This circular walk sets off with a wander through ancient Scathes Wood and on to the estate of Fairlawne and then Shipbourne. The trail passes churchyards and heads out across fields and into sheltered woodland. You can catch views of the Kent countryside along the way, framed by frosty bare branches. A full circle will take you back to the National Trust site for a little warming treat from the cosy Mote Café. For more go to nationaltrust.org.uk/ightham-mote
Take a view of the medieval ruin from the parkland trail, which loops around the estate. In winter, views open up across the moat and towards the house, giving a different view of the historic landscape. Wrap up and, if you turn right, you’ll head into Kilndown Wood. Despite the chilly weather, squirrels scuttle between the trees, and berries add a splash of festive red.
Loop back up to the house and take a detour into the gardens. The moat is picturesque on a clear winter’s day, with its calm reflections. Pop into the café to round off your visit.
For more details, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/scotney-castle
Spend time exploring three of the country’s mightiest coastal castles: Dover, Deal and Walmer. This stretch of picturesque coastline has been an important defensive stronghold for centuries. En route you’ll pass the historic White Cliffs of Dover, providing some of the top views along England’s most heavily-fortified coastline. The suggested route covers 10 miles and will take between three and four hours, with pubs and cafes along the way.
For more details visit english-heritage.org.uk/visit/inspire-me
Enjoy a brisk winter walk from Emmetts Garden to Chartwell nearby. You’ll be walking in the heart of the Kent countryside, steeped in history, with landmarks 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 hamlet of French Street. It offers near-uninterrupted views across the Weald. The trail will return you back to Emmetts Garden, passing the Old Stables tearoom back to the car park. For more visit nationaltrust.org.uk/emmetts-garden
Fancy kicking back this half term and exploring the countryside? Penshurst Place has two free-to-access estate walks, which can be tried any time of year. The Parkland Walk and the Riverside Walk are marked with numbered and colour-coded signs to follow and both can be completed in a day, starting and finishing in the visitor car park. You can, if you need to, pick up a trail maps at the gift shop for 50p. The estate shuts on Sunday, October 29, but the trails are still open to enjoy.
A walk around the moat at Bodiam Castle is special in the winter, when you can see the mist rise early in the morning and ice at the water’s edge. Eagle-eyed visitors 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. Be prepared for some obstacles, as there are some stiles to tackle. For more, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/bodiam-castle