Top winter walks in Kent and East Sussex revealed by The National Trust
A winter walk after Christmas provides the perfect antidote to those days spent indoors unwrapping presents and eating festive feasts. National Trust rangers in Kent and East Sussex have pulled together their top trails to blow away the festive cobwebs and walk off that Christmas excess.
It’s time to wrap up warm, throw on some wellies and get out on an invigorating woodland walk around Emmetts Garden, or travel through time meandering around the moat at Bodiam Castle. The frosty countryside around Ightham Mote offers trails for all abilities, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as robins and snowy squirrels on an estate walk around Scotney Castle. Whichever route you choose, there is something to suit all tastes.
With the help of National Trust members, supporters and volunteers, the conservation charity looks after some of London and the South East’s most beautiful countryside and coastline. The National Trust offers access to extraordinary outdoor places so people can get up close to nature and wildlife and are moved to help the Trust look after them.
Here are some of the best local walking trails and events to put a spring in your step during the cold winter months:
Bodiam Castle, East Sussex
Walk around the moat and explore the wider estate
A walk around the moat at Bodiam Castle is special in the winter time. See the mist rise off early in the morning or the frozen edges in the crisp clear water. You’ll build up a picture of what the landscape might have looked like back in the Middle Ages. Eagle eyes might spot the Second World War pill box in the grounds.
Longer walks across the surrounding countryside will take you past the church of St. Giles and into the local village. There are some stiles to tackle on these trails.
For a special Boxing Day treat, join an exclusive out-of-hours tour of the castle followed by a walk in the grounds. We’ll finish in our Terrace Room for a breakfast bap and hot drink.
Scotney Castle, Kent
Take an outsiders view of the medieval ruin from the parkland trail, which loops around the estate. In winter, stark views open up across the moat and up towards the house, giving a different view of the historic landscape.
Wrap up warm and turn right into bare-branched Kilndown Wood. Despite the chilly weather squirrels scuttle between the majestic trees, and red berries add a splash of festive red.
Loop back up to Scotney’s house and take a detour into the gardens. The moat is stunning on a clear winter’s day, with light morning mists giving way to calm reflections in the water.
Pop into the café for a festive treat before you go – it’s Christmas after all.
Ightham Mote, Kent
Ightham Mote’s walk to Shipbourne and Fairlawne
This circular walk begins with a wander through ancient Scathes Wood, before taking in some wonderful views of the Kentish countryside on the way to the neighbouring estate of Fairlawne and on to Shipbourne.
The trail passes beautiful churchyards, across fields and into sheltered woodland. There are some stunning views of the Kent countryside to be had along the way, framed by frosty bare branches.
A full circle will bring you back to Ightham Mote and the cosy Mote Café, with warming festive drinks and seasonal treats in store.
Emmetts Garden, Kent
Enjoy a brisk winter walk from Emmetts Garden to neighbouring Chartwell. You’ll be walking in the heart of the Kent countryside, steeped in history with fascinating landmarks to see along the way.
The Weardale Walk is fully waymarked, and passes through the woodland areas of Toys Hill and Hosey Common, as well as the pretty hamlet of French Street.
Allow time to pause and take in wintry views across the Weald of Kent, almost uninterrupted by man-made landmarks.
The trail will return you back to Emmetts Garden, passing the Old Stables tearoom back to the carpark.
For more winter walks visit: