Knole 3-mile woodland walk
Knole house entrance gateRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Experience the contrasts of Knole’s deer park on a gentle walk that leads you through woodland and across open grassland. This walk has been produced with the permission of Lord Sackville.
- Bus stop
Start: Knole house front entrance gate
Starting at the front gate of the house, facing outwards, turn left and walk to the end of the wall. Turn left and follow the sandy path between the wall and a line of trees on your right.
Enjoy Knole's 200-year-old wisteria when in flower. The private garden of Lord Sackville is open on Tuesdays when the house is open, from April to September.
Before the last tree but one on the right, which leans steeply, take the path ahead and to the right. Follow this path as it leads you towards a fallen tree (though it may be masked by bracken in summer). Walk along the path towards the stump of the tree, and onwards to a gate set into a fence. Go through the gate.
Look to the left at point 2, beyond the end of the garden wall, and you will see the edge of a wide grassy area with very old trees dotted over it. This is wood pasture, a very common landscape in medieval times. The trees provide shelter and extra food for grazing livestock.
Follow the path through a wooded plantation. Look out for ... the plantations (points 3 and 4): growing new trees in a deer park is a difficult business, even when the soil is better than the poor acid greensand of Knole. This path is long and goes through areas planted in many different ways. Once you have reached the end of the plantation and passed through the exit gate, continue ahead until you are able to go down the slope to your right into the valley. Turn right and walk along the floor of the valley.
Deer enjoy eating the bark from many types of tree, so saplings must be fenced. This can be done individually or, more commonly, in groups as a plantation. When the trees are sufficiently mature, the plantation can be opened.
When the barrier of trees to the left recedes, you will see a path going to the left and uphill. Take this path, going as straight as possible up the hill. Continue until you reach a junction by a fence; take the left-hand path, which leads you into a long wide avenue of birch trees. Walk the length of it. Look out for ... Birch Avenue (point 4): silver birch is a common ‘pioneer’ species of tree, meaning that it is often the first type of tree to grow in a particular area, preparing the way for other species to come in. These young, slender trees are very different to the long-established ones you will have passed to enter the avenue.
Pass between the tall pine trees at the end of the avenue and go down the hill into the little valley; turn right and walk to the end, where you join the main valley again. Turn left and walk on, crossing the road when you reach it.
Continue until you reach another raised path running across in front of you, with a kissing gate on the left. Turn up the path to the right and up a steep hill, which may be slippery after rain. Go straight over the road and continue up the path to the top of the hill. Walk down the other side of the hill and through the car park back to the front of the house.
The central buildings of the house date back to the 15th century. Often said to be the largest private house in Britain, it houses the fullest collection of Royal Stuart furniture in the world, one of England’s two oldest portrait galleries and an extensive and very rare set of solid silver furniture.
End: Knole house front entrance gate
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)
- Time: about 2 hours
- OS Map: OS Landranger 188
This is an easy-going route over woodland paths and grassland with one fairly steep section near the end, which can be slippery after wet weather. Dogs are always welcome on leads.
- How to get here:
By foot: the Greensand Way passes near the front of the house. Alternatively, walk from the centre of Sevenoaks along Webb’s Alley, following any of the pedestrian signposts marked ‘Knole Park’ on the high street
By train: regular services to Sevenoaks station from London and the south coast. From the station walk into town and reach the park via Webb’s Alley (see above), 1½ miles
By car: M25 exit J5 onto A21. Park entrance in Sevenoaks town centre off A225 Tonbridge road, opposite St Nicholas’ church
Car park, restaurant, shop and toilets at Knole House (only when open).
Guided park walks available most days during the open season.
For more information contact us on 01732 462100 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole/facilities-and-access/.
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