Eynsford Circular walk

A contrast between hidden valleys in the North Downs and the Darent Valley Path through three interesting villages.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 09-Apr-22 Saturday walk- Eynsford to Shoreham 12 beautifully sunny and surprisingly warm
Sun, 02-Feb-20 Sunday Walk – The Darent Valley between Eynsford & Shoreham 10 mild
Sat, 16-Mar-19 Saturday walk - Eysnford Circular - varied downland and a flexible afternoon 21 drizzly and windy
Sun, 09-Jul-17 Around the Darent Valley in north Kent 13 hot and sunny
Sat, 26-Nov-16 Saturday Third Walk – Wine tasting in the Darent valley 25 started grey and misty gradually clearing in the afternoon
Mon, 30-May-16 Bank Holiday Monday Walk South - Hidden valleys in the North Downs 15
Sun, 27-Sep-15 Sunday walk 1 Kent's Downs 9 Sunny
Sun, 26-Apr-15 Eynsford Circular 6
Sat, 13-Sep-14 Eynsford Circular 4
Sun, 20-Apr-14 Eynsford Circular 0
Sun, 04-Aug-13 Eynsford Circular 11
Sun, 04-Aug-13 Eynsford Circular (shorter version)
Sun, 13-Jan-13 Eynsford Circular (shorter version) 16
Sat, 21-Jul-12 Eynsford Circular
Sat, 04-Feb-12 Eynsford to Shoreham (short walk)
Sat, 04-Feb-12 Eynsford Circular
Sun, 21-Aug-11 Eynsford Circular
Sat, 05-Feb-11 Eynsford to Shoreham (short walk)
Sun, 16-Jan-11 Eynsford Circular (shorter version)
Sat, 03-Jul-10 Eynsford Circular (shorter version)
Sun, 13-Dec-09 Eynsford Circular
Sat, 21-Nov-09 Eynsford Circular
Sat, 08-Aug-09 Eynsford Circular
Sun, 29-Mar-09 Eynsford Circular
Thu, 01-Jan-09 Eynsford Circular
Sat, 09-Apr-22
Saturday walk- Eynsford to Shoreham
Eynsford to Shoreham

Length: 16 km (9.8 miles) with longer or shorter options.

This starts along a country lane through the secluded Austin Lodge valley, climbing to the isolated settlement of Romney Street. It continues on an undulating section to a ridge with fine views of the Darent valley, from where you descend into Otford, passing its scale model of the Solar System. The village has many interesting old buildings and the full route takes you past the ruins of Otford Palace, a rival to Hampton Court in Tudor times.


For the afternoon leg follow the Shoreham directions (there is also a shorter route that passes through Shoreham). You can continue on to Eynsford with all route options.

Scroll down the walk directions page for a useful interactive map showing the various options.


Trains: Get the Thameslink 0946 Sevenoaks train from London Blackfriars, arriving 1041. Alternatively, the 0955 Ashford Intl train from Victoria, changing at Swanley arr 1023 for the above train at 1036.

Shoreham has a frequent service variously ending in Victoria, Blackfriars or London Bridge.

Buy a return to Shoreham (which is further down the line from Eynsford), or to Eynsford if doing one of the other options.


Lunch: Otford, after about 8½ km. The walk route joins the High Street opposite the Bull (01959-523198) or a traditional village pub overlooking the pond, the Woodman (01959-522195).

Tea: Shoreham has some pubs & tea rooms, as does Eynsford

T=swc.59

  • 10-Apr-22

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • 10-Apr-22

    11 off the train, 1 early starter caught up with, so 12 altogether on this beautifully sunny and surprisingly warm day in the Darenth Valley. Very little mud made for pleasant walking up to Romney Street and Mount Farm, shortly after which we were rewarded with a magnificent view of Otford and Sevenoaks in, I am convinced, clearer skies than pre-covid. I know a lot of holiday makers were disappointed by their cancelled flights, but it's an ill wind that blows no-one any good.

    Lunch was taken variously at the Bull in Otford or on benches overlooking England's only listed pond, several local cafes providing sandwiches for those who had originally thought it too cold for a picnic lunch. Then, by common consent all (?) took the longer route up the west side of the valley, passing Uranus on the way. (Otford has a large scale model of the solar system scattered around the village and its surroundings - Pluto is about a mile away.) Two newborn lambs and their mother were spotted before tackling the ascent (well, some of us did) to Polhill Bank with, again, great views, before strolling on to Shoreham. A few called it a day here, but it was a beautiful afternoon so others took either the high or low road to Eynsford, those taking the low stopping to admire St Botolph's church in the grounds of Lullingstone Castle, free admission being the main draw.

  • 10-Apr-22

    I forgot the Nature Notes: as well as white wood anemones, there were plentiful displays of yellow celandines and, in sheltered spots, sheets of bluebells. A kestrel was spotted above Otford, earning its soubriquet of "windhover." A few early butterflies (brimstones) were seen near Shoreham.

Sun, 02-Feb-20
Sunday Walk – The Darent Valley between Eynsford & Shoreham
Extra Walk 59c – Eynsford (Short) Circular
Length: 14 km (8.7 miles), with longer afternoon possible (see * below). Toughness: 4/10

10:12 Sevenoaks train from Blackfriars, calling at lots of stations in south London and arriving Eynsford at 11:05.

Alternatively, take the 10:25 Canterbury West train from Victoria and change at Bromley South (arr 10:41, dep 10:48) for the train to Eynsford.

Trains back to Blackfriars are half-hourly at xx:11 & xx:41; change at Bromley South if you want to return to Victoria.

This is a straightforward walk in the Darent valley, southwards along its eastern flank as far as Romney Street and then across an abandoned golf course to the pretty village of Shoreham. This has four pubs competing for your custom so you should be able to get lunch at one of them without difficulty, but pick one and call ahead if you want to be sure of a table.

* The standard afternoon route is along the valley floor back to Eynsford, but if your New Year's Resolution calls for something a little more strenuous you could try the longer afternoon route (option d, an extra 2 km) up the western flank of the valley and along the top of Lullingstone Country Park.

If you want a mid-afternoon stop the standard route passes a café in the Country Park Visitor Centre. Both routes pass a nice tearoom by the river in Eynsford, but if you want to celebrate the end of a dry January there are several pubs nearby.

You'll need to bring the walk directions from the Eynsford Circular walk page. Clicking 'Short' in the Walk Options heading (or the line for options c or d) will hide the directions for the longer walk options via Otford. T=swc.59.d
  • Anonymous
    28-Jan-20

    The Mount Vineyard at Shoreham may also be worth a visit and appears to serve food as well as more liquid sustenance...

  • 02-Feb-20

    On a mild winter's day 10 walkers set off from Eynsford, plus a dog with boundless energy which shot off ahead and seemed to know the route rather better than some of the human participants. Once off the quiet lane away from the station we had to contend with the expected muddy stretches, but nothing was too awful. It was interesting to note that the defunct golf course on the first leg had almost completed reverted to nature, with hardly any trace of its tees and greens. A stiff climb out of the valley here would normally have reduced me to a crawl, but by cunningly offering to take the dog's lead I was whisked up the hill with no effort at all.

    Arriving at Shoreham just before 1pm the pub lunchers plumped for the first hostelry which appeared. I haven't tried the George for a while but the Sunday roasts were excellent; they might have arrived a bit quicker if one of our group hadn't ordered something exotic which took a little longer to prepare, but no-one seemed to be in too much of a hurry.

    Some of the sandwichers had gone on ahead and one or two others seemed to disappear after lunch, but a core group of six set off on the afternoon leg. At the other end of the village the two routes diverge and there was a palpable shock when the walk author announced his intention of doing the longer and hillier option. This didn't meet with unqualified approval but all acquiesced and we returned to Eynsford along the other side of the valley, pausing to admire the magnificent veteran trees in Lullingstone Park and trying to blot out the road noise from the M25, made worse by the stiff breeze coming from that direction. Three went for the 16:41 train, three stopped for a quick reviver in the Plough.

Sat, 16-Mar-19
Saturday walk - Eysnford Circular - varied downland and a flexible afternoon
Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles), but shorter options after lunch of 15.8km (9.8 miles) or 18.8km (11.7 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10 T=3.59

9.45 train from Blackfriars (9.50 Elephant & Castle) to Eysnford, arriving 10.41. This train also calls at Denmark Hill 9.58, Peckham Rye 10.01....and lots of other places in south east London.

Alternatively get the 9.55 (Ashford-bound) train from Victoria and change at Bromley South, arriving 10.11, departing 10.23, for the above train.

Buy a day return to Eynsford ("Ains-fud") if you intend to do the whole walk, or Shoreham (Kent) if you want the option of finishing there. Cheaper Thameslink only tickets would be valid, if such are offered, and since lots of the train journey is inside London, boundary zone six tickets give you a huge discount.

For walk directions click here. To save on paper, click the Main link just below the map, or select the individual option that you plan to do. For GPX click here.

We have a lot of walks in the Otford/Shoreham/Eysnford area, but this particular one has rather surprisingly not had a Saturday outing since 2016. It offers lots of options - and I know how some of you love them!! - but for simplicity today I suggest you ignore the shorter ones lunching in Shoreham and do the main walk, which for all walks means an 8km/5 mile morning up over the hills to Otford, where there are two pubs and also a couple of tea rooms (the one by the pond and the one in the Hospices of Hope shop).

After lunch you can either do the main walk (the 13.4 mile option), or curtail it at Shoreham (9.8 miles), or take a flatter route, more directly along the Darent Valley (11.7 miles).

Eysnford has plenty of refreshment opportunities as outlined in the walk directions.

Trains back from Eysnford are at 05 and 35 past. (Allow 15 minutes or so to walk up to the station from the village - it is a bit further than you remember...)
  • Anonymous
    15-Mar-19

    There are now 3 tea rooms in Otford, the 3rd being opposite the Hospices of Hope.

  • 16-Mar-19

    Soon it will be spring. Very very soon. Today it was drizzly and windy , but nicer weather is coming. Nature is on the rise. There are lots of leaf shoots appearing in the hedgerow and we saw plenty of wood anemones and primroses. Larks sang bravely against the grey skies.

    There were 21 of us and as far as I aware we all kept pretty much together until lunch in Otford. There we split a bit. Many went to the largely empty Bull where chain pub meals (perhaps a bit skimpy on the portions) were dispensed speedily by staff in ludicrous St Patrick’s Day hats. Two at least went to the Woodman and we did not see them again (alas). At least two went to the Hospices of Hope tea room.

    After lunch two set off to walk to Sevenoaks, one went off to do her own thing, four or five continued on the main 13 mile walk and nine of us chose the alternative afternoon along the Darent Valley, hoping thus to be somewhat out of the wind. This route was perhaps a bit too easy because we got to the deserted Lullingstone cafe at 3pm. We drank tea, ate cake, added lots more mud to the considerable amount already on their floor, and generally dawdled a bit so as not to finish the walk too early. To salve our honour we climbed up onto the hill before the Roman villa to rejoin the main walk route with its fine view of the railway viaduct.

    After a cosy drink in the Malthouse pub (much smartened up since I last was in it) we got the....whatever train it was we got. It was getting dark anyway so I guess we made full use of the day.

Sun, 09-Jul-17
Around the Darent Valley in north Kent
Extra Walk 59 – Eynsford Circular
Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles) Toughness: 7/10

10:12 Sevenoaks train from Blackfriars (stopping at numerous stations in south-east London, incl Bromley South 10:44) arriving at Eynsford at 11:00.

Or 10:12 Ramsgate train from Victoria, changing at Bromley South (arr 10:30, dep 10:44) arriving at Eynsford at 11:00.

Return trains to Blackfriars are at xx:13 and xx:43 (journey time 51 mins). Change at Bromley South (on the xx:13) or at Swanley (on the xx:43) for a fast train to Victoria. In the afternoon it is possible to shorten the walk by returning from Shoreham station (trains at xx:09 and xx:39). Buy a return to Shoreham if you plan to do this.

Several of our walks are located in the ever-popular Darent Valley and this one intersects in places with some of the others after starting up a secluded valley and along a ridge with fine views around. For lunch there are several pubs and a cafe in Otford. A longer and more varied afternoon route was added to the Main Walk in 2017, and this appears to be its first outing. The original route along the Darent Valley Path has been retained as the ‘shorter afternoon’ option. Other options for shortening the walk are also provided.

Among the interesting buildings passed on the walk, Lullingstone Castle has a Fire Engine Rally today, with historic engines and live fire displays.

You will find the walk directions and other information on the Walk 59 page. Click on your preferred option just below the map to suppress the parts that you won’t need. Or you can download the pdf here.
T=3.59
  • Anonymous
    06-Jul-17

    Hi,

    I would love to attend.

    Anyone else with can commit and is "ok" with directions?

    Zak

  • 09-Jul-17

    Zak I will be going

  • Anonymous
    09-Jul-17

    Coming from Victoria station

  • 09-Jul-17

    13 , hot and sunny , Three opted for a shorter version with lunch at Shoreham. The rest went on for lunch at the Bull in Otford which has a large garden with shady tables and is reasonably efficient on a busy Sunday lunch time. Food is better than many of these larger pub chains. After lunch we took the shortest route to Shoreham hoping for tea and cakes at the church, sadly none this Sunday. Some then took the Darenth Valley path to Eynsford and others got the train from Shoreham. As always a pleasant day out in the Darenth Valley with a walk length to suit all tastes on a hot day.

Sat, 26-Nov-16
Saturday Third Walk – Wine tasting in the Darent valley
Extra Walk 59c – Eynsford (Short) Circular
Length: 14 km (8.7 miles). Toughness: 4/10

10:12 Sevenoaks train from Blackfriars, calling at lots of stations in south London and arriving Eynsford at 11:00. Or take the 10:22 Ashford International train from Victoria and change at Bromley South (arr 10:38, dep 10:44) for the train to Eynsford.

Trains back are half-hourly, at 13 & 43 minutes past. You can change at Bromley South for a fast train to Victoria.

As we were passing a vineyard last month a fellow-walker encouraged me to look for walks with the opportunity to taste some English wines. I'd noticed a new vineyard in the pretty Kent village of Shoreham and the website for The Mount Vineyard could hardly be more welcoming: “why not pop in for a drink mid-walk?” it says, stating that its tasting room is open every Saturday afternoon until Christmas.

This short version of the Eynsford Circular has its lunch stop in Shoreham, so now you've got an extra choice for some mid-walk refreshment. The vineyard isn't (yet) mentioned in the Walk Directions but look for its entrance on the right as you go down Church Street; it's just beyond Ye Olde George Inn, the first of the village's three (or is it four?) pubs. The walk author has carefully made navigation on the afternoon stretch relatively undemanding, so you can afford some thorough research into the wines on offer. And why not buy a bottle or two for Christmas?

There are cafés and tearooms along the afternoon route to revive you, and more pubs too. If you're running out of daylight at the end (sunset is at 4pm) there are a couple of shorter endings you can take.

You'll need to print the walk directions from the Extra Walk 59 page. Clicking 'c. Shorter Circular Walk' under Walk Options will hide the directions for the longer variations via Otford. T=swc.59.c
  • A fellow-walker
    26-Nov-16

    Sean, thanks for posting - sorry I won't be joining you on this occasion. Cheers!

  • Anonymous
    26-Nov-16

    25 people got off the train with some of them certainly interested in the wine tasting at lunch time. This had been briefly alluded to in the walk posting.

    For all their enthusiasm the pace was relaxed and after about 100 minutes most of us tried the pubs in Shoreham - 12 lunched at The Crown and by general consent reckoned good food with good attitude and good prices and A N Other x 2 said the beer was good - the Crown was good then.

    Whilst we were there we had a report that one walker had gone astray and ended up in Otford for lunch but then rejoined us in the early afternoon by jogging back - so an extra 2 to 3 miles ( or more maybe - we don't know how lost he really was ) and by jogging used about twice the calories that we all did.

    After lunch it seemed that some had enjoyed the wine tasting as they greeted us with beaming smiles and a bit of giggling and possibly a stumble or two - this included the walks author and someone who had driven but by the time we had got back to Eynsford and had tea and cake surely the tippling had worn off.

    Speaking of tea - the Riverside tea room ( not actually on the riverside ) in Eynsford was good with a selection of teas, coffees, cakes and ice cream which was enjoyed by many but not really needed it only being an hour or so since lunch.

    A 15 minute walk back to the train meant that 12 of us caught the 16.43 back home ( and three went off by car ) - bit of an old cattle truck of a train but at least it was running

    The other 10 - no idea what happened to them but trust that they either had a longer imbibing session in Shoreham or a shorter lunch time and got a train before us

    The views throughout the day were nice though visibility was poor at times but most of the autumnal leaf colour is now on the ground .

    A little muddy in places but surprisingly pleasant for this time of year with only one that I know of taking a tumble - but he took it in good heart and didn't seem any worse for it though by all accounts it was quite decorative.

    That'll do then - signing off - TTFN as JY used to say

    Pa King

    PS the weather started grey and misty gradually clearing in the afternoon and it wasn't too cold

  • 26-Nov-16

    To add to Pa King's slightly scurrilous report, about ten lunched at the George in Shoreham and this pub too got good marks. Several then made the small detour to The Mount Vineyard which couldn't have been more welcoming (sorry you missed this, 'fellow-walker'). They offered free tasting of their five wines with no pressure to buy, but as the product proved to be eminently drinkable it was no hardship to purchase a couple of bottles. Other visitors were enjoying plates of nibbles and the owners plan to open a restaurant on the premises, so this could even become an up-market lunch stop.

    A little later, another detour into Castle Farm's Hop Shop led to more foodie purchases. And finally, full marks to the Riverside Tea Rooms for welcoming a large influx of walkers ten minutes before their published closing time and cheerfully staying open an extra half-hour to serve everyone tea, cakes and scones.

  • River Lady
    27-Nov-16

    Four enjoyed lunch at the friendly King's Arms and two visited the ruins of Eynsford Castle before arriving at the tea shop at the same time as the others.

Mon, 30-May-16
Bank Holiday Monday Walk South - Hidden valleys in the North Downs
Extra Walk 59: Eynsford Circular – A Contrast between hidden valleys in the North Downs and the Darent Valley Path through three interesting villages.

Distance: 12.1 Miles

Difficulty: 5 out of 10

This walk has been moved from its original spot on Saturday to Bank Holiday Monday to even up numbers while SWC walkers are in Scotland.
Train: Take the 9:42 Thameslink train towards Sevenoaks from London Blackfriars, arriving at Eynsford at 10:30.

You can also get the 9.52 from Victoria to Bromley South, arriving 10.08, to connect with the Blackfriars train there at 10.14.

Buy a day return to Eynsford.
This walks explores some hidden valleys in the North Downs and also takes the Darent Valley Path through three interesting villages along the river. There are options to extend and shorten the walk. More information and the walk instructions can be found here.
Lunch is in Otford (about 5.5 miles into the walk) where there are a couple of pubs from which to choose. The recommended tea stop is the Riverside Tea Rooms and there are also several pubs in Eynsford for stronger refreshment.

Return trains from Eynsford are at 13 and 43 minutes past the hour until 22:13.
Enjoy the walk!
  • Marion
    27-May-16

    Intend going

  • Anonymous
    29-May-16

    anyone interested in taking the short cut to Shoreham?

  • Marion
    01-Jun-16

    13 started in dry, cloudy weather at a fast pace. 2 joined later at lunchtime in the Bull, having been denied boarding at Victoria due to defective ticket machines The Woodman could only offer burgers and hotdogs as the Otford village fair was in mid-swing but the Bull was fully booked in the restaurant but made up a table for 9 in the bar.. Fast and reliable food service.

    2 walkers were sporting deep tanned complexions from the Scottish trip which seems to have had the best weather in the UK and a jolly good time in the heat of the bare and boggy munros. Very pretty walk with lots of buttercups. 2 took the short cut to Shoreham.

  • Anonymous
    01-Jun-16

    15

Sun, 27-Sep-15
Sunday walk 1 Kent's Downs
Eynsford Circular SWC walk 59
12.5 miles 19.5km Difficulty 5/10
8.7 mile 14 km Difficulty 4/10
A walk in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty returning along the Darent Valley.
The standard version of this walk (M) is 12.5 miles with lunch in Otford. There's also a shorter 8.7 mile version (c) that skips Otford and heads to Shoreham for lunch.
Attractions en route include Castle Farm's Hop Shop which sells hoppy and lavendery stuff – good ice cream too, so people say. Lullingstone Roman Villa (definitely worth a visit and open till 6 in summer, cost £6:60), Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre open to 5, cost £8.95. If you're lucky, you may see the occasional bird flying over the walk. A detour nearer the end will take you to the ruins of Eynsford Castle.
Train 09:36 Canterbury West train from Victoria (Bromley South, 9:53) arriving Eynsford 10:09
Return from Eynsford at xx:48. If you decide to finish at Shoreham, trains return at xx:45
Lunch:
Long walk: Reports suggest the Crown in Otford has closed. There are still two pubs nearby The Woodman 01529 522 195 and The Bull, 01529 523 198. We've not used either recently so feedback would be appreciated.
Short walk: Ye Olde George Inn 01959 522017 in Shoreham is on the walk route. You also have the Kings Arms 01959 523100 and The Crown 01959 522903 round the corner on the High Street
Tea:
Lullingstone Park Visitor Centre has a café 01322 865995 open till 5.
In Eynsford ,you have the Riverside tea room 01322 861551, the Malt Shovel 01322 862164, the Five Bells 01322 863135 and the Castle Hotel 01322 863162.
Directions available here
  • 25-Sep-15

    I can't make it so early, but definitely going to do it two hours later, arriving Eynsford at 12:09. If anyone interested and would like to join me.

  • 26-Sep-15

    Hi,

    I'm a first timer, could you just confirm where we're supposed to meet? Is it at the station?

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous
    26-Sep-15

    I am also interested in doing this walk later but not definite as stomach is upset todayjfk

    Can you bring instructions B arbara Thanks

    This computer is up the spout

  • Red Rambler
    26-Sep-15

    Hello Sofia, yes people meet at the station on the platform,

    I hope to walk tomorrow,

    Maggie

  • 26-Sep-15

    Sorry for the late reply,

    yes, the train from Victoria at 11:36 arriving Eynsford at 12:09

    Looking forward to meet you at the platform.

  • 26-Sep-15

    Thanks Maggie!

    I'm intending to go at 10:09, hope some else too?

    See you tomorrow!

  • 29-Sep-15

    SWC Inspector's Report 2015/09/27/3/59/Eynsford Circular. 9 walkers. Sunny .

    Yet again this inspector failed to rendezvous with a punishingly early train. Instead he plotted a cunning route from a different starting point, aiming to intercept the group shortly before Otford. This worked perfectly and contact was duly made with eight walkers (including a few newcomers), who reported that a ninth had sped on ahead. There were also rumours of a small group two hours behind, but no sightings.

    As the Crown was reported to be closed we tried the Bull for lunch. At this Chef & Brewer inn food comes off a suspiciously fast production line; after ordering at the bar some walkers found their order defrosted, cooked and assembled almost before they'd returned to the table. Quality nothing special, but acceptable. On our way out of the village we then discovered that a new tenant had just taken over at the Crown, but its kitchen won't be up and running for at least a month. Until then, the Woodman might be worth a try.

    In the afternoon the inspector honoured the group with his presence as far as Shoreham, decided his job was done and left them to it.