North Downs Way 9 : Lenham to Wye
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This wonderful walk starts on the outskirts of the market village of Lenham equidistant from Maidstone and Ashford. It is best known for being the main source of the Great Stour and therefore the start of the Stour Valley Walk.
After a short distance you will pass the Lenham Memorial Cross. This large chalk cross cut into the hillside is a Grade 2 listed memorial dedicated to the lives lost during the First World War and then the Second World War. It was designed by Mr Groom who was the headmaster of the village school, who had also taught any
of the men that had lost their lives. It was completed in 1922 and was paid for by local donation.
Continue along your walk which takes you high above The Weald, a lowland area to the south of your walk. It is hard to believe that this expanse of countryside used to be covered with a thick dense forest. The word ‘Weald’ means forest in Old English. It is thought that this immense Wildwood began to be cut down during the Iron Age and by 500BC half of England had ceased to be wildwood.
As you continue your walk along both the North Downs Way and the Pilgrims Way look out for vineyards to your right. You will pass Westwell Vineyard on the
outskirts of the picturesque village of Westwell. Westwell Vineyard uses traditional and sustainable methods to grow and produce wines from four varieties.
Their aptly named sparkling white wine Pelegrim is a dedication to the nearby Pilgrims Way and those that walked along it in search of Thomas Becket’s
shrine in Canterbury.
Finish your walk in the pretty town of Wye moments from the Great Stour. As you can see the river has grown considerably from its source in Lenham and this is the perfect sight to complete your walk today.