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PLAP Route 16 - The Weald

Distance: approximately 23 miles in total.
Map: Ordnance Survey Landranger Map Number 189 (Map 1:25000)

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The WealdThe Weald is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in south east England, situated between the chalk cliffs of the North and South Downs and crossing the counties of Sussex, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey. This drive is set within a beautiful location overlooking Romney Marsh and is surrounded by small picturesque towns such as Tenderden, Cranbrook and Rye.  

The identified routes have been specifically designed for anyone wanting to move safely from carriage driving within an indoor school or other restricted area, to carriage driving safely in the open countryside on both quiet lanes and leafy tracks. 

The WealdThe routes have been split into three sections that can be driven independently or joined together - the latter involves crossing the A2070 at a staggered junction just south of Bromley Green (note: this is a fast road, but if the junction shown is used then there is good visibility, and plenty of off-road verges). The eastern section is less challenging than the western. Several shorter options are also available centred around the off-road tracks marked. Routes on the western side of the A2070 are flat.

Route Descriptions

Eastern Route
This can be driven in both directions but is less demanding if driven clockwise.

1. Vehicle access to the starting point is available south of Bromley Green at the T-junction signed Kingsnorth/Ashford – Ham Street/New Romney.  Follow the Fuel Depot Weighbridge sign along Capel Street crossing over the main road and railway line. The starting point is located opposite a bend in the road next to the byway sign.  
2. Facing the road, turn sharp right up an unmarked lane passing Stonegate Farm on your right (approximately a quarter mile), and continue to a staggered cross roads.
3. Cross over, turning down Brisley Lane - signed Brisley, three-quarters of a mile.
4. At the next junction turn left signed Severington and Ashford, and at the following cross roads continue straight over signed Severington & Wilesboro’.
5. At Cheeseman’s Green Farm and Cottages turn right signed Aldington. Two options are then available: 
6. Option A  - after a short distance turn right up an unmarked, narrow lane  (Gill Lane).  Pass the kennels on your right and a historic Wealden house on your left. Continue until you reach the junction. Turn left, and after approximately a quarter mile, turn left again in order to circle Collier’s Hill. After half a mile turn right, and continue to the cross roads by a former Pub (as shown on the map).
7. Option B - continue along the Roman Road (past the right turn in Option A) to the next cross roads at Broad Oak. Go straight over and turn right after approximately half a mile. This brings you to a junction at which turn right. After approximately a quarter mile, you reach the cross roads, which ends Option B.
8. All routes turn down Priory Road towards Bilsington.  Continue along this road to the B2067 junction and turn right.  
9. Drive on through Bilsington village for approximately three quarters of a mile. 
10. After a bend and incline in the road there is a dairy farm on your right after which there is a byway sign. Please note that this is easily missed.
11. Turn right along the byway passing through the gateway by Herne Cottage, and continue back along the track for approximately 1.25 miles to the start of the route, being careful to stay on the same track and not veer off onto the Footpath at the bend shown on the map.  
The surface along this byway varies, but much of it has recently been resurfaced and offers a wonderful start for someone new to carriage driving and seeking somewhere safe to drive. 

South Western Route
Please note the ground surface within the central woodland section can become quite wet during the winter months and the short section along the B2067 can become busy during the time of day when schools start and finish. This route description starts from Grid Ref. 962353. Do not try to go through the gate and onto the path marked on the OS maps as ‘Other road, drive or track’.

The Weald1. With your lorry behind you,  turn right and continue towards Warehorne for approximately 2.5 miles to join the B2067. This is a slightly undulating lane and has some wide verges in places.
2. Turn left and continue along this road for less than a quarter mile.
3. Turn left again at the next junction (opposite the electricity substation) and continue along the road for approximately 1.25 miles before passing the car park shown on the OS map.
4. Turn left and after a short distance a byway sign can be seen on your right (note that other pathways into this wood are not currently recommended. This byway proceeds through Longrope Wood to a small clearing before entering another wooded section by Moat Farm  (passing a wildfowl sanctuary on your right).  The total distance of this off-road section is approximately 2.75 miles, and the ground surface varies.  
5. On reaching a short section of unclassified road, exit between the posts onto the road looks narrow but it is possible to pass through using a competition carriage with a 138cm axle width. Parking for a small lorry is available here making this a useful starting point for the North Western route.
6. At the road turn left along the National Cycle Network Route number 18, and to return to the point of departure, turn left again at the next junction.  

North Western Route
Once again this is a simple flat drive, based around the same central off-road section found on the South Western Route.  Parking is again difficult.  If only Route 3 is being driven, there is room for a small lorry at Grid Ref. 957375.The Kings Head Pub in Shadoxhurst is a possible alternative but obviously prior permission must  be obtained.

The Weald1. From Grid Reference 957375, marked ‘P’ on the map, turn right and follow the National Cycle Route number 18 into the village.
2. In the village turn left and almost immediately right (following the cycle route).  You will pass Criol Farm on your left.
3. At the next junction turn right, and at Stubbs Cross turn right again (signed Tallyho Road). Follow this road for approximately one mile until reaching Blindgrooms Lane on your left and turn down between two houses onto a byway. The width between the posts is once again tight but will enable a carriage with an axle width of 138 to pass through.  From here continue through the wood until joining the tarmac road (approximately  1.25 miles).
4. The alternative to this is to cross over the steep slope on the left of the posts or pass the sign to Blindgrooms Lane and continue into Shadoxhurst turning left, signed Bromley Green. At the first crossroads, continue for approximately one mile before joining the route again at the end of a byway on your left (just opposite a house named Sandy Ridge).
5. From here the route continues towards Bromley Green for approximately  a quarter mile before crossing the road and continuing along a marked and well surfaced Byway for approximately 1.25 miles.   
6. On reaching the road at the end of the byway turn left and continue for approximately 1.75 miles before reaching a T-junction (please note that although this is a rural road and there is good visibility, the traffic moves relatively fast). 
7. Turn right and after a short distance turn right again down the byway for approximately 2.75 miles. This takes you back to the starting point.

General Information

Livery: The Stone Circle Livery Yard at Woodchurch is the nearest BHS Approved yard. Call 01233 860870 or email info@stonecirclelivery.com. Stone Circle was the first fully-organic livery yard in the country and also offers RDA Carriage Driving Group experience. 

Parking:
Eastern Route: On the eastern circuit, parking for a vehicle and trailer or a small lorry is possible at the end of the byway south of Dicker’s Wood.  Parking is also possible at two pubs in villages along the route if permission is obtained in advance (see map for locations, and websites for names and addresses).  A few opportunities for parking on roadside verges exist, and a local agricultural contractor has offered parking nearby for people with disabilities (call 07825 299339).            

Western Routes:
On the western side, parking is offered by the Forestry Commission and is marked on OS maps but it is not suitable for lorries or trailers due to height restrictions. 

General:
Other places where parking is possible for one vehicle and trailer are marked on the map with a ‘P’.

Insurance: The BHS recommends that before undertaking any part of this route, both horse and rider should be adequately insured against public liability. The British Horse Society can provide public liability and personal accident insurance cover as well as many benefits if you join as a member (terms and conditions and territorial limits apply). For more information or to join, visit our Membership section

Feedback: These routes are kept to the standard that the local authority can afford. They were all accessible at the lime of launch and are on definitive public rights of way. If you experience any problems with the routes or wish to raise any concerns, please contact the local authority, your local BHS Access Officer or the Access Team at BHS HQ via access@bhs.org.uk.

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