Due to the weather and increased number of visitors in this area footpaths are extremely muddy and may be impassable. Please do not travel to use these footpaths, stay local and explore close to home.

Shipbourne walk – as pretty as a picture

Explore Kent
Created by
Explore Kent
In partnership with
Kent Downs AONB
  • Parking

This stroll through the countryside surrounding Plaxtol will take in views of Ightham Mote, a fine example of a moated medieval manor house.

From the woodland surrounding High Beeches you’ll encounter excellent views across the landscape.

Plaxtol village features plenty of traditional cottages from the 14th and 15th centuries at the heart of the village. A small Roman corridor villa with a bath house was discovered in the south east of the village in the 19th century and excavations revealed a bronze statuette of Minerva.

The return to Shipbourne highlights more views across mature woodland and towards the magnificent 17th century Fairlawne Estate.

The gardens of this picture-perfect place surround the medieval moated manor house and, like the house, they reflect the ideas and period of successive owners. Stable Courtyard has a formal lawn with enchanting cottage-style flower borders and the Enclosed Garden is filled with roses, geraniums, lilies, agapanthus and anemones. The terraced walk near the “bowling green” lawn boasts a fine mixed herbaceous border providing a colourful display in summer. The Cutting Garden provides colour and scent as well as flowers for the house and the Orchard is filled with old apple varieties.  They are on the site of two kitchen gardens, thought to be in use since medieval or Tudor times. Grassy terraces lead to the lovely other areas with informal lawns and specimen trees where you can picnic or take a stroll around the lake and discover other delights such as the Stumpery and the natural play area.

There are also 3 waymarked trails that explore the Ightham Mote Estate itself – these walks cater for varying abilities and include an easy access trail.  All the walks begin at the car park in Ightham Mote – look out for the walk sign posts near the visitors entrance.

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