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What's On found some Kent walks where you can be both high and dry

Want to get the dog and the family out on a walk, but flooded fields are putting you off? Helen Geraghty found some lofty spots for a stroll.

Knole Park, Sevenoaks

Take the chance to explore the 1,000 acres of the National Trust’s windswept Knole at Sevenoaks while there’s no one much about.

Deer at the Knole
Deer at the Knole

Although the visitor centre and shop are closed until Saturday, March 8, you can drive up to the car park and walk in the high 1,000-acre grounds daily from 10.15am to 6pm.

Dogs on leads are welcome and while lower sites in the county may be mudbaths, your pooch can happily roam on a long lead on this well-drained heathland, with perfectly clean paws.

There’s great views across the county and keep your eyes peeled for the Knole fallow and sika deer, in their winter coats, enjoying the quieter times.

You’ll spot them grazing across the park, just as their ancestors did in medieval times.

From 11am the Brewhouse tearoom is open, although over the coming months the tearoom will move to a temporary outdoor venue to allow work to begin on a new conservation studio and cafe.

Address: Sevenoaks, TN15 0RP. The entry to Knole is on the higher end of Sevenoaks, opposite St Nicholas Church. Look for the brown National Trust signpost between buildings.

Parking: £4 per car, free to National Trust members.

Info: The grounds and car park are
open daily from 10.15am to 6pm. See www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest

You'll need to pay £8.50 to park your car at this Forestry Commission attraction - unless you are smart enough to take out the very attractive annual membership.

Missy the springer spaniel at Bedgebury
Missy the springer spaniel at Bedgebury

Once parked, admission is free and a raised boardwalk takes you on a pleasant stroll through the trees and over a bridge across a lovely lake.

Dogs must be on a lead within the pinetum itself. While the raised Boardwalk is mud free, boots with a gripping sole might be advisable for this wooden surface, which can get a bit slippery in the wet winter months, especially if you are being dragged by an over-exuberant pooch.

Look out for the slightly threadbare but still record-breaking Old Man of Kent, said to be the tallest tree in the county.

A Grand Fir, Latin name abies grandis, it was planted in 1840 by Viscount Marshall Beresford, former owner of the Bedgebury estate and a Field Marshall in Wellington's army. It measures 167ft in height (51 metres) and has been adopted by a tree-planting charity called the Kent Men of the Trees.

Heading back towards the car park is a cheerful and rustic cafe, serving a largely child-friendly menu. Exhausted dogs are welcome to sit quietly under the table inside or outside. Cafe queues can be slow at busy times.

Address: Goudhurst, TN17 2SJ

Parking: £8.50 per car. A £56 annual membership includes unlimited visits for your car plus another vehicle as well as discount offers.

Info: See www.forestry.gov.uk

The White Cliffs of Dover

These high chalk cliffs look out on to the Channel, giving far-reaching views towards the French coast.

South Foreland lighthouse at the White Cliffs of Dover
South Foreland lighthouse at the White Cliffs of Dover

The National Trust now manage the site and advise that the best way to see the cliffs is to take a walk along the coastal path towards South Foreland Lighthouse. There's a great view of the cliffs and also you will see the chalk grassland.

The cliffs were used for defence in both world wars. You'll see reminders of this all along the cliffs, from the trenches dug by soldiers to the concrete remains of a range finding station.

This is a great place to walk a dog, but there are unfenced sections of clifftop and grazing ponies, so a lead is advisable. The National Trust specify that dogs must be kept on a short lead from the start of March to protect ground nesting birds.

Address: Langdon Cliffs, Upper Road, Dover, CT16 IHJ

Parking: £3.50 per car, National Trust members free. Car park opens at 8am and closes at 6pm.

Info: There is a cafe with sea views and a visitor centre. For full opening times see www.nationaltrust.org.uk

White Horse Wood Country Park, near Maidstone

This is Kent County Council's newest country park and is on breezy Detling Hill, within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Dog walkers in the evening sun at White Horse Wood, Detling Hill, Detling
Dog walkers in the evening sun at White Horse Wood, Detling Hill, Detling

It offers beautiful countryside, local history and impressive panoramic views over the Kent Downs.

More than 20,000 trees have recently been planted here and five hectares have been seeded to form an area of open grassland. Watch this site over the years to see it slowly become a lovely hilltop woodland.

The site has the ruins of medieval Thurnham Castle and there are also traces of an Iron Age settlement.

There is an easy access route around the park, perfect for wheelchair and pushchairs, from where you can see the amazing views.

Dogs are allowed. There are no tea rooms, or toilets, though.

Address: White Horse Wood, Detling Hill, ME14 3JE. Entry is on the A249, opposite the showground.

Parking: Pay and display, Monday to Friday £1, weekends and bank holidays £1.50.

Contact: Phone 03000 417171 to pay £40 for a KCC country parks season ticket, which gives unlimited parking at the 13 country parks in Kent.

Info: Park opens 9am to dusk. The park closes at 9pm in the summer.

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