Kent Ramblers Walk 73



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Elham Valley

Distance:     10.4 miles (5 Hours) circular or two five mile walks using the bus

OS Map:      Explorer 138 (Start at grid reference  TR177438)

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Expect fairly steep hills and some mud even in dry weather and be prepared for numerous stiles

This 10 mile walk can easily be broken into two halves by taking bus 17 back to the start (or take a bus to the start point and walk back). Bus times are posted on bus stops in Elham and go about every hour weekdays.

Park in Elham as close as you can to the church at Elham Square.

Alternatively park at Breach Down lay-by and start the walk from there.

Refreshments: Pubs and restaurants in Elham

Elham to Breach Down 5 miles (allow 2¼ hours)

1 Leave Elham Square on St Mary’s Rd and turn R (North) to pass The Rose and Crown. After the last house on the L, on the corner of Park Lane (!) go through the kissing gate and diagonally across the field to the far corner. Go up the road opposite (NE) signed towards Elham Cricket Club. After 50 yards take a stile on the L and in the field walk up the steep hill. As you pause to catch your breath at the top, turn to admire magnificent views of Elham.

2 In the field corner cross a stile into a lane and turn L. Follow this lane for 0.6mls; past Park Gate, going R at the road fork, through an avenue of trees and as the road bends R go straight ahead (N) through a gate and across a field. The path enters Madam’s Wood at a stile. Follow the track keeping the fence on your R before going L down steps and onto a lane. Turn R.

3 At the T-junction go L and after 25 yards over a stile on the R. Take the path diagonally R uphill. Skirt the wood, then go through it and over stiles into a field. Aim straight on towards the brow of the hill and ahead to another stile. Turn R, parallel to a hedge, then past a garden and house and onto a road. Turn L, pass Charcoal Farm and follow the road (NE) for 350yds to a T-junction. To your L is the start of a delightful path passing ahead through two lines of trees into Covert Wood.

4 After 1/3 mile where footpaths cross turn R and walk ahead (E) through the wood. After 300yds ignore the bridleway on R and as you begin to turn L turn R on a narrower path to continue in your former direction (E). When a broader track crosses your path turn R (S) onto it (avoid descending a narrow sunken path). At a lane turn R (S) along the Elham Valley Way.  After ¼ml turn L (find EVW sign) onto a track past Red Oak Cottage. The track turns L; after a house, continue straight ahead (NE) leaving the EVW on a footpath over a field to a stile to cross a corner of a wood.

5 Continue in the same direction (NE) across a field, through a gate, downhill then half R to a footbridge. Then go ½ L (NE) to the top corner of the field and cross the road to Breach Down Lay-by 6.

Breach Downs to Elham 5 miles. (allow 2¼ hours)

6 From the S end of the lay-by go through the field gate and take the bridleway ½ L diagonally up the field and through the wood heading S for 1¼ ml; where the main path curves L, yours turns R, downhill, where a stone marker shows the footpath. Steps lead to the valley floor.

7 Go up the other side, first between 2 fences, then keep a fence to your L and go up through trees where you can sit on the second stile to get your breath back. Go half L over the hill brow to a stile, across the corner of a field, stiles on both sides of a track, another field, steps down and continue in this direction (W) across more fields, through a small wood and down to a minor road.

8 Turn L uphill and pass lovely Ivy Cottage. After 1/3 mile on this road, take a footpath to the R, uphill through a gate and ahead to perhaps the best views of the Elham valley. The path goes L along the valley rim - see Elham Church some distance ahead. After a gateway the paths descend; take the higher way keeping almost parallel to a fence on the L. Follow the fence sharp L and soon go over it at a stile. Cross a field (E) to reach the road at Oxroad Farm.

9 Turn R and follow the lane roughly SW for ½ mile ignoring lanes to L and R.  Pass Little Oxroad Farm on R and a line of larch trees on the L. 50 yds after them take a footpath through a gate on the L. Cross the field, half R after a stile and then over 2 roads and 4 stiles in short succession.

10 Follow the fence and see more valley views then go ½ R to a stile in the field corner. As you head downhill, fence and path turn sharp R to head towards a line of poplar trees. When you reach them turn L, then in 50 yds go R over a stream and ½ L aiming for the church. A lane leads to the village square.

This walk was originally published on a calendar produced by White Cliffs Group.  Thanks to Andrew Boultbee for originally devising this route, for the bottom photograph and for the idea.  Thanks to Diana Backwell for checking the route.

Points of Interest

Elham Church


A fine view


Pubs and restaurants in Elham.

Elham Valley Way

Read more about this walk here.

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

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Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2020.  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