Swale Ale Walk 7

A Sheppey Stroll

Overview

This island walk starts at Sheerness Railway Station and then follows the coast to visit the Ship on Shore, The Napier and though to Blue Town to The Red Lion.

Length

This circular walk consists takes around one hour. The walk mainly follows the sea front, Marine Parade and though the town centre to reach Blue Town.

The Walk

Starting at Sheerness Railway Station you should cross at the pedestrian crossing and head towards the beach with the McDonalds and supermarket development on your left. As you follow the path you will see the trappings of an old seaside resort with amusement park and arcade developments, which were still open even though our visit was in the middle of winter with snow and ice on the ground.  After around 4 minutes you reach some concrete steps that take you up over the imposing sea wall and deposit you on the main promenade. Looking directly out to sea it is possible to see Essex in the background with the masts of the USS Richard Montgomery which ran aground on 20th August 1944 and became stuck on the sand bank.

 

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USS Richard Montgomery was an American Liberty ship built during World War II, one of the 2,710 used to carry cargo during the war. The ship was wrecked off the Nore in the Thames Estuary in 1944 with around 1,400 tons of explosives on board, which continue to be a hazard to the area.  You should turn right at the bottom of the steps and follow the promenade with the beach on your left.

 

After approximately 6 minutes the path will split. Turn left and down a few steps and then turn right across the shingle beach. Alternatively you can turn right and walk over the sea wall. Either way you will re-join the main promenade in approximately 2 minutes.  After a short walk you will come to a bend in the large sea wall and a set of steps. Looking over this wall you will be greeted with an aerial view of The Ship on Shore and its historic Grade II listed Grotto made from a mixture of cement barrels, rocks and stone.  Information on the walls of the pub and a leaflet supplied by the landlord suggest that the Grotto was built from cement barrels salvaged from a small ship called the 'Lucky Escape' when she floundered during heavy seas.

 

This long one barred pub has a games area to the left and a conservatory to the right serving simple pub meals. On our visit they were serving one real ale from a changing list, which was dispensed direct from the barrel in the cellar to the rear of the bar.

 

Upon leaving the pub take a left and follow Marine Parade towards Sheerness Town Centre. Your walk will follow the main road back to town with the imposing sea wall to your right. After approximately 10 minutes you will reach The Napier Free House.

 

This two barred ex Shepherd Neame pub has a distinctive public bar with four hand pumps serving national beers, which on our visit included London Pride and Courage Directors, both of which were in excellent condition. The second bar in this pub has been converted into a restaurant.

 

Leaving this pub turn left along the Broadway. After a while you will pass the bingo hall on your left. Continue until you reach a roundabout and The Royal Hotel.  Continue along the Broadway towards the centre of town and the clock tower. At the clock tower take a right into the high street. Continue walking for approximately 5 minutes until you emerge outside Sheerness Railway Station. Continue walking past the station on the opposite side of the road with Sheppey College and McDonalds to your right.  After a short while you will reach a roundabout and the entrance to the supermarket. Cross the road here and go across the bridge with the dock cranes in the distance.  Cross Garrison Road and follow the new path into Blue Town, taking time to read the historical notice boards along its route.

 

The Jewish heritage and history of Sheerness and Blue Town is fascinating and virtually unknown in this still remote part of England. The Jewish community in Blue Town grew up alongside the Naval Dock Yard during the Napoleonic Wars and echoes of this past can still be detected in the western part of Blue Town next to the old Dock Wall.

 

Continue though Blue Town with the high dock wall to your right until you reach the Red Lion.

 

The Red Lion is a two barred local in the middle of Blue Town. It serves an ever changing list of beers which are listed on the chalk board above the bar.

 

At the end of your visit retrace your steps back to Sheerness Railway Station for connecting services via Sittingbourne.

 

If you have a short wait at Sittingbourne remember to visit the two Shepherd Neame pubs to the left and right of the station entrance.

 

To your left is The Globe and Engine which was closed when our last edition of Swale Ale went to press but has now reopened under new ownership.  This traditional Shepherd Neame house has a large L shaped bar with a real coal fire next to the bar. The Globe and Engine currently serves one real ale which on our visit was Master Brew, although the landlord is trying to increase the beer range as the pub gets re-established. Since taking over the pub the landlord has removed the juke box, pool table and fruit machines to create a more traditional community pub. With its close proximity to the station he is also hoping to offer morning coffees and teas to commuters on their way to work.

 

On the opposite side of the railway station is The Fountain. This traditional Shepherd Neame pub has recently been given a quality refurbishment both inside and out. The pub now offers a range of Thai food at reasonable prices and currently serves between two and three Shepherd Neame beers. On my visit they had Master Brew, Late Red and Amber Ale.  The landlord is keen to introduce beers from the pilot brewery in the near future and is also looking at holding Thai new year celebrations in March/April.

 

Disclaimer

 

The countryside is a living place and for this reason many of the paths, fences and natural features in this guide may be subject to change. All details are to my knowledge correct at publication and follow signposted public rights of way. I cannot of course be held responsible for any diversion orders, inaccuracies in the text or maps which may result from changes to the landscape or any damage which may be caused by walkers trespassing on private property

 

Swale Ale Walk 6

 

A liniear walk from Selling Station to Perry Wood

 

Overview

This is a linear walk from Selling station across fields and orchards into Perry Wood. This walk takes in two pubs, one with its own hop garden.

50 minutes to 1 hour each way. This walk can be extended by spending time walking in Perry Wood.

 

The Walk 

This walk starts at Selling station which is situated on the Sittingbourne to Dover railway line 4 minutes from Faversham.

On arriving at Selling cross the railway bridge and walk up the station approach road for one minute until you reach the sadly now closed Sondes Arms.

You will reach Crouch Lane, Turn left and walk for about three minutes until you reach a footpath sign bearing right. The sign reads 'footpath, Selling 3/4 miles'. Take this footpath.

 

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Follow the footpath between the houses with garages on your left. Continue between the tall trees and a large hedge and you will emerge in a field of pear trees. Follow this path straight on as the pear trees are replaced by large polytunnels, which on my late September walk were full of ripe strawberries.

The walk continues straight on following the tractor path which undulates across the fields. At key junctions the ground will become muddy and will be separated by a row of large trees. Choose the least muddy route and continue straight on until you reach a fenced off field that has been developed into caravan accommodation for fruit pickers. This small development is hidden behind a row of tall trees.

Continue for a short while with the fence on your left until you reach the end of the field and a choice of stiles. Take the stile on your left and enter a field with a row of tall, established trees. Follow the well-trodden path with these trees on your left and the barbed wire fence on your right. You will walk past a cricket pitch on your left which on my sunny Saturday visit was being prepared for an afternoon game.

Cross over the stile at the end of the field where you will meet a small road. Turn right and follow the road past Selling Court until you see a footpath sign ZR652 on your left. At this point you have a choice. Continue your walk up the footpath towards Perry Wood or stop for a pint at the White Lion, a delightful Shepherd Neame pub that serves excellent lunchtime and evening food.

Follow this path up a small hill until you reach a field full of apple trees. Continue straight on towards the path marker with a yellow arrow. Continue between the rows of young apple trees under the support wires until you reach a further marker.

At this marker turn right. Follow the tractor path down a small hill and you will see a further marker. You will notice that the land here has been churned by agriculture vehicles and care should be taken when crossing this area. Turn left and enter a well established pear and apple orchard. Walk up hill with these trees on your left.

In the corner of this field you will see a gap. Follow this, bearing left in order to continue straight on. You will notice many rabbit warrens to your right and a stile straight ahead. Cross this stile into a small field. Walk with the small trees on your right towards a gate and a house.

Cross the rickety stile into the front garden of Puddledock house. Continue straight on down the driveway until you reach the road.

At the road turn left and then quickly take the bridleway ZR654 into Perry Wood on your left.

Follow the bridleway straight through the woods. After a short while the route becomes more defined, After a about 10 minutes you will reach a road. Turn left and you will see the front entrance of the Rose and Crown.

This busy 16th Century pub has one main U shaped bar with a small restaurant area leading off down some steps to the rear. Inside this old pub has a good atmosphere which has not been disturbed by the excellent food that is served both lunch times and for dinner.

On my visit they were serving Adnams Southwold Bitter [3.7%], Harveys Sussex Best Bitter [4.0%] and Wells Naked Gold [4.1%].

 

For your return journey retrace your steps, stopping at the White Lion.

The White Lion is a two bar Shepherd Neame pub serving Master Brew [3.7%] and Late Red [4.5%] on my visit. The pub has accommodation above and a indoor and outdoor restaurant area to the rear. It has its own hop garden which last year was visited by a double decker bus full of ex hop pickers. The pub has two live fires - a log burner in the public bar and an open fire with a hydro powered spit roast. Good food is offered daily, but not always from the spit roast!

 

 

 

Discliamer

The countryside is a living place and for this reason many of the paths, fences and natural features in this guide may be subject to change. All details are to my knowledge correct at publication and follow signposted public rights of way. I cannot of course be held responsible for any diversion orders, inaccuracies in the text or maps which may result from changes to the landscape or any damage which may be caused by walkers trespassing on private property

 

 

 

Swale Ale Walk No 5

Trams, Ships and Tees

A linear walk to Conyer and Tonge

Walking Guide

 

This walk can be either long or short, visiting one or two different pubs depending on the distance you wish to cover. Most of this walk follows cycle and bridle paths.

Walk One - 1 hour

Walk Two - 2 additional hours

Walk One - To Conyer

This walk starts at Teynham train station with the footpath leaving from the Sittingbourne end of the London bound platform. You can either exit the station, and follow Lower Road to the start point at the railway crossing, or walk along the platform itself until you reach the path. Note: It is not possible to access this walk from the Faversham bound platform and walkers should use the footbridge and follow instructions.

Use the pedestrian crossing following the signposted safety instructions and follow the path (the old tram route) through the small wooded area, until you reach a small football pitch.

Continue along the gravel path until it widens out and meets a small farm track. Continue straight on past fields of horses and sheep until you emerge on Conyer Road.

At this point you can make a decision to continue your walk on for a further 2 1/4 miles to The Oast Golf Centre Bar or turn right and then first left to follow the road down to The Ship Inn. If you are completing walk two you should continue to Tonge and visit the Ship Inn on your return.

The Ship Inn has recently been refurbished with a bright and airy feel. The U shaped bar area, comprises of a mixture of eating and drinking tables. This pub serves excellent food both in the bar area and in a smaller restaurant area with views over Conyer Creek.

The pub regularly serves Sheppard Neame Master Brew [3.7] and Adnams Best [4.1%] as well as two changing guest beers, which on my visits included Old Dairy Red Top [3.8%] and St Austalls Tribute [4.2%]. This pub has an outdoor seating area to the front with views over the Swale Marina.

 

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Walk Two - The Oast Golf Centre at Tonge

When you reach Conyer Road turn left and follow the tarmac for around 5 minutes until you see the cycle path turn off to your left. Follow the cycle path behind Swale Marina until you reach a metal gate. Go through the gate and follow the path alongside the creek for a further 10 minutes until you reach a bridge.

Cross the bridge and take the left hand path towards the farm. Note that the right hand path follows the Saxon Shore Way to Sittingbourne.

This bridleway traverses fields of loud sheep! Continue until you reach a left hand turning that follows around the outside of the farm. Along this path you will notice that you have a clear view of the Swale and Sheppey beyond.

At the end of this path take a sharp left turn onto Blacketts Road towards Sittingbourne. Follow this for around 20 minutes down a steep hill until you reach a T junction. Take the left hand turning downhill for a further 15 minutes until you reach the right hand road leading up to the golf club.

This public golf centre is housed in a converted oast house and has single bar (with golf shop in the corner). The centre opens at 8.30 each morning and closes at 22:00 each night. Inexpensive bar snacks and light meals are served between 10:00 and 15:00 each day. The bar serves two real ales normally comprising Harveys Sussex Best [4.0%] and Fuller's London Pride [4.1%].

 

 

Disclaimer

 

The countryside is a living place and for this reason many of the paths, fences and natural features in this guide may be subject to change. All details are to my knowledge correct at publication and follow signposted public rights of way. I cannot of course be held responsible for any diversion orders, inaccuracies in the text or maps which may result from changes to the landscape or any damage which may be caused by walkers trespassing on private property.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swale Ale Walk No 4

Ale, Apples and Pears - a circular walk to Painters Forstal and Brogdale via Ospringe

Overview

This walk visits four pubs and Brogdale National Fruit Collection which offers cafes and shops selling beers and ciders. It follows both footpaths, cycle routes and road Circular Walk—5 miles approx. 1 hour 40 minutes walking

The Walk

This walk starts at Faversham train station (the front/main entrance). This is also the stopping point for a number of buses.

 

From the main ticket office turn left and along Station Road and continue past the Co-op into Forbes Road. Just before the railway bridge, take a right hand turn down Briton Road. Continue until the end, turn left and follow road around and alongside the railway line until you reach Ospringe Road. At this point take a left and walk down under the railway bridge until you reach our first pub The Ship Inn.

 

This two roomed 16th Century inn is located on the A2 between Faversham and Sittingbourne. On my visit the pub served three real ales including Master Brew, London Pride and Courage Best. However the pub regularly takes Harvey's Sussex Best and other guest beers. This pub serves a range of food including bar snacks. It has two open fires and a large garden to the rear.

 

Continue your walk crossing the A2 and turn left down Water Lane walking past the Maison Dieu which is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays between 14:00 and 17:00 until the end of October.

 

Follow Water Lane past Ospringe Primary School and go right down a footpath that leads off opposite Mutton Lane. Walk though allotments and past the small hop field until you reach a small farm track. Turn left and walk towards the farm buildings.

 

Follow the path to the left of the farm buildings and walk through the fields with Ospringe Church to your left. Continue until you reach a small gate. Go through the gate and follow the path bearing right until you reach Water Lane again.

 

Take a left and follow Water Lane for a very short while until you reach the junction with Painter's Forstal Road. Cross the motorway bridge and follow this road for approximately ten minutes passing Pawley Cider Farm. Continue until you reach Painter's Forstal and The Alma Public House.

 

This lovely village pub is the half way point for the walk. It has both a public and a saloon bar which also serves as an eating area. The pub sells Shepherd Neame beers and on my visit was serving Master Brew and Spitfire. The pub has a range of good food but this does not intrude on the village pub feel. There is a small outdoor seating area at the front which on my visit was a real suntrap.

 

Leaving the Alma turn left out of the pub and then directly right down Eastling Road. Walk for about two minutes and as you are about to go down the hill, turn left though a gate into Lorenden Park. Follow the path down though the trees for approximately five to ten minutes until you see a small red brick bridge. Cross the bridge and then continue through the gate onto Eastling Road again.

 

Turn left and walk along the road and up the hill for about10 minutes until you reach Brogdale National Fruit Collection.

 

Brogdale maintain and promote the National Fruit Collection and visitors can participate in guided orchard tours, courses and take a ride on the miniature railway. In recent years they have opened Brogdale Market Place selling local fruit, vegetables, meat and plants. Tiddly Pomme specialise in selling a range of local bottled beers and wines as well as having a wide range of local draught cider.

 

When leaving Brogdale turn right onto Brogdale Road (the end of Eastling Road) and cross the motorway bridge. Follow the road until it reaches the A2.

 

Turn right and walk along the side of the A2 using the footbridge to cross the road continue walking until you reach the Faversham turning. Turn left into The Mall where you will reach The Crown and Anchor.

 

This large Shepherd Neame pub serves Master Brew and offers a good range of cooked food. Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 until 15:00 this is a good place to stop for something to eat before continuing to The Elephant further down The Mall.

 

Opening at 15:00, it is essential that you time your walk well. The Elephant is an excellent pub to have a few pints before the short walk back to Faversham railway station (via the rear entrance at the end of The Mall). This free house serves a changing range of five different beers from local breweries as well as national favourites.

 

This CAMRA award-winning pub prides itself on serving a wide range of different beer styles including a regular mild, as well as a range of dark and golden ales. The Elephant has a lovely sunny garden and a real log fire in the winter. It does not however serve food and for this reason I would suggest you get something to eat en route or in Faversham town centre some five minutes walk away.

 

The Map

 

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Discliamer

The countryside is a living place and for this reason many of the paths, fences and natural features in this guide may be subject to change. All details are to my knowledge correct at publication and follow signposted public rights of way. I cannot of course be held responsible for any diversion orders, inaccuracies in the text or maps which may result from changes to the landscape or any damage which may be caused by walkers trespassing on private property.