Darent Days 3 – Summary
Saturday 4th June 10:45am EnBro Public Walk
Meet at Sevenoaks rail station (GR TQ523554). 8.0 miles circular walk following a greensand stream to its source, descending via another stream to Dryhill SSSI (picnic lunch stop), then returning via Riverhead Parkland (225m ascents). (Early finish option: bus back from Dryhill Lane, 5.6 miles).
Saturday 11th June 10:45am EnBro Public Walk
Repeat of walk on 4th June
If you prefer a paper copy of the walk as included in the information pack then download and print the pdf below.
Meet: 10:50am at Sevenoaks rail station (Ordnance Survey map reference TQ523554)
Access: Saturday rail services: Blackfriars* 09:42 Charing Cross† 10:10 Bromley S. 10:14 Waterloo E. 10:13 Otford 10:37 Sevenoaks 10:43 Sevenoaks 10:42 - Victoria 10:01 Petts Wood 10:15 Bromley S. 10:28 Orpington 10:18 Orpington 10:35 (change) 10:35 Sevenoaks 10:44 Sevenoaks 10:44
* This Thameslink service calls at all stations via Catford, Bromley South and Swanley.
† Southeastern services to and from London Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge until August 2016.
Do not buy extension tickets from St Mary Cray or Swanley – it is cheaper from Boundary Zone 6.
Maps: Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 scale Explorer Sheet 147; 1:50 000 scale Landranger 188.
Outline route: Follow a greensand stream up to its source, then descend via another stream to Dryhill SSSI (picnic lunch stop) – Chipstead – Riverhead Parkland – Sevenoaks station (8.0 miles).
Ascents: 235m Descents: 235m.
Terrain: Roads, woodland and paved paths. Some fairly steep slopes. May be muddy in places. Water resistant footwear and walking pole recommended.
Early finish option: From Dryhill SSSI walk down Dryhill Lane to the A25 and take the hourly 401 bus service to Sevenoaks (5.6 miles).
Late start option: Bus to Dryhill Lane; thence 3.0 miles.
Detailed route description: From the station entrance, turn left (NW) along London Road (A224) for 300m, then turn left into Kippington Road. Go uphill for 500m and turn right into Redlands Road.
At the end of Redlands Road, go a few metres right along Britains Lane then turn sharp left (SW) up a footpath, with house gardens on the left and a valley containing a stream to the right. Alter 650m turn left (SE) to follow the stream, now alongside right. After 110m cross the stream and turn left alongside it, then bear right to the embankment of the A21. Turn right for 30m to cross under it by a tunnel, and continue ahead to the B2042, Cold Arbor Road, where turn left.
Alter a few metres, fork left down Dibden Lane. After 400m, you cross the stream. After a further 300m, where the lane bears left, turn right up a bridleway (concealed entrance) into Mildridge Wood. Continue SSW then S for 600m to where the BW bears right and the forestry track forks left. Keep right (WNW) along the bridleway, then bear left after 300m. After a further 200m cross a footbridge beside a dam creating a long pond to its left.
(The ground here is boggy.) After a few metres turn left alongside the fence to follow this pond southwards through a clearing. At the end of the pond, continue SSW along the track which follows the edge of the wood on the left. The stream feeding the pond emerges from a cleft in the rockface at TQ508531, over 140m/460ft above sea level, to the left of the track. 100m beyond this spring, you come to a shallow round pond at TQ507530, nearly 150m/490ft above sea level.
Turn right and go through a kissing gate to enter Whitley Forest. Turn half left (SW) uphill for 300m to emerge onto a wide track, where turn left, pass a track on the left, and continue SW. (The Ordnance Survey map does not show this junction clearly – see detail below.) After about 100m, you come to another junction of tracks, with a large cistern on your right. Turn right, cross another track on your right, then take footpath 104 on the left, heading just north of West. This is indicated by a public footpath waymarker, with two large plain yellow arrows below indicating the main track.
Go 300m, passing a series of buildings to the left, to the B2042. Go slightly left, cross over and continue westwards along the lane opposite tor 250m to a junction with a green triangle. Turn sharp right down Back Lane for 120m. Just beyond ‘Forest Edge’, at the corner of Hawks Wood, fork left over a stile along a footpath.
At the first junction, take the middle of three tracks, NNW. Cross another track, and after 300m from the stile bear right (N). (The clearing shown on the Ordnance Survey map is not evident.) Follow the waymarkers through a conifer plantation, bearing left to face NW and then leaving the wood. Continue down a side valley to cross a stream at Manor Farm. (The source of this stream is 2km to the south, 170m/580ft above sea level).
Follow the farm track northwards uphill for 200m then downhill for 650m, with the stream flowing down the valley floor to the right. Then bear right down Dryhill Lane to cross the stream. After 130m turn left (N) along the lane, which crosses the stream again after 160m. 60m beyond, turn into an access road leading to the car park of Dryhill SSSl and nature reserve. Ahead is a grassy quarry floor with picnic tables and a quarry face revealing humped rock shale. (5.3 miles. Picnic lunch stop; there are no longer toilets here.)
(For an early finish, continue down Dryhill Lane to the A25 where the 401 bus runs hourly to Sevenoaks – 5.6 miles.)
Optionally, explore the footpath heading north from the corner of the field, with the stream alongside to its left.
From Dryhill SSSI, return S up Dryhill Lane to the point where it turns right. Keep straight on along a bridleway track for 300m, passing Dryhill Farm (an attractive half-timbered building). Then turn left (E) along a (possibly muddy) bridleway for 900m to reach Back Lane. Turn left and go under the A21 after 300m, then reach the junction with Cold Arbor Road (B2042) after a further 200m.
Go onto a sandy path opposite which bears left and runs parallel to the road. After 600m you emerge at Riverhead Infants School on the A25 Westerham Road. Continue past the front of the school, down some steps and turn right onto a paved path which enters Riverhead Parkland.
After 200m, turn into the field on the right and follow its right hand edge in order to view over the fence part of a chain of ponds. Continue by the outlet stream and cross the path into another field opposite. About 10m ahead on the right is a wood sculpture of two lions forming a seat. Return to the paved path and take the bridge over the stream. Fork left onto a grassy path to go past another wood sculpture resembling a dragon. Rejoin the paved path to emerge onto Britains Lane.
Go right for 220m to the junction with Braeside Avenue, where you turn left to go downhill to Westerham Road, then right for 450m to Sevenoaks station.
Return: Saturday rail services Sevenoaks* 16:00 Sevenoaks 16:16 Otford 16:07 Orpington 16:31 Bromley S. 16:29 Petts Wood 16:34 Blackfriars* 17:04 Victoria 17:12 - Sevenoaks 16:21 Sevenoaks 16:24 Orpington 16:34 Waterloo E. 16:48 Bromley S. 16:42 Charing Cross 16:52 Victoria 17:07
* See outbound table for all calling points. All these trains repeat half-hourly.