Kentish villages, orchards & Cobham Park

Sole Street loop, Kent

9 miles / 14.5 km

HIGHLIGHTS

Apple Orchards | Vineyards | Cobham Park | Darnley Mausoleum | North Downs Way | Historic Village Pubs

Cobham Park & Mausoleum

About this walk

Combining woodland, fields, historic villages, a majestic mausoleum and a public footpath through a huge orchard, this is a great Kent route, perfect for the autumn (though enjoyable any time of the year).

Starting out from the little village of Sole Street, the walk heads quickly out into countryside, through Henley Woods and then up to the top of Henley Downs. From here, you have sweeping views over Luddesdown. Continuing through more woods, you’ll join the North Downs Way for a while before coming steeply down through Bush Valley to stunning Cobham Park, home to stately Darnley Mausoleum along with grazing highland cattle (if you’re lucky).

From here, it’s not far to the pretty village of Cobham (not to be confused with the other Cobham in Surrey) where you might like to stop for some refreshment at the 17th century Leather Bottle pub before returning to Sole Street via an extensive orchard.

Route details

This route follows well marked footpaths over rolling hills, there are some steep climbs especially up to Cobham Park. Can be quite muddy in winter.

Start/End Sole Street  South Eastern Railway
OS Route  WALKING POST Sole Street loop
Difficulty Moderate
Length 9 miles /14.5 km
Average time 4-5 hours
Total ascent 1080 ft

Darnley Mausoleum

Apple Orchards

Cobham Park

Henley Downs

Bush Valley

Cobham Village

Along the way

 Luddesdown

Pretty Luddesdown stands at the crossroads of an intricate network of footpaths and bridleways, making it a popular spot for ramblers and cyclists. Along with the Cock Inn Pub (founded in 1713), there’s also a lovely church which was recorded in the Doomsday Book. Luddesdown also boasts one of the oldest continuously inhabited buildings in England, Luddesdown Court, which is sadly not open to the public.

Cobham Wood & Darnley Mausoleum

This National Trust owned land encompasses one of the few remaining woodland pastures in the UK, grazed by magnificent Highland Cattle. The Mausoleum itself was designed by architect James Wyatt for the 4th Earl of Darnley. No one is entirely sure why, but the building was never consecrated so no bodies have ever been interred there. You can go inside the mausoleum a few days a year. Check here for dates.

Cobham

The quiet village of Cobham stands at the end of a Lime Avenue that leads to the great Cobham Hall, one of the finest houses in Kent. You can also visit the pub that featured in Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers (the author was said to be a frequent visitor) or make a very slight detour to visit Owletts, a 17th century manor house, also now owned by the National Trust. 

 

Useful info

TRANSPORT

Sole Street railway station is on the Chatham Main Line usually running hourly trains from London Victoria.

TOILET OPPORTUNITIES

Sole Street station – only open when booking hall staffed. Pubs in Cobham and Sole street have toilets for customers.

FOOD & DRINK

Railway Inn
Very close to Sole Street station so the perfect place to wait for trains. Friendly local pub, food and beer garden.

Ship Inn
Green King pub serving traditional pub fare, with some outdoor seating. 

Leather Bottle
Charles Dickens is said to have loved this half-timbered pub and stayed here on numerous occasions. It’s featured in The Pickwick Papers.

Darnley Arms
A friendly local, dating back to 1706. There is also accommodation available here.