Kent Downs Walks
This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is located on the eastern section of the North Downs and stretch from the London/Surrey borders to the White Cliffs of Dover. They are a walkers paradise with miles of waymarked trails taking you to lovely hill tops with views across the Downs to the coast.
Use the links to view full route information including elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.
You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the Kent Downs Walk Map>>
|Canterbury Rivers and Woods||10 miles (16 km)||This 10 mile circular walk takes you along the River Stour before visiting several local woods near the city. It uses sections of the Stour Valley Walk, the North Downs Way and the Canterbury Centenary Walk to take you on a tour of the countryside to the west of the famous cathedral city. The area is in the lovely Kent Downs with scenery including arable farms and apple orchards. The riverside paths are particularly lovely, with bodies of water including Swan Lake and Tonford Lake, other route highlights.|
The walk starts in the town centre, near the tourist information centre and Canterbury West train station. You then follow the waymarked Stour Valley Walk in a south westerly direction, passing Bingley's Island and Hambrook Marshes. You continue past Tonford Manor, Howfield Farm and Milton Manor Farm, where you have the option of taking a small detour to visit the Larkyvalley Wood Nature Reserve. There's nice footpaths through the woods, which include spectacular displays of wildflowers from March to May, including many species of orchid.
After leaving the woods, the route continues to the village of Chartham. Located on the river, the pretty village includes a 1930s paper mill and a church which dates from the 13th century.
After passing through the village the route turns north, crossing the river and heading towards Fright Wood and Nickle Farm. You then head east towards Petty France and Chartham Hatch along a section of the North Downs Way. This takes you past No Man's Orchard which covers 4 hectares (10 acres) and comprises approximately 152 mature Bramley apple trees and 45 pollinators (Howgate Wonders, James Grieve, Worcesters). The orchard consists of some of the largest apple trees in the Canterbury District with wonderful blossom in April and May.
After exploring the pretty orchard you continue through woodland to Bigbury Camp, the only confirmed Iron Age hill fort in east Kent. Bigbury Camp was occupied from about 350 BC and was abandoned around 54 BC, when it was stormed by Roman soldiers of the Legio VII Claudia under the command of Julius Caesa.
The final section takes you past Harbledown before returning to the city centre. View Full Details>>
|Canterbury to Chartham Walk||4 miles (7 km)||This is a popular walk from Canterbury to the nearby village of Chartham. The route uses a waymarked footpath along the River Great Stour to take you to the pretty village which is located about 4 miles to the west of the city. There's lovely countryside views, a series of pretty lakes and lots of pretty orchards to see on the way.|
The walk starts in the city centre next to the famous cathedral. From here you can pick up the Stour Valley Walk and follow it north through the city to the river. Here you'll enter the lovely Westgate Gardens which are the perfect place for a stroll in the city centre. It is situated alongside Westgate Towers, the city’s 600-year-old gatehouse, and has been a public open space since the Middle Ages, making it one of England’s oldest parks.
The waymarked trail then heads west through the park, before passing Bingley's Island, Tonford Manor, Tonford Lake and Swan Lake. Shortly after you come into Chartham itself. The village is very picturesque with a weir and a 19th century corn mill by the river. At the end of the walk you can catch the train directly back to Canterbury or return on the same paths on foot if you prefer.
Just before you reach Chartham you can take a small detour from the route to visit the Larkeyvalley Nature Reserve. There's some nice woodland footpaths here with lots of interesting flora and fauna to see too. To extend the walk continue west along the Stour Valley Walk to village Chilham with its pretty lakes and old watermill. View Full Details>>
|Canterbury to Dover Walk||20 miles (32 km)||This walk takes you from the cathedral city of Canterbury to the famous port of Dover. The route runs for a distance of about 20 miles along a section of the North Downs Way.|
The route starts in the city centre near the famous cathedral, where you can pick up the North Downs Way. The waymarked path leads you south east towards St Augustine's Abbey which is worth a small detour from the path. The abbey ruins date from the 6th century and are now owned by English Heritage.
The route then leaves the city and heads out into the countryside toward Patrixbourne and then onto the village of Bridge where you will pass the noteworthy Higham Park. Here you will find a Grade II listed neoclassical style house and gardens. The Palladian fronted house dates from the mid 18th century.
The next stage takes you through Womenswold to Shepperdswell. At ashley you turn south toward Pineham before coming into Dover. Here you can extend your walk by visiting the fascinating Dover Castle or visiting the famous White Cliffs on the Dover Cliffs Walk. View Full Details>>
|Chilham||4 miles (6 km)||This circular walk takes you around the Kent village of Chilham, visiting the River Great Stour, Chilham Lake and Denge Wood. It's a very picturesque place with pretty cottages and a noteworthy old manor house.|
The route starts in the delightful village centre near to Chilham Castle. The site includes a fine manor house which dates from the early 17th century and a Norman Keep. It is the oldest building in the village, dating from 1174 and is still inhabited - making it perhaps one of the oldest dwellings in the UK.
From here you head east through the village toward Bagham before picking up paths along the Great Stour River. These lead you to the pretty Chilham lake which includes a beautiful 5-storey watermill and is a popular spot for fishing. At the eastern end of the lake you can pick up the Stour Valley Walk and follow it back towards the village. On the way you will skirt the edge of Denge Wood which is a nice place to extend your walk. The woods include a number of different type of orchid and are an important habitat for nesting and migratory birds including the nightingale, chiffchaff, and spotted flycatcher. After passing the woods the route returns to the village where you can enjoy refreshments at one of the two large pubs. This includes the Woolpack and the White Horse, the latter of which dates from the 16th century. View Full Details>>
|Cobham||6 miles (9 km)||This village in Kent has some fine walking trails to try. This circular walk takes you to some of the highlights of the area including Cobham Park, Jeskyns Park and Shorne Woods Country Park.|
The walk starts in the village and heads east into Cobham Park. The area is run by the National Trust and includes woodland pasture and an 18th century Darnley Mausoleum. It was designed by James Wyatt for the 4th Earl of Darnley of Cobham Hall according to detailed instructions in the will of the 3rd Earl of Darnley. The site includes a tree trail with a collection of ancient and veteran trees which were formerly part of the Darnley Estate and deer park.
The route then bends round to the north to visit Shorne Woods Country Park. Here you will find hundreds of acres of rolling woodlands, wetlands and meadows which can be explored on a variety of waymarked trails.
After exploring the park, the route heads south past Ashenbank Wood before branching off to the west to visit Jeskyns Park. Here you'll find woodlands, ponds, orchards and wildflower meadows to explore. After leaving the park it is a short stroll back to Cobham village where the route finishes.
The route passes close to Ranscombe Farm Country Park at the eastern fringes. There's 560 acres of attractive meadows and woodland to explore here. View Full Details>>
|Darent Valley Path||19 miles (31 km)||Travel through the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and along the Darent River on this beautiful walk.|
You start off near Sevenoaks Railway Station and head north through the delightful tranquility of the Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve. The route continues towards Otford (with its 16th century Palace) and then onto Shoreham where you'll pass Lullingstone Castle Manor House. As one of the oldest family estates in England (1497) Lullingstone Castle has an interesting history and attractive gardens making it well worth a visit.
The next section takes you on to Eynsford and Farningham where the river is particularly attractive. This section passes Eynsford Castle and the pretty Farningham Woods Nature Reserve, which is worth a small detour from the path.
From Farningham you enter the outskirts of London, passing Darenth Country Park and Dartford before finishing at Dartford flood barrier - the world's second largest movable flood barrier. View Full Details>>
|Denge Wood||6 miles (9 km)||These attractive woods are located a few miles west of Canterbury, near the delightful village of Chilham, and on the dip slope of the North Downs and the Kent Downs AONB. There are miles of footpaths to follow around the site with a wide variety of flora and fauna to look out for on the way.|
This circular walk starts from Chilham where there is a train station just to the east of the village. From here you can follow footpaths south over the River Great Stour to the expansive woods. The site includes a number of different type of orchid and are an important habitat for nesting and migratory birds including the nightingale, chiffchaff, and spotted flycatcher. You may also see fallow deer and roe deer if you are fortunate. View Full Details>>
|Dering Woods||2 miles (3 km)||These woods near Pluckley are also known as "Screaming" wood due to reports of paranormal activity in the area. If you can pluck up the courage there are some nice waymarked walking trails to try in the woods.|
Start the walk from the car park off Smarden Bell Road. From here you can pick up the trails heading south into the woods. Here you'll find ancient trees with wood anemones and pretty bluebells to see in the spring months. Look out for lots of different types of butterfly fluttering around the flours and nightingales flying through the trees above.
As you make your way along the two waymarked trails look out for the King George Star. This footpath junction is the meeting of six paths within the wood and named after King George IV who was a visitor to the wood. View Full Details>>
|Detling Hill||3 miles (5 km)||This walk climbs to Detling Hill, just to the east of the village of Detling in Kent. The hill is located in the Kent Downs area of the North Downs and provides fine views over the surrounding countryside from the summit.|
You can start the walk from Detling village and follow the North Downs Way east to Gorse Farm before picking up other paths to take you to the hill top which stands at a height of 200 m (660 ft). It's only about a one mile walk from the village and a fairly easy climb so suitable for most abilites.
After taking in the fine views over the Low Weald, the route then descends to Thurnham Castle. Here you'll find the remains of a 12th-century flint-built castle constructed by Robert of Thurnham in the reign of Henry II.
The route then proceeds to the village of Thurnham where you can enjoy refreshments at the cafe before retracing your steps back to Detling. View Full Details>>
|Elham Valley Way||22 miles (35 km)||Explore the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on this delightful walk through Kent.|
The route starts on the coast at Hythe and heads north to Canterbury via Elham and Barham. Highlights on the route include stretches through the seabrook valley near Hythe, ancient woodland (dating from before the 17th century), beautiful orchards and the famous Cathedral at Canterbury at the end of the route. View Full Details>>
|Greensand Way||107 miles (173 km)||The Greensand Way runs from Haslemere in Surrey to Hamstreet in Kent following the ridge of greensand rock that crosses the two counties. The route takes in two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the Surrey Hills and the Kent Downs - as well as numerous Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Highlights include
|Hothfield Common||1 miles (2 km)||This area of common land is located near Ashford in the Kent Downs AONB. The area is also nature reserve consisting of Kent's last four valley bogs and one of its few remaining fragments of open heath with patches of acid grassland. It is criss crossed with some nice marked footpaths and covered with interesting flora including heather, cross-leaved heath, dwarf and common gorse, heath spotted-orchid. You can start your walk from the public car park on the eastern end of the site, off the A20 road. From here you can pick up the colour coded trails taking you west towards the bogs. On the way look out for birdlife such as Yellowhammers, White Throat and Willow Warblers. You can also see the Konik horses which are used to graze the Heathlands in order to keep down invasive vegetation like bracken and silver birch.|
The Greensand Way long distance footpath runs across the western side of the common. You could pick up the waymarked trail to further explore the area if you have time. Follow it west and it will take you to the village of Pluckley which is closely associated with the 'Darling Buds of May'. Heading south east will take you toward Godinton Park and then into Ashford itself. The Stour Valley Walk also runs close by and is another good option. View Full Details>>
|Hucking Estate||2 miles (4 km)||Enjoy a peaceful stroll through the ancient woodland and open grassland of the Hucking Estate in the Kent Downs AONB. Waymarked walking trails will take you along well surfaced paths with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. Spring is a great time for this walk as you will find a carpet of pretty bluebells in the delightful woodland glades. Free parking is available on Church Road, where this circular walk starts and finishes. |
If you'd like to extend your walk then you could follow the North Downs Way to the nearby White Horse Wood Country Park for more walking trails with great views. It is located about 2.5 miles to the west.
The Hucking Estate is located a few miles north east of Maidstone. View Full Details>>
|Jeskyns Park||2 miles (2.5 km)||Explore the woodlands, ponds, orchards and wildflower meadows in this country park near Gravesend. Walkers can enjoy a number of waymarked surfaced paths and an 8km grass trail. There are also easy surfaced paths for cyclists. These are good for families looking for a safe ride. |
There's lots to see with 100 acres of meadowland with over 40 species of wildflower. You can also explore the orchards with apple, plum, cherry and pear trees. At Henhurst Lake you can look out for water loving wildlife while the woodland area and glades are a lovely tranquil place for a stroll too.
If you'd like to extend your outing then you could head to the nearby Shorne Woods Country Park where you'll find 288 acres of rolling woodlands, wetlands and meadows. Our Circular Walk around Cobham visits Shorne Woods, Jeskykns Park and also takes you to Cobham Woods which is run by the National Trust. View Full Details>>
|North Downs Way||153 miles (246 km)||This beautiful trail starts in Farnham, Surrey and heads east through the stunning North Downs to the historic city of Canterbury in Kent.|
The path runs for 153 miles taking you through some stunning scenery, including the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In addition to the wonderful rolling countryside you will pass through a variety of interesting towns including Godalming, Guildford, Dorking, Merstham, Otford, Chilham, Rochester and Dover, where the views of the white cliffs from the trail are stunning. View Full Details>>
|Pluckley||8 miles (13 km)||Explore the countryside associated with the 'Darling Buds of May' on this walk around the village of Pluckley. The village is also well known as 'The most haunted village in England' due to paranormal activity in nearby "Screaming Wood".|
This circular walk uses the Greensand Way and the Stour Valley Walk to create a circular walk from the village. It passes the train station on the way so you also start from there if you prefer. The route first heads east along the waymarked Greensand Way to Walnut Tree Farm and the village of Little Chart where there's pretty mill ponds and an old ruined church. The route continues east to Codham Wood and the Hothfield Common Nature Reserve. The common contains Kent's last four valley bogs and one of its few remaining fragments of open heath with patches of acid grassland. The site also includes interesting flora with pretty heather, common gorse and heath spotted-orchid.
After passing through the common the route continues south west to Benacre Wood, before following country lanes to Pluckley Station. Here you pick up the Greensand Way and follow it north through Chambers Green to Pluckley.
Just to the west of the village you can continue your walking in Dering Woods. The site is also known as "Screaming" wood due to reports of paranormal activity in the area. There's two waymarked trails here and lots of wildlife to look out for on the way. View Full Details>>
|Ranscombe Farm Country Park||5 miles (7.5 km)||Explore 560 acres of meadows and woodland in this large nature reserve on the slopes of the North Downs in Kent. The park is perfect for peaceful walks with a number of rare species of plant including meadow clary, rough mallow and six species of orchid to be seen. The park is located in Cuxton, just a short walk from Cuxton rail station. View Full Details>>|
|Sevenoaks||9 miles (14.5 km)||The popular Kent town of Sevenoaks is surrounded by beautiful parks, gardens, woodland and several long distance walking trails.|
This is a nice walk from the centre of Sevenoaks, visiting the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve and Chipstead Lake using the Darent Valley Path and North Downs Way long distance trails.
The walk starts from the train station where you can directly pick up the Darent Valley Path. If you follow the trail south east for about a mile you can visit the wonderful Knole Park with its woodland, deer, dry heathland, acid grassland and wood pasture. This walk heads north west and visits the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve where there's several lakes and lots of different birds to look out for. After passing the reserve you pick up a section of the North Downs Way which you could follow to the nearby village of Otford. This route heads south west before finishing at the pretty Chipstead Lake. View Full Details>>
|Shorne Woods Country Park||2 miles (4 km)||This park near Gravesend has 288 acres of rolling woodlands, wetlands and meadows that can be explored via a variety of waymarked trails, suitable for cyclists and walkers. The park has excellent on site facilities including a visitor centre, cafe, a sensory garden, fishing lakes, a trim trail and picnic and play areas.|
If you'd like to extend your outing then you could head to the nearby Jeskyns Park which has woodlands, ponds, orchards and wildflower meadows to explore. Our Circular Walk around Cobham visits Shorne Woods and also takes you to Cobham Woods which is run by the National Trust. You can also find more walking trails at the nearby Camer Park which is near Meopham. View Full Details>>
|Toys Hill||4 miles (6 km)||Visit the highest point on the Kent Downs on this circular walk in Sevenoaks. There's hundreds of acres of woodland to explore with wonderful views over the Weald of Kent. |
This circular walk starts at the National Trust car park and follows footpaths to the Toys Hill viewpoint where you can stop and soak in the views over the Kent countryside. The route then heads along Scords Lane and Scords Wood where you pick up the Greensand Way to take you to the village of Ide Hill. On this section you will pass the memorial bench to Octavia Hill, the founder of the National Trust. The area is one of the National Trust's first properties with the estate now occupying more than 200 acres.
The pretty village of Ide Hill marks the half way point on the walk so it's a nice place to stop for refreshments. Ide hill has a nice village green and the 19th century St Mary's church, the highest church in Kent.
After leaving Ide Hill you head to the beautiful Emmetts Garden. The 19th century garden contains many exotic trees and shrubs from around the world. From here you head back to the car park via Scord Wood.
This route is designed for walking but you can also bring your bike to Toys Hill and pick up one of the bridleways through the woods. If you head along Scords Lane you can pick up a bridleway taking you through Scords Wood to Emmetts Garden.
If you would like to continue your walking in the area then you could head along the Greensand Way to the nearby Chartwell House. Our 8 mile Westerham Circular Walk visits the hill and Chartwell from the town centre. View Full Details>>
|Westerham||8 miles (12.7 km)||Westerham is located in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, a great location for exploring the beautiful Kent Downs. This 8 mile circular walk makes use of the Greensand Way and other footpaths to visit Chartwell House and Toys Hill, two of the major highlights of the area.|
The walk starts from the town centre where you can pick the Greensand Way, waymarked footpath. Follow the trail south and it will soon take you past the noteworthy Squerryes Court. The late 17th-century manor house is surrounded by extensive gardens and parkland and is a grade I listed building.
You continue south along woodland trails to Goodley Stock and Crookhammill Common where there are nice views toward Edenbridge. The route turns east here to take you past Mariners Hill toward Chartwell. You can take a small detour from the route to visit the house which was the family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill. There's much to see here with hillside gardens, pretty lakes created by Churchill himself, a kitchen garden which produced fruit and vegetables for 10 Downing Street.
The route continues north east to French Street before turning south east to visit Toys Hill. The popular hill is the highest point on the Kent Downs and commands wonderful views over the Weald of Kent. The area is one of the National Trust's first properties with the estate now occupying more than 200 acres.
After taking in the views the route heads to another highlight of the area at Emmetts Garden. The delightful 19th century garden contains many exotic trees and shrubs from around the world. It's a lovely place for a stroll, with well laid out footpaths taking you to an arboretum, exotic shrubs, a rose garden and a rock garden.
After exploring the garden you head west to Hosey Common and Hosey Hill before returning to the town centre. View Full Details>>
|Western Heights Dover||3 miles (4.5 km)||This walk explores a fascinating series of forts, strong points and ditches located in Dover. The forts were created during the 18th and 19th centuries to protect the key port of Dover from both seaward and landward attack. There are good footpaths to follow around the elevated site which includes nice views towards Dover Castle and the North Downs.|
Start the walk from Drop Redoubt Fort at the eastern end of the complex. It's located just to the south of Piory rail station and just behind the pier and marina. The construction of the Redoubt was in two periods: the first being from 1804-1808 during the Napoleonic Wars, and the second from 1859-1864 following the recommendations of the 1859 Royal Commission. Follow the footpaths west and they will take you to the noteworthy Knights Templar Church. The ruins date from the 11th century and are located on Bredenstone hill.
The route continues west to the second fort on the complex, known as 'The Citadel'. This structure was formerly a young offenders' institution, and was most recently used as the Dover Immigration Removal Centre. In the 19th century it contained barracks, stores and magazines arrayed around a large parade ground.
At the Citadel Battery the route turns around and heads east along the southern part of the site.
To continue your walking in the area head east and visit the historic Dover Castle and the famous White Cliffs on our Dover Cliffs Walk. The North Downs Way also runs through the site so you could pick this up easily too. View Full Details>>
|Wye Crown||4 miles (6.5 km)||Enjoy a short walk to Wye Crown in the beautiful Wye Downs. The hill figure is one of the landmarks of the area and a great spot to enjoy views over the Kent Downs AONB. |
The circular walk starts in the village of Wye just to the west of the Downs. You can pick up the North Downs Way and follow the waymarked trail east to the Wye Crown. It's just over a one mile walk from the village to the site, where you will find the whire hill figure carved in the chalk by students in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII. The Crown is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) surrounded by rare downland herbs, orchids and butterflies. There's also the Wye Crown Millennium Stone where you can stand and enjoy fine views back down to the village and over the countryside of the Kent Downs.
The route then continues south along the Downs before descending to Armage Farm. Across the downs look out for a variety of pretty wildflowers in the summer months. The final section follows other public footpaths west below the Downs to take you back through the countryside to Wye. View Full Details>>