Walk 86: Wingham and Four Watermills
Distance: 7.2 miles (3.5 hours) or 5 miles (2.5
hours) if short cut taken
OS Map: Explorer 150 (Start at grid reference
Park in the public car park in Wingham High Street.
(1) From the car park turn right along the High Street past Wingham Post Office. Continue and cross the road to take Preston Hill on the left. Near the top of the hill take the lane on the left, Wenderton Lane, and follow it to the next junction. Here go left towards the woods and after the sharp bend in the road take a footpath on left along the edge of the wood. Descend to a bridge and cross the Wingham River. Turn left to follow the riverbank (look out for kingfishers) and continue past the large lakes created by gravel extraction. On reaching a fence turn right to a stile on left. Once over it keep to the field edge on the left until you join the lane at the hamlet of Seaton. Take time to look at the watermill to your left and see if you can spot any brown trout in the river. Return to point of joining the lane and take path over stile on left along field edge to re-join lane. Bear left to T-junction and turn left past school into centre of Wickhambreaux. There is a nice seat on the village green in front of the church or you may prefer to visit the Rose Inn.
(2) Leave the village along the road towards Littlebourne; admire the large wooden watermill, now flats, before turning left along Wickham Lane. As you enter Ickham you have a choice:- To complete the 5 mile route, continue on to reach Ickham Church and continue as (4) OR take the lane on the right for the full walk.
When after 100 metres when the lane turns sharp right, continue on along a track until you reach a path coming in from the left and on to a footbridge on your right. Take this path to the footbridge and on to pass to the right of another white, weather boarded watermill (this one is described on old maps as a flour mill whereas all the others on the walk are described as corn mills – what the difference might be is not clear.) Take care on the stepping stones to reach the road. Bear left along the road to find a kissing gate on the right. Pass through the gate to take a path parallel to the road and through horse paddocks to arrive at Littlebourne Church.
(3) Leave the churchyard by the lych gate and turn L along the road to the T junction. Here you could, if feeling weary, follow the road R into the village where there is a regular bus service back to Wingham.
Preferably you will cross the road to take a footpath to a mill pond and another watermill.
As you pass round the brick built mill look out for and take a path to the left towards a large modern house.
(Note: At the time of writing in April 2015 this path crosses a stream where there is no bridge and no possibility of crossing without getting your feet wet. If this is still the case, return to the mill, turn left along a track and at a gate on the left squeeze through gap and follow right hand bank of stream to where the crossing should be. Turn right towards the modern house.)
On reaching the house turn L on the path towards Ickham church. As you approach the houses the path goes diagonally right to converted oasthouses, then via an enclosed path to the road. You are now opposite Ickham Church. The Duke William pub is on your right or there are seats on the village green in front of the church for eating your lunch.
(4) Walk up to the Church, take the path to the right of it and, once in the field behind the church, go diagonally right to a finger post on Baye Lane. Cross over the lane and now follow the path ahead straight to Wingham Church. After the church three more Inns are passed before you arrive back at the car park in the High Street.
This walk was originally published on a calendar produced by White Cliffs Group. Thanks to Richard Blackford for originally devising this route, Rob Riddle for the
top photograph, Diana Blackwell for checking the directions and Andrew Boultbee for the idea. Robert Peel produced the map
and bottom photograph and has updated the directions.