Knockholt Circular walk
An enjoyable day out in the country within zone 6, thanks to those who campaigned for and legislated the Green Belt policy.
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. The walk passes several churches, but most are locked.
Lunch is in Downe with a choice of 2 pubs. Just after the village, the walk passes Down House (English Heritage, £16), the home of Charles Darwin, the naturalist.
Note: there are quite a few stiles on this walk
Bluebell Woods: In bluebell time (late April to early May) a GPS-only shortcut is available in the afternoon which takes you through some fabulous bluebell woods. Saves about 1km.
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.
Suggested train: Take the train nearest to 10:10am from London Charing Cross.
Drivers can park by the station for free, or by Halstead Church (TN14 7HQ) about 1km from the start, missing out the closed golf club section.
In Rushmore Hill (2.6km from the end of the walk)
In Halstead (2km from the end of the walk)
The Broke Hill Golf Club (near the start) closed 10 years ago, 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 2017 application for planning permission has been rejected by Sevenoaks District Council, supported by Bromley Council, the neighbouring authority. In 2022, an appeal was also refused, but the developer may re-apply, 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:
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Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Traveline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (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