A pleasant walk through apple orchards, past an ancient denehole and a beacon marking the site of WWI inland defences and over Standard Hill, reputed to be a stopping point for Julius Caesar.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
The walk starts at the footpath at the end of Orchard Drive.
(D) Follow the clearly signposted footpath through the orchards until you come to line of trees ahead of you. Turn left. At the point where the line of trees changes from the right hand side to the left hand side, turn right. Approx 50m further on, opposite a gap in the trees on the left, take the dirt track to the right. Follow the track round to the left. At the line of trees ahead of you, do a left/right dog-leg to continue on the dirt track.At the cross-roads, go straight on. At the next line of trees (a garden perimeter) do a right/left dog leg and pass through the gate onto the road.
(1) Turn left to walk down the road. Join the footpath on the right just past Cedar Cottage. Pass by the side of the metal gate and cross diagonally right across the open field to join the footpath between the orchard and the line of small trees. Walk along the footpath with the orchard on your left and the line of small trees on your right.
(2) After approx 100m, turn left where you see the white footpath sign (you may only see it once you've passed it). Take the footpath through the orchards by following the trees painted with a white line and the white footpath signs.
(3) At the road, follow the white footpath sign to the left. At the farm buildings (Thrognall Farm), turn right.
(4) At Wormdale Hill, cross the road carefully and pass through the kissing gate immediately opposite. Turn left. Follow the footpath round the outside of the field through the kissing gate and up Standard Hill.
(5) Just before the corner of the field, go through the kissing gate on the left, take the footpath down the hill, keeping the hedgerow on your right. Follow the footpath to the stile by the gate into a narrow walkway. Follow path along the rear of gardens. The footpath comes out onto Bull Lane where your walk ends.(A)
D : km 0 - alt. 43m - Orchard Drive
1 : km 1.25 - alt. 55m - Old House Lane
2 : km 2.12 - alt. 77m
3 : km 2.88 - alt. 72m - Road
4 : km 3.35 - alt. 62m - Wormdale Lane
5 : km 4.18 - alt. 51m - Corner of the field
A : km 4.45 - alt. 43m - Bull Lane
There are no toilet facilities or water points anywhere on the route.
In autumn, there is a lot of farm traffic in the orchards. Always give way to vehicles.
There is a short section of road walking and one road to cross. Please take care.
Directions given are advisory. You are responsible at all times for your own safety.
All historic information comes from Newington Times Past and Newington Street and Place Names by Thelma Dudley.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Fruit-growing has been an essential part of Newington's economy for centuries. For 400 years, cherries were the main crop but now, as you can see by these orchards, apples and pears, with some plums, have replaced them.
The abundant springtime cherry blossom used to draw sightseers, photographers and artists to 'The Garden of England' - a name given to Kent possibly by Henry VIII. For much of the last century, there was a Blossom Blessing ceremony from the church each spring.
The trees in the orchards you are walking through are more upright and heavier cropping than the older varieties.
Notice smaller-fruiting trees among the apples. These are crab-apples and planted here deliberately because they are excellent pollinators. Depending on the time of year, you may find a variety of insects enjoying the windfall fruit.
Note the hedgerows on the route. There is a theory that you can tell the age of a hedgerow by counting the variety of plants in a 30m stretch and multiplying by 100. Varieties that you see on this route include blackthorn, identifiable in late summer and autumn by its small, purple single fruit called sloes and elderberry with its umbrellas of white flowers in the spring and cascades of tiny black fruit in autumn.
As you come to the end of the first orchards, before joining the road, you will pass a denehole, although it can't be seen. These are ancient chalk-extraction sites.
Thrognall Farm is believed to come from the name Frogenhall, a family who came from Teynham in 1360. It was once owned by Thomas Linacre, Henry VIII's physician.
The short road walk is through the hamlet of Chesley. One of the buildings here, Nunfield Farm, is reputed to be the site of a 11th century nunnery which has a surprisingly violent history. The prioress was strangled in her bed and the nuns banished to the Isle of Sheppey. They were replaced by seven priests but one of them was murdered and four others were found guilty of the crime.
As you pass through Wormdale Farm (Waypoint 4) there are two items of interest. As you walk up the hill, look to your right where there is a beacon. It was erected in 2018 by Newington History Group to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The beacon is sited on a former gun emplacement, part of inland defences that would have been the last line of defence protecting London had we been invaded.
The hill itself is Standard Hill. It's said that Julius Caesar camped here when he tried to invade Britain in 54 BC. Although that story can't be proved, Newington became an important Roman industrial centre after the successful invasion of 43AD. The remains of Roman villas, temples and burial grounds have been found in the village and surrounding areas.
Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 4/5
Routemap quality : 5/5
Walk interest : 4/5
Global average : 4.33 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Good
Nice bit of local history and so interesting to walk through the orchards.
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