Ightham Mote circular walk to Old Soar Manor
Admire the Kentish countryside as you enjoy this circular walk linking two of our places dating to medieval England. The walk takes you through the ancient woodland of Scathes Wood, into the Fairlawne Estate and onto Plaxtol Spout before returning to Ightham Mote through orchards and the Greensand Way.
Ightham Mote visitor reception; grid ref: TQ584535
From Ightham Mote Car Park (with Visitor Reception behind you), walk through the walled car park, the car park beyond and up the entrance driveway to a five bar gate and stile on the right, which is the entrance to Scathes Wood. Cross the stile and follow the footpath ahead, ignoring paths to the left and right, until the path ahead begins turn and rise to the left. At this point, look for a path to the right through a fenced gap leading to a parallel path. Take this path proceed through the gap to turn left onto the path ahead. Continue along this new path, which rises and bears right before bearing left into a wooded area leading to a gate and the A227.
To the right cross the busy A227 to a bridleway, five-bar gate and pedestrian gate. pass through the gate to follow the path ahead into the woodland that opens out to a grass meadow. As the tree line ends on the right giving way to fencing and and field gate turn sharp left through an ungated opening. Cross an open field down a slope to the right of woodland to an enclosed path leading down between houses to a road. turn right onto the road and walk on a short distance before taking the left-hand turn by a grassed triangular island. Follow the road down past 16th century ‘Nut Tree Hall’ and 17th century ‘The Grange’ (both on the right), continuing until you reach a road junction at Dux Hill.
Turn right into Dux Hill and follow the road down past cottages on the left and a paddock on the right to another road junction. At the road junction, take the right-hand road, continuing down Dux Hill to Plaxtol Spout and another road junction. Cross the road to a footpath by a gateway and cross the stile to follow the footpath down to the River Bourne.
Cross the footbridge over the river and, ignoring path to the left and right, walk ahead into a field containing on crossing a small stream then reaching a wide track ahead and turning away to the left. Continue along the track which rises to a stile. Cross the stile to a gate after passing a building on the left and tennis court on the right the right. Pass through the gate onto the road and turn left. Just beyond the building on the left is a Georgian-style house with a private driveway entrance. Immediately beyond and adjoining the house is Old Soar Manor whose entrance gate is in the stone wall a few metres further on (look for the National Trust sign)
Leaving Old Soar Manor, walk back down the road and continue on past the gateway previously passed through. Walk on passing farm buildings on the right and Broadfield Farm on the left) before reaching a T-junction with the road turning right and a tractor track to the left. Turn left and proceed up the track, then turn through the first gateway on the right. Follow the track through the orchard with the hedgerow on your left (past some buildings on the left) and following on until reaching buildings on the left and a gateway ahead with a gap to the left. Turn right onto the road and follow this down an incline, passing the Greensand Way footpath to the left. Continue walking on the road ahead, past the entrance to Roughly Mills (formerly paper mills by the River Bourne), which runs beneath the road at this point, then on up to a road junction by the Kentish Rifleman public house.
Walk past the public house to the road junction ahead and turn left. Walk a short distance on the right-hand side of the road to a footpath and up steps to a kissing gate. Turning right up the steps and through the gate, follow the path a few paces to a stile over a large rock. Cross the stile and walk ahead along the edge of the field with the fence on your right, until reaching a stile in the fence and a cross path. At this point turn left, following the path down a slope to a tree line and stile leading into a wood. Continue walking ahead through the wood to cross another stile into a field, then walk on crossing the field towards a gate and stile at a road. Cross the stile and cross the road into the entrance of Fairlawne Home Farm. Walk down the drive past the farm buildings continue on down a sloping track with a field on the right and ahead. At the bottom of the slope, carry on walking straight ahead, now uphill across the field to a tree line at the rear gardens to private houses. With fencing on the left, proceed to a kissing gate leading to a driveway between two houses and the Shipbourne Road ahead. Upon reaching the road, walk on ahead and you will see in the distance Shipbourne Church (you are still walking the Greensand Way as you walk to the church).
Cross the busy Tonbridge Road to the church entrance, passing through the gates around the right-hand side of the church to a kissing gate in the rear wall of the churchyard. Immediately after the kissing gate, turn right across a stile and proceed towards a fence line on the right, crossing a driveway to keep the fence on your right until reaching a stile in the corner of the field. Cross this stile and a further stile ahead leading initially to a wide area between wire fences, opening out to grass fields. Walk on ahead towards trees and fencing, which upon reaching, keep on your right-hand side to a stile in the bottom corner of the field and a track beyond. Turn right down the track a short distance before turning left onto a footpath along the edge of a field. As the ground slopes upwards, turn half right and follow the path to a stile in a tree line. Cross this stile to walk an enclosed track with fencing on both sides, through a wood of mainly pine trees. The path slopes upwards before dipping down to a stile, which is crossed into a field. Follow the path ahead to a gap in the hedgerow, leading into another field at the back to the Ightham Mote estate. Walk round the edge of the field, keeping the hedgerow now on the left, to a gateway and stile onto Mote Road. Turn right and walk up Mote Road to the rear entrance of Ightham Mote and follow the bridleway past the house and shop, before turning left towards the Mote Restaurant and car park.
Ightham Mote visitor reception; grid ref: TQ584535
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