Today we leave the Pilgrim’s Way and head deep into the beautiful Kent Downs. Here are unspoilt villages, woods, parkland and a lovely church designed by Pugin’s son Edward.
Leaving the Pilgrim’s Way may seem eccentric but we have good reason. This path takes us to Canterbury via Faversham – a charming old town on the Chaucer route and home to the shrine of St Jude. It is also much quieter, being away from the M20.
Augustus Pugin was a leading light in the Gothic Revival, part of the romantic reaction against soul-less industrialisation and the perceived failure of enlightenment ideas in the French Revolution. He saw gothic architecture as christian architecture – an idea that gained such acceptance that even today this style seems the natural one for church buildings. His most famous work was on the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. However, the buildings closest to his heart were his house and the adjacent church of St Augustine’s in Ramsgate. From this spot, near to where St Augustine came ashore in 597, he designed buildings that expressed the beauty and humanity of pre-reformation society.
Directions – 8.5 miles
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“Contains Ordnance Survey data � Crown copyright and database right 2014″
Climb the steps by the farm entrance and follow the footpath past the hostel and across the fields to Coldharbour Lane. Turn left and then right along the footpath beside the pond. Head along the track across the fields and then diagonally to the left across the paddocks to the lane. Turn right along the lane and then take the footpath to the left along the fence then through the wood to Broad Street Hill. Turn left to the entrance to the Woodland Trust Hucking Estate on your right. Enter the Estate and continue until you come to a large clearing with carvings of wild boar. Turn left for 600 yards to the gate. Pass through and follow the fence to the left until a finger post where turn right into the wood. At the top of the rise turn left and follow the path out of the wood and across the meadow to Hucking Church. Turn left along the road and almost immediately right then right again through the copse and across the fields. Almost straight across the road you will see another footpath which heads down to the bottom of a dry valley and Gorham Wood. Turn left through the wood for half a mile and continue straight on across the road. The path passes through a short stretch of wood and then along the side of a field until just before a gate you take the turning up to the right, through a copse and straight ahead across a field to the road.
Immediately opposite is a footpath which cuts across a field to the left to another road at Dean’s Hill. Take the footpath opposite and to the right over the field. Where the footpaths meet head to the right across the fields to the road at Bredgar. On the way you will catch your first glimpse of the Sun Inn. At the road turn left and after 40 yards take the footpath on your right through the houses to the centre of the village. Bredgar Farm shop and cafe is 20 yards to the left opposite the pond. The Sun Inn is 50 yards to the right and St John the Baptist church is opposite and to the right. Continue past the church door and left past the school before taking the footpath to the right across a field straight on to Brexon.
At the road take the lane opposite and follow it to the bottom of the hill at Bottom Pond. Here turn right and take the footpath on the left opposite the lane up across a meadow to the corner of a wood.
Follow the track to the left then round to the right across the paddocks and down to a house. Just past the house there is a footpath on the left which heads across a field to the church of St Mary and Holy Cross Milstead. Head down the lane opposite following the grass verge alongside the orchard round to the left when you meet a lane down to a T junction at Mintching Wood Lane where turn right. Continue straight ahead for almost a mile, through the junction at Bluetown and past a wood on the left to a lane on the left. Take this up to St Catherine’s Church (E W Pugin). From the church go back to the lane for 25 yards then left and take the track on your right after the oast house. This path goes straight across the fields (aim for the end of the high hedge) to another lane which you follow to the right for 300 yards to get to Palace Farm at Doddington.
There is a hostel and campsite at Palace Farm.
A mile and a half down the hill from Thurnham is Bearsted station with hourly services to Maidstone.
The 333 bus runs from Sittingbourne to Maidstone along the A249, one mile from Cold Blow Farm. Alight opposite the Kent Show Ground and take the footpath between the White Horse Country Park and the Shell garage which leads directly to Cold Blow Lane (then turn right for the farm). If travelling from Maidstone alight at Detling and use the bridge to cross the dual carriageway then follow the Camino through Thurnham described in the Aylesford to Cold Blow section.
Bredgar has a farm shop and cafe.
There is a service station with shop in Doddington. Head down the hill from Palace Farm to the Chequers Inn and turn right along the Street for 400 yards.
There is a pub en route at Bredgar (The Sun Inn).