The walk takes you through typical 'Garden of Kent' orchards, across a centuries-old farm and past historic landmarks and former WWI inland defences.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Walk starts to the end of Orchard Drive.
(D) Turn left then right onto the footpath ZR62. Follow the footpath through the orchards. Walk through the large gap in the hedge then dog-leg right and left following the yellow footpath marker. At the narrow gap, take the short, steep slope into the next orchard. Go straight over the open grassed area and into the next orchard.
(1) At the line of trees ahead, turn left. Continue towards the metal barn as the line of trees changes from the right-hand side to the left-hand side. Before the metal barn, take the footpath on the left that crosses the field diagonally. At the round metal structure, turn right. Follow the hedgerow around the outside of the orchard. About halfway along the second side of the hedgerow, look out for the partially concealed yellow footpath marker. Follow it through the gap and turn left to walk around the outside of the grassed area.
(2) Go through the gate into Wormdale Hill and continue straight ahead, ignoring the turning into Bull Lane.
(3) At Wormdale Farm, take byway ZR64 on the left. Pass through three gates then cross the stile onto footpath ZR72 on the right. Keep the brick wall on your right until you see the footpath marker pointing diagonally left. Go through the gate and continue across the field. Cross the stile onto Sittingbourne and Milton Regis Golf Club and follow the footpath between the wider gaps between trees. Head for the small hut by the tee opposite, the route is indicated by yellow marks on the trees. DO NOT CROSS THE FAIRWAYS UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE GOLFERS. Go to the left of the tee. A mown area marks the entrance to the footpath.
(4) At the t-junction turn left onto ZR72A and then left again onto byway ZR66. As the footpath emerges from the undergrowth, take the left-hand fork. Continue up the hill. At the brow of the hill, you can take a short detour along the small track to Monkey Island. If you do, return by this same track. Otherwise, continue straight ahead to Cranbrook Wood.
(5) At the wood, turn left onto byway ZR65. Continue straight until you reach Callaways Lane. Your walk ends here.(A)
D : mi 0 - alt. 141ft - Orchard Drive
1 : mi 0.47 - alt. 151ft - Line of trees
2 : mi 0.83 - alt. 184ft - Wormdale Road
3 : mi 1.16 - alt. 200ft - Wormdale Farm
4 : mi 1.6 - alt. 141ft - T-junction
5 : mi 2.11 - alt. 207ft - Cranbrook Wood
A : mi 2.69 - alt. 148ft - Callaways Lane
There are no toilet facilities or water points on the route.
There is one short section of road walking. Take care, walk on the right and keep dogs and children close.
Directions given are advisory. You are responsible for your safety at all times.
All historic information is taken from Newington Times Past and Newington Street and Place Names by Thelma Dudley.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Fruit-growing has been a vital part of Newington's economy for centuries as orchards thrive on the loam and brick earth soil. Cherries were originally the main crop - there's even a cherry called the Newington Late Black. As these orchards demonstrate, apples, pears and plums are now more popular.
Fruit-growing brought other industries to Newington. The railway station was built here so that farmers could get their produce to London and the coast quickly and efficiently. Basket-making, using the osier willows that thrived in the marshy area north of the village, was a necessary craft to provide baskets for picking and transporting the fruit.
The names of roads in Newington are evidence of how many orchards have been lost. Orchard Drive, Pear Tree Walk and Bramley Close all remind us why St Mary's church was once known as The Church Among the Orchards and why there was an annual Blessing of the Blossom.
Note the smaller fruit among the apples. These are crab-apples and planted in orchards because they are excellent pollinators.
The lines of trees between orchards contain a variety of species:
When walking along ungrassed footpaths, watch out for tiny holes in the ground that may be the home of solitary bees. As the name suggests, they don't live in hives but create small burrows for nesting.
As you pass through the gate onto Wormdale Hill, note the magnificent weeping willow on your left and a small pond. The south part of Newington was once full of small ponds and streams (see Cranbrook Wood below)
Wormdale Farm has been in the same family - the Ledgers - for more than a century. However, it goes back much further than that, to the 14th century, when it was part of Borden Manor Estate owned by Richard de Wornedale. The round oast is testimony to the extensive hop-growing in this area during the 19th and 20th centuries. Also note the bricked up windows which happened when a window tax was introduced in 1696!
Monkey Island is a sandy area that indicates it was once below sea level. It may have risen up to its current level 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. The name suggests that the area may once have housed a monastery. The sand is an important natural resource and this area has been quarried. The area is bright with gorse in spring and early summer and heather in late summer and autumn.
Cranbrook Wood is full of sweet chestnut trees and is regularly coppiced (individual trunks cut out) as part of good woodland management. Look at the base of trees along the footpath to see where older trunks have been removed. In winter, when the undergrowth has died back, it's possible to see the remains of trenches dug around Newington as part of the inland defences during WWI. In spring, the wood is full of delicately-scented bluebells. The name Cranbrook may come from the large birds, called cranes, that were once common around ponds and shallow rivers of which there were several in this area.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.