Ashford Area Country Walk
This Kent town is ideally positioned for walkers on the edge of the Kent Downs and the North Downs. There are also nice waterside paths along the river Great Stour which runs through the centre of Ashford.
This route uses sections of the Stour Valley Walk and the North Downs Way to take you up to the splendid Wye Downs just to the north east of the town. On the way you'll enjoy riverside paths along the River Stour, visit the lovely village of Wye and enjoy wonderful views over the area from the high points on the Wye and Broad Downs.
The walk starts from the public car park next to the pretty Singleton Lake just to the west of the town centre and the train station. From here you can pick up the Stour Valley Walk and follow the waymarked path east along the river. You'll pass Victoria Park and cross the river before heading out into the countryside on the eastern side of the town. Here you'll also pass the Grade II listed Willesborough windmill. It was built in 1869 and is worth some further investigation if you have time.
You then turn north, passing Conningbrook Lakes Country Park. The park is also a nature reserve with wetland, woodland, ponds and three pretty lakes. After passing the park you head through some attractive countryside before coming to Wye village. The village is very pretty and well worth exploring. It was voted the third best place to live in the UK in an annual broadsheet's review in 2013. In Wye you can pick up the North Downs Way and follow it south east up onto the Wye Downs. You continue along the path, passing the noteworthy Wye Crown. The white crown hill figure was carved in the chalk by students in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII. The Downs are also a lovely area with lots of pretty wildflowers to see in the summer months. The route heads up to the viewpoint on Broad Downs where you can enjoy fine views over the Kent Downs AONB and the coast.
You can return to Ashford on the same paths or just return to Wye and catch a train back to the town if you prefer.
PostcodeTN23 4TZ - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
Ashford Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Ashford Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Ashford OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Ashford Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
In Ashford the Riverside Inn is a fine place for a pit stop, especially if the weather is fine. You can relax outside in the lovely garden and enjoy a meal with some lovely views. It has one of the best pub gardens in the area, with it’s lawns, well-kept flowerbeds and newly built pagoda. You can find the pub at Torrington Road with a postcode of TN23 7TG.
On the walk you could stop off in Wye village and enjoy refreshments at the noteworthy Kings Head pub. The old Victorian coaching inn has a good menu and also provides fine accommodation if you need to stay over. You can find the inn on Church Street at a postcode of TN25 5BN for your sat navs.
The woods, river paths and hills surrounding the town are great for dog walking so you're sure to see other owners on the walk. The Kings Head mentioned above is also very dog friendly. Your canine friend can even enjoy a freshly baked doggy biscuit and even a bottle of doggy beer! The Riverside Inn is also dog-friendly, with dogs welcome in the garden and water bowls being available at the bar.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The town is easily accessible by public transport by the Ashford International station which was opened by British Rail with the Channel Tunnel in 1994. It now serves Eurostar trains on High Speed 1, with trains to London, Lille, Brussels and Paris and connections to the rest of Europe.
To continue your walking around Ashford you could head to the nearby Hothfield Common. The common is located just to the north west of the town and has a number of good footpaths with lots of interesting flora and fauna to look out for. Also nearby is King's Wood where there's a good sculpture trail and lots of pretty bluebells in the spring months.
Just to the north is Eastwell Park Lake where there are some nice views across the still waters of the scenic lake. There's also a ruined 14th century church and the splendid Eastwell Manor, a former royal residence here.