View from Soakham Down

  Route: Godmersham to/from Boughton Aluph (3 miles)

This route involves an ascent & descent of the Downs & briefly enters the Kings Wood, making it an interesting walk with at one point a fine view over the Kentish Weald around Ashford.

N.B.   These notes just give an outline of the route for which the way is specially marked out by large dayglow red arrows whose direction varies between clockwise & anticlockwise as shown in each year’s publicity.  The following two descriptions starting from opposite ends finish at a single defined point, continuing from which it should not be difficult to read sentences in reverse order

Two rather high stiles are encountered across the road from Boughton Aluph church, after which it is easy walking across arable fields to a small thicketed zig-zag path.  Crossing a road with care to a concrete track which leads path Soakham Farm, it becomes a grassy path zig-zagging along a field border, then up between bushy banks.  Before entering the metal gate to ascend a very steep narrow path to the forested summit of Soakham Down, it is worth viewing the patchwork of fields around Wye & more distant Ashford from the bank top.

(Start here to follow ‘Anti-Clockwise’ arrows).  Boughton Aluph church to Soakham Down.​

Soakham Farm

(Start here to follow ‘Clockwise’ arrows).  Godmersham church to top of Soakham Down

Straight ahead from Godmersham church a farm gate opens onto a track climbing to the left, then right above a timber yard.  This private track carries on up Godmersham Downs until views open up right over the valley.  Continuing up there is a specially opened metal gate in the high mesh fence keeping the forest’s deer from the estate’s land.   Beyond a lesser path bears down right past a felled area before levelling out & fairly soon turning left onto the rather rough North Downs Way identified by its acorn logo on marker posts winding to the top of Soakham Down descent.

    "Clockwise" Gallery of photos taken during the 2017 Walk.

By now it was merely overcast, with ideal walking conditions with only a little mud underfoot.  The  spacious refreshment area of Boughton Aluph church thronged with hungry walkers. 
      Hover over image for description.  Click image to enlarge, also to view subsequent or prior photos.

"Anti-clockwise" Gallery of photos taken during the 2016 Walk.

The morning had some drizzle but most of the day was merely damp with cooling breezes, ideal walking conditions apart from some mud & puddles necessitating proper walking footgear.  The refreshments on sale at each church were welcomed and everybody seemed to enjoy the walk.
      Hover over image for description.  Click image to enlarge, also to view subsequent or prior photos.
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Stile across road from Boughton Aluph church.

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Stile & path across field on route from Boughton Aluph church to Godmersham..

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At road crossing entering track to Soakham Farm.

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Track down past Soakham Farm.

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Footpath climbing up field below Soakham Down.

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Primroses growing beside Soakham Down footpath

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A few cowslips growing by path (used to be masses).

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Newly surfaced Forestry Commission path at top of Soakham Down (after very steep climb up into King's Wood

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Bluebells among chestnuts due for coppicing in King's Wood

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Happy walkers on North Downs Way before route forks right to Godmersham

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Beech woods on left and coppiced chestnut stumps on right with bluebells

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Godmersham organizers coming to take down their red arrows at end of walk.

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Carpets of bluebells on either side in King's Wood.

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More bluebells in King's Wood, with interesting old dead stump.

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Newly erected deer proof fence and gate that was opened specially for the Five Church Walk

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View over Godmersham estate valley where World War I airship was based for reconnaiissance over France.

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Bluebells in silver birch wood on Godmersham Park estate.

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Three fine beech trees on Godmersham Down (not a public right of way).

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Oak tree beside track descending Godmersham Down.

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More trees as track nears Godmersham Park estate yars at bottom.

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Tracks join Godmersham Park private drive at end of walled garden.

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Old iron gates at end of Godmersham Park walled garden avenue.

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First view of Godmersham church (ample parking for cars on grass / road verge)

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Godmersham church; west end & tower (with six bells hung for change ringing).

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