Shipbourne, Ightham Mote, Stone Street and Godden Green

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Start: Shipbourne Common Distance: 8.2 miles (13.2 km) Climbing: 300 metres
Grid Ref: TQ 59206 52242 Time: 4 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Shipbourne
Start: Shipbourne Common Distance: 8.2 miles (13.2 km)
Climbing: 300 metres Grid Ref: TQ 59206 52242
Time: 4 hours Rating: Moderate
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk: This walk through a quiet corner of Kent captures the essence of the county. It starts at the beautifully preserved village green of Shipbourne and leads past attractive orchards that gave Kent its 'Garden of England' status. The lush open country and secluded woodland could be a million miles from London. The walk also takes in the impressive moated manor house of Ightham Mote and traditional oast houses originally used for drying hops - a typical feature of the Kent countryside, although many are now private homes.

Shipbourne CommonShipbourne Common
Ightham MoteIghtham Mote

The striking Victorian church of St Giles in Shipbourne marks the start and finish of the walk. This charming village with its extensive common is typical of many small Kent villages, set in lush green countryside with secluded woodlands and orchards nearby. From Shipbourne a path leads through fields and woodlands to give a fine view of Fairlawe Park, a privately owned country mansion, which was once home to the puritan Vane family. Poet John Milton was a notable friend. After the restoration in 1662 Sir Harry Vane was brought to trial and executed for his political beliefs. His body was returned to Shipbourne and buried in the crypt of the local church. His ghost is said to haunt the park at Fairlawe on the anniversary of his execution, with his head under his arm.

Approaching the historical manor of Ightham Mote there are views of conical oast houses in the Victorian style and the mote with its Tudor cottages and strutting peacocks is a well known local landmark in this area of Kent. Leaving the lane, the route climbs a quiet path under mixed broad-leaved trees with glimpses of more attractive orchards to the left. The walk to the village of Godden Green passes more orchards and then continues through a secluded small valley. The duckpond and pub at Godden Green make a pleasant stopping place at this stage of the walk. At the rear of the pub are a few 19th century cottages and an old stable but nothing else to disturb the tranquility.

From Godden Green the walk heads to Lord Spring's Wood and then past Fawke Farm House to reach woodland on the heights of One Tree Hill. There are fine views of Kent countryside to be gained here. After following woods across Rooks Hill and Shingle Hill the walk descends to Budd's Green before the finale crossing pasture back to Shipbourne.

Acknowledgment: Text derived from the Out and Out Series; Discovering the Countryside on Foot. Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia.

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