Pluckley and Egerton

Description: An easy, well marked walk across fairly flat terrain. Great views over the “Weald of Kent” in places. The walk starts and ends on the Greensand Way, a long distance national path between Haslemere, Surrey and Ham Street, Kent. Part of the walk is along the Stour Valley Walk, another recreational path between Lenham, Kent and Pagwell Bay, near Sandwich, Kent.

Pluckley is supposedly the most haunted village in England, with a dozen or so ghosts! It possesses a fine church, St Nicholas’, which is worthy of a visit – parts of it date back to Norman times.

O/S Ref: TQ926455
Length: 7½ miles
Approximate time: 2¾ hours
Parking: The walk starts from the free car park in the village centre, which shares the same entrance as the Black Horse public house car park. The entrance is on Smarden Road, the main road between Charing and Biddenden. It’s easy to miss!

Refreshments: Pubs in Pluckley and Egerton

The walk

Leave the parking area by a gate on the opposite side to the vehicle entrance and walk through a gap ahead. Go across a narrow meadow, then through another gap into an orchard. After walking along three orchards, go through a gap, to walk along the left side of another. Pass an immaculately kept garden before crossing a track further on. Walk along the left side of another orchard, bearing slightly left at a way-marker, to walk along the right edge of yet another orchard.

Cross a lane to take an enclosed footpath the other side, with a wire fence to the right and a brick wall to the left. Cross a stile and keep in the same direction (not being tempted by a footpath branching off on the right). Cross another two stiles in quick succession to keep along this enclosed section. The path comes out into another orchard after passing a rather rustic wall.

Cross a track into another orchard – look out for a way-mark post to the right, following the arrow on it, to bear left (1). The path weaves through the trees, a larger gap between them signifying the route. There are some glimpses ahead with decent views. Go through a gap into another orchard, still walking between the trees. Go through a gap in the corner, then follow a way-marker to walk diagonally ahead, in a north-east direction. Take the left of two paths at a fork, to walk through an area which is scrub-land at the time of writing. Ahead is a brick church (St. Mary’s, Little Chart). This replaces one damaged by a WWII bomb,  which we’ll pass later

Go through a gap, then turn left onto a road, following it to a corner. Follow a public footpath sign to walk in a north-west direction, soon passing some tennis courts on the left. Keep along the right edge of a field, following the path as it curves left later. Turn right to follow the path at a gap – there’s a wire fence to the right initially.

Walk to the left of some farm buildings, after which the path goes right, then left soon-after. Keep right further along to follow an enclosed path, marked AW108, keeping a wooden fence to the left. The path comes out by the ruins of the old St. Mary’s church. The church was destroyed by a Doodlebug bomb in August 1944 but was never subsequently rebuilt, the newer brick church being built in a more central position. There is an information board near a parking area in front of the ruins if you want to learn more.

Walk from the west end of the church to the border, turn right, then follow the border round to the left, to come to a road, to follow it in a south-west direction. For some while, you can seek refuge from the traffic by keeping on the grassy verge to left of the road, but sooner or later, you’ll need to cross (probably at Chart Court Stables). There is soon a path to the right going off in a north-west direction.

Cross a stile to take this path (2), walking on the right edge of a field. At the far side of this field, go half-left, to walk diagonally across another field to a wooded area. Follow the path into the trees, ascending at first – the path emerges onto a track. Turn right along the track in a north-west direction. The path gently descends after some time, then ascends before coming to a road. Turn right then left, to follow a byway signpost.

After about 150 metres, at a fairly tall way-marker, turn right to walk along the left edge of a field, descending at first. Cross a stile at the bottom, then another stile to the left soon-after. Walk diagonally across the land here to a way-marker. Cross another stile at a fence, turn right then left at the field corner (3).

After some 800 metres, turn left to walk towards a house with white weather boarding on it. Go through a gap, turn right then left almost immediately to walk along an enclosed section, coming out on the left edge of a field. At the far side, there is a path just before the corner. Take this path (cutting the corner), then go through a gap, turning right onto a track. After walking about 200 metres along the track, turn left at a (sometimes hard to see) way-marker (4). Go through a kissing gate to walk in a WSW direction towards another kissing gate.

Cross a path, then go up some steps to another kissing gate. Walk diagoally across part of a property to another gate – follow the same direction to a large public footpath signpost directing you left. Bear left though another kissing gate, then follow a path round the back of some properties, going right through a gate. Turn left the other side of the gate to a lane. Turn right onto this gravel lane, with the church of Egerton directly ahead.

Turn left along The Street directly in front of the church, walking in south-west direction. Pass the George Inn public house and New Road. Turn left where there is a Greensand Way footpath signpost on the opposite side of the road, almost doubling back on a ramp. Follow some way-markers, one being to the right of the road – this directs you to the right of a property with a satellite  dish on it, into an enclosed path. The path descends after a while, then ascends. There are some views to the Weald of Kent to the right.

Turn right along a road when the path emerges onto it. Turn left, to walk to the right of a converted oast house (5). Bear right at the end, to go through a gate with a Greensand Way arrow by it. Walk along a concrete path for a while, using a stile at the end to walk on a pasture, just below the boundary on the left. Some great views to the right here, over the Weald of Kent. Follow the boundary on the left round a couple of corners. Go through a kissing gate ahead, then climb the 13 steps after.

Turn right onto a road, then at a corner, where the road curves right, go through a kissing gate ahead, to follow a Greensand Way marker. Turn left, then through another kissing gate, cross a plank bridge, then make for the right one of two way-markers, crossing a ditch (6). Turn right at the marker, then cross a stile to walk to the right of some meadows – some with stiles between, others with gaps. After the third meadow, turn right through a gate for a few paces, then left through a kissing gate just after, along an enclosed path.

The path soon goes left, then through another kissing gate to cross a plank bridge. Turn half-right to make for another kissing gate. Keep in the same direction after, towards a gate on the far boundary (7). Walk past some buildings, keeping to the left of a large barn. Enter a meadow, keeping to its right side, then go through a gate, keeping a ditch to your right for a short while. Soon, cross to the adjacent field, now with the ditch to your left.

Go through a gate to follow the right edge of a meadow initially, following a way-marker to keep in the same direction across the meadow. From here, you can see the path ahead – go through a succession of gates to come to the corner of the last meadow. If you have some spare time, there are some excellent views from here before the very last part of the walk. There’s a bench here, with “Take a pew, – enjoy the view” [sic] engraved on it!

Go through a gate to the left of the bench, turn right along the right edge of a meadow then go through a gate to the left of a Grand Designs type building. Keep along a road to the main road in Pluckley, turning left onto it. Walk along an elevated pavement, soon turning right to cross the road into the car park, from where this walk originated.

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