Kent Ramblers: Walk 36



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Path Problems

Four Elms and Bough Beech Reservoir

Distance:   5.2 Miles (2h 30m)

OS Map:   Explorer 147 (Start at grid reference TQ470481)

Click map to enlarge and click again to enlarge further

Park in lay-by opposite church.

Walk past school and house on left and take footpath on left between fence and stream then along right hand side of field to Five Fields Lane.

Take tarred path opposite.  After gate and stile (lift top bar to pass), bear right across field around one stile and on to climb next stile (several metres to left of field gate).  Follow left hand edge of field and at corner climb another stile.

Turn sharp left along path between fence and hedge.  Climb stile and cross bottom of field (field on left, fence on right) then at first bend go over stile and footbridge on right.  Turn left uphill to Five Fields Lane.

Turn right past Owls Court and Syliards Farm to T-junction with How Green Lane.  Take the path opposite (stile/gap by gate marked Oak Farm) down left hand side of field to stream at bottom.  Take path immediately to left of field gate climbing between fences to gate.  Through gate bear right to line of trees then bear left along path through trees to gate into lane.  Go straight forward along lane.

When lane bends right, go through gap by a gate on left and then through gate in corner of hedge.  Cross left hand edge of field and go through gate.  Cross left hand edge of another field.  At corner turn right downhill along broad track along edge of field with strip of woodland on left.  Look across field to your right to note Marlpit Wood – see Points of Interest.

Keep going straight forward for as long as you can until you are in corner of field.  Go through gate on left, then turn sharp right and cross footbridge into next field.  Cross field diagonally; gate is to left of far corner.  Through gate turn right along field edge.  On reaching pedestrian gate in hedge on right, go through and turn left with hedge now on left, until you reach lane.

Turn right and then take footpath on left just past pair of houses (Lakefield Farmhouse).  Follow path down side of one house and then along backs of both.  When path emerges into field, follow line of electricity wires and poles to corner of wood, then bear half right downhill to kissing gate.  Turn left with view of reservoir on right.  Follow path round wood.  On emerging from wood, go straight across field, through young oak woodland and down right hand edge of next field to corner by oast house that formerly housed Kent Wildlife Trust visitor centre (see Points of Interest).  Don’t go through gate but turn left uphill along right hand edge of field and take left gate at junction of paths.  Continue along path then track to road at Piggotts Cottage.

Take the path opposite between hedge and fence.  Follow this path to bottom of valley, then up other side.  When you reach two gates, path is a little hard to find.  Don’t go through either gate but take path on right between hedge and fence until it emerges into field.  Bear left towards far left corner of field but climb stile a few metres before you get there.  Follow the path down to road (B2042).

Join road at corner.  Take care!  Turn left and follow road round corner, first gently downhill, then gently uphill to squeeze stile on left after 350 metres.  Cross short section of woodland by pond to gate and cross next field diagonally, going through gap in hedge just to left of corner (between two large oaks).  Continue in same direction (aiming for electricity poles) to gate, cross Roodlands Lane and take path opposite.

Go down edge of field with wood on right.  When you get to end of wood, the path is supposed to turn sharp left into middle of field and then turn 45 degrees right and cross to stile at left hand end of hedge.  However, there is no obvious path on the ground and you may prefer to follow clear path round edge of field until you reach same stile at bottom – this is route shown on map.  Over stile, cross two fields diagonally and cross right hand edges of two more fields to road.  Turn left back to starting point.


Points of Interest

St Paul's Church

Built in the 1880s and designed by Edwin Thomas Hall (who designed Liberty’s in Regent Street), St Paul’s may be the oldest concrete church in England.  The fine interior contains work by William Lethaby and others in the Arts and Crafts movement.

Furnace House

This Grade II listed timber framed house was built in the late 16th or early 17th century and the roof later remodelled to create a greater overhang.  The name suggests that the house was built by the owner or manager of a furnace during the heyday of the Wealden iron industry and is indeed very close to two furnaces believed to have been operating around 1589, probably by Thomas Browne whose family was very prominent in the industry.

Marlpit Wood

There are many references to marl pits on maps of Kent.  Marl is a rock layer consisting of a mixture of clay and chalk.  It has been excavated since Roman times as a fertiliser – the name is derived from a Latin word for fertiliser.  A marl layer is often found in association with ironstone – hence Furnace House Farm not far from the wood.

Bough Beech

For many years the area you pass through alongside the reservoir was managed as a nature reserve by Kent Wildlife Trust with a visitor centre at the oast house.

Sadly the visitor centre was closed at the end of 2017 and at the time of writing the Trust appears to have withdrawn completely from the site which is owned by Sutton and East Surrey Water.  There is parking on the lane where it divides the reservoir and it is rare not to see birdwatchers here with their binoculars and zoom lenses. The reservoir itself is filled in winter by pumping water from the River Eden for purification and use by SES Water during the drier summer months.

White "Stiles"

You will see a series of white structures that look a little like stiles but no path goes over them.  These follow the route of a pipeline and are presumably to enable the route to be followed from the air.

Public Transport

Unfortunately there are no bus or rail services convenient for this walk.

In addition to the walking routes on our web site we have published three popular walking guides:

Guide to Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk and other walks in the area

Guide to the Kent Coast Path: Part 1, Camber to Ramsgate

Guide to Three River Valley Walks in West Kent: Darent Valley Path, Eden Valley Walk and Medway Valley Walk

Please report any problems with this walk to

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.  Please 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 2021.  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