Published: 15:15, 17 December 2014
When the bleak midwinter gives way to crisp, clear sunshine, what’s better than a good walk? Our resident expert Geoff Rambler spells out one of Kent’s best: mid-county in Challock, near Ashford.
Distance: Six miles circular walk
In a nutshell: “Great views and history to boot”
Start point: Village hall car park in Blind Lane (TN25 4AU)
Directions: From the village hall car park, turn left. At the crossroads, with the war memorial on your left, turn left into Church Lane and follow it to reach ST COSMAS AND ST DAMIAN CHURCH, known for its murals.
Continue past the church and ahead, through a gate, on a track across an open field to reach trees. Continue on the track, enjoying marvellous views, to reach a T-junction of tracks. Continue straight ahead on a path across the field - noting EASTWELL MANOR in the distant left.
On reaching a road turn right and then follow the roadway round to the right. Look out for the ruined ST MARY’S CHURCH, on the left, where you will find a grave reputed to be that of Richard Plantagenet, son of Richard III. It’s a nice place to stop for a hot choc looking over the lake.
At the T-junction of tracks continue on the opposite footpath across the field. Follow the path that passes through Skeat’s Wood to reach Dunn Street. Turn right on the lane and follow it to the T-junction with the main road. Turn right. After the houses on the right, the path enters woods. Follow this path that runs parallel to the road, to take you back to Challock.
Points of Interest:
St Cosmas and St Damian Church is about a mile outside the village, but up to 1700 it was at the centre of the village. The village moved when a new Faversham to Ashford road was built. Technically the church is in Challock and the village Challock Lees. The walls of are decorated with some interesting and unusual murals painted in 1953 to celebrate the restoration of the church. The church is generally kept locked - the key is kept at the post office about one mile away.
The roof of St Mary’s Church nave collapsed in 1951. The remainder of the church was demolished in 1956. Most of the monuments are with the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The original Eastwell Manor was built for Sir Thomas Moyle between 1540 and 1550. According to an account written 200 years after the event, while visiting the site Sir Thomas found a bricklayer reading a book in Latin. On inquiry he found the bricklayer claimed to be the son of Richard III, who sent him away in case the Battle of Bosworth was lost. More recently its been suggested Richard was one of the Lost Princes. No one really knows who’s buried in the grave at St Mary’s.