Walk of the month: Weald of Kent
PUBLISHED: 07:57 29 November 2013 | UPDATED: 07:57 29 November 2013
Take a winter wander from the capital of the Weald to the village of Sissinghurst
Location: Cranbrook (TN17 3DR)
Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km)
Time: Allow 2 hours
OS Explorer Map: 136
Terrain: Field paths
Parking: Free parking is available opposite the Crown Pub on the High Street. Signposted by Co-op car park
Refreshments and facilities: Shops and pubs in Cranbrook
Public transport: For local bus and train services in Kent, contact Traveline 0870 6082608, www.traveline.org.uk
Wrap up warm and explore festive Cranbrook town, brimming with independent shops and cosy restaurants. Stride across this stunning landscape and on towards the beautiful gardens at Sissinghurst.
From the bustling streets of Cranbrook, overlooked by the historic mill, your route will take you from the welcoming White Horse Inn and past St Dunstan’s Church, the Cathedral of the Weald and a reminder of the area’s booming cloth industry of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Walking across the sports field and over the road, turn right to follow the High Weald Landscape Trail and continue across open fields, taking care along the road.
From the road you’ll soon reach the refreshing peace of rolling fields and tranquil woodland. From the enclosed woodland, continue across the fields and after a short climb, turn right and head towards the village of Sissinghurst and the grand Sissinghurst castle.
Along your way to the village, look out for striking views across the landscape. Vita Sackville West’s masterpiece lies ahead. Transformed by the legendary poet and writer in the 1930s, the National Trust conserved gardens are some of the most celebrated in the world.
Views across the fields, orchards and hop gardens stretch out ahead as you make your way across the fields from Sissinghurst. As Cranbrook’s textiles industry started to dwindle, so the agricultural industry flourished, moving away from the town’s heritage to become a market town.
Crossing through the woodland, the Great Swifts Estate lies on your right. This grand manor has seen owners such as the Cranbrook Hatter, Robert Tooth and has entertained the likes of Anthony Eden and the Free Polish General Sikorski. The cottage in the grounds was even host to Elizabeth Taylor as a child.
Cross over the fields and head back towards the church and the town of Cranbrook. Delve through the many independent shops or wander through the Saturday morning farmer’s market. After your rewarding walk, you may prefer to just relax and warm up in one of the many cafés and restaurants.
FIND OUT MORE
To find out about other walks in Kent or for information on cycling, riding and country parks in Kent, visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent. Follow @explorekent on Twitter.