farm a metal kissing gate crosses onto the road. Keep on downhill on the road to a junction with a busy main road. Cross with great care to a kissing gate (still on NDW and SSW).

Through this, continue a short distance, across the field corner, to a second kissing gate. Here, bear left, away from the road, with a deep valley on your left (ignore a path on your right which continues to follow the road).

Follow the hedge and bushes on your left to a third wooden kissing gate. Go through and keep on along a steeply rising enclosed path.

Over the hill, drop down, passing a kissing gate on your right to a road, and keep on, to a further kissing gate. Through this, follow a clear path (still the NDW), at first by the road on your right, then, diverging away from it, to go up and around Castle Hill. Far down on your left, pass a motorway, then the Channel Tunnel portal, then a reservoir.

Keep on, under power lines, by a pylon, to a road. Bear left, to cross a blocked-off side road, to reach a kissing gate (still on NDW), leading slightly uphill on an enclosed path parallel to a road. There is a wire fence on your left and a hedge on your right. Pass kennels.

At the end of the path at the top, go through a kissing gate onto open downland. Here leave the NDW and bear left, at a Y-fork, just past an information board, downhill, on a clear grassy path to a distant kissing gate with sea beyond.

Keep on steeply downhill, ignoring what looks like a stile on your right. On reaching a wire fence on your left, bear right, still downhill, to a kissing gate above the Channel Tunnel Terminal. Through the gate keep ahead, downhill, on a broad grassy path (can be made muddy by cattle).

After some way, pass a footpath going off on your right, then pass a kissing gate by a metal fieldgate on your left. Keep on with woods on your left. At the end of the woodland is a kissing gate by a metal fieldgate. Pass through this and look for a stile in the wire fence on your left.

Over the stile, go down the edge of the wood on your left. Where the wood ends, bear right, along the bottom edge of the field, to a stile (very poor with no foot boards) onto a wide gravel track (there is a fieldgate exit a bit further along across a gully).

Turn right on this track to pass the Channel Tunnel Terminal on your left and a chalk-cut horse on your right. Stay on this track for a good distance, disregarding footpaths going off on the right.

Eventually reach a road corner by houses. Pass the road and continue along the track to a fork by a pylon. Here bear left, up a slope. Over the top continue down, to eventually reach a road by a playing field on the outskirts of Newington.

Turn left on the road into the village. Soon reach the parish church. Turn left in front of the church along School Lane. Just past Church House, on your left, turn right into an enclosed path by a driveway (now on the Elham Valley Way).

At a fork, bear right to follow a wooden garden fence on your right. The path emerges onto a road at a busy road junction with the A20. Cross with great care and turn left under massive bridges which lead to the tunnel terminal. At the far side of the bridges, turn right up a bridle path. Soon bear left over a footbridge across a motorway.

At the far side, turn right down an asphalt track. Soon, at the bottom of a slope, turn left, to drop down under a railway. At the other side a country road is soon reached, join this to go first downhill, then quite steeply uphill for a good distance.

Near the top, ignore a bridle path off right and continue on, to pass the entrance to Dibgate Camp; go over a cattle grid to a junction of paths.

Turn left here, downhill on a bridle path over a second cattle grid, to continue downhill for some way to a wide bridge over a stream.

Cross this and go on uphill on a broad gravel track bearing slightly right, up and around a hill on your left, with a field on your right, to finally reach wooden gates.

Through the gates turn right, downhill, on an asphalt byway. Follow this down to a white house. Go left in front of the house and along to a road.

Turn right down the road to the Britannia pub in Horn Street and the end of the section.


Section 1  Return

Horne Street to Folkestone

Map: OS Explorer 138 Dover, Folkestone & Hythe

Distance/Time: 5 miles/2 ½ hours

Start: The return walk starts from The Britannia pub in Horne Street. Parking is very limited except in the pub car park if you intend to be a customer.

Comments: A shorter walk than the outward route but with some climbs and extensive views. Then, a long, but pleasant stretch, of the promenade from Sandgate to Folkestone. Frequent buses also pass along here and there are several possibilities for refreshment.

From The Britannia, walk back past the car park, towards the first house, by a bus stop. Immediately turn right up the entrance drive at the side of the house and, where this ends, continue up a footpath.

Cross a concrete drive and stile, and go on to meet a path coming up from your left. Turn right here and walk up the field edge towards woodland.

Enter the woods up steps and over a stile, and follow the path as it drops down to a junction of paths by a field corner. Turn right here to follow an enclosed path along the edge of the wood, on your right, and a wire fence on your left.

Follow the path up through the wood, to emerge at a road junction. Turn right and follow the road past the entrance to an army camp. Continue along the pavement for some way until the road turns sharp left.

Here go straight ahead past a cemetery on your right. Do not descend on the main Bridle Path, but turn left on a narrow footpath through bushes (ignore the path between wooden posts and take the one even further left).

Follow this for some way ignoring cross paths, winding around and downhill to meet a rough asphalt path. Turn left on this and follow it to a road with buildings opposite.

Turn right on the road and follow it downhill past a Martello Tower. Ignore the first turning left (Upper Corniche) and continue to the next turning left called The Corniche.

Walk along to the far end. At the last house, look for a footpath on your left behind a high brick wall. Follow this to the end of the wall, then, turn right downhill on a stepped path towards the sea.

Cross a road. Just before the Earl of Clarendon pub, turn left on an enclosed path. This soon becomes a rough road. At a T-junction turn left.

Go straight ahead towards two white garages. Turn left on a footpath down the side of the garages to a further road called ‘Encombe’. Turn right, down it, to the main coastal road. Cross and turn left towards Folkestone.

In a short distance, at a memorial for Sir John Moore, bear right onto the promenade. Follow this for two miles, past Sandgate Castle, back to Folkestone. There is a café halfway.

At the far end, bear left across a large car park, to a road. Turn right and follow the road past the site of an abandoned seafront funfare and the impressive Grande Burstin Hotel, to reach the entrance to Folkestone Harbour.

Follow the road to the left, alongside the harbour, to the open area with stalls, cafes and the Royal George pub at the start of this section.