Kelsale: Farms, lakes and meadows

A scene from the Kelsale walk

A scene from the Kelsale walk - Credit: Archant

Richard Tyson enjoys a walk with a choice of routes

Route of the Kelsale walk

Route of the Kelsale walk - Credit: Archant

Unlike September, August was quite wet and a sudden shower interrupted my walk so I took the shorter route (A) to return and made another visit for route (B). From Kelsale you pass the pretty church and take a path into open farmland. Later descend to a meadowland wildflower reserve. Continue to Sparkes Farm (GR372665) from where you can return via lanes and farm tracks (A) or via the Carlton Meres lakes (B).


From the car park at the centre of Kelsale take the road opposite (Church Lane); go up steps and take the path beside the churchyard on the right. Continue down a slope to a minor road and turn right. Ignore the first footpath on the left and in 200 yards take the next footpath to the left (1)

Keep on the farm track along the edge of the field and straight on at a three-way signpost. 75 yards further on follow the hedge at first on your right and later on your left until a tarred lane is reached. Turn left to reach and cross the A12 road where your route continues to Lodge Farm along a concrete track 20 yards away. You keep the same direction.

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Just before Lodge Farm go left then right along the edge of the farm exiting past buildings on the right and turn left towards a wire gate. Continue past this gate descending to a stile. The next field is a wildflower reserve. Cross the footbridge on the opposite side. The path ahead is directly towards a clump of bushes on the horizon crossing two fields on the way. The path was not correctly indicated through the (then) stubble field on my visit so I went straight towards the bushes (previously, I have been round the field edge). At the bushes there is a bridge straight ahead but I went on the other side of a hedge as fallen bushes blocked the way. Reach a derelict shed (2) (“Sparke’s Farm”). Choose you return option now.

(A) Via fields and farm lanes

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Go left on a track; follow signs left and right over a stile then through a gate. Veer right past private Kelsale Hall then through a little wood. Emerge and go left along a field edge and soon on a grass track ahead past Hall Farm.

Cross the A12 and go up steps opposite and continue down a tarred lane to Dorleys Corner (3) on the old main road (B1121). Cross and take another footpath almost opposite with a good headland. At the next road go right now retracing part of the outward route. Turn left up the path to the church and this time exit through the churchyard and via the lovely restored lychgate. Continue ahead then turn right to the start.

B) Via Carlton Meres fishing lakes

Go right at the derelict shed of Sparke’s Farm (2) and keep on the farm drive until a tarred road is reached. Turn left along the road for 700 yards and take the track to the right signed to Lonely Farm Camp Site. In 250 yards (opposite a dog bin) a sign guides you to the left on a footpath into the area of Carlton Meres (the contradictory sign at the road is intended for cars). Go right and follow the right hand shores of the first and second meres. After the second lake descend right to a painted “5” in the road and go ahead. After caravan 209 go right then left past a pond and exit on the path beside woodland. Reach a tarred lane and go left for 100 yards then right on a footpath which is beside a stream. Go up and over the A12 barriers (carefully!) and down the far side. Trees flank the path and your route is to the left at a cross path. In three minutes reach a road. The side road opposite leads past the Poacher’s Pocket pub and onward to the start just over Main Road.

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