Autumn walks in Kent
PUBLISHED: 12:16 21 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:42 21 September 2014
Kent Life suggests six of the best spots in the Garden of England for a walk on a crisp, misty autumn day
Sutton Valence, nr Maidstone
Stroll through the picturesque fields and along the quiet lanes around the village of Sutton Valence, and you will pass orchards and oast houses. There is a 6k (3.5m) circular walk that starts at the village church – go to theaa.com/walks for a map.
If you fancy a longer walk, go to the Explore Kent website (kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community) for a 8.3k (5.2m) circular that encompasses the Greensand Way and the nearby villages of East Sutton and Ulcombe, and passes the ruins of Sutton Valence Castle.
REFUEL: Sutton Valence has three pubs, including The Queen’s Head (queens-head.net, 01622 843225, ME17 3AG), which serves sandwiches, burgers and traditional pub food, such as scampi; they also have a children’s play area with chickens.
Further information: kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community
Knole Park, Sevenoaks
Do a circular stroll around the 1,000 acres of this medieval deer park, once used as a hunting ground by Henry VIII.
In October, its ancient oak and chestnut trees glow bronze in the low light and the 500-strong herd of fallow and sika deer can be seen rutting. See the Knole website for different walk routes, which start at the National Trust Car Park by the main gate (TN15 0RP).
There are several other gates into the park and if you decide to do a simple circuit around the edge of the park, be prepared to walk 10k (6m). After your walk, you could explore the house, which is open until November.
REFUEL: There is a temporary outdoor café at Knole (while the main café is refurbished), serving snacks and light lunches; otherwise head to the White Hart pub (brunningandprice.co.uk/whitehart, 01732 452022, TN13 1SG), on the south-west edge of the park, for tasty, traditional pub food.
Further information: nationaltrust.org.uk/knole, 01732 462100
Penshurst Place, nr Tonbridge
Walk around the ancient parkland of Penshurst Place (TN11 8DG), following one of the walking trails: either the Parkland trail or the Riverside Walk. Both lead you through the most scenic parts of the estate in its bronze-tinted autumn splendour.
You can also of course walk around the 50-acre gardens and grounds that surround the house and are divided into ‘rooms’ by yew hedging.
The 14th-century manor house and gardens are open until November and the parkland is open all year to cyclists and walkers.
REFUEL: Eat at Penshurst Place in the Porcupine Pantry, which serves light refreshments, or the Garden Restaurant, which offers hot and cold lunches. Alternatively head to The Spotted Dog in Penshurst (spotteddogpub.co.uk, 01892 870253, TN11 8EP), which serves tasty, traditional English food.
Further information: penshurstplace.com, 01892 870307