Kent Ramblers Walk 83



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Four Churches Walk: Barham, Womenswold, Bishopsbourne & Kingston

Distance: 7.5 miles (3h 45m)

OS Map: Explorer 138 & 139 (Start at grid reference TR 208500)


Click on map to enlarge and then again to enlarge further.

Start at any of the four churches for a circular walk.  These directions assume you start from Barham.

 One short hill.  Muddy in places after rain.  Park near Barham village green.

 Barham to Womenswold 1.6 miles (allow 50 minutes).

1. From the porch of St John the Baptist in Barham go through the lych-gate and turn right and then right again into Rectory Lane.

At the first bend go straight ahead, past garages and through a kissing gate onto a footpath.  Go ahead keeping fence on right hand side and avenue of lime trees to the left, to a field boundary where straight on across the field to a stile and short steep incline over a stile onto old A2.  Turn right and continue along this road to a T-junction.  Cross road onto pavement and turn left following pavement round to the right to walk up to flyover over A2.

2. After crossing A2 turn right onto a signed bridleway alongside and above the A2.  After 400 yds at finger post turn left onto bridleway through a field and follow track, keeping wooded area on your right.  After 400 yds the track curves right to pass through trees and just beyond this turn left where tracks cross.

 Straight ahead to North Lodge where you turn right and immediately left into Womenswold.  Continue to church on left.

Womenswold to Bishopsbourne 3.2 miles (allow 1˝ hours).   Grid Ref TR227504

3. Facing away from the porch of St Margaret’s turn right, descend steps and proceed on footpath ahead.  This becomes a track which wanders left and right before joining the North Downs Way.  Continue on the North Downs Way for 2.5 miles.  The route is well signposted: it crosses the Aylesham road (cross with care).  About 400 yds beyond the road, watch out for the left turn before a barn and a concealed right hand turn immediately after the first white house.

4. After a further half mile fork left on a distinct path across fields in the general direction of a telephone mast – it is well signed.  Continue along the North Downs Way until you get to Cold Harbour Lane where, on your left, you will see a bridge carrying the A2 over Cold Harbour Lane.  Go under the A2, cross the road, and ahead down the road into Bishopsbourne.

Bishopsbourne to Kingston 1.2 miles (allow 40 minutes).  Grid Ref. TR187526

5. From the lychgate of St Mary’s go ahead along The Street to the village sign for Bishopsbourne on a left hand bend.  Go ahead here on a tarmac bridleway.

 6. After half a mile, on a right hand bend, go ahead through a gate into a field, signed bridleway 274, and continue over a footbridge and through two iron gates along the floor of the valley. At the road turn right and then left behind ‘The Barn’ to take the path to the churchyard.

Kingston to Barham 1.5 miles (allow 45 minutes).   Grid Ref TR198512

7. Facing away from the gate of St Giles’ churchyard into Church Lane, turn right and then almost immediately left along a nearly hidden footpath to a gate.  Go through the gate and diagonally right to a second gate and continue to stile by old railway bridge.  Over stile and turn right, under bridge and past water works.

8. Then turn left along a bridleway (marked also private road to Hearts Delight).

 After 250 yds turn left at cross tracks (blue marker post) to a gate.  Go through gate, over brow of the hill and continue to Valley Road.  Cross (with care) and continue along Out Elmstead Lane to turn right on public footpath just before first cottage.

9. Continue straight ahead through fields to second stile.  Cross the stile and fork left, aiming left of the spire of St John the Baptist, to a stile.  Over stile and on into The Street and turn left, following the road to the church.

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

Places of Interest

Oswalds, a Grade II listed building just north-east of Bishopsbourne church, was from 1918 until his death in 1924 the home of Joseph Conrad.

Here he wrote The Rover and the unfinished Suspense.  

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

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

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 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.