Darent Days 4 – Chipstead Claypits
Saturday 18th June 10:50am EnBro Public Walk
Meet at Sevenoaks rail station (GR TQ523554). 6.7 to 9.0 miles linear walk via Bradbourne Park, Sevenoaks wildlife reserve (optional), Chipstead Lake (picnic/pub lunch stop), Darent Valley Path to Rye Lane stream, then Twitton Brook (optional), Otford village and rail station. Mainly level, with one short ascent/descent. (Early finish option: bus to Sevenoaks station from Chipstead after 2.9 or 3.4 miles; or, bus or walk to Chipstead, thence 3.8 or 5.6 miles to Otford.)
Darent Days 4 – Chipstead Claypits
Saturday 25th June 10:50am EnBro Public Walk
Repeat of walk on 18th June.
If you prefer a paper copy of the walk as included in the information pack then download and print the pdf and map images below.
Adobe Acrobat pdf version of document of Chipstead Claypits detailed route description (amended 27th July 2016)
The walk uses the Darent Valley Path in a number of areas. For more information on this path see the Wikipedia entry:
Meet: 10:50am at Sevenoaks rail station (Ordnance Survey map reference TQ523554)
Access: Saturday rail services: Blackfriars* 09:42 Victoria 10:01 Bromley S. 10:14 Bromley S. 10:28 Otford 10:37 Orpington 10:35 Sevenoaks 10:43 Sevenoaks 10:44 - Charing Cross† 10:10 Petts Wood 10:15 Waterloo E. 10:13 Orpington 10:18 (change) 10:35 Sevenoaks 10:42 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.
Train times checked 19/01/16 for travel on 09/04/16.
Maps: Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 scale Explorer Sheet 147; 1:50 000 scale Landranger 188.
Outline route: Bradbourne Park, Wildlife Reserve Visitor Centre, then westward past lakes to Chipstead. Darent Valley Path to Otford, Rye Lane stream and (optionally) Twitton Brook and Pluto. Continue via rest of Solar System model and High Street (visitor centre, charity tea shop) to Otford Station (6.8 to 9.0 miles).
Ascents: 90m Descents: 100m.
Terrain: Level paved paths and roads to Chipstead. Mainly field paths with one moderate ascent thereafter. May be muddy in places.
Early finish option: Hourly 401 bus service to Sevenoaks from Chipstead (2.9 or 3.4 miles).
Late start option: Walk or bus to Chipstead; thence 3.8 or 5.6 miles to Otford Station.
Detailed route description: From the station entrance, turn right, cross the A224 and follow the Sevenoaks branch of the Darent Valley Path (DVP). Turn left into Hitchen Hatch Road, then left again into Bradbourne Park Road. Continue for 550m, then turn left into Clock House Lane. Cross the railway and turn right into Lambarde Road. After 50m, enter Bradbourne Park on the left. Continue through the park (lakes, wildfowl, benches), crossing Betenson Avenue, to emerge on Bradbourne Vale Road (A25), where the DVP turns left.
For Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve (optional, 0.5 miles), leave the DVP and turn right for 200m, then cross the A25 at a pedestrian crossing to reach the access road to the Wildlife Reserve. Walk 350m to the Visitor Centre (picnic tables, cafe, gift shop, toilets) and optionally explore the Reserve (73 hectares: lakes, ponds, reedbed, woodland, birdwatching, wildflowers, nature trail). Return to the A25 and turn right to rejoin the DVP after 200m.
Continue a further 350m on the DVP, then turn right on a footpath which borders the Wildlife Reserve, with a large lake on the right. After 550m, soon after crossing the Darent River, turn left on a footpath leading to Station Road. Go under the railway to London Road, then turn left for 70m, crossing the road just before Longford Bridge.
Follow the south bank of the Darent, which widens into Chipstead Lake. When you reach a paved path after 300m, turn right to continue a further 50m along the bank, then turn left for 15m to reach Long Meadow. Go left for 50m to Aisher Way, where go right to a roundabout outside Tesco (toilets, cafe in store). Go diagonally (SE) across the car park to reach London Road, where you turn right (S). After 50m, turn right into Bullfinch Lane, go 500m to Chipstead Lane, bear left and go 750m to Chipstead High Street.
(For an early finish, return to Sevenoaks Station by hourly bus service 401).
50m beyond the George and Dragon pub when the street bears left, by a red telephone box, turn right onto a footpath (which may be muddy). Cross two branches of the river and emerge on an access road, where turn left to Chevening Road. Alternatively, continue until the High Street turns left, then turn right onto Chevening Road, and cross the Darent after 120m. You reach the Bricklayers Arms after a further 70m (TQ500563) (picnic or pub lunch stop, benches overlooking lake, 3.0 or 3.4 miles).
Follow the Chipstead branch of the DVP: a footpath (which may be muddy) goes NNW along the bank of the lake, turns to climb up above the N bank, then bears NE to cross a disused railway line. (This is the line that used to go to Westerham, and is now buried under the M25.) Continue downhill to the M25 embankment where the footpath turns right for 200m before turning left under the M25. Go NNE across an area of access land to the A224.
Cross the A224 to the Rose and Crown pub, then cross London Road and turn left. After 200m turn right into a footpath just before Donnington Manor Hotel. After 800m, the Sevenoaks branch of the DVP joins from the right and you cross the railway. Continue downhill along Telston Lane, passing a pond on the right at 200m, just beyond the entrance to Orchard Farm (TQ515586). From this pond flows the Rye Lane stream.
Continue past New Barn Farm and at the end of Telston Lane, go straight on into Hale Lane, then right into Willow Park, which winds downhill. After 400m, opposite the second cul-de-sac on the right, the stream emerges on the left-hand side of the road at Little Brook House. It continues to be audible as you go down to Rye Lane and turn left to reach Pilgrims Way.
To investigate the Twitton Brook (optional, 1.8 miles), turn left at the bottom of Rye Lane along Pilgrims Way for 400m to the bottom of Telston Lane, where the DVP and the North Downs Way emerge. Go left (S) for 40m to find the pillar for Neptune in the Otford Solar System Model. (Leaflets about this are available from the Otford Heritage Centre – see below.)
Return to Pilgrims Way, cross over and go left for 420m. Pass Twitton Meadows on the right then, when the road bears left, turn right up Twitton Lane, soon crossing the Twitton Brook and then passing the Rising Sun pub. After nearly 500m turn right on to a crossing footpath (no. 10, heading NNE). At this point look east to see if you can spot the Sun in the Solar System Model gleaming on top of its pillar in Otford Recreation Ground.
After 450m turn right onto a crossing path (no 43, heading ESE). After 200m path no 15 leads to the Pluto column, 200m to the left (or one billion kilometres in astronomical distance in the 15 000 000 000 scale model of our Solar System). After another 120m on footpath 43 fork left to the bridge over the Twitton Brook and continue first ESE then SE, looking again after about 250m for the model Sun in the east. A further 500m takes you back to Pilgrims Way opposite the end of Rye Lane.
The Uranus pillar in the solar system model is on the north side of the road. Follow Pilgrims Way eastward to cross two branches of the Darent River and enter Otford High Street. (The Heritage Centre at no 21 on the right is open 9:00 – 12:00 weekdays, 14:30 – 16:30 at weekends. A little further on the left on the wall of the Parish Hall is a mosaic timeline depicting the story of the village.)
To see the rest of the solar system model, turn left just before the Parish Hall and go through the car park into the recreation ground. An information board is ahead on the far side of the field. Exit at the east side of field about 20m south of the Jupiter column onto Park Lane and turn right to regain the High Street. (Here you can enjoy various refreshment places including a charity tea shop a little to the right across the road, open 10:00 – 16:00 weekdays, 10:00 – 17:00 Saturdays.)
Now go east to admire the village pond, which is unique in being designated a listed building. You can find the Saturn pillar 100m north up Leonard Road, at the entrance to the Health Centre. Finish at Otford station, 500m east of the pond along Station Road.
Saturday rail services: Sevenoaks 16:00 16:30 Otford 16:07 16:37 Bromley S. 16:29 16:59 Blackfriars 17:04 17:34
Thameslink services calling at all stations via Swanley, Bromley South and Catford, repeated each hour.