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Walks and Footpaths

Aerial Image of Upnor Aerial Image of Upnor

We are pleased to have the services of a Footpaths Officer, Anne Roscow who keep us informed about the condition of our local public rights of way.  Along with our Tree Wardens, Mrs Marilyn Campbell, Lindsey Hargreaves and Karen Seymour who survey the condition of trees within the parish, we endeavour to maintain good paths and environment for the enjoyment of all.

One of the most interesting, historic and dramatic walking routes passes through our Parish.  It is the Saxon Shore Way.

Set out below for you are four parish walks to choose from.  They can be easily followed using the directions.  Or try the Walking in Kent web site for other ideas.

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 Big Skies, Big Views and a Big Walk!  by Anne Roscow (Footpath Officer)

Time - 4 hours at a leisurely pace
See a Sketch map

Start at The Royal Oak public house in Cooling Road. Cross over to the MOT station, and go left. The footpath (120) is only about 50 yards away, and has a narrow opening between houses. You will be able to see a concrete footpath marker at the start of it. As we progress along this footpath, on the right is a part of what used to be Temple School's field. On a summer's evening, you might be lucky enough to see a family of fox cubs playing in the field. We then pass allotments on the right. Stop and look back. On a clear day you can see a glimpse of the River Medway. If it is still there you can also see the chimney of Kingsnorth power station. At the end of this footpath continue along a pavement going in the same direction. You will pass a few houses, and a short footpath will take you to Cliffe Road. Cross the road at the crossing. Go right and then almost immediately left to enter King Arthurs Drive. Continue, and take the second right, Lynette Avenue. Those of you who are not familiar with the area may wish to walk to the end of King Arthurs Drive and take a stroll around Broom Hill, before returning to Lynette Avenue.

Walk to the end of Lynette Avenue. You are now on Brompton Farm Road. Cross carefully and head left. Very shortly you come to another footpath (131), on your right, which goes between houses. Go down this path and it very soon opens out into a field. The track across the field should be obvious and is almost in the same direction as the path between the houses. Head towards the hedge. The path continues along the side of this hedge. At each end of the hedge there are old way markers. when you are all the way across the field, it is worth resting and taking a look back at the view. The chimney of Kingsnorth power station can be seen, to your left. You should now be standing at the entrance of a tunnel of trees. Walk through this tunnel. You will come out onto a tarmac road. Turn left. Follow this past a few houses which are on your left. When you get to the last one, look right and you will see a path cutting through a small area of wilderness. This path will take you on to Dillywood Lane. Turn Right and go across the bridge which goes over the Wainscott bypass.

Just over the bridge, on the left is a bridleway. Follow this track. When it gets to a ninety degree bend to the right, you are now walking along our parish boundary. If you look left you can see the obelisk on Telegraph Hill, Higham. Our invisible boundary veers off to the right across the field, but we continue walking up the side of some trees. Stop, and look across the field to see the Sheppey Bridge (on a clear day and between a gap in the far off trees). We come out on to a tarmac drive. Turn left and walk along this drive. I like to stop by the Hillyfield street sign and look down the valley. It is usually possible to pick out the blue tower blocks by the Chatham Dockside Outlet Shopping Centre. You can also see the Sheppey Bridge, Kingsnorth power station chimney, and even cranes at Grain. The valley is lovely, and usually has grazing horses in the meadow.

I suggest you turn left at this junction, but after a few yards look right to see a footpath consisting of of a few steps. Walk up the steps and be amazed! What a view! After admiring the view, come back down the steps, turn left and walk along the road for about a third of a mile. After a bend to the left, there is a footpath sign on the right, next to a rusty gate. Follow this footpath. The end of this footpath returns us to our parish and The Stone Horse pub. Turn left and walk to the end of the lane. Cross the B2000 very carefully, and turn right. Walk along this road for a while. For Dr Who fans, as you walk along this road you will see a small chalky Cliff Face on your left. It is my understanding that a 1972 episode called The Mutants was filmed here, when John Pertwee was Dr Who.

Before you get to the bypass bridge, there is a footpath (118) on the left. It is opposite the slip road from the bypass. Follow this footpath to the end. It opens out next to a field. Continue in the same direction, along the farm track. When you come to a road, cross carefully, and enter the footpath which crosses two fields. At the end. Turn right, and walk down the road. At the end of this road is a lovely spot to see lambs in the spring. Turn right for a short distance, and take the first road on the left. This is a military road. Shortly on the right there is a little wooden bridge. Cross this bridge and go over the stile. Please be aware that sheep with lambs may be in this field. Cattle are also sometimes in this field, later in the year*. Walk along keeping the hedge on your left, until you come to another stile on the left. Go over this stile carefully, as it is a bit wobbly. If the gate is not locked it is easier go through that. Turn right and walk along the edge of the field, with trees to your right. I have seen horsetail fern here, an ancient plant eaten by dinosaurs. It can get quite overgrown alongside this field. At the end you will come out onto Chattenden Hill. Turn left and start walking up the hill. When it is safe, cross to the other side, where you will see a footpath sign and steps going up to the field. If you look carefully you can just make a out a yellow marker on a post at the top of the field. Head for that along the path through the crops.

(* NOTE: If you are not happy walking through a field with cattle, or crossing a dual carriageway, continue to walk up the military road, and turn right at the roundabout. Walk along this road and across the bridge over the dual carriageway. You will then meet at the other end of the footpath that goes across the field from Chattenden Hill.)

Cross the road and follow the footpath (128) sign to enter the woods. As you walk through these woods, on the left look out for large derelict machinery. At the end turn left. You should now be in Lower Upnor. Keep walking this way for a choice of watering holes. Or after about 50 yards from the end of the last footpath look right, and cross the road to go up a large flight of steps, alongside a high red brick wall. (If you have passed the Powder and Magazine restaurant you have gone too far). Follow this path to take you to Upper Upnor, where there are more watering holes and a castle. To continue the walk, turn right as you get to Upper Upnor and start heading down the hill. Turn left, part of the way down, into Castle Road. Walk along this road until, on the left near the end, you will see a footpath (122) sign pointing along the side of a house. Follow this to the end, through the woods. Turn right when it comes out onto a wider footpath (121). You will hear traffic as it is close to the Medway Tunnel. Walk to the dual carriageway and cross the it at the crossing.

The footpath continues on this side of the dual carriageway. Walk to the end and turn left when you get to the road. After a few yards, on the right, you will see a narrow footpath (328) which passes the tithe barn. It has been said that this is the largest medieval barn in England. Follow this footpath, going right in order to walk along the length of the barn. Continue on this path, which bears left, keeping the quarry on your left. This quarry is being developed to provide more housing. When the quarry fence bears left again, do not continue to walk by the quarry. Walk with your back to the quarry and the hedgerow beside you on your right. You should be able to see the houses on Frindsbury Hill, and you head towards them. Do not deviate from this path, even when it is joined by other tracks. When you get to the end, you will be on Frindsbury Hill. Turn right and on the other side of the road you will see another footpath (124). Cross carefully and follow this footpath. When it comes to Cypress road, cross and continue on the footpath. It emerges onto Hilltop Road. This footpath no longer continues across the school field. Turn right, then take the first left. This is Marden Road. At the end, turn left onto Iden Road. At the end of Iden Road you will be back where you started, at The Royal Oak.

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A Circular Walk Around the Parish by Robert Taylor

Distance - Approx. 4.25 miles      Time - 2.5 hours

See a Sketch map with green arrows

The walk starts in Cooling Road at the junction with Hilltop Road, although it can be accessed at any point as it is a circular route. Walk down Cooling Road to the junction with Hollywood Lane. Turn left and immediately right onto Lower Rochester Road. Continue over the by-pass flyover and take footpath No. 118 on the right. When the footpath widens follow the paved path to Higham Road. Cross the road and continue straight ahead to another road and turn right. Continue along road and after the pond turn left onto the military road. After about 50 yards cross the wooden footbridge on the right and go over the stile. Follow the left hand side of the field until you reach another stile. Go over the stile and turn right then follow the edge of the field to Four Elms Hill. Carefully cross Four Elms Hill, turn left and shortly take the footpath on the right. Follow the footpath across the field exiting onto Upchat Road. Stop to admire the views of Rochester, Frindsbury and Wainscott. Cross Upchat Road and follow footpath through woods, running parallel with the road, ignoring the path to the left. On reaching the road turn left. At this point it's possible to make a diversion into Lower Upnor by following the road, or to continue the route take the footpath on the right at the bend in the road. 

Go steps and follow path into Upper Upnor passing Upper Castle House gates. Continue straight on then turn left at The Kings Arms. Go down the cobbled High Street and at the bottom admire the river views. Turn right and take the path along the river edge, it then bears right and follows a high fence. Eventually, cross Anthony's Way at the crossing and follow the footpath. At the next road turn left and take the footpath next to the Tithe Barn entrance. At the end turn right and follow the fence around two sides of the quarry. When the quarry fence bears left by a way marker go straight ahead onto Frindsbury Hill. Cross the road and take the footpath opposite, cross another road and continue straight ahead into Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow the road back to Cooling Road.

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Breakfast Walk (About 1½ hours)

On a nice morning set off from the B2000 alongside the Wainscott by-pass. Take the footpath (FP)118. Walk down through Blacklands Farm. Cross Higham road, staying on FP118, crossing farmland. This will take you up through the woods and out onto the army road at Chattenden. If you turn right and walk the road you will come to a roundabout. Turn right again and you can walk a made-up footpath down the hill which brings you to Islingham Farm pond near the Higham army workshops. From here turn left, bringing you back again to Higham Road. Turn left over the by-pass bridge, then on the right take FP129. Follow this until you come out onto Hollywood Lane. This walk will give you much to see naturewise, especially birds, it also gives you tranquillity before returning home for a hearty breakfast. Note that this walk can be muddy at times.

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Parish View Walk  (No time limit)

This walk can take you as long as you like for it will pass some local hostelries! Start at the Royal Oak in Cooling Road and walk along Hilltop Road and Cypress Road. After the Sans Pareil pub, take FP124 across Frindsbury Hill and continue on FP328. You will have views across the parish and you will pass the thirteenth century tithe barn and the Manor House. FP 121 will then bring you down to the roundabout at Anthony's Way. Cross over and continue on this footpath, which will take you past the army pontoon basins, giving you views of the river and the old Chatham Dockyard. The path then brings you to the High Street in Upper Upnor, passing the King's Arms and Tudor Rose before reaching Upnor Castle (not a pub, but a real castle, open to the public) which dates back to Elizabeth I's reign (1559). After refreshments continue along the road to Frog Island and take FP125 by the Tennis and Cricket Clubs. Follow FP125 across the fields and across the by-pass, pass Wainscott Primary School, turn right into Wainscott Road. You then come to The Stag. Continue along Wainscott Road to Hollywood Lane, turn left and make your way back to Cooling Road. I hope you will have enjoyed not only the walk but also aspects of the parish.

Walk Planner Tool Online

People may find a planner tool helpful when considering a walk.  One such free tool is HikeIdeas and is available here

(NOTE - the Parish Council is not responsible for any external websites, links or information.)

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