Chilham circular from Wye
County/Area - Kent
Author - Mick Gall
Length - 17.0 miles / 27.6 km Ascent - 1800 feet / 545 metres
Time - 10 hours 20 minutes Grade - moderate
|Ordnance Survey Explorer 137
|Anquet OS Explorer 137
|Ordnance Survey Landranger 179
|Anquet OS Landranger 179
Walk Route Description
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A circular walk of 17 miles that starts and finishes in Wye. The walk can start at the railway station (grid ref. TR048469) served by trains from Ashford and canterbury. Alternatively there is a free car park near the church (grid ref. TR 053468). Wye makes a good base to explore the surrounding countryside of the Kent Downs. There are several places that offer B&B or self catering. There is a Farmer's Market held on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month around the green. Wye is an ancient settlement; known to the Romans who built a villa here and had industry served by the river Stour. In Saxon times it was a Royal Manor and the village is still laid out to its medieval pattern with the church dating from the 13th century.
Exit the station and cross the river bridge. Turn left in to Churchfield Way and walk up to the church, from the car park just exit the car park into Church Street opposite the church. Just past the church is Wye Agricultural College, now part of Imperial College London, it was founded in 1447 by Archbishop John Kempe of Canterbury. Turn left into Olantigh Rd (grid ref. TR056468) and then right into Occupation Rd by the college campus at grid ref. TR056470.
The path starts to climb to the wood in the distance for approx 1 mile, getting steeper after crossing the road at grid ref. TR066468, then very steep once in the wood. The path emerges from the wood (grid ref. TR070469) where you turn right onto the road and continue up the hill. You can, if you wish leave the road after approx 200 metres (grid ref. TR073467), turning right onto the footpath and visit the Wye Crown, a chalk 'figure' cut into the hillside by students of Wye college in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII, before returning back to the road.
At Down farm (grid ref. TR074468) follow the path to the right. Continue to grid ref. TR075467 and turn left. Follow this path to grid ref. TR082476 where you need to do a sharp right turn. Follow this path to grid ref. TR082473 and turn sharp left. Take care here as the path can be hard to find at times. Follow path to Pett Street Farm and continue through farmyard then steeply uphill to grid ref. TR087468 where you make a sharp left turn almost back on yourself. Follow this path to the church at Crundale (grid ref. TR086473). The path runs along a ridge and there are nice views over the downs to left and right once you are clear of the woods.
A bench is provided at the church car park and gives views over the Stour valley. The church sits up on the hill above the village it serves; the church is Norman in origin. Turn right onto the road then left turn at the T-junction (grid ref. TR091487). Then it is a short but steep walk up to the top of Hobbs hill. Turn left at the top (grid ref. TR094493). If you turn right there is a pub a few hundred yards along. Continue along the road for approx 150 metres then turn right at the footpath (grid ref. TR093493. Follow this path for approx 200m to the path cross roads (grid ref. TR092495) and turn right.
Follow this path through Eggringe Wood until you come to the road and car park (grid ref. TR097504). Turn left onto the road. This road leads you pass Thruxted Mill (which is unfortunately not a romantic windmill or watermill but a bovine rendering plant) to grid ref TR094511 where the road bends right. We take a footpath on the left. This path will lead through a wood and some open fields and for about a mile attention to navigation is needed as the path can be hard to follow.
There are two paths, take the right hand one and follow the footpath through to the gate at the edge of the wood. There are kennels near this gate so listen for the sound of barking. If you lose the path and stray left you will eventually come to a barbed wire fence, turn right and follow to the gate at grid ref. TR093513. Now open ground has to be crossed which in bad weather could be tricky. For the first part keep the first telegraph pole on your right then the second telegraph pole on your left and pass through the tree line. Next you arrive at a cross roads (grid ref. TR092514) where you continue straight on. The path curves between two fields, which when there are crops in the fields will be easy to follow but at other times can be a bit harder to make out. Keep to the rough line between the fields. Another cross roads is reached at grid ref. TR089519. Here there is a marker post in the field. The obvious route seems left of the post to the gate in the distance but go right of the post. Finally the path arrives at the edge of Denge Wood (grid ref. TR090521).
Here there is a sign posted path that goes right but keep to the left of the trees. Shortly the path becomes more obvious as it enters the wood. Follow this path and after approx three quarters of a mile some earth works are encountered on the right which are thought to be of early medieval origin but it is uncertain for sure. They can just be made out through the trees. Shortly there is a fork in the path (grid ref. TR091531). The path goes left but it is possible to go straight on as eventually the two paths meet again (grid ref. TR093095). Follow the path to the road (grid ref. TR093538). Turn left and follow the footpath. As you follow this path you will be able to see the next destination of Chilham village in the distance. Eventually you arrive at a junction (grid ref. TR0805310. Turn right. Follow the path downhill through the trees to the river Stour and Chilham mill. As you come down the hill, just off to the left is an ancient long barrow know locally as Juliberries Grave, named after Julii Laberius, a tribune in Julius Caesars 10th legion, killed fighting the Britons near here in 55BC. It is however a Neolithic longbarrow and not Roman.
The path crosses the river Stour at Chilham mill. There has been a mill here since before the Norman Conquest. The mill is now owned by South Eastern water and apart from being a pumping station is also a fishery. Continue along the path and cross the A28 at grid ref. TR075536. Follow this road to Chilham village. This is another picturesque medieval village and the heart of the village is the village square, surrounded on three sides by houses and with the castle on the other. There has been a castle here since AD 709 built by Wihtred, King of Kent. The present castle was rebuilt in 1616 and is privately owned so is not open to the public but the grounds are open on certain dates in the summer.
Leave the village by Mountain Road, which climbs to the dizzy heights of 68m. At grid ref. TR064518 turn right and follow the path up hill to grid ref. TR058522 where you turn left. The path is now the North Downs Way and skirts along the edge of Kings Wood, which once provided hunting for the kings of England. The Fallow Deer introduced by King John still inhabit the wood. Follow the path for approx three mile until you come to the cross roads with Whitehill Rd (grid ref. TR037487). Turn left and follow the road back to Wye, a distance of approximately two miles. As you walk along the road you will be able to see Wye Crown in the distance.
Other walks nearby
|Wye, Crundale & Wye Downs
|The Wye Downs and Crundale
|Pluckley village circular
|Canterbury to Whitstable
|Rivers Swale & Oare
|Ringlestone & High Wood from Harrietsham
|Folkestone to Dover along the North Downs Way
|Wittersham to Rye (High Weald Landscape Trail)
|Reculver & St Nicholas at Wade
|Rye Harbour Circular
Recommended Books & eBooks
Walking in Kent
A guidebook describing 40 walks in the county of Kent. Covering west Kent and The Weald and north and east Kent, including the Kent Downs and the Greensand Hills. Walks of 5 to 9 miles explore rivers and coastline, beautiful countryside and historic villages. With outlines of 11 longer walks ranging from 15 to 163 miles.