This delightful Kentish village is a fine spot for riverside walks and access to the North Downs countryside. There's also some interesting history with an old priory, a medieval castle and a nearby museum to visit.
This circular river walk from the village takes you along a section of the Medway Valley Walk. The waymarked trail will take you along both sides of the river, visiting several local highlights including Allington Castle, Allington Locks, the Museum of Kent Life and Aylesford Priory on the way.
The walk starts on Aylesford bridge. This medieval bridge was one of the earliest bridges to be built across the River Medway, dating back to the 14th century. From here you can follow the northern side of the river east to Allington where you will pass the Museum of Kent Life. This open-air museum includes a thatched barn, an oast house and a farm with animals. It is one of the few remaining places in Britain where hops are grown, harvested, dried and packed in the Oast house.
Near the museum you can cross the river where you will pass Allington Castle on the southern side. This Medieval 12th-century castle is furnished with tapestries, antique furniture and a Great Hall in which Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn dined with Sir Thomas Wyatt around 1530. It's now a private residence, but can be hired as an exclusive wedding venue, corporate event venue or filming location. There's also beautiful Kentish Gardens and orchards to see at the expansive site.
From the castle you head north west through Little Preston to return to Aylesford. The route then heads back to the village before continuing west to visit Aylesford Priory. Also known as The Friars this historic site dates back to the 13th century. It is now a popular place for pilgrimage, as well as for retreats and conferences. You can explore the lovely grounds and take in the stunning medieval buildings, before enjoying walks down the Peace Garden and Rosary Way. The site also includes some notable artwork such as the ceramic artist Adam Kossowski.
Aylesford Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Aylesford Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Aylesford OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Aylesford Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Head to the historic Chequers pub for some post walk refreshment. It's the oldest pub in Aylesford, dating all the way back to 1511. It's set in a Grade II listed timber framed, former wool merchants house. The pub is located in a lovely spot with views of the old bridge from the riverside garden area in the back. You can find them on the High Street at postcode ME20 7AY for your sat navs.
The river trails are a nice one for you and your dog. The Chequers pub mentioned above is also dog friendly.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
The Maidstone River Walk passes through the village so you could pick this up to extend your walking in the area. It will take you to the nearby Leybourne Lakes Country Park where there are some lovely waterside trails along a series of lakes.
The Rochester River Walk will take you north to the popular town which has an old castle and literary connections to Charles Dickens. The attractive village of Upnor with its English Heritage owned 16th century castle is also worth seeing in this area.
Head north from the village and you can climb to Blue Bell Hill for some splendid views over the area. From the same car park you can try the Medway Megaliths Walk. Here you can visit some fascinating ancient sites including Kit's Coty chamber tomb, a Neolithic chambered long barrow. The epic North Downs Way can also be picked up in this area.
For more walking ideas in the area see the North Downs Walks and Kent Walks pages.