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Winter walks this Christmas and New Year across Kent

By Angela Cole

Put a spring in your step this winter with six walks to try across Kent...

WINTER WALKS, HEVER CASTLE

Wrap up warm and head to Hever for a crisp country walk between Christmas and New Year.

The historic castle is open daily from Thursday, December 27 to New Year's Day for those looking to recharge their batteries after the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Visitors pay for entry to the garden only entry and get castle entry free.

Winter walks at Hever Castle
Winter walks at Hever Castle

There's also a chance to go on the vintage fairground in the castle forecourt and the interactive Christmas Carol themed trail. The Redwood trees will be glowing and the Winter Garden will be in full bloom. For details of prices and opening times visit hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.

ILLUMINATED TRAIL AT BEDGEBURY PINETUM

Between Boxing Day and Sunday, December 30 - or Twixmas, betwixt Christmas and New Year - you can enjoy a magical after dark woodland walk through Bedgebury Pinetum & Forest.

The family friendly trail sees the forest aglow with more than a million bulbs when you can follow a mile-long path when the site’s trees are dramatically drenched in seasonal colour.

Christmas at Bedgebury is a mile-long trail
Christmas at Bedgebury is a mile-long trail

There are light projections, soundscapes and art installations. Highlights include the Tunnel of Light, with more than 100,000 pea-lights in a 70m long immersive walkway under a canopy of ancient trees, singing lanterns and a scented Fire Garden. Christmas at Bedgebury costs £17, £10.50 for children, with under fives and carers free. It will be closed on Christmas day. Book on 0844 995 1365 or at Christmasatbedgebury.co.uk

NATIONAL TRUST WALKS ACROSS KENT

The trust has winter walks and walking trails across the county to escape the festive bustle. Take a stroll through frosty countryside and look out for seasonal wildlife. Scotney Castle at Lamberhurst be open for estate walks daily from dawn to dusk and the house is open from 11am to 3pm. Chartwell at Westerham will have pre or post festive brunch walk on selected days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Details at nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/winter-walks-in-kent

Scotney Castle near Lamberhurst, Kent Picture: National Trust
Scotney Castle near Lamberhurst, Kent Picture: National Trust

RAMBLERS FESTIVAL OF WINTER WALKS

The popular Festival of Winter Walks runs from Friday, December 21 to Sunday, January 6.

Ramblers groups across the South East are offering a selection of free festive walks to give everyone the chance to enjoy winter landscapes in good company, and to meet new friends at this time of year. Ramblers research from winter 2017 found that almost half of adults surveyed felt socially isolated or lonely over the Christmas period.

Take a walk this winter
Take a walk this winter

Tompion Platt, from the group, said: “Winter is a wonderful time to go walking and enjoy the cold crisp air and striking frosty landscapes. “But we also know the festive season can be a difficult time for people on their own.”

Visit ramblers.org.uk/winter for details of free group walks across Kent.

WALKS ALONG KENTISH RIVERS

Step out on three walks over 60 miles along Kentish rivers this winter, with help from a new guide published by Kent Ramblers. The 80 page book, written by group secretary Robert Peel, features the 19-mile Darent Valley Path starting at Sevenoaks and finishes north of Dartford; the 15-mile Eden Valley Walk starts near Edenbridge and finishes at Tonbridge Castle, and the 28-mile Medway Valley Walk starts near Tonbridge Castle and finishes at Rochester. Three River Valley Walks in West Kent: Darent Valley Path, Eden Valley Walk and Medway Valley Walk is published by Kent Ramblers at £7.50. Visit kentramblers.org.uk or email books@kentramblers.org.uk

WALMER CASTLE TO DEAL CASTLE, EXPLORE KENT

Explore Kent have many walks to try, including top winter walks. Try the Walmer to Deal Castle, a leisurely two-mile treat which takes in the countryside, coastline and two castles!

Wrap up and head out this winter
Wrap up and head out this winter

The two mile route starts in Deal at CT14 7LL. It takes in Walmer Castle, built by Henry VIII as part of his coastal defence network. Over the centuries, the castle has evolved into a grand residence for the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Deal Castle was also built by Henry VIII to repel potential invaders from France and Spain, and remains one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England. There are benches along the walk for opportunities for rest. There is a step by step guide online, with pictures, and a map. Visit explorekent.org/activities/walmer-to-deal-castle/ and you can also search for others.

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