Main walk: 18.5km (11.5 miles). 5 hours 30 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including meals and trains, allow at least 8 hours 30 minutes.
OS Landranger Map 187 and 188 Explorer Map 147
5 out of 10
Despite its starting point being within London Travelcard Zone 6, this is a completely rural walk, passing through a succession of lovely open fields full of wildflowers in spring, and through a number of bluebell woods. After lunch there is the opportunity to visit Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, the naturalist.
Trains go from London Charing Cross to Knockholt, journey time 40 minutes. Knockholt is within London Transport Zone 6, so a one-day travelcard is an option.
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Take the train nearest to 10:10am from London Charing Cross.
The Queens Head High Street, Downe, BR6 7US (01689 852145). Food served all day every day. Located 7.7 km from the start of the walk, this is the suggested lunch stop.
The George & Dragon High Street, Downe, BR6 7UT (01689 889030). Food served noon - 2.30pm Mon-Tue, noon-8.30pm Wed-Sat and noon-6.00pm Sun. Located 7.7 km from the start of the walk.
Arthur's Coffee Shop & Restaurant Coolings Nurseries, Rushmore Hill, TN14 7NN (01959 532269 / www.coolings.co.uk). Food served 9.00am - 4.30pm daily. Located 2.6km from the end of the walk.
The Cock Inn Shoreham Lane, Halstead, TN14 7DD (01959 533171). Food served Wed-Sat 6.00-9.00pm. Located 2km from the end of the walk. Possible tea stop, 600 metres off route.
The Rose and Crown Otford Lane, Halstead, TN14 7EA (01959 533120) Possible tea stop - 600 metres off route
The Broke Hill Golf Club had to close due to falling membership and the land has been bought by a developer who wants to build a "garden village" of 850 homes on the site, which is Green Belt land. So far his application for planning permission has been rejected by Sevenoaks District Council, supported by Bromley Council, the neighbouring authority. But the developer is pressing ahead, confident that an inspector will overrule them, given the national need for new housing. In the meantime he's fenced off the public footpath from the rest of the land, forming a fenced-in corridor that will eventually run through the middle of the new suburb. Here are some accounts of the controversial proposal in the local press:
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk