Saturday Walkers Club


by dirkpetera



by dirkpetera



by dirkpetera



by dirkpetera



by dirkpetera



by dirkpetera

Hayes Circular Walk

A short walk across three commons in South East London


9.5km (6m)

OS Map

Explorer Maps 162,147, 161. The walk is in the corner of all three maps.


1 out of 10


This short walk crosses three commons which have been used for hundreds of years as a source of wood as evidenced by the many coppiced trees. Today coppicing is still practised but the mix of woodlands also provides habitats for a variety of animals. The walk follows in part the River Ravensbourne which fills the three Keston ponds and flows into the Thames at Deptford. Charles Darwin carried out parts of his research on Keston Common. On the way you get a glimpse of Ravensbourne Lodge previously owned by the Bonham-Carter family. The most ancient remains encountered on this walk are from the iron age. The walk was inspired by the marked Three Commons Circular Walk and broadly but not exactly follows it.

The walk crosses several roads some of them quite busy. Cross them with care !


Take the train nearest to 10:00 from London Charing Cross to Hayes (Kent)


All lunch options are very popular, hence you should book if there are more than 4 people.

Fox Inn 01689852053

The Greyhound 01689856338

Herbert's 01689855501 A more formal restaurant.


The New Inn, opposite the station, 02084622865

Java & Chai Tea Rooms, 200m from the station towards the north along the main road


Help us! After the walk, we would love to get your feedback


Upload your photos to the SWC Group on Flickr, and videos to Youtube. This walk's tags are:


Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: BR2 7EN | Directions


Start walking Large print Using GPS data

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234



Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only.

Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

  1. Cross the road in front of the station and walk up Station Hill. In 100m turn right following Station Hill.
  2. In 200m cross a road into Hayes common and make for the far left corner of the open space near a bench. There follow a path into the woods marked Three Commons Circular Walk (3CCW).
  3. In 100m cross Preston Road.
  4. In 500m at a 4-way junction turn left following the 3CCW sign keeping the residential area on your left.
  5. In 150m follow the path as it veers left towards a road with a joining path from the right.
  6. In 100m cross West Common Road and continue in the same direction.
  7. In 220m at a 4-way junction turn right following the 3CCW sign.
  8. In 70m at a 3CCW signpost leave the marked path and turn right into an area covered with holly.
  9. In 120m at what looks like a fork veer right with the path.
  10. In 150m follow the path as it veers left ignoring a path on the right.
  11. In 100m at a 4-way junction with a wooden barrier 60m ahead turn left.
  12. In about 200m there seems to be a path forking off to the right. Ignore this and keep on the left track and in another 150m turn right onto the 3CCW.
  13. In 30m cross a footpath.
  14. In 100m cross Baston Road.
  15. In 370m cross Croydon Road.
  16. In 160m enter an open space and in 30m turn left at the signpost adjacent to two bushes
  17. After the open area with gorse bushes cross a path and veer left and then right with the path.
  18. In 50m at a 5-way junction turn left following the 3CCW sign.
  19. In 150m cross the road called Commonside and enter Padmall Wood through a kissing gate.
  20. In 60m take the left fork.
  21. You walk over several boards made from sweet chestnut wood crossing several streams before you fork right in 350m.
  22. After crossing the next stream which is the Ravensbourne River turn left.
  23. In 40m turn left again recrossing the stream and then turn right at a gnarly oak tree following the Ravensbourne upstream.
  24. In 70m veer left ignoring the first bridge across the stream but in 20m turn right across the stream at the second bridge.
  25. You pass Ravensbourne Lodge on your left and in 250m turn left uphill towards the first of the three Keston Ponds where you turn right along the pond.
  26. At the next corner of the pond turn left and in 100m walk up a flight of wooden steps towards Fishponds Road which you cross.
  27. Follow the right hand edge of the second pond and walk up the stone steps straight ahead.
  28. At the third pond turn left and walk around its left hand edge.
  29. At the far end turn right and cross Ceasar's Well the source of the Ravensbourne River. Walk up the steps and after the first 7 steps turn right. Continue keeping the wooden fence on your right away from the car park.
  30. 50m after the end of the wooden fence turn left into an open space skirting its left hand edge.
  31. At its far corner pass a coppiced birch and two pine trees (the first one just a hollow trunk with some branches) and pick up a well defined path beyond the trees between gorse bushes.
  32. In 220m at a tree trunk in the path used as a signpost turn left entering Keston Common. On the left hand side are the remains of an iron age mound and ditch and on the right an open space of heather and bracken.
  33. In 90m turn right and in 50m cross a 4-way junction.
  34. In 60m turn right at an oak tree and a bench.
  35. In 60m at a 4-way junction turn left.
  36. In 50m at a T-junction turn right.
  37. In 100m take the right fork following the 3CCW.
  38. In 150m at a 4-way junction turn left and immediately right again.
  39. In 100m cross Fishponds Road and pick up the path slightly towards the right. In 10m turn right following the 3CCW.
  40. In 300m turn left following the 3CCW and walk up into Keston.
  41. Join a road straight ahead and follow it for 140m. Turn right into Keston Gardens.
  42. In 100m opposite the house with number 24 turn left into an alleyway between gardens which leads to the Fox Inn on your left and the Greyhound and Herbert's on your right.
  43. After lunch walk across the green with the water fountain towards a wooden barrier and a bench at its far end. (From here onwards you follow the well marked 3CCW to West Common Road).
  44. 50m after entering the woods at a 4-way junction turn left following the 3CCW.
  45. Keep the wooden fence on your left and cross Baston Road in 100m.
  46. Continue following the 3CCW as it turns right in 10m and left in 250m.
  47. In 200m, 20m before the path runs directly parallel to West Common Road turn left and cross the road and at the 4-way junction 10m further on cross a footpath and go slightly left.
  48. In 50m cross Baston Manor Road.
  49. In 50m turn right onto the London Loop Walk.
  50. In 550m cross a road and pass Treetops house between wooden fences. On the way you passed into West Wickham Common which is managed by the City of London Corporation.
  51. In 300m there is another iron age ditch on the right and a little further on on the left a view across the outskirts of West Wickham towards New Addington.
  52. In 180m at a signpost for the London Loop leave the London Loop and turn right.
  53. In 220m at a T-junction turn left.
  54. In 50m carefully cross Croydon Road onto a small grassy area opposite and from there cross Preston Road on your left. The path opposite will lead back towards Hayes station.