The steep-sided hills above an attractive village in the Darent valley.
Main Walk: 19¾ km (12.3 miles). Five hours 5 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 9 hours.
Alternative Walk: 15½ km (9.6 miles). Four hours walking time.
Short Walk (north): 10½ km (6.5 miles). Two hours 40 minutes walking time.
Short Walk (south): 9¼ km (5.7 miles). Two hours 20 minutes walking time.
Explorer 147. Shoreham, map reference TQ526615, is in Kent, 7 km N of Sevenoaks.
6 out of 10 (5 for the Alternative Walk, 3 for the Short Walks).
This walk consists of two loops around the attractive Kent village of Shoreham, nestling in the valley carved out of the North Downs by the River Darent. There is a good mix of woodland and open countryside with some fine views from the steep-sided hills overlooking the valley, interspersed with easier stretches along the valley floor.
The northern loop initially follows the route of the Otford to Eynsford walk (1–23) and takes a similar route through Lullingstone Park, an attractive landscape of chalk grassland and ancient woodland with an internationally important collection of veteran trees. It comes out by Lullingstone Castle (01322-862114), a historic manor house which can be visited (but with limited opening hours). Its grounds contain an unusual parish church (open to the public at all times) and a World Garden with plants from around the globe, open Fri–Sun afternoons between April and end-October; admission (2019) is £9. The route back to Shoreham is along the Darent Valley Path and passes extensive lavender fields at Castle Farm, while in Shoreham itself The Mount Vineyard is usually open for tastings at weekends (it also has a restaurant).
The southern loop goes through a couple of small nature reserves on the hillside to the south-east of Shoreham and joins the route of the Eynsford Circular walk (#59) into and through the village of 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. The remainder of this loop follows the ‘longer afternoon’ route of Walk #59 along the wooded hills on the western side of the valley.
Shorter alternatives are provided for both the northern and southern loops, and these have been combined to make an Alternative Walk with the southern loop first and the northern loop in the opposite direction. The shape of the main Figure-of-8 walk means that you can also do the northern and southern loops as separate Short Walks of around 10 km each.
A few other variations are mentioned in the directions. In addition you could devise your own route through Lullingstone Park using any of its waymarked trails from the Visitor Centre. You could also cut the Main Walk short by diverting to Otford station on the southern loop.
Shoreham is on the Blackfriars to Sevenoaks line, with a half-hourly stopping service taking 59 minutes. You can also take a fast train from Victoria to Bromley South and change there for the Sevenoaks train. Unless you intend to finish at Otford (which is one stop further out, with additional fast services to Victoria), buy a return to Shoreham (Kent), not Shoreham-by-Sea.
There is an infrequent bus service through Shoreham and Otford (Go-Coach 421, Mon–Sat), but it will usually be quicker to head for the nearest station if you want to abandon the walk.
If driving, there is a small free car park “for rail users” at Shoreham station. There is also a free car park in the village, but this is 800m from the station and there should be space in Station Road (or a lay-by on the A225) at weekends.
Take the train nearest to 09:45 from Blackfriars (or Victoria) to Shoreham (Kent). If you want to do one of the Short Walks with just an afternoon tea stop, take the train nearest to 12:15.
There are three pubs in the small village of Shoreham. On the Main Walk you pass these after 9–10 km: the Crown (01959-522903) on the High Street, followed by the Kings Arms (01959-523100) and Ye Olde George Inn (01959-522017) on Church Street. The Alternative Walk passes the same three pubs (after 6½–7½ km), but in the reverse order.
Shoreham used to have a fourth pub but the Two Brewers has become a weekend-only restaurant.
At the end of the walk in Shoreham there are the same three pubs, plus a couple of tearooms on its High Street: one at the Shoreham Aircraft Museum (01959-524416; open to 4.30pm on summer weekends); and the Honey Pot Café & Tea Rooms (07546-696623; open to 4.30pm Wed–Thu, 5pm Fri–Sun). Tea might also be available at the church on summer Sundays.
On the return leg of the northern loop a convenient place to break for refreshment is the Lullingstone Café in the Country Park Visitor Centre (01322-865995; open to 5pm summer, 3.30pm winter).
On the southern loop there are two tearooms in Otford: the Otford Tea Rooms at the back of the Hospices of Hope charity shop (01959-524322; open to 5pm Sat & Mon–Fri summer, 4pm Sun & Mon–Fri winter); and the Pond View Café (01959-522150; open daily to 4.30pm). There are also two pubs on the High Street, the Bull (01959-523198) and the Woodman (01959-522195).
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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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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).
Click on any option to show only the sections making up that route, or the heading above to show all sections.
- Main Walk (19¾ km)
Click on any section heading to switch between detailed directions and an outline, or the heading above to switch all sections.
If you are doing the Alternative Walk or the Short Walk (south), start at §6.
- Shoreham Station to Shoreham High Street (1¼ km)
- Shoreham High Street to Upper Beechen Wood (2¼ km)
- Upper Beechen Wood to Lullingstone Castle (3 km)
- Lullingstone Castle to Shoreham High Street (3 km)
- Shoreham High Street to the A225 (1 km)
- The A225 • Shoreham Station to Fackenden Down (1½ or 2 km)
- Starting from Shoreham Station
- Main route
- Alternative route (+½ km)
- Fackenden Down to Otford High Street (1¼ km)
- Around Otford (1 km)
- Otford High Street to Polhill Bank (2¼ km)
- Polhill Bank to Shoreham High Street (2¼ km)
- Detour to the Shoreham Cross (+300m)
- Otford High Street to Shoreham Bridge (3 km)
- Shoreham Bridge to Mill Lane (1 or ½ km)
- Main route (1 km)
- Riverside route (½ km)
- Mill Lane to Lullingstone Park Visitor Centre (1¾ km)
- The Visitor Centre to Upper Beechen Wood (2 km)
- Upper Beechen Wood to Darenthdale (2 km)
- Darenthdale to Shoreham High Street (1 or ¾ km)
- Main route (1 km)
- Short cut (¾ km)
- Shoreham High Street to Shoreham Station (1 km)
Head west along Station Road and then Church Street into the village, joining the Darent Valley Path (DVP). At the river bridge keep ahead onto Darenth Way and follow the DVP as far as Mill Lane. Go up the lane and across Shoreham's High Street onto a new footpath.
From the platform do not go out along the station approach road, but turn right and go down a flight of steps near the footbridge. At the bottom turn right onto Station Road, passing under the railway bridge. Shortly after the entrance to Darenth Valley Golf Club you join the Darent Valley Path1 (DVP), coming into Station Road from a footpath on the left.
Unless you want to detour through the churchyard – you will get another chance to visit the church when you come back this way in §17 – ignore a footpath on the right after 75m. The road curves right and then makes a sharp left-hand turn by Ye Olde George Inn. Follow the road (now Church Street) gently downhill, bending right at the bottom to run alongside a branch of the River Darent for a short distance.
For the next 2½ km you will be following the Walk 1–23 route.
Do not cross the river on the road bridge but keep ahead onto Darenth Way, passing the War Memorial2 on the riverbank. Pass to the left of Water House3 and follow the attractive riverside path, later with an orchard on your right. At the far end cross the river on a footbridge and follow the path alongside the garden fence for Mill House.
After passing the entrance to the house leave the DVP (a footpath off to the right, which is the return route) and go up Mill Lane up to its T-junction with Shoreham's High Street. Cross the road carefully onto a raised footpath opposite.
Follow the footpath alongside the main road to the neighbouring hamlet of Darenthdale. Turn right onto Shacklands Road, then turn left at the second junction into Cockerhurst Road. In 350m take a footpath on the right leading past Homewood Farm to Redmans Lane. Turn left briefly onto the road, then take a footpath on the right along a field edge and into Upper Beechen Wood.
Follow the enclosed footpath alongside the main road. In 100m go through a metal kissing gate and turn right to follow a line of wooden posts curving round the edge of a large field, climbing steadily. At the top go through another kissing gate and keep ahead on a short track through a belt of trees. Go past a metal vehicle barrier and turn right to go downhill on Shacklands Road, taking care as there is no pavement.
You will be turning left at the second road junction, with Cockerhurst Road; but just before this, up a few steps in the bank on the left, there is a curious memorial stone4 which is worth a look. To continue the walk turn left into Cockerhurst Road and follow this quiet tree-lined lane for 350m, through a small dip and then steadily uphill. Opposite the first house on the left (Coombe Vale) turn right through a gap in the trees onto a signposted footpath.
The path winds through a scrubby area and then broadens out to continue between a wire fence and shrubs, still climbing. At the top follow the path round to the right and go over an old stile to head N along the left-hand edge of a large field, towards the buildings of Homewood Farm. On the far side bear left onto a narrow path beside a wooden fence and continue along the farm's concrete driveway to a narrow road with high hedges (Redmans Lane).
Turn left onto the road (leaving the Walk 1–23 route), taking care as there is no pavement. In 100m turn right up steps in the bank onto a signposted footpath along the left-hand edge of a field, then past farm sheds. At the end of the path go through a metal gate – the more adventurous could tackle a rather challenging step ladder – into Upper Beechen Wood, part of Lullingstone Park5. Almost immediately you come to a path crossing with a wooden signpost.
Keep ahead at the crosspaths and follow the Lullingstone Loop northwards, then turn right onto a horse route heading east into a valley. Unless you prefer to stay on the horse route through the valley, veer left onto a path which swings round through the top of the golf course to Orchid Bank, then bears left down a slope to rejoin it. At the edge of the country park keep ahead on a permissive path leading down to Lullingstone Castle.
There are many possible routes through this country park, although the waymarked trails through the woodland lead directly to the Visitor Centre rather than Lullingstone Castle. For a longer route you could follow the waymarked Lullingstone Loop in a clockwise direction all the way around the park's northern perimeter.
For the suggested route keep ahead at the crosspaths, initially following the Lullingstone Loop (black arrows). The woodland path winds downhill for 200m, turning right at a marker post near the bottom to come to a golf fairway. Cross this carefully (with golfers playing from the left) to a gap in the trees opposite and continue on a path climbing gently through a copse. At the top keep to the left of a golf green and follow a line of tall trees to meet a surfaced path by a footpath signpost.
Turn right onto the path, now also on a horse route (blue arrows). Follow the path round a left-hand bend and then keep right in front of a small wood, leaving the Lullingstone Loop which enters the wood. After another left-hand bend the horse route goes straight ahead down the valley, but the suggested route is to stay on the surfaced path as it curves left alongside the wood.
You could stay on the horse route, but there are better views from the higher-level route described here (which rejoins the horse route in 1½ km, on the far side of the park).
The surfaced path curves round to the right and passes a maintenance area after 250m. It then turns half-left and becomes a broad grassy path. Ignore ways off and stay on the main path as it heads roughly E, with a belt of trees on the right after 250m. Keep alongside these, in 250m also with a wood on the left. In a further 150m the path turns half-right and gently descends through the golf course, heading SE with fine views across the Darent valley.
Keep ahead at path crossings, gradually curving left. In 250m the path bears left around the back of a slightly elevated golf tee to head E again, with Orchid Bank sloping down to your right. Follow the path down a long gentle slope for 300m to an oblique path crossing, where you turn half-left to rejoin the horse route you were on earlier.
In 200m the horse route comes to a metal fieldgate on the edge of the country park, by the left-hand edge of some trees. Go past the gate onto a permissive path curving down towards the buildings of Lullingstone Castle. At the bottom of the slope the path leads into a small parking area where the route continues to the right, but it is well worth going up to and through the imposing Tudor Gatehouse6 to visit the unusual parish church of St Botolph7.
The “Church on the Lawn” is open to the public at all times, even though you may have to unhook a chain and walk across the private lawn of Lullingstone Castle to reach it.
Head south on the DVP alongside the River Darent. After passing (the back of) the Visitor Centre continue on a permissive path alongside Castle Road. Stay on the DVP as it goes across fields and then back alongside the river into Shoreham. Go up Mill Lane and turn left onto Shoreham's High Street to go through the village.
To resume the walk return to the parking area and go through a wooden kissing gate at the back onto an attractive tree-lined path, rejoining the DVP. The path goes alongside the river for 600m, with glimpses of a large fishing lake beyond it (if you prefer there is a parallel path along the field edge on your right). Eventually the riverside path swings left past the back of the country park's Visitor Centre, while there are paths through the trees on the right going past a children's playground to its entrance.
You could stay on the riverside path to Castle Road (passing a footbridge over the river where there is a wooden sculpture8), but if you want to break for refreshment in the Lullingstone Café veer right past the playground to the front of the Visitor Centre; afterwards, go out on its short driveway. Either way, where the drive meets Castle Road, continue through a wooden kissing gate onto a signposted permissive footpath (not the path or horse ride coming down from the country park).
Follow this broad path as it runs parallel to Castle Road, with a large lavender field beyond the fence on your right. In 250m a wide gap in the hedge on your left would let you cross the road and detour into Castle Farm, whose Hop Shop sells local farm produce and snacks. At the end of the permissive path go down a few steps and cross the road carefully (slightly to the left) to pick up the continuation of the DVP, a broad path between farm fields (with hops on the left and more lavender fields behind them).
Follow this well-defined path across several fields, going through a line of poplars and over an access road along the way, to the corner of a field in front of a line of trees. Go through a wooden kissing gate and continue along a fenced path, with glimpses of the river behind the trees on your left. After another gate a tree-lined stretch alongside the river leads to Mill Lane on the outskirts of Shoreham.
Bear right to go up Mill Lane, briefly repeating a short section of your outward route. At the top turn left onto Shoreham's High Street, a route which will take you past all of the village's refreshment places. You soon pass the Crown and 300m later the Two Brewers restaurant, both on your left. In a further 100m the tearoom for the Shoreham Aircraft Museum9 is up a track on the right (The Landway).
If you are doing the Short Walk, complete the directions at §17.
At the end of the High Street turn left and follow Church Street and its continuation (Station Road) to the A225.
Heading S along the High Street from The Landway you soon pass another tearoom on the left, the Honey Pot Café. At the next junction turn left into Church Street, in 175m passing the Kings Arms10 on the right.
After crossing the River Darent stay on Church Street as it turns right to go alongside a branch of the river, then curves round to the left and uphill. Halfway up the slope you pass a driveway leading to The Mount Vineyard11 on the left and come to Ye Olde George Inn at the top.
You have a second chance to detour through the churchyard ahead but a simpler route is to follow the street (now Station Road) all the way out to its T-junction with the A225.
• If starting the walk here, go out along the short station approach road to the A225.
Take the bridleway heading east from the A225, opposite Station Road. If possible, keep right on a permissive path along the side of White Hill and then Fackenden Down (alternatively, follow the bridleway up the hill to Fackenden Lane and turn right onto a footpath going past Warren Farm and along the hillside to Fackenden Down).
If starting the walk here, go out along the short station approach road to the A225.
Cross the main road with great care and take the track to the right of the house opposite, signposted as a public bridleway and climbing gently. Shortly after the track bends right ignore a signposted footpath off to the left and continue briefly along the bridleway.
The next turning is easy to miss. There is a broad grassy path going straight up the hill ahead, but this is not the route. The continuation of the right of way in §6b is a path off to the left after 50m (with a ground-level concrete bridleway marker), while the main route is a narrow unmarked path which forks off to the right immediately after that.
The main route goes through a small nature reserve where access might not be possible (eg. during conservation work), hence the alternative route along rights of way.
Turn right onto the narrow path along the side of White Hill12, going through a belt of trees after 125m to continue along a broad grassy strip. After a further 200m the path curves left in front of a field and goes up the edge of the nature reserve. At the top make your way out past a vehicle barrier and turn right onto Fackenden Lane.
Where the road turns sharply right after 175m, go through a squeeze gate to the left of a metal fieldgate onto a broad grassy strip between hedges running along the bottom of Fackenden Down13. Unless you want to venture up the hillside (there is a narrow path along the top of this nature reserve) follow the main path for 500m, going over a slight rise along the way. You meet a broad grassy path between fences coming down from the left (the alternative route) and turn right.
Turn left and follow the bridleway up the wooded White Hill for 400m, climbing quite steeply in places, to emerge onto Fackenden Lane. Turn left and go along this road for 250m, then turn right onto the driveway to Warren Farm, signposted as a public footpath. Go over a stile to the right of a fieldgate and follow the long straight drive past farm buildings.
At the end of the drive go over a stile in the fence ahead (just off to the right) to follow a faint grassy path across a field, heading SSW towards a wooden fieldgate by the left-hand end of a line of trees. Go through a metal kissing gate to the left of this fieldgate into another field, with no clear path ahead.
The exit from this field is an inconspicuous stile, near the bottom of the the tree line 250m ahead as it slopes down to the right. Continue in much the same direction as before, staying just above the bushes and small trees dotted around the bottom of the field, to pick up a faint grassy path leading to this stile. Go over this onto a woodland path, slightly to the left.
After going alongside a wire fence on your right you emerge onto open access land and meet a broad grassy path coming down the slope on your left (the Walk #59 route), where there is a wooden bench at a viewpoint overlooking Otford. Follow this path downhill between wire fences and keep ahead at a crosspaths, where the main route joins from the right.
Take the footpath going downhill to the A225. Turn left onto the main road for a short distance, then turn right onto a footpath which crosses the railway and goes along a field edge to a bridleway. Turn left and go through the large recreation ground on its right containing the Otford Solar System model (or simply stay on the track) to Otford's High Street.
The route into and through Otford is essentially the same as Walk #59.
Go over a stile in the hedge and follow the broad grassy path downhill across a couple of wildflower meadows to the A225. Turn left and walk along this busy road for 125m, taking care as there is no pavement. At “Stileways” turn right onto a signposted footpath to the left of its driveway. Follow this between garden fences to the railway line and cross the tracks carefully.
Go up to a new wooden gate and bear left as indicated to continue alongside a wire fence. At the far end go through a gate, across a farm track and through another gate to drop down onto a track between hedges. Turn left onto the track for 50m, then go over a stile on the right into the corner of a large recreation ground. The concrete pillars representing the sun and inner planets of the Otford Solar System14 model are in front of you, with an information panel up ahead by the hedge.
Take any convenient route across the recreation ground to the far left-hand corner (if you stay near the left-hand side you will pass the pillar representing the planet Jupiter by a groundsman's hut). Go through one of the gaps in the hedge to return to the bridleway and follow it out to Otford's High Street, with the Hospices of Hope tearoom opposite.
Turn left onto Otford's High Street and skirt around the village pond onto a footpath going past the ruins of Otford Palace. Cross back over the A225 and take the footpath along the edge of the water meadows back to the High Street. Turn left to come to the Darent Valley Path (DVP).
You could skip most of this section by turning right onto the High Street, soon passing the Bull pub; the main route rejoins from Pickmoss Lane on the left in 200m. If you take this short cut (saving 700m), continue the directions at [•] below.
For the full walk turn left onto the High Street to come to a large roundabout encircling the village pond15, with the Pond View Café and the Woodman pub on your left. Make your way to the far side where there are two footpath signs, with the left-hand path leading to the parish church of St Bartholomew16 (if you want to visit the church its entrance is a set of modern doors on the north side).
If you want to abandon the walk (Otford station is 500m away) take the left-hand path and go past the south side of the church. Head east through the churchyard and then along an enclosed tarmac path to the station car park. Platform 1 on the near side is for trains to London.
To continue the walk take the right-hand path away from the pond, heading S. The path passes Chantry Cottage on the left and the elegant Holmesdale17 off to the right, and comes to a row of cottages built into the walls of the old Otford Palace18. Turn right to go past the ruined north-west tower and an information panel about the palace.
Follow the tarmac path to the far corner of Palace Field and continue past a small parade of shops. Cross the A225 at a traffic island and take the footpath opposite, alongside extensive water meadows. This eventually leads into Pickmoss Lane and back to the High Street, where you turn left.
If you are doing the Alternative Walk, go to §11.
Head west along the High Street and its continuation, Pilgrims Way West. Opposite Rye Lane turn right onto a footpath heading north-west across meadows and fields towards Sepham Farm. Turn right and left to continue past the farm buildings and across Filston Lane to Polhill Bank.
For the next 4 km you will be following the longer afternoon route of Walk #59, as well as weaving in and out of the Walk 1–23 route.
Continue along the High Street (which becomes Pilgrims Way West) for a further 250m, crossing several branches of the River Darent and passing Broughton Manor20 on the left. Just past a bus shelter (and a Solar System pillar representing the planet Uranus) turn right onto a signposted public footpath, going through a metal gate into a meadow.
For the next 1¼ km you will be heading NW on this footpath towards the oast houses of Sepham Farm, initially across the meadow and then on enclosed paths. In 750m the path swerves left and right and crosses a brook on a concrete slab; keep right as indicated to stay on the public footpath. In a further 200m ignore a footpath off to the right (which leads to a Solar System pillar representing the minor planet Pluto) to continue on a broad grassy track towards the farm buildings.
You come to a T-junction in front of a neglected orchard and turn right past a metal fieldgate, briefly going along the edge of a large field. In 100m turn left through a wooden kissing gate, leaving the Walk 1–23 route and heading NW again. Follow the footpath alongside the orchard and underneath power lines.
At the far end take great care as the path comes out directly onto a narrow winding lane with limited visibility for drivers. Cross Filston Lane carefully and go up a few steps to continue on the footpath opposite, climbing steadily. In 250m go through a wooden kissing gate into Polhill Bank13.
Turn right and go along the bottom edge of this small nature reserve (or climb the bank and take the path along the top). At the far end turn left into Pilots Wood, staying near its eastern boundary. Go across an open patch of grassland and along the bottom of Meenfield Wood. Turn right onto a footpath leading down into Shoreham and turn right onto its High Street.
You will be leaving this small nature reserve in its right-hand corner. There are grassy paths along both its top and bottom edges, so you can either simply turn right onto the lower path or climb steeply up the hillside (with fine views from a bench at the top) and then descend gently on the upper path. The two paths merge at the far end and you leave the reserve through a wooden kissing gate. Go down a slope towards a second gate but turn left before reaching it onto an unmarked path into Pilots Wood.
The path meanders along the bottom edge of this open access wood, passing a picnic table at a left-hand bend. After a right-hand bend it straightens out to head N, climbing gently with a field behind the fence on your right. The next turning is easy to miss. Where the main path bears slightly left away from the fence and climbs more steeply, veer right onto a narrow unmarked path to stay alongside the fence. Follow this to the edge of the wood, still climbing gently.
Leave the wood via a stile and keep ahead on a level course across a steeply-sloping field, ignoring a grassy path sloping down to the right. On the far side go through a metal kissing gate to the right of a fieldgate onto a broad woodland path, rejoining the Walk 1–23 route. After a while there are views on the right of Shoreham in the Darent valley below, and in 600m you come to a path crossing by a sign for Meenfield Wood and an information panel.
Unless you want a closer view of the Shoreham Cross, turn right to descend a (potentially slippery) flight of steps and continue down the left-hand edge of a field.
Continue along the broad path at the bottom of the wood for a further 200m, then turn right through a gap in the hedge onto a small grassy area with benches above the Shoreham Cross21. Leave the area via a gate on the right, taking a newly-designated public footpath sloping down the hillside. Follow the grassy path past an isolated tree and through a wide gap in the boundary fence.
At the bottom of the field go through a wooden kissing gate onto a narrow path between hedges, down the hillside. On the left you pass the entrance to a new Centenary Wood and continue down a tree-lined track (The Landway). After passing a recreation ground the entrance to the Shoreham Aircraft Museum9 (which has a tearoom) is on the right. At the bottom of The Landway turn right onto Shoreham's High Street.
Complete the directions at §17.
Turn right off Otford's High Street onto the DVP and follow it across fields and then a golf course. At a T-junction turn right onto a tarmac lane for 250m, then left at the next path junction. At the end of the golf course turn left and follow Station Road and its continuation (Church Street) to the bridge across the River Darent.
You will be following the shorter afternoon route of Walk #59 into Shoreham and then on to Lullingstone Park.
Turn right onto the signposted Darent Valley Path1 (DVP), the driveway to Millmead and several other properties but also a public footpath. At the end of the drive take the path to the right of “The Chalet”, past allotments and through a wooden swing gate into a meadow.
Follow a grassy path alongside the river for 300m, then go through a metal kissing gate to continue alongside a fence. Go through more kissing gates by the entrance to Lower Barn Farm and head N for a further 1 km, at first along the right-hand edge of a field and then on an enclosed path through a golf course.
At a major path junction go through wooden barriers and turn right onto a tarmac lane. At the next path crossing in 250m, turn left onto a path to head N again for a further 700m, passing a cricket pitch on your left and continuing across the golf course. The path eventually comes out onto Station Road on the outskirts of Shoreham (with the station 200m off to the right if you want to abandon the walk). Turn left onto the road.
For a wide choice of refreshment places follow Church Street across the river and up to a T-junction. Turn right and go along Shoreham's High Street to its junction with Mill Lane. Turn right down Mill Lane to return to the DVP. Alternatively, simply follow the riverside path directly to the bottom of Mill Lane.
The suggested route through the village is along Church Street and the High Street, passing more pubs and two tearooms. If you do not want to visit any of these places you can take the more attractive riverside route in §12b.
For the suggested route follow the road across the river to come to the Kings Arms10 on the left. At the top of Church Street turn right onto Shoreham's High Street. The Honey Pot Café is on the right and the small Shoreham Aircraft Museum9 is a little further along, on the left. You then come to the Two Brewers restaurant and 300m later the Crown, both on your right.
Continue for a further 100m and turn right to go down Mill Lane. In 125m (where it turns half-right towards the entrance to Mill House) bear left off the lane onto a footpath, rejoining the DVP.
Shortly after passing its entrance, ignore Mill Lane up to the left and turn right at a footpath signpost to continue on the DVP.
Follow the DVP beside the river, through fields and alongside Castle Road to Lullingstone Park Visitor Centre.
Go along the footpath, with a mill stream and then the river on your right. In 150m go through a wooden kissing gate and continue on a fenced path along the right-hand edge of several fields. The path leads into the corner of another field and bears left to go diagonally across it, towards the centre of a line of poplars 400m away.
Go across an access road, up a slope and through the line of trees to continue on a broad grassy path between fields. You pass a hop field on your right and the path comes out onto a lane (Castle Road) at a bend. Cross the road carefully (slightly to the left) and go up a few steps onto a permissive path running alongside it, with a large lavender field beyond the fence on your left.
In 250m a wide gap in the hedge on your right would let you cross the road and detour into Castle Farm, whose Hop Shop sells local farm produce and snacks. At the end of the permissive path go through a gate to return to Castle Road by the entrance to Lullingstone Park5. Veer left into the car park for the Visitor Centre (which has a café).
Go all the way up the broad grassy slope in front of the Visitor Centre. The suggested route through the wood at the top follows parts of the Discovery Trail (red arrows), the Woodland Walk (white arrows) and the Lullingstone Loop (black arrows) to an exit on the southern edge of Upper Beechen Wood.
You could pick up a leaflet showing the waymarked trails through Lullingstone Park at the Visitor Centre. The suggested route follows parts of these trails: a children's Discovery Trail, the Woodland Walk and the Lullingstone Loop.
For the suggested route go all the way up the right-hand side of the broad grassy slope in front of the Visitor Centre. A mown path leads to a wooden fieldgate into the wood at the top, where there are fine views along the Darent valley; Eynsford and its railway viaduct are 2 km off to the right. Go through the fieldgate into Lower Beechen Wood, passing some “Mega Beasts” on the Discovery Trail (red arrows).
Follow this waymarked trail through the wood, turning right at a T-junction where there is a signpost pointing back to the Visitor Centre. Along the next stretch there are several little detours to children's activity areas. The path eventually drops down past a metal fieldgate and goes across the end of a small open valley. Ignore a gate leading onto the golf course and keep ahead on a path climbing into Upper Beechen Wood, now also following a horse route (blue arrows).
At the top of a small rise turn left past a metal fieldgate, switching to the Woodland Walk (white arrows). Follow this trail as it meanders through the ancient woodland, gently uphill and gradually curving round to the left. In 500m keep right at some path junctions, switching to the Lullingstone Loop (black arrows) where the Woodland Walk turns back towards the visitor centre. In 250m you come to a crosspaths with a wooden footpath signpost and turn left to leave the wood through a metal gate.
Follow the footpath past farm sheds and along a field edge to Redmans Lane. Turn left briefly onto the road, then take a footpath on the right leading past Homewood Farm to Cockerhurst Road. Turn left onto the road, then right at a T-junction onto Castle Farm Road. Shortly after passing a road on the left leading into Shoreham, turn left onto a footpath.
Follow the footpath past farm sheds and then along the right-hand edge of a field to a narrow road with high hedges (Redmans Lane). Turn left onto the road, taking care as there is no pavement. In 100m turn right past a metal fieldgate onto the driveway to Homewood Farm (which is also a public footpath). At the far end keep ahead on a narrow path beside a wooden fence, which comes out into the corner of a large field.
Bear right to go along the right-hand edge of the field, heading S with a hedge on your right. On the far side go over an old stile and round to the left to go downhill on a broad grassy path between a wire fence and shrubs. At the bottom follow the path through a scrubby area and out to a lane (Cockerhurst Road).
Turn left and follow this quiet tree-lined lane for 350m, steadily downhill and then up a short rise to a T-junction, where you turn right onto Castle Farm Road. Just past this junction, a curious memorial stone4 up a few steps in the bank on the right is worth a look. To continue the walk follow the road uphill, taking care as there is no pavement.
Unless you want to take a short cut into Shoreham, go past the start of its High Street to continue climbing, now on Shacklands Road. In 100m turn left off the road past a metal vehicle barrier onto a short track through a belt of trees (not the sunken path on its left). There is a tree-lined path leading off to the right, just before the track drops down to a metal fieldgate leading into a large field.
For the suggested route turn right onto the footpath which runs along the bottom of Meenfield Wood. At the Shoreham Cross bear left onto a new footpath slanting down the hillside which joins a footpath descending to Shoreham's High Street. Alternatively, go round the left-hand edge of the field ahead and turn right onto the High Street at the bottom.
The suggested route climbs gently along the hillside to the Shoreham Cross before descending into the village, but for a slightly easier route you can take the short cut in §16b.
For the suggested route turn right onto the tree-lined path, which soon starts to climb gently. In 200m keep left at a sign for Meenfield Wood, ignoring a bridleway going up into the wood. Go past a metal vehicle barrier and continue along a broad path between a hedge and the wood, with views on the left of Shoreham in the Darent valley below. In 300m turn left
Go through a metal kissing gate to the left of the fieldgate ahead and follow a line of wooden posts curving round the edge of the field, gently downhill. At the end go through another kissing gate and along an enclosed footpath to come out onto Shoreham's High Street, opposite Mill Lane.
Turn right to go along the High Street, retracing the main outward route.
At the end of the High Street turn left onto Church Street. At the George Inn continue through the churchyard before returning to Station Road for the station.
If you have already visited the parish church you could follow the street (now Station Road) round to the right and all the way to the station, but otherwise the suggested route is to go through the lychgate ahead. Follow the tree-lined path past the church of Ss Peter and Paul22 (which is well worth visiting) and out through a wooden swing gate at the far end.
Turn right and go along the field edge. The right of way leads out past a fieldgate to Station Road where you would turn left, but locals seem to prefer an unofficial path inside the field, squeezing past a vehicle barrier to leave in the next corner. Either way, follow the road under the railway bridge and then turn left up steps to the station forecourt. Cross the footbridge to Platform 1 for trains to London.
- The Darent Valley Path follows the course of the river for 31 km, from Sevenoaks (near its source in the Greensand Hills) to the River Thames at Dartford.
- The War Memorial in Darenth Way is inscribed Remember as you look at the cross on the hill those who gave their lives for their country 1914-1919.
- Water House was the home of Samuel Palmer (1805-1881), the Romantic painter of visionary landscapes influenced by William Blake.
- The memorial stone was erected in 1928 by a local Catholic woman (Miss Maud Berkeley) in memory of her late father, Dr EJG Berkeley; she also erected a large crucifix but this was vandalised and later removed to a monastery. The inscription Behold therefore I will allure her and will lead her into the Wilderness and there I will speak to her heart is from Hosea 2:14.
- Lullingstone Park was a medieval deer park in the estate of Lullingstone Castle. Some of its veteran trees (notably oak, hornbeam, beech and sweet chestnut) are over 500 years old. The park was used as a decoy airfield in World WarⅡ and as a result Shoreham was dubbed “the most heavily bombed village in Britain”.
- The Tudor Gatehouse of Lullingstone Castle was one of the earliest all-brick buildings in Britain.
- St Botolph, Lullingstone dates from the 14thC and contains some impressive memorials to ancestors of the Hart Dyke family, the owners of Lullingstone Castle. It also has an elaborately carved wooden rood screen and some particularly fine stained glass windows, the oldest dating back to the 14thC.
- The wooden fish sculpture was unveiled in 2004 “to celebrate the restoration of the River Darent”.
- The Shoreham Aircraft Museum was founded by volunteers in 1978 and holds donated items and aviation relics from the crash sites of local British and German aircraft in World WarⅡ.
- The Kings Arms still has its ostler box, a shelter at the front of the pub for the person who used to attend to horses at coaching inns.
- The Mount Vineyard was planted in 2004 and produced its first harvest in 2008. Eight grape varieties are now grown on the 10 acre site, producing award-winning red, white, rosé and sparkling wines.
- White Hill Nature Reserve is a small area of scrub and chalk grassland, one of 36 sites in the UK managed by Butterfly Conservation. An observation on its web site (“…frequented by dog walkers”) implies that the land is open access but there is no information panel at the site to confirm this.
- Fackenden Down and Polhill Bank are Local Nature Reserves managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust. These areas of chalk grassland support many varieties of orchid.
- The Otford Solar System is a scale model showing the relative position of the sun and planets at the start of the millennium. The pillars representing the outer planets are scattered around the village, the furthest over 1 km away at the 1:5 billion scale used.
- Otford Pond is one of many protected structures in the village, which has led to claims that its duckhouse is Britain's smallest listed building.
- Construction of St Bartholomew, Otford began in 1060, with the tower being added in around 1185. It contains a large marble memorial to Charles and David Polhill, descendants of Oliver Cromwell.
- Holmesdale was converted to a pair of semi-detached homes in the 1720s. The original property was built in the 1600s and its large width suggests that it might have had some industrial purpose.
- Otford Palace was created by Archbishop Warham in 1514, a year before Cardinal Wolsey (his rival and successor as Lord Chancellor) began the construction of Hampton Court Palace. Both were subsequently taken over by HenryⅧ but Otford (in its unfavourable marshy location) fell into ruins while Hampton Court expanded into a major royal palace.
- Pickmoss resembles a genuine medieval hall house but it is actually the result of an extensive refurbishment in the 1950s. A small Elizabethan house and a pair of unrelated cottages were amalgamated and a typical Elizabethan frontage added to give the appearance of a single large property.
- The 16thC Broughton Manor was originally a Crown property housing part of the retinue at Otford Palace.
- The Shoreham Cross was cut into the chalk hillside above the village in 1920, to commemorate those who lost their lives in World WarⅠ.
- Ss Peter and Paul, Shoreham has many interesting features, all described in an informative Visitor's Guide. They include an outstanding wooden rood screen spanning the width of the building and some fine stained glass windows, including one by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones.
» Last updated: February 3, 2020