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Blue sky over the half-timbered west front of Ightham Mote, a moat in the foreground
The west front of Ightham Mote | © National Trust Images/Chris Jonas
Kent

Ightham Mote circular walk to Shipbourne and Fairlawne

This circular walk from Ightham Mote begins with a wander through ancient Scathes Wood, before taking in far-reaching views of the Kentish countryside on the way to the neighbouring estate of Fairlawne and on to Shipbourne.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Ightham Mote visitor reception, grid ref: TQ584535

Step 1

Walk past the Mote Café, down the slope and turn right onto the bridleway. Go past the house and up to Mote Road. Turn left and follow the road for a short distance until you reach a gate and stile on the left, then another stile with a Greensand Way marker. Go over the stile and walk around the edge of the field, with the hedge on the right. Go through a gap in the hedge and on up the slope – now with the hedge on your left – to a stile. Cross onto a wide enclosed path through a wood and over another stile into a field. Continue down a slope in the field to a yellow pole. Turn left and follow the hedge down to a yellow pole at a track. Cross the track half right to go over a stile into a field on the left, still following the Greensand Way, and turn half right towards a fenced hedge a short distance away with a footpath sign. Carry on, now with the fenced hedge on the left, to a stile. Cross this and a second stile, then turn left to follow a fenced hedge, then cross a driveway twice to reach the rear of St Giles Church.

Step 2

Cross the stile and turn left through the kissing gate into the churchyard. Follow the path to the left of the church. Exit through the gateway and go down to cross the busy A227 Tonbridge Road. Take the road ahead and cross Shipbourne Common. Pass tennis courts on the left, then turn left down a side road towards the village hall and houses, leaving the Greensand Way. Walk ahead (you'll see a converted oast house on the left as the road bears right), enter the marked footpath between the houses and go down to a field (Fairlawne Estate). Go downhill across the field to a footbridge across a stream, then cross a stile into another field.

Shipbourne Church near Ightham Mote, Kent
Shipbourne Church near Ightham Mote, Kent | © National Trust

Step 3

On the Fairlawne Estate, please stay on the marked footpaths (follow the yellow poles) and adhere to all notices, keeping dogs on a lead. Go over the stile, walk ahead with wire fencing on the right and head towards the timber fencing and a gate leading into Fairlawne Gardens. Carry on ahead and follow the road, passing some buildings. Keep to the road, and just beyond a private entrance turn right up the grass bank to a timber gate, noting the footpath sign. Go through the gate and walk uphill to a yellow pole, where Fairlawne House comes into view. There is a crossing path, but continue ahead bearing diagonally away from the house towards timber fencing, a yellow pole and stile. Cross the stile and follow the path ahead towards a tree, then go uphill to another yellow pole, bearing right around a brick and iron gateway. Continue, turning half left towards the stone wall boundary and a stile at Plaxtol Lane.

Step 4

Cross the stile and cross the road to enter a gravel drive. Go through the kissing gate and turn left to follow a line of trees on the left, initially uphill. Continue on this path, ignoring paths to the right, to reach gates leading to a track down to the A227 Tonbridge Road. Cross this busy road with care and head for a gate leading onto a woodland bridleway. Follow this path down to a clearing on the left with a view back towards Shipbourne, bear right and continue down a narrower path. Just before this path turns left towards a field, turn right onto a short path and stile, with a National Trust sign. Cross into Scathes Wood past the fence posts and re-enter the Ightham Mote estate.

Step 5

Scathes Wood is bounded by a circular footpath so, having passed the fence there is a choice of turning left or right, with both paths leading back to the main entrance drive at Ightham Mote. If you turn left, follow the red walk markers (as shown on this map); if you turn right, follow the black walk markers. Once you reach the entrance drive, turn left and go down to the car park to complete the walk.

End point

Ightham Mote visitor reception, grid ref: TQ584535

Trail map

Ightham Mote circular walk to Shipbourne and Fairlawne
Ightham Mote circular walk to Shipbourne and Fairlawne | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0NT

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