Walk of the month: Saltwood stroll
PUBLISHED: 10:21 27 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:26 27 May 2013
This pleasant stroll leads you through tranquil Willow Wood and along peaceful lanes towards historic Saltwood and its castle.
Enjoy ambling through the countryside of this picturesque area and the beautiful Brockhill Country Park, a great destination for a family day out.
You start from the visitor centre then cross the car park and turn left to follow the waymarker along a grassy path to the exit of the park. Turn left and continue along the pavement, before crossing the road to follow the Saxon Shore Way.
Cross a small bridge and continue uphill until you reach a glade. Turn left and follow a path through Willow Wood and bear right to continue along the sunken footpath.
This woodland was once an integral part of salt production in the area when it was burned to help the evaporation of water from saltpans along the seashore. When you get to the orchard on your right, turn left to continue along the Saxon Shore Way up a slight incline. As you reach a junction with a track, turn left towards another junction with Hayne Barn on your left.
From here, continue right along a lane before turning right and following an enclosed woodland path. Your trail will soon emerge into a field; continue straight ahead along the back of a row of gardens.
From this vantage point you will be able to make out glorious views of Saltwood’s fine church and castle to your left. The church was built in the 12th century and dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Having turned left, pass the church and continue your trail into the heart of Saltwood. The tranquil village before you had a rather more disrupted past.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the residents were disturbed by earthquakes, which caused great damage to both the village and the nearby castle, which is well worth stopping for to admire from afar.
The private castle holds a place in the Domesday Book, which records the castle as having been held by the Archbishop of Canterbury and let to Hugo de Montfort. De Montfort is known to have fought William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The castle has also been cited as the rest stop of four famed knights in 1170. Having stayed at Saltwood, the visitors continued their ride to Canterbury to carry out the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket.
Having enjoyed glimpses of Saltwood’s rich history, continue past the village green and turn right up a short incline before crossing a road opposite a newsagents to walk along the pavement. You will soon return to the entrance of the Brockhill Country Park, where you can rest beside the lake. Now a site of Nature Conservation Interest, the park was once part of the estate of a Norman manor.
FIND OUT MORE
To find out about other walks in Kent or for information on cycling, riding and country parks, visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent and follow @explorekent on Twitter.