This is a lovely route from Keston to Holwood Farm and then on to the village of Downe. Having found the end of the footpath on a previous walk, we set off in the middle of last week’s snowfall, quite a break from the mundanities of lockdown and home-schooling.
The walk skirts around the grounds of Holwood House and eventually crosses its grand driveway near the main gates. Sadly, there’s no direct view of the main house from the footpath, although another range of houses is visible and is also quite impressive. Also at the edge of Holwood Estate are the remains of an oak tree attributed to William Wilberforce, the scene of a discussion he held in 1788 with Mr Pitt (the Prime Minister), the conclusion of which was to set about the abolishment of the slave trade in the United Kingdom.
On arrival at Downe, we were delighted to find that The Queen’s Head pub has converted one of its private dining rooms into a shop selling teas/coffees as well as general produce. They opened it in November due to the pub itself closing under lockdown rules and it’s proving very popular with hikers and cyclists.
Lamberhurst is a pretty village near Royal Tunbridge Wells, with a couple of pubs. We had an excellent lunch at The Chequers, before walking the second half of the “Lamberhurst and Hook Green” walk from the Kent Pathfinder Guide. The plan had been to stop for refreshments at The Elephant’s Head at Hook Green, but unfortunately that was closed on Mondays!
The walk was almost entirely away from any main roads, making it very peaceful. There were plenty of grouse around the wooded areas (see below) and the walk also skirted the edge of a vineyard which seemed to have a fine yield of grapes this year.
This 9km circular walk starts in the pretty village of Four Elms and cuts across farmland for a brief encounter with Bough Beech Reservoir. Don’t be fooled by the picture above though, which I took through a chain link fence – the route does not get particularly close to the water! While the reservoir and its visitor centre were disappointing, the footpaths through the fields were superb. One field was full of peas in pods ready to be picked, another boasted tall sweetcorn plants, with the cobs just appearing among the silky tassels.
There is a garden centre at Four Elms with a delightful restaurant for refreshments.
My family and I went for this lovely walk earlier this year. As well as some amazing views, we stopped at Annie’s Pantry at the half-way point for an excellent lunch sitting by the river.
Starting from National Trust car parks at Great Wood just outside Keswick, this walk climbs steadily through the wood and offers views over Derwent Water. It’s quite a steep walk down the river valley to Annie’s Pantry, but that’s the only refreshment stop on this walk and was well worth the effort. The highlight of the walk is the descent from Walla Crag to Cat Gill – the book has a nice photo of this, as well as lots of pictures of dogs!