Swale Ale Walk No 3
Hop Gardens and Creeks - Faversham and Graveney Walk
This walk visits three pubs and follows both footpaths, cycle routes and road. It traverses railway lines, hop fields and boat yards.
Circular Walk—2 1/2 hours
This walk starts outside St Mary's Parish Church Faversham (massive spire) which is a ten minute walk though Faversham town centre from the railway station, or a one minute walk from the Court Street bus stops.
We will start our walk at St Mary's Parish Church and walk out to the Four Horseshoes in Graveney. With the main entrance of the church in front of you take a left down a small footpath passing The Old Grammar School coming out in front of the main entrance to Queen Elizabeth II School in Abbey Place.
- Follow the footpath/cycle route to your right, running alongside the school grounds until you reach Gordon Square. Continue straight on following Gordon Square and then Gordon Road until you reach a another short footpath leading to Abbey Fields. Cross the road and take the footpath running behind the houses for the next 10 minutes until you emerge into open fields and then down a slope, which at the time of writing has small pond to the left.
- Follow the path up the hill and alongside the railway line for three minutes until you reach an unmanned crossing point. Carefully cross the railway line running from Faversham to Whitstable into a field of crops. Watch out for passing trains!
- Follow the path that runs from your current position across the field at a forty-five degree angle into the hop field via clear gap between the trees.
- Follow the undulating path through and out of the hop field until you reach a field lined on either side with poly-tunnels.
- Continue trough the middle of this field heading across towards the tiny St Bartholomew Church which should be visible at an 11 o' clock position in front of you.
- Cross the style passing this 12th Centaury (or earlier) church and follow the path until you reach a small road. The church is open to the public and is maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. Continue down this road until you reach a T- junction and turn left onto Head Hill Road. Head Hill Road has no footpath and so carefully follow this for 10 minutes until you reach the Four Horseshoes in Graveney.
- Dating from about 1800, the Four Horseshoes was closed for many years but has reopened and currently sells between one and three real ales on hand pump. The pub consists of two bars with a games room (pool table) leading off from the public bar. The saloon bar to the left as you enter is mainly used as a dining room selling inexpensive food. The old interior of this pub was removed whilst it was closed, and new fixtures give this old pub a light and airy modern feel.For your return journey turn left as you exit the pub and follow Head Hill Road until you reach Graveney School.
- Turn left down Sandbanks Road and follow this past the village hall. After about fifteen to twenty minutes you should see a signpost on your left to Faversham.
- Follow the foot/cycle path over the wooden bridge until you reach Faversham Creek. Follow the left-hand path that leads along the creek continuing straight on (the cycle path takes a left turn) past the water works until you reach a small bridge the crosses into Iron Wharf boat yard.
- Continue through the boat yard with the creek on your right heading until you reach an old warehouse, now private accommodation. The path continues to the left of the warehouse, continue with the garden centre on your left until you reach the Anchor public House.
At the end of medieval Abbey Street this 300 year old inn is packed with character. Its two busy main bars serve up to six different Shepherd Neame beers. The public bar to the right has a log burning stove with a small snug at the rear leading out to a garden that in the summer months stages plays and live music.
Graveney is served Monday to Saturday by the 660 bus from Faversham to Tankerton. Please note this service is not very regular and so bus times should be confirmed prior to departure at www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk
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.