15 of the best spring walks near you
It's National Walking Month! What better way to celebrate than striking out on one of these lovely lockdown-friendly walks across Kent.
We’ve kept things relatively easy and lock-down friendly in length (hikers we are not), which makes this round-up perfect for grown ups or families wanting to enjoy a little socially-distanced stroll.
Choose one that’s local to you (definitely not suggesting we all suddenly go crazy and head out for big day trips).
(Please click on each link and check details of the full walk to see if suitable for dogs or young families).
WALK 1 / FORDWICH TO REED POND, CANTERBURY
Distance and difficulty: Pass through countryside and woodland from the village of Fordwich on this Linear route. The path is well-compacted and smooth but with stones and a bit of a climb in the final approach to Reed Pond. It’s 2.5m (4.02 km). View walk here.
Good for: History lovers! Apparently the smallest town in Britain, the town wall was first built in the reign of Henry VIII, is often open to the public, so check back for that one.
Why we love it: It’s packed full of history! Did you know that Fordwich was once a busy port serving Canterbury, when the River Stour was tidal? The highly attractive Reed Pond is the focal point of the walk with its wildlife and beauty. The pond even once supplied the monks of Canterbury with water.
WALK 2 / DUNGENESS
Distance and difficulty: A circular route that is 2.9 km and suitable for small children and families. View walk here.
Good for: This walk is a birdwatchers paradise so don’t forget your binoculars! The reserve is a highly appointed RSPB site and you are sure not to leave disappointed with the range of birdlife that you’ll find here. It’s a great family trip out or if you’re looking for a new interesting route to try!
Why we love it: Explore the stunning South Kent on these great easy access trails. Dungeness RSPB. A walk of 1.8miles (2.9km) in the unusual Dungeness landscape. The position of the reserve jutting into the English Channel makes it ideally placed to watch for migrant birds.
WALK 3 / BISHOPSBOURNE, HOPS AND RAILWAY, BRIDGE PLACE
Distance and difficulty: Only just over three miles for a circular walk. Moderate fitness required to make the circuit – the walk is fairly flat and generally dry.
Good for: with lots to look at along the way – what’s not to love?
Why we love it: This walk takes you to via Bourne Park to Bishopsbourne with its 13 Century Church (next to Joseph Conrad’s House) and restored railway station. On the way back you pass old hop kilns and hop fields.
WALK 4 / WYE DOWNS WALK
Distance and difficulty: Moderate/ harder – 4 stiles and some steep slopes – one path that’s possibly a bit slippy so take care. 4.3 mile route, allow 3 hours. View walk here.
Good for: Stretchy leggers, adults and dog walkers – this walk has some challenging climbs in places but well worth it for the spectacular views from the Downs.
Why we love it: Wye is a gorgeous corner of Kent countryside, nestled at the foot of the North Downs (and just North East of Ashford with it’s high speed train in and out of London) in an area of outstanding natural beauty. And this walk takes in some of the pretty, historic village itself.
WALK 5 / IGHTHAM MOTE TO SHIPBOURNE WALK
Distance and difficulty: Easy walk, 3.5 miles – allow 2 hours). View walk here.
Good for: Stately home fans, family day trippers and dog walkers – easy enough circular walk.
Why we love it: This Ightham Mote circular walk begins with a wander through ancient Scathes Wood, before taking in some wonderful views of the Kentish countryside on the way to the neighbouring estate of Fairlawne and on to Shipbourne. If you wander out you might find the magnificent display of bluebells in Scathes Wood.
WALK 6 / THE THREE BRIDGES TOUR, TONBRIDGE
Distance and difficulty: Easy to Moderate – 4.5 mile route, over three bridges (you’d never have guessed) and along river banks. Allow 2 – 2.5 hours. View walk here.
Good for: Families with older children (prams and tiny toddlers might not be best suited to a waterside walk).
Why we love it: There’s always something interesting to see when walking near water. Here you’ll amble along the river Medway, over three bridges at East Lock and between ponds and lakes surrounding the river. Great surrounds for both sunny summer days or brisk, fresh winter walking.
WALK 7 / LAMBERHURST, KILNDOWN AND SCOTNEY CASTLE CIRCULAR WALK
Distance and difficulty: Easy, circular 5 mile walk. Allow 2-2.5 hrs. View walk here.
Good for: Dog walkers, National Trust lovers.
Why we love it: With fantastic views, this fairy-tale walk takes you through National Trust woodland, across rivers and through beautiful castle grounds.
WALK 8 / PENSHURST PLACE AND THE EDEN VALLEY
Distance and difficulty: An easy to moderate 6 mile circular route. Allow 3 hrs. View walk here.
Good for: Walkers with slightly older children as there are some steeper slopes.
Why we love it: Find something for everyone in this varied walk across the River Eden, through the villages of Penshurst and Chiddingstone, lovely woodlands, and stretching fields.
WALK 9 / THE SEVEN YEARS’ STAGGER, BIDDENDEN
Distance and difficulty: Easy walking which will luckily not take you 7 years! (We hope). View walk here.
Good for: Families & dogs.
Why we love it: Step into history with this country romp through Kentish fields. The famous ‘Seven Year’s Stagger’ maps the journey which French prisoners walked between The Three Chimneys and Sissinghurst Castle during the Seven Year’s War (1756-1763). Visit one of the most popular National Trust properties, the beautiful Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens created by Vita Sackville-West.
WALK 10 / SISSINGHURST AND FRITTENDEN
Distance and difficulty: Easy to moderate walking stretching over a full 10 miles (beginning and ending at The Milk House). View walk here.
Good for: Families, dog walkers, those keen for a longer time out and about.
Why we love it: Located in a famous corner of Kent, this amazing walk takes you through almost unknown footpaths and woodland. With an optional visit to the popular Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens created by Vita Sackville-West, it’s a breathtaking route.
WALK 11 / STODMARSH
Distance and difficulty: Easy walking – various routes through the Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve to choose from at different lengths. View walk here.
Good for: Nature enthusiasts & dogs on leads.
Why we love it: Walk the beautiful Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve and educate yourself on the wilds of nature through the panels around the reserve and maybe spot the rare wildlife found here.
WALK 12 / WICKHAMBREAUX TO WINGHAM AND BACK VIA ICKHAM
Distance and difficulty: Moderate circular walk taking around 2.5 hrs. View walk here.
Good for: Families, Pub lovers & dogs.
Why we love it: This fantastic circular walk takes you through a variety of fields, woods and beautiful villages.
WALK 13 / BLEAN AND VICTORY WOODS, DARGATE
Distance and difficulty: Take the easier option and stomp through Victory Woods with your dogs or take off-road push bikes or explore one of the five way marked trails in Blean Woods– the longest being an 25 mile circular wander but only for the brave-hearted…
Good for: Families and dog walkers.
Why we love it: In the summer make sure to look out for damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies, including the rare Heath Fritillary Butterfly which is the The Blean’s greatest conservation success story. The Blean is classified as ancient woodland, its value for wildlife is recognised at a national level with over half of the Blean being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, also one third of the wood is also designated as a Special Area of Conversation.
WALK 14 / COUSLEY WOOD TO BEWL WATER WALK (OPEN FROM SUN 17 MAY)
Distance and difficulty: Easy, circular walk of around 2 and 3/4 miles (allow at least 40 mins for round trip). View walk here.
Good for: Families and Relaxed Sundays.
Why we love it: Park the car in the Old Vine car park and walk from there to Bewl Water – you’ll arrive near one of the Water Taxi stop off points. When lockdown is lifted, and it’s allowed, you can take the Bewl Belle around the reservoir and make a day trip of it. But for now Bewl is adhering strictly to social distancing codes so attractions are shut, although walking is open.
If you don’t know it, Bewl Water is the largest stretch of open water in the South East. The 800 acre site is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in the heart of the High Weald. It’s open for walking and cycling, the visit to this stunning lake is fantastic family fun and great value.
WALK 15 / PERRY WOOD, FAVERSHAM
Distance and difficulty: It’s up to you how hard or easy you take the explore in the woods! There’s a short easy access route and there’s more adventurous routes up and down the steep slops of the woodland. View walk here.
Good for: Cyclists, horse rides and families to enjoy a day out in the woods. Parking is available and the woods can be explored by following the carved posts leading from the car park marking out the various routes around the woodlands.
Why we love it: There’s fantastic views to the coast and countryside and it’s rich in history. The view point called The Mount was used as a part of a semaphore chain, sending messages from London to the Kent ports.
Can you recommend a lovely local walk we haven’t mentioned? Please do – the comment box below is all yours!