6 top Kent walks
PUBLISHED: 15:41 18 December 2015 | UPDATED: 15:41 18 December 2015
Kent Life suggests six of the best dog-friendly pubs in Kent to enjoy a bite to eat after a scenic stroll.
The Plough Inn, Stalisfield
Location: ME13 0HY. Two miles off the A20, near Charing village, between Faversham, Maidstone, Canterbury and Ashford.
The walk: Situated high up on the North Downs, there are many walk options from (or passing) the pub. Go to fancyfreewalks.org/Kent/Charing.pdf for a 6.5m (10.5k) route encompassing the wood and meadows around Charing and Stalisfield, which will take around three hours. If you’re feeling fit, there are longer walk options of 8.6m (13.8k) and 11m (17.5k) , go to faversham.org/visit_faversham to download the Syndale Valley Walk.
The pub: The Plough is a country pub offering traditional food made with locally sourced ingredients. Cosy up next to the open fire and enjoy a light lunch of soup and sandwiches or something heartier (such as fish and chips or a Sunday roast). The pub offers many seasonal specialities, including Kentish cobnut ice cream and blackberry Queen of Puddings. There is a children’s menu and dogs on leads are welcome in the pub.
For further info: 01795 890256, theploughinnstalisfield.co.uk
The Three Chimneys, Biddenden
Location: TN27 8LW. Biddenden village is 4 miles off the A229, just past Sissinghurst, west of Ashford and east of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
The walk: Enjoy a stroll around the nearby Sissinghurst Castle Garden Estate or Bedgebury Pinetum (bedgeburypinetum.org.uk) before driving to the pub. Alternatively, loop the pub into a circular walk around the Sissinghurst Estate – there is a 5.5m (8.8k) stroll at kentramblers.org.uk and a 3m (4.8k) walk at nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle – detour off both routes at Bettenham Manor, following Digdog Lane east for 0.8m (1.3k) to the pub (where the road forks, bear right, walking southeast).
The pub: The Three Chimneys is a 15th-century pub offering top-notch dining. The menu isn’t cheap but it’s worth splashing out, as the food (traditional English with a modern twist) is unfailingly excellent. Walkers in waterproofs and boots, with dogs in tow, are very welcome to eat in the bar area, where they can warm up beside the log fire and enjoy anything from the restaurant menu. Don’t miss the Sticky Toffee Pudding!
For further info: 01580 291472, thethreechimneys.co.uk
The Nevill Bull, Birling
Location: ME19 5JW. Birling is just off the M20, northwest of Maidstone.
The walk: Located at the foot of the Downs, just off the North Downs Way, there are many great walks from (or passing) the pub. For an easy 4.5m (7.2k) circular stroll, which takes in many ancient sites of interest, go to birlingpc.kentparishes.gov.uk to find the route and map for the Birling Community Heritage Trail; this lovely walk runs under the North Downs escarpment, along the ancient Pilgrims’ Way (along which pilgrims once journeyed from Winchester to Canterbury), passes All Saints church (parts of which date back to the 13th century) and encompasses the mysterious 3,000-year old Coldrum Long Barrow. Look out for buzzards soaring the skies.
The pub: Cosy up with pooch beside the log fire and enjoy the colourful surrounds of this quirky pub. The Sunday roasts are very good or choose from light lunches (such as a Croque Monsieur) or heartier fare (such as Chicken Pie).
For further info: 01732 843193, nevillbull.co.uk
Wheatsheaf, Bough Beech
Location: TN8 7NU. Bough Beech is a few miles off the A21, west of Tonbridge and east of Edenbridge.
The walk: Enjoy a 6m (10k) circular stroll around Bough Beech reservoir, which begins at the pub and encompasses the Bough Beech Visitor Centre at Winkhurst Green. Find the staged route and map on the pub website. The reservoir nature reserve is a great place to see birds in winter – look out for kingfishers, herons, nuthatches, woodpeckers and shovelers.
The pub: Situated close to some nice walks and not far from Hever Castle and Chartwell, the Wheatsheaf is in a great location. This 14th-century pub, which was once Henry V’s hunting lodge, offers an à la carte and a fixed menu, both of which have vegetarian options, and a children’s menu. Make sure you leave room for the delicious desserts! Dogs are welcome in the downstairs eating area, where you can choose from any of the menus.
For further info: 01732 700100, wheatsheafboughbeech.co.uk
AN HISTORIC STROLL
The Dove, Dargate
Location: ME13 9HB. The Dove Inn is off the A299, close to Whitstable, Faversham and Canterbury.
The walk: Enjoy a 5.2m (8.5k) walk (downloadable as ‘Peasants Last Revolt Boughton Walk’ at myfavouritepubwalks.co.uk) that takes in many historical landmarks and paths. Tread upon a Roman road, cross countryside that was once the site of the Peasants’ Last Revolt and through ancient woodland where kings used to hunt.
The pub: This lovely pub welcomes walkers, families and dogs. Sit beside the roaring fire and tuck into delicious dishes, such as sardines on toast, steak pie and mushroom risotto. There is also a menu of snacks and sandwiches if you only want a light lunch.
For further info: 01227 751360, thedovedargate.co.uk
IN HOLY FOOTSTEPS
The Dirty Habit, Hollingbourne
Location: ME17 1UW. Hollingbourne is just off the M20, near Maidstone.
The walk: There are 10 different walk routes detailed on the pub website, varying in length from 1m (2k) to 7m (11.5k). These lovely walks take you along sections of the Pilgrims’ Way, which thousands of devout footsteps trod between the 12th and 16th centuries, travelling from Winchester to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury.
The pub: The Dirty Habit is an excellent pub with a lot of history – dating back to the 11th century and situated upon the Pilgrims’ Way, it was once a stop-off for pilgrims journeying from Winchester to Canterbury; and it’s thought that King James II stayed here. Settle down in the historic interior for delicious hearty food, such a wild boar burger or partridge and mash, followed by apple and pear crumble.
For further info: 01622 880880, elitepubs.com/the_dirtyhabit