CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe for £25 today CLICK HERE

Syndale Valley Walk

PUBLISHED: 13:07 13 December 2015 | UPDATED: 13:07 13 December 2015

The Plough at Stalisfield Green is on the route

The Plough at Stalisfield Green is on the route

Manu Palomeque

Set in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, explore the land where Pimms was born, where a 2,000 year old yew tree stands and sample some of Kent's best produce along the way, on this truly foodie walk.

Location: Newham – ME9 0LL

Distance: 11 miles (17.7 km)

Time: 4.5 hours

OS Explorer Map: 149

Terrain: Country lanes and woodland tracks.

Among the unspoilt and picturesque scenery, the Syndale Valley’s farming, food and rural traditions are the cornerstones of community life. Running through the mid Kent Downs the chalk valley remains one of the few timeless landscapes in this busy corner of Kent.

Not without its own share of historic highlights and notoriety, your walk begins in the ancient settlement of Newnham, occupied since at least the 12th century. James Pimm – creator of one of Britain’s best-loved summer drinks Pimms, was born here. The Revd. Granville Wheler proved the existence of electric current in 1725 at Otterden Place – just one of the grand homes that pepper your path as you make your way through ancient woods, working farmland and historic grazing pastures.

Many of the woods on your route are still hunted by wildfowlers who sell their game to local butchers and restaurants, while others support the rural craft of coppicing - common in this area.

Traditional coppicing of sweet chestnut shoots for fence stakes extends the life of the trees and floods the woodland floor with light in spring and summer, promoting an abundance of flowers and food for wildlife. As you pass back into sweeping open fields you may see kestrels and other birds of prey.

The village of Eastling then comes into view. Its pub, renowned for serving local produce and a centre for village life, used to host celebrations at the end of another ancient tradition, the St Andrew’s Day squirrel hunt. You will also pass the village church of St Mary’s with its massive yew tree, not only older than the church, but older than Christianity itself, having lived for more than 2,000 years.

The tower of the medieval church is thought to pre-date the Norman Conquest. The most fertile parts of this area are put to work producing cereals, while many hundreds of acres remain undisturbed woodland – home to badgers, blue jays and other wildlife.

The next stretch of agricultural land brings you to Derbies Court, where the 16th- century manor house is part of a working farm. Then it’s on to Stalisfield Green and its picturesque pub. The Plough is a 15thcentury Wealden Hall house that provides a fantastic place to enjoy food from the area, an open fire in winter and fine views in summer. If you decide to call at Otterden Place, cross the cattle grid and go through the gate next to the clock tower. Otherwise, walk on to Snoad Farm, with its free-range pigs and chicken. The Murrays, who farm here, sell excellent meat reared on the farm. Then make your way into the village of Doddington, where you will find SW Doughty’s, a family butcher renowned for selling excellent local meat. The nearby Chequers Inn has awards for its real ale or you might be tempted to visit the tearoom at Doddington Place Gardens. The fragrant woods at Doddington take you back to Newnham and The George Inn, whose impressive menu extends a hearty welcome to weary walkers.

For more information on this walk and for more great ideas on days out in the great Kentish countryside visit www.explorekent.org

More from Out & About

Close to Sevenoaks and with links to not one but two famous leaders, Westerham is a small country town with a big personality

Read more

Let the Trust's series of festive events and activities help you enjoy a stress-free and fun lead-up to the big day

Read more

Join us on a literary journey around the Kent coast to see how it has inspired writers over the centuries

Read more
Monday, November 4, 2019

Barn or castle, golf club or famous public school - the choice is endless for couples looking to tie the knot in Kent

Read more

Bridging the gap between Kent and London, these two neighbours have plenty to offer visitors

Read more
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Our county has lent its name to a number of different items and places that are now recognised across the world and linked to Kent. Here are some that might surprise you

Read more

They're very different but just a couple of miles apart. Let's look at the ancient medieval market town of West Malling and the cutting edge community of Kings Hill

Read more
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Unveiled at the Turner Contemporary on 10th October, the new note will match the polymer £10 and £5 notes

Read more
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Being so rich in history, it is hardly surprising that Kent is also a hub for hauntings and ghostly activity. We have gathered 9 of the spookiest locations in Kent to visit if you dare!

Read more

This rural town in the heart of the Weald with a surprising maritime past is famed for its local food and drink and the traditional Kentish experience it offers

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life