Otford Circular via Romney Street walk

A short walk packed with variety and fine views, bluebell woods in season, a pretty village and a short train journey


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
Wed, 12-Jan-22 Wednesday walk Otford Circular - Otford Mount, North Downs Way, Shoreham, then return to Otford on Darent Valley Path or via Meenham Woods 16 gloriously sunny winters day
Wed, 02-Sep-20 Wednesday walk Otford Circular Walk via Romney Street - with Shoreham and the Darent Valley 12 lovely and sunny in the morning clouding over later
Tue, 19-Mar-19 Evening walk 4 initially dusk turning to dark clouds clearing later to reveal an almost full moon
Sat, 16-Dec-17 Saturday walk - Otford Circular, short or longer 22 glorious morning sun but cloud and some rain after lunch
Wed, 07-Dec-16 Wednesday Walk - Otford, Shoreham and the Darent Valley 7 sunny to start but soon clouding up
Sat, 14-Nov-15 Saturday First Walk - Last of the autumn colour? 12 Light rain the morning turning heavier after 1pm
Sat, 06-Dec-14 Otford Circular 30
Sat, 11-Jan-14 Otford Circular 35
Sat, 14-Dec-13 Otford Circular 30
Sat, 15-Dec-12 Otford Circular
Sun, 11-Nov-12 Otford Circular
Sat, 14-Apr-12 Otford Circular
Sat, 24-Dec-11 Otford Circular
Sat, 12-Feb-11 Otford Circular
Sun, 26-Sep-10 Otford Circular
Sat, 24-Oct-09 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sun, 26-Jul-09 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sat, 06-Dec-08 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sun, 30-Nov-08 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Fri, 21-Mar-08 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sat, 29-Dec-07 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Wed, 19-Dec-07 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sat, 31-Mar-07 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Wed, 21-Mar-07 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sun, 10-Dec-06 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sat, 28-Oct-06 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Sat, 21-Oct-06 Otford Circular via Romney Street
Wed, 12-Jan-22
Wednesday walk Otford Circular - Otford Mount, North Downs Way, Shoreham, then return to Otford on Darent Valley Path or via Meenham Woods
Book 1, Walk 43 - Otford Circular via Romney Street

Length: 12 km (7.5 miles) 8.5 miles if reversing Otford-Eynsford start after Shoreham back to Otford
Toughness: Main walk 6 out of 10; 7 out of 10 for alternative finish
London Victoria: 10-25 hrs SouthEastern service to Ramsgate Bromley South: 10-42 hrs
Arrive Otford: 11-01 hrs
SouthEastern direct service to Victoria: 26 mins and 56 mins past the hour
Thameslink service to Blackfriars (change at Bromley South for Victoria): 29 mins and 59 mins past the hour
Recent walks posted have included sections of today's walk - but not this Circular walk in full - and not its steep start. Leaving the railway station we are soon ascending Otford Mount on the North Downs Way. Some paths will be muddy, particularly those before Romney Street, so please wear appropriate footwear. After Romney Street there is a steep descent, which can be very slippery - so a walking pole is a MUST today.
If not detouring to the quirky pub, The Rising Sun in Cotman's Ash, lunch is deferred until we reach the village of Shoreham, where hopefully the two pubs in the village (out of four) which survived Covid will be open to welcome our custom. Both make very satisfactory lunch stops: The King's Arms, a SWC favourite, and The Crown.
After lunch we have choice of routes back to Otford. The direct route, along the Darent Valley Path, will take you under an hour. The more energetic route, involving a climb up into Meenham Woods, takes forty minutes or so longer. Back in the village centre, you should find one of the pubs open for a post-walk libation. For a cuppa and nice cakes I would recommend the Pond View Cafe, at the top of the High Street.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.43
  • 12-Jan-22

    I must start my walk report by apologising to the 16 walkers who showed up for today's walk, to be confronted with relentless, unforgiving mud all day. I have enjoyed this lovely walk in winter on many a previous occasion, but I have never before encountered so much mud on this walk, of the slippery, sloppy type. If I had known beforehand what we were in for, I would have posted a different walk. Given we had not had that much rain in recent weeks, it remains a mystery to me why the paths were in such a bad, slippery muddy state.

    Fortunately for us, the day was saved - to a point - by the weather: we enjoyed another gloriously sunny winters day , crisp but not cold, much the same as the previous Wednesday (Box Hill walk), so I'm doing something right in sorting the weather !

    After ascending Otford Mount our group became a bit dispersed and spread out. Some of us opted to avoid the steep descent after Romney Street by walking along the road for most of the way to Shoreham, but later I heard that at least 3 walkers took the Romney Street route, and remained upright during the descent.

    On arriving in the village of Shoreham, 2 had lunch at the King's Arms, where the mid-week pensioner's deal was on offer. 6 of us had lunch at the Crown pub in its cosy inner lounge, and very enjoyable, too. Picnickers had their lunches in the churchyard or by the river.

    After lunch, some took the Meenham Woods route back to Otford, with views being especially good in the afternoon sunshine, whilst most others took the Darent Valley route back to Otford. Some enjoyed post walk refreshments in the Woodman pub, whilst I believe others popped in to the Pond View Cafe for a cuppa before heading to the railway station.

    At the station I met up with 4 other walkers who had visited the Woodman, and the 16-26 hrs service took us back to London without incident - just good chat on the train.

    Today we enjoyed some excellent views in winter sunshine on this lovely short but energetic walk. Yes - the mud was trying and tedious and relentless (again, sorry about that) - but I hope for many of you the walk was salvaged by the glorious weather.

  • 12-Jan-22

    Frozen out at the 'King's Arms' due to literally 'no room at the Inn'(inside) some of us wished there could have been more group cohesion on this walk..But never mind the welcome received at the Hospice tea shop in Otford was lovely as were the cakes and tea! top marks for this cafe and in a good cause too!

  • 13-Jan-22

    Could we please have some shorter walks nearer to London most of which have gravel paths or tarmac sections and few steep hills given the treacherous muddy conditions under foot. It is sooo painful for those of us with knee problems to deal with the stress of traversing copious amounts of mud on the hills and arthritic hands cannot

    grip walking poles for long!! Please save the far distant hills for summer conditions where we have more chances of keeping safe from injuries.

  • 13-Jan-22

    Thanks Marion, and your comments - and request - fully noted.

    Walk posters do try to take into account seasonal conditions when posting walks. Also, with Covid self-isolation, and the likelihood of reduced train timetables and train cancellations, most of us try not to venture too far from London. But that said, choosing suitable walks in January and February - particularly for "senior walkers" - is far from easy : we don't have many, if any, proper country walks seven miles in length with gravel paths and flat terrain just thirty minutes by train from London. But after the last two Wednesday walks which were admittedly "energetic," the walks provisionally planned for coming Wednesdays will be easier, to accommodate those of us with dodgy knees. But alas, avoiding mud seems to be near impossible at present.

  • 16-Jan-22

    May I just add that I walked the somewhat tame sections of the whole of the London Loop and Capital Ring during lockdown and only the Essex sections encountered mud with our very own Leytonstone to Chingford proving problematic with ankle deep Essex clay. But then it was Spring/Summer. I must say that walking poles will help but I’ve fallen backwards twice in waterlogged public parks and tripped over on the flat floor of Bushy park gardens courtesy of a vicious hidden bramble which lassoed my ankles. Not using poles obviously and not paying attention. My war wounds are getting worse sadly which is why I’d like a few easier walks please.

Wed, 02-Sep-20
Wednesday walk Otford Circular Walk via Romney Street - with Shoreham and the Darent Valley
Book 1, Walk 43 - Otford Circular via Romney Street

Length: 12.0km (7.5 miles)
Toughness: 5 plus out of 10 a good incline at walk-start, then it's easier going

Car drivers: there is a large car park immediately outside the railway station.

For those of you comfortable using public transport in these Covid times, your recommended train is:

London Victoria: 10-25 hrs South-Eastern Canterbury West service Bromley South 10-42 hrs
Arrive Otford: 10-59 hrs

Return direct trains back to Victoria at 26 and 56 mins past the hour. Also trains, changing at Bromley South, at 29 and 59 mins past the hour

A nice short walk today, but one with an energetic start as you climb out of Otford up into the woods. Thereafter, the going for the remainder of the day is easy going, through pleasant countryside.
The original lunch pub mid-way into this walk at Romney Street closed down many moons ago, so lunch is deferred until you have seventy five percent of the walk under your belt - in the village of Shoreham. Here you have a choice of four pubs, all very acceptable, and most if not all should be open for your custom today. I usually stop at the Kings Arms, which serves good, honest pub grub. The two tea rooms in the village may be closed today.
After lunch you return to Otford via the Darent Valley path through a golf course then over fields back into the village. You have a choice of tea stops and a number of pubs in Otford for post-walk refreshments before you head along a path to the side of the Church of St Bartholomew which takes you to Otford railway station, for your return journey back to London - or to be reacquainted with your car in the station car park.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.43
  • 03-Sep-20

    Eleven travelled by a number of different trains to meet up at Otford station, with one other joining us outside Shoreham, having walked from his home, making 12 for today's exercise in Kent. After the first uphill mile we lost one of our number to more interesting company - we hope she enjoyed the rest of her day.

    It was lovely and sunny in the morning clouding over later in temperatures ideal for this short{ish) walk of uphill and down dale. In my walk post I had forgotten to mention the ups and downs after Romney Street, and was correctly reprimanded for this omission by those expecting a more leisurely approach to Shoreham. In the village, 6 of us dined at the King's Arms whilst our sandwichers retired to the attractive churchyard and grounds of the nearby church. Speaking of retirement, the pub was offering a seniors two-course lunch for under nine pounds, and it was very good too, in quality and portion size. Being good sports, we shared the puddings with our two youngsters yet to qualify for their Freedom passes.

    After lunch at least 6 took the high route back to Otford (the reverse of the morning leg of our Otford to Eynsford walk). With lunch now deferred until Shoreham on the main walk, following the closure of the Romney Street pub, the high route makes for a better balanced walk, with a ninety minute afternoon leg as opposed to the forty minute return to Otford via the golf course. So I will add the high route to the Directions, as an option.

    Back in Otford, 3 of us were just in time to take tea at the Pond View Cafe (previously known as Willow Tea Rooms) and how very nice: tea in pots and a selection of cream teas et al. We resisted the scones and cakes, having indulged in those lunchtime puds, and after our drinks we headed for the station, with light rain now beginning to fall.

    Good trains today, good exercise without having to go too long, lovely views of Kent's countryside, weather ideal for today's walk, and a good value lunch for us oldies, so a good day away from the office - but then, everyone seems to be away from the office these days ......

Tue, 19-Mar-19
Evening walk
CW1 Walk 43* - Otford Circular
Length: 11.2km (7 miles)

Catch the 17:22 train from London Victoria, arrives Otford 18:00. Return trains from Otford 21:56, 22:25, 22:56, 23:36

Will stop for a drink / meal at the Ye Olde George Inne or The King's Arms, Shoreham.

*Skipping section via Otford Manor with short cut at TQ 54378 59926 to TQ 54884 60004
  • 18-Mar-19

    Intend going..

  • 21-Mar-19

    A record setting 4 for this final winter evening walk of the season...in initially dusk turning to dark clouds clearing later to reveal an almost full moon .

    We set off on the planned route; then opted for a shorter route with some further discussion of how much shorter....in the end, two regained the original route and two carried along the alternate route....both groups meeting in Shoreham where not one of four pubs were serving food at 8pm!!! So, on we went to Otford with the moon just beginning to peek out from behind the clouds....

    After a leisurely meal, two caught different trains back to London and two walked different routes to Sevenoaks….

    Nature highlights included some very chatty owls and a bat....

Sat, 16-Dec-17
Saturday walk - Otford Circular, short or longer
Otford Circular via Romney Street (Book 1 Walk 43)
Length: 12km (7.5 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10


Longer Otford Circular using afternoon of walk 290
Length: 17.2km (10.7 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.52 train from Victoria (10.09 Bromley South) to Otford, arriving 10.28

Buy a day return to Otford

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

If doing the LONGER AFTERNOON, also click here for walk directions and here for GPX.

I have had a request for the Book 1 Otford Circular walk, a fine little gem of a walk on the North Downs which lands you after 8.7km (5.4 miles) in the village of Shoreham for lunch. Here SWC walkers tend to flock to the conveniently located Kings Arms but I would also recommend the very cosy Two Brewers and Crown Inn: to get to these carry on up the road past the Kings Arms and in 170 metres turn right at the T-junction: the Two Brewers is on the right in 200 metres or so, with the Crown 300 metres beyond that.

After lunch it is a short and easy walk on the book 1 route to Otford - just 2.6km or 1.6 miles to the centre of the village, which has nice tea options such as the Hospices of Hope cafe or the Willow Tea Rooms. Ideal if you want to get back to town early for some Christmas shopping.

For a LONGER AFTERNOON WALK, I suggest switching to the walk 290 directions (starting with section 4) which provide a loop of up to 8.5km (5.3 miles) back to Otford ("up to" because there are two possible short cuts saving 1.8 or 2.3km respectively).

Allow 10 minutes to walk from Otford to its station.

Trains back are at 00 and 32 past to Bromley South and Victoria (fast trains taking 35 minutes).

There are also stopping trains to Blackfriars at 07 and 37 but these take 57 minutes and are only likely to be useful if you live near one of the stations on route. T=1.43

  • 15-Dec-17

    Any slug-a-beds who fail to make the scheduled train and start half-an-hour late could catch up by doing the shorter morning route in Walk 290. In fact these renegades would probably get to Shoreham first, and meeting up with the main group might require a diligent inspection of the village's four pubs at some point.

    The afternoon leg of Walk 290 is significantly tougher than the flat return leg of the original walk since it climbs up the other side of the valley. I'd have said that the toughness rating of Walker's suggested 'Longer Afternoon' combination is closer to 7/10.

  • 16-Dec-17

    22 on this walk on a day of glorious morning sun but cloud and some rain after lunch . We got a bit split up in the morning, a few taking shortcuts, a few getting lost, so I am not sure what happened to around half the group. But eight us had a fine lunch at the Two Brewers, a very pleasant place which sees itself as more of a restaurant than a pub but which accommodated a few extra drinkers from the sandwich crowd (rather reluctantly, according to one of them). Unable to fit onto our table, one joined the Walk Inspector in the Crown.

    Emerging at about 2.45pm to grey skies and rain - what a change! - several who had planned to do the longer afternoon decided not to, and only six of us that I know of set off to do it. Three of these basically reversed part of the Otford to Eynsford Walk route, but three of us did the full 290 route, and very fine it was too, despite including its author’s trademark close encounter with a motorway. I reflected that I would love to come back and do it in summer, though I guess then it would seem too short a walk for many SWC-ers.

    We got to Otford at 4.35, finishing in the dark and were too late for tea at the Hospices of Hope tea room, which closed early - hopefully not because of earlier walkers turning up in muddy boots (we always take them off for pubs, rarely for tea rooms: just my observation). But several of us instead found The Bull pub very cosy, and it even had vegan chocolate pudding.

  • Anonymous

    6 who ate at Two Brewers did short cut. We were joined by 4 others who ate in the other pub ( King George?) which was very good and value for money. 7 then went to Hospice tea room (excellent tea and cakes as ever, also for a good cause) whilst 3 decided to go for something stronger - 2 rejoined the Hospice group on the train. 5 more walkers who took short cut came to Hospice just when we set to leave. So we vacated the table for them. We took 4:32 train back and met two more walkers at the station. PS Two Brewers had very nice food but expensive (ie London restaurant price) - be prepared to spend £20+ for food and a drink. So the other two pubs may be a better choice for future outings.

Wed, 07-Dec-16
Wednesday Walk - Otford, Shoreham and the Darent Valley

Book 1, Walk 43 - Otford Circular

Length: 12 km (7.5 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10 (one steep climb at the start)

London Victoria: 10-22 hrs (Canterbury West train), Bromley South 10-39 hrs
Arrive Otford: 10-56 hrs

Return: direct trains at 00 and 32 mins past the hour
and at 07 and 37 mins past the hour, changing at Bromley South,

A short winter's outing today, to enable you to return home early after your walk before attending the SWC Christmas party in the evening, or, should you prefer, to linger for a while in an Otford cafe or pub before heading into London for the party. The quickest way back into Town is to take the short journey to Victoria then 18 mins on the underground to London Bridge (District Line to Westminster, changing to the Jubilee Line to London Bridge).

As for the walk, it's a Christmas cracker, with a lot packed in to its short length. You start with a very steep ascent up into woods, then its plain sailing, so to speak, through woodland, farmland and the Darent Valley.

The original lunch pub for this walk - the Fox and Hounds in Romney Street - closed down two years ago. A shame - I have happy memories sitting outside with Sunday walkers, including the late Richard Harrod on his 12th Leap Year Birthday in February 2004, eating Sunday lunch with snow falling on us.!

For lunch today I suggest you visit one of the three pubs in Shoreham (two thirds way into the walk). The Kings Head is as good as any. The walk comments mention detouring to the Rising Sun in Cotman's Ash, which does not serve food but the landlady permits walkers to eat their own sandwiches on the premises if they buy a drink or two, But a Shoreham pub seems more sensible.

Sections of today's walk can be muddy in winter, but even though we have had some rain recently, conditions under foot should be passable today - and should not spoil your enjoyment of this short, lovely walk.

Enjoy the walk - and the SWC party in the evening.
Walk Directions L=1.43

Next Week, Wednesday 14 December: SWC Walk 231a - Flitwick Circular (shorter version) 10.8 miles, Toughness 2 out of 10

  • Anonymous

    who is going tomorrow ?

  • 07-Dec-16

    Was hoping go but due to SWT train delays have had to abort my journey as wont get there in time


  • 07-Dec-16

    7 plus one dog on this walk. Weather a tad disappointing give a cheery BBC forecast (which I confess was a factor on tempting your correspondent out), sunny to start but soon clouding up , with bluer skies hovering tantalisingly to the north after lunch: but v mild at least. A pleasant walk with some dribs of autumn colour still (oaks, field maple, hazel) and almost no mud (I have a feeling that is not going to last). Fascinating to see the golf course in the valley after the former lunch pub in Romney Street now completely returned to nature: you would never know it had ever been there.

    Only two of us stopped at The George Inn, whose turkey dinner portion was so huge it could have fed a homeless hostel all by itself (as it is, the dog benefited). The sandwich-eaters left before I had ploughed through it and the other luncher opted for an early train from Shoreham. So I trudged on alone to Otford, enjoying the book route (a bit different to the direct route I normally walk). I can only assume the sandwich-eaters skipped tea as none were in either tea room. I went to the Hospices of Hope and enjoyed a nice slab of Christmas cake, just like my mother used to make, and tea in "a proper China cup"

  • 07-Dec-16

    I am reading Alan Bennett's latest published diaries and Walker you are starting to sound like him! Great stuff... try and mix in some reminiscences of Winchester as well (:>).

  • 07-Dec-16

    I am NOT reading Alan Bennett's latest published diaries so don't know if this is a compliment or otherwise.

  • 08-Dec-16

    Of course its a compliment.

  • 08-Dec-16

    Thank you, then

Sat, 14-Nov-15
Saturday First Walk - Last of the autumn colour?
Book 1, walk 43 - Otford Circular - 12km (7.5 miles)
or Walk 43 + 23 combination - Otford to Eynsford - 17.1km (10.6 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.52 train from Victoria (10.09 Bromley South) to Otford, arriving 10.28

Walk directions: use the online version of Otford Circular (and Otford to Eynsford if you plan to do the longer afternoon: see below)

We have various walks around Otford and Eynsford these days, so the original Otford Circular walk from book one gets overlooked. A pity as it makes an excellent autumn outing, with hopefully some remaining dribs and drabs of autumn colour still left in its woods after this week's winds, and a couple of stiff climbs so you feel you have earned your chocolate cake

The walk suffers from the tiny problem that its traditional lunch pub, the isolated Fox & Hounds in Romney Street, closed earlier this year. But this is no great hardship as continuing on another 2 miles to the village Shoreham gives you access to no fewer than three possible lunch pubs. This makes a morning of 8.8km (5.5 miles). To get to the pubs, use the detour outlined in para 24 of the Otford Circular walk directions (first making a note of the location of the Darent Valley Path to your left if you plan to continue the circular route after lunch).

After lunch you have a choice:

  • finish the Otford Circular walk. You will be enjoying chocolate cake in the Hospices of Hope tea room within the hour, as it is just 2.4km (1.5 miles) away.
  • switch to the afternoon of Book 1, walk 23 Otford to Eynsford (paragraph 17 of the online directions) and follow that to its end. This is another 8.5km (5.3 miles), the last 3km/2 miles on a road that could easily be followed in the gathering gloom. A glance at a map also shows possible shortcuts towards the end of the walk. Tea would be either at the Lullingstone Vistor's Centre (closes 3.30pm, though) or at a pub in Eynsford.

Trains back from Otford are at 00 and 32 past to Victoria or 07 and 37 mins to Blackfriars. From Eynsford trains go at 13 and 43 past to Blackfriars. Changing at Bromley South on the Blackfriars trains gets you to Victoria 20 minutes earlier (37 mins v 57 mins)

  • 11-Nov-15

    There is a splendid tearoom by the bridge in Eynsford. Don't tell me it's closed already?!

  • 13-Nov-15

    Looking on Facebook and Tripadvisor, the Riverside Tearooms in Eynsford is open

  • 14-Nov-15

    12 on this walk, including one who missed a connection and caught us at lunch and one who took to long parking, failed to catch us up, returned to car and drove to lunch. Light rain the morning turning heavier after 1pm but none of the threatened wind. Bits of autumn colour left (and some green leaves still).

    In the morning we got tangled with a meet-up group who seemed determined to match our pace exactly. (How annoying these chattering groups of walkers are!!!) They went to the first pub so we went to the King's Head: cheap food, big portions. After lunch seven of us followed the Darent Valley Way. Since this threatened to get us to Eynsford too early four of us stopped at Lullingstone Roman Villa - v interesting. We just got to the Eynsford tea rooms in time (early closing!) and got the 16.43 train.

  • 14-Nov-15

    to=too in previous comment!