Wye, an historic village and a cross roads for two major trekking routes, the North Downs Way one of the country’s national paths and also the Stour Valley Walk which follows the beautiful landscape that the River Stour runs.
Right from the very start the grounds of Wye’s church with flowers bright in the spring sun. The route takes a short journey past allotments and the College grounds and in minutes open countryside and the Downs are showing off the best in the early morning light. Picking up the Stour Valley Walk, heading north east towards the first waypoint, Crundale, through the trees and suddenly out in to spectacular panoramic views across to King’s Wood. Along the rolling elevations, back in to a tree hidden track, the first sight of Bluebells, my favourite of the wild plants. Heading through the green grass track around a freshly ploughed field and past Crundale House, a short sharp accent brings the charming sight of an ancient parish church, also a wonderfully placed bench for a rest and to take in the surroundings.
The path to Godmersham Park switches between county lane and field track through to and past Eggerton Manor. A scenic treat all the way through the peaceful countryside and even though the A28, the main road from Ashford to Canterbury, is near, no road noise spoils the bird song. Upon reaching the A28 crossing, waiting for a safe gap, and venture down the driveway to Godmersham Park. The house on these ground was owned by the Brother of Jane Austin, who based her novel, Pride and Prejudice on the people and picturesque landscape of Godmersham. Crossing the River Stour as it lazily flows to Pegwell Bay, and heading through the park grounds aiming for the climb in to King’s Wood and hopeful of the sight of more Bluebells.
The ancient woodland, King’s Wood is home to many tree species and a highlight, if you are lucky, the sight of Deer freely living in woods. Shaded track welcome in the midday sun, there are many discoveries to be made even on the main route. There is a style that takes you on to the hill above Godmersham Park and amazing views across Kent’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Further along, a magical find of a bench carved from an old tree is hidden just off the path. Then after being treated to a blanket of Bluebells, just before the decent to Boughton Aluph, another bench with stunning sights asks another rest to digest the view. Taking time to discover the many treats in King’s Wood is a great family day out.
The path leads downhill through farmland and past the church at Boughton Aluph and turning back to Wye, soon coming to the second crossing of the A28 leads in to grounds of Perry Court Farm apple orchards. Home to a farm shop and a homemade speciality, Apple Crisps, Perry Court Farm shop has been running for over 50 years now. Passing the farm orchards, a couple more fields takes the route back to roads and into Wye. Across the rail tracks and another crossing over the River Stour, the Tickled Trout pub, with its riverside garden is hard to resist on a warm sunny day and ends the day’s walk.
Every part of this walk proving Kent’s claim as the Garden of England and why this is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.