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The walk starts at Dene Park and leads through light woodland and well-kept farms, before passing near Fairlawne, which was once owned by Edward Cazalet – a merchant and industrialist. The magnificent house, which has suffered several fires during its long history, has been restored and extended many times.
In the early 17th century, Fairlawne was owned by Henry Fane, who was knighted in 1620. Sir Henry became increasingly disillusioned with royalty – a sentiment which also influenced his son, who took over the great house and supported the parliamentarian cause during the Civil War. He was executed as a traitor.
The well-marked route leads on to take you via Shipbourne common, a large open space at the centre of this peaceful village, through the churchyard of St Giles and back to Dene Park.
An award-winning farmers’ market with fine local produce is held at St Giles each Thursday morning. Stallholders pay a fee which is donated to charity. The church was built in 1880 by Edward Cazalet
Step by step guide
From the car park, follow path through woodland, running alongside road. Upon reaching the end of the path beware of traffic - cross road to follow path over stile.
At the path junction, bear left into the woods. After a short distance the path comes out into a narrow clearing - follow path ahead along field boundary.
On reaching a field, follow signposting and turn left along field boundary for around 100m before bearing right to cross field to stile in the treeline.
Continue straight across another field crossing over footbridge, bearing left to go under electricity pylons heading towards road (Hamptons Road).
Beware of traffic. Cross over stile and turn left to follow road. Just before the first house on the right, turn right into track and follow the path straight ahead.
(At this point, if you want to detour to the Kentish Rifleman pub, follow the path straight on, not over the stile). Along the path, cross stile on the left to head over to another stile by the road (Dunk's Green Road). Beware of traffic, cross road, travel up a short flight of steps and go through kissing gate to enter into a field. Follow ahead alongside boundary and over a stile built over a stone, into another field.
Follow path diagonally across field towards woodland. Follow path through woods. When you reach a gate, cross over a stile into field. Follow path to road (School Lane).
Beware of traffic. Cross road and head down surfaced track past Fairlawn House. Keep following the path downhill, over a stream and continue uphill towards houses.
Follow path through kissing gate, between houses to come out onto a road (Upper Green Road). Turn right to follow road across Shipbourne Common, heading for church.
Beware of traffic. Cross road and go through churchyard to kissing gate. Bear left to follow path across field.
After crossing a ditch turn left to head towards corner of trees ahead. Follow path ahead with woodland edge on your right. Head across field towards road (Hildenborough Road).
Cross bridge out of field and turn right to head alongside road. Look out on the left for a gap in the hedge just before a telegraph pole.
Go through gap in hedge and follow path between fencing. Upon reaching a junction, bear left to follow between more fencing towards woodland. Follow path as it winds through woodland, passing across small bridge near ponds.
Come out of woods and turn left along track emerging into a lay-by. Turn right to head up the lay-by to a main road. Just before reaching the road turn left to go though a gap. Beware of traffic, cross road to path on other side.
On reaching a pond on the right turn right to follow the path uphill for some distance. When the path meets a surfaced track, bear left to continue ahead.
Just after a left hand bend in the track, take the path that follows a field boundary on the right. This path takes you back to the car park where you started.