Swale Ale Walk No 4
Ale, Apples and Pears - a circular walk to Painters Forstal and Brogdale via Ospringe
This walk visits four pubs and Brogdale National Fruit Collection which offers cafes and shops selling beers and ciders. It follows both footpaths, cycle routes and road Circular Walk—5 miles approx. 1 hour 40 minutes walking
This walk starts at Faversham train station (the front/main entrance). This is also the stopping point for a number of buses.
From the main ticket office turn left and along Station Road and continue past the Co-op into Forbes Road. Just before the railway bridge, take a right hand turn down Briton Road. Continue until the end, turn left and follow road around and alongside the railway line until you reach Ospringe Road. At this point take a left and walk down under the railway bridge until you reach our first pub The Ship Inn.
This two roomed 16th Century inn is located on the A2 between Faversham and Sittingbourne. On my visit the pub served three real ales including Master Brew, London Pride and Courage Best. However the pub regularly takes Harvey's Sussex Best and other guest beers. This pub serves a range of food including bar snacks. It has two open fires and a large garden to the rear.
Continue your walk crossing the A2 and turn left down Water Lane walking past the Maison Dieu which is open to the public Saturdays and Sundays between 14:00 and 17:00 until the end of October.
Follow Water Lane past Ospringe Primary School and go right down a footpath that leads off opposite Mutton Lane. Walk though allotments and past the small hop field until you reach a small farm track. Turn left and walk towards the farm buildings.
Follow the path to the left of the farm buildings and walk through the fields with Ospringe Church to your left. Continue until you reach a small gate. Go through the gate and follow the path bearing right until you reach Water Lane again.
Take a left and follow Water Lane for a very short while until you reach the junction with Painter's Forstal Road. Cross the motorway bridge and follow this road for approximately ten minutes passing Pawley Cider Farm. Continue until you reach Painter's Forstal and The Alma Public House.
This lovely village pub is the half way point for the walk. It has both a public and a saloon bar which also serves as an eating area. The pub sells Shepherd Neame beers and on my visit was serving Master Brew and Spitfire. The pub has a range of good food but this does not intrude on the village pub feel. There is a small outdoor seating area at the front which on my visit was a real suntrap.
Leaving the Alma turn left out of the pub and then directly right down Eastling Road. Walk for about two minutes and as you are about to go down the hill, turn left though a gate into Lorenden Park. Follow the path down though the trees for approximately five to ten minutes until you see a small red brick bridge. Cross the bridge and then continue through the gate onto Eastling Road again.
Turn left and walk along the road and up the hill for about10 minutes until you reach Brogdale National Fruit Collection.
Brogdale maintain and promote the National Fruit Collection and visitors can participate in guided orchard tours, courses and take a ride on the miniature railway. In recent years they have opened Brogdale Market Place selling local fruit, vegetables, meat and plants. Tiddly Pomme specialise in selling a range of local bottled beers and wines as well as having a wide range of local draught cider.
When leaving Brogdale turn right onto Brogdale Road (the end of Eastling Road) and cross the motorway bridge. Follow the road until it reaches the A2.
Turn right and walk along the side of the A2 using the footbridge to cross the road continue walking until you reach the Faversham turning. Turn left into The Mall where you will reach The Crown and Anchor.
This large Shepherd Neame pub serves Master Brew and offers a good range of cooked food. Open Monday to Friday from 10:30 until 15:00 this is a good place to stop for something to eat before continuing to The Elephant further down The Mall.
Opening at 15:00, it is essential that you time your walk well. The Elephant is an excellent pub to have a few pints before the short walk back to Faversham railway station (via the rear entrance at the end of The Mall). This free house serves a changing range of five different beers from local breweries as well as national favourites.
This CAMRA award-winning pub prides itself on serving a wide range of different beer styles including a regular mild, as well as a range of dark and golden ales. The Elephant has a lovely sunny garden and a real log fire in the winter. It does not however serve food and for this reason I would suggest you get something to eat en route or in Faversham town centre some five minutes walk away.
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.