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|Boxley and the North Downs|
|Author: Claire, Published: 07 Sep 2013||Walk rating : Rating:|
|A 4.5 mile circular walk from the pretty village of Boxley near Maidstone in Kent. The route visits the nearby Boxley Abbey then climbs to the top of the North Downs for a long stretch before descending back to the village. There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy plus an atmospheric woodland of ancient yews and some beautiful views. |
The route includes several climbs and descents throughout including one fairly steep climb up to the top of the downs, and an equivalent descent. The surfaces are a mixture of field and woodland paths which can get fairly muddy in winter and after periods of rain. There is one section of road walking so take care of any traffic. There are a few gates plus four stiles on route, the final one of which is enclosed and quite tall so dogs may need a lift over (although there is a stone wall at the side that they could jump onto). One of the fields is likely to be holding horses and another holding sheep so take care with dogs. Allow 2 to 2.5 hours.
The small village of Boxley is located about 4 miles north east of Maidstone in Kent. The walk starts and finishes from outside the village church on The Street, opposite the Kings Arms. There are about six parking spaces in front of the church, otherwise park in the village with consideration for the local residents. Approximate post code ME14 3DR.
|Start to Channel Tunnel Rail Link|
Start point: 51.3024 lat, 0.5431 long
To begin the walk, stand with your back to the church, cross over the main road and take the gravel driveway footpath which runs immediately to the right of the Kings Arms. At the junction of tracks go straight ahead, following the straight track with large crop fields over to the left. As you reach the hedge line, go ahead, again staying on the track as it crosses straight over the centre of the crop field.
|Channel Tunnel Rail Link to Boxley Abbey|
Start point: 51.3032 lat, 0.5287 long
Swing right along the grass track which runs along the bottom of the field, with the rail line on the left. Ahead you’ll reach some timber steps, climb these and then follow the path left to emerge to a T-junction with the road.
|Boxley Abbey to Boarley Cottage|
Start point: 51.301 lat, 0.5232 long
This Cistercian monastery was founded in 1143 and became infamous thanks to a scam run by the monks here. They created the Rood of Grace, a wooden cross, the Jesus-like figure upon which would miraculously move, shed tears and change facial expressions. Pilgrims flocked to the abbey to see the cross and, thinking they had seen a miracle, would leave the monks a hefty donation. After the dissolution of the monasteries the Rood was exposed as a mechanized contraption of wires and rods that was operated by the monks. It was paraded around several towns and finally burned in London.
|Boarley Cottage to North Downs Way|
Start point: 51.3061 lat, 0.5262 long
Keep ahead and beyond the handful of properties and farm outbuildings, go straight on as the path narrows between tall hedgerows. Follow this path for some distance climbing steadily. At the top of the long slope you’ll emerge to a T-junction with a track, the Pilgrims Way long distance path.
|North Downs Way to Harp Farm Road|
Start point: 51.3142 lat, 0.5297 long
Follow this path and to your left you’ll have a thin strip of trees with crop fields beyond. Continue for some distance and then swing left up the short slope, and then keep right to merge with a wide stone and mud track, with lines of trees each side. The track soon swings right, across the top edge of the fenced horse paddock on the right. You will reach the outbuildings of Harp Farm. Follow the track which passes to the left of these and pass through a metal kissing gate and bear left to reach a T-junction with Harp Farm Road.
|Harp Farm Road to Downs Descent|
Start point: 51.3115 lat, 0.5439 long
Cross over the road and keep straight ahead along the right-hand edge of the large crop field, with a small woodland to the right. At the end of the field, swing right through a gap in the hedge line and keep right along the grass verge for just a few yards. When you reach the side road, turn left to cross over the main road with extreme care to take the narrow fenced path opposite (signed as the North Downs Way to Detling).
|Downs Descent to End|
Start point: 51.3074 lat, 0.5533 long
Take care as you descend as the path can be a little loose with scree and slippery when wet. At the bottom of the woodland, dog-leg right then left to continue on the path downhill with horse paddocks to the left. At the end of the path, cross over the small tarmac road and take the stile opposite into a horse paddock.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.
Very pretty walk through fields and woods with excellent directions
|By srb52 on 12 Apr 2015|
My first walk using ifootpath. I found it very well described and easy to follow and little chance of going wrong.
|By culverjones on 13 Sep 2015|
Pretty walk, great directions, even we didn't get lost!😄
|By bilbobaggins on 14 Mar 2016|
Superb walk. Loved it❤️
|By AndreaBarbar on 11 Sep 2016|
Completed this on New Years Eve 2016 on a damp and foggy day. My Springer and I loved it. Great directions, easy to follow and predictable muddy. Took us 1:45 including the detour to the old Abbey. 2nd ascent is very steep and wouldn't be suitable for youngsters. Dog was off lead for 75% of the time. Free parking at the church. Imagine the views would be great on a clear day.
|By tilly6850 on 31 Dec 2016|
Just did this walk on a sunny day, very enjoyable and we saw an adder.
|By Philip McNulty on 09 Apr 2017|
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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