January: Ightham Mote and Fairlawne Estate
Distance: 6.8 Miles (3.5 Hours)
OS Map: Explorer 147 (Start at grid reference
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Park in the National Trust car park at Ightham Mote.
The car park is open all year, dawn to dusk, whether or
not the house is open. There is no charge for
members (£2 for non-members at time of writing).
There are toilets, but these are only open when the
house and restaurant are open.
Leave the staff car park at the bottom past the
restaurant and toilets. At the end, turn left
along a path waymarked with red arrows. At the
first junction follow the red arrows left uphill along
the left hand edge of a field. At the top enter a
wood; the red arrows go left but our route goes right.
Follow the path through the wood to emerge through a
gate onto a lane.
Bear right and cross the lane to a track opposite
through a gate. Follow this track through trees
and into an open field. Continue along right hand
edge of field to track and turn right downhill through
gate to road.
Take footpath opposite and go straight across the
field past fenced avenue of trees on right and bear
right to a post. Head for yellow post by a stile.
Over the stile, maintain direction past another yellow
post, noting the view of Fairlawne house on the right.
Bear left to corner of field and take gate through fence
into Fairlawne gardens. Go down to driveway and
bear left, taking the lower of two branches of drive.
Pass lake on right and go through gate into field.
Follow left hand edge of field until fence turns left,
when bear slightly right over footbridge. Go
straight across next field between houses at top and
through gap to right of first house. Follow lane
into Shipbourne (pronounced “Shibbun”).
Turn right along Upper Green Road, making for the
church. Cross main road and go through churchyard.
Leave by kissing gate at far side and go down right hand
edge of a field. Go straight across next field,
making for corner of woodland protruding into it.
At corner, enter woodland and bear right along broad
track, climbing gradually. After 300m, path splits
– bear left uphill and at the top bear right along broad
grassy track that leads to stile into Mote Road.
Turn left but immediately bear left across green
towards driveway. Take path between fence and
hedge to right of Great Budds. After climbing
stile into field, go straight across. When gravel
track turns left on entering next field, carry straight
on across the field to footbridge and stile into next
field. Cross another field, making for some large
barns. Go through gate to left of barns and follow
right hand edge of field to corner, climb stile and turn
right across grassy area towards wooden gate. Just
before the gate, turn sharp left along path parallel to
driveway. At junction of drives, bear right onto
driveway and follow it down to a lane.
Turn right and then right again into Rooks Hill just
in front of Absalom’s Farm. Climb Rooks Hill
until it reaches woodland and there is a public footpath
sign on the left. Carry on a few more metres to a
public footpath sign on right and go through gate.
Follow path initially between two fences but later in
woodland. When you reach a junction of paths by a
fine patch of blackberry bushes, turn left along path
that climbs steeply, passing steps and bearing left to
double back on previous route. Two thirds of the
way up there is a seat offering fine views across the
Weald. On leaving National Trust property, turn
right past a barrier along a permissive path. When
this reaches a broader track, go straight across past
another barrier and follow the permissive path along the
bottom of an open glade. Continue through woodland
and on meeting a broader track at a corner, go straight
ahead along it. When this reaches Mote Road, take
the path through the gate opposite back into the Ightham
Mote estate. On reaching the drive at the top,
turn right into car park.
Points of Interest
The original moated manor on the site was called Fair
Lane and belonged in the 17th century to Sir Henry Vane
the Younger. He supported Parliament against
Charles I in the Civil War, but opposed the King's
execution and fell out of favour with Cromwell.
Despite this, on the restoration of the monarchy,
Charles II thought Vane’s views on democratic reform
dangerous and had him sentenced to death on a charge of
treason. Samuel Pepys, who watched the execution
on Tower Hill in June 1662, recorded that Vane "appeared
the most resolved man that ever died in that manner, and
showed more of heat than cowardize, but yet with
humility and gravity". Vane is buried in
In the 20th century the estate was owned by Sir Peter
Cazalet who trained horses owned by the Queen Mother who
was a regular overnight visitor. The current owner
is Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
In 2011 the Prince attempted to close a public
footpath across the estate but local residents rebelled
and, supported by local Ramblers, won an appeal to the
Planning Inspectorate to keep it open.
Our book of
Ten Favourite Walks in the Kent Countryside has
routes for ten more walks like this one.
Ramblers' volunteers in Kent work tirelessly to
ensure that our paths are as well protected and
maintained as possible. Of course we also organise
led walks but most of our members are independent
walkers who simply want to support our footpath work.
join us and become a supporter too. You need
us and we really need you.
Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright
and database rights 2017. Some paths on map are based
on data provided by Kent County Council but do not
constitute legal evidence of the line of a right of way