Rockbeare Manor is a beautiful country house, set in stunning grounds with a pretty lake. I was first introduced to it on an Active Mums bike ride from Cranbrook, when a group of us sneaked up for a peek at their dazzling daffodil display. I’ve since been back a few times and enjoyed their woodland bluebells too.
There are permissive paths encircling the Manor and grounds and I was keen to find a circular walk using them. To start this 4km walk you can park in Rockbeare village itself and then begin the walk by leaving the village on Lowbrook. Very shortly you will see a horse in a field on the left (complete with warning about his predilection for biting humans!) and you can join the Rockbeare permissive path on the right.
You then follow this path as its winds through a spinney, continuing straight on through a few gates and across a farm track. You will then reach the main gates to the Manor. There is no footpath/right of way through the Manor grounds (hopefully they don’t mind people sneaking up the drive to have a nose at their flowers!) so strictly speaking, the walk continues along the lane, taking the next right turn to keep the house and driveway to the right of you.
This route takes you past the deliveries and service entrance to the Manor, and past the walled kitchen gardens and orchards, that had some gorgeous blossoms in the spring. This lane is a cul de sac, and though there may be occasional cars, I have never met any traffic at all. There is a turning space at the bottom where you could park if you wanted to start the walk here instead.
The lane becomes a bridleway and runs along the A30 for a short way (it is safely separated by a robust wall and fence). It is incredibly loud due to the speed and number of cars and some dogs or children may find this unpleasant but it really isn’t very far before you can follow the grassy path round to the right, keeping to the margins of the woods and letting the bridleway continue to the road without you.
As the roar of the road fades away, you have uninterrupted rural views to the left and woodland on your right and you could be many miles from anywhere and anyone. Here the path is still obvious but the grass grows long in places and long trousers and closed shoes are preferable to the sandals we walked in!
The path brings you out onto Silver Lane and you have to walk on the road for a while. It is a very lightly used lane and we were not passed by anything on our walk, but it could be worrying in the dusk for example. There is a clear entrance back onto estate land and the permissive path takes you through an orchard before you arrive back at where you started to complete your loop.