The Ale of the Trail is a map linking local beer and cultural heritage with breweries on the North Downs Way National Trail.
Ten breweries located along the North Downs Way National Trail dedicated an “Ale of the Trail”. Each brewery was encouraged to dedicate a beer that has some connection to the trail either by name, ingredients or historical links.
Each brewery made an annual donation towards the upkeep of the trail.
A map and passport was designed and printed to encourage walkers to discover local beers, breweries and related heritage along the trail
Over 6,000 maps & passports were distributed to local pubs, farm shops, brewery outlets.
North Downs Way Walkers and Cyclists are encouraged to visit local pubs, breweries and outlets to tick off each beer on the map and passport
Pubs, ales and trails are promoted via social media and on partner media channels

Resources needed

Six months of officer time to develop, manage and communicate project
£1600 design and print of 6,000 maps and passports (download from website below)
£160 creation of web page and branding icon

Evidence of success

Increased awareness of breweries on trail
Trail Ambassadors delivering Ale related activities
More walkers visiting breweries, tours & pubs for food/ drink/ accommodation
Requests from other producers to be in the project
10,000 Ales of the Trail maps produced

PDF Download of the maps have been downloaded from the website
10 Breweries reported success and requested guided walks and events
Shepherd Neame, one of UK’s biggest breweries, have put in place their own pub walks scheme

Difficulties encountered

On going officer time is needed for promotion, updating and communication

Potential for learning or transfer

Any long-distance walking trail could implement the same initiative. Ale is a kind of beer distinctive to Kent with a strong link to local heritage, so it works well in Kent. Many of the ales are associated with historic traditions, stories or characters. Any region could do similar with a focus on their own locally distinctive produce.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Kent Downs AONB
Start Date
June 2018
End Date


catherine bradley Please login to contact the author.