Chartham walk

Explore Kent
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Explore Kent
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A corn mill was recorded on the river at Chartham in the Domesday Book. In the 14th century, the mill was used for fulling for the textile industry. In the mid 18th century, it changed again to play a significant role in the Kent papermaking industry.

The village church, St Mary’s, dates from the mid 13th century. The brass of Sir Robert de Septvans, a crusader knight who died in 1306, is considered to be one of the finest in the country.

The Stour Valley is known for its wildlife and in particular, the populations of grey heron to be seen along its bank. This rural part of East Kent is most famed for its orchards offering fine displays of pink and white blossom in spring.

No Man’s Orchard, on the North Downs Way near Chartham Hatch, features traditional fruit trees which are larger than the more common modern varieties. Blossom and windfall fruit attract wildlife to the grassland.

Nearby Larkey Valley Wood Nature Reserve suffered severe tree damage in the Great Storm of 1987, but the woodland has been regenerating well. The ancient woodland’s wildlife is as rich as ever including badgers, dormice, hawfinches and nightingales. In spring, look out for carpets of wood anemone and violets.

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Step by step guide

  • Starting at St. Mary's Church Chartham, facing the recreation ground, turn right to travel away from the level crossing. Take the surfaced riverside footpath on the left just before the bridge signposted as the Stour Valley Walk. Continue through gate to steps
  • Use steps to cross over track and pass through kissing gate to continue ahead along path.
  • Upon reaching gate at road near bridge, cross over stile onto pavement. Beware road can be busy with lorries. Turn left to follow Stour Valley sign, along pavement across bridge (pavement is fairly narrow).
  • Beware of traffic. Cross over road to take first road on right near car dealership (Howfield Lane). Please note that there is no pavement so be careful walking down this road.
  • Follow waymarked footpath between EK Timber and Newmafruit buildings. Bear left to follow path round rear of buildings.
  • Follow track, through orchard until you reach a road. Upon reaching road, turn left to walk along road passing under railway bridge.
  • Pass road on left and continue ahead following waymarking to stile just off of road to the right. Cross stile into field and continue ahead to stile in corner
  • Cross over stile and go down short slope to road. Beware of traffic. From here, cross over to follow North Downs Way signpost through motorcycle barrier and down surfaced track.
  • Where path divides bear left to follow North Downs Way arrows through woods.
  • Keep left at sign post as the path becomes enclosed by trees on either side.
  • Go through gate at the end of enclosed path and in to No Man's Orchard and turn right. Follow arrows on path, keeping to boundary edge.
  • Follow North Downs Way arrow out of the orchard along enclosed woodland path. Path emerges to run alongside recreation ground. Follow North Downs Way finger post to road.
  • Cross road to follow narrow alleyway on other side signposted as North Downs Way. Come out of alleyway on to pavement and continue ahead to walk down New Town Street. Beware of traffic as you continue along road. Continue past Chapter Arms pub on the right until you come to a footpath signpost on the left.
  • Cross over stile into orchard. Follow track straight ahead through orchard and through gap in treeline. Emerging into a field, bear right to head towards stile.
  • Cross over 2 stiles to go into another field. There are good views of Chartham from here. Follow path bearing left across field, exiting onto road.
  • Beware of traffic. Turn left to follow road over level crossing until you reach junction with the A28. From here take extreme care crossing this road following road signs to Chartham, over another level crossing back to the church where you started.