Darent Days 6 – Otford Orifice and Chalk Channel
Saturday 16th July 10:45am EnBro Public Walk
A 6.9 to 7.2* miles linear walk from Otford station to Shoreham (lunch stop) direct or via Twitton Brook and Home Farm detours. Via Lullingstone Visitor Centre (refreshments stop) to Eynsford village and rail station. (Alternatively train back from Shoreham after 2.9 to 5.6 miles; 4.1 miles from Shoreham station to end).
* including optional detour
Darent Days 6 – Otford Orifice and Chalk Channel
Saturday 23rd July 10:45am EnBro Public Walk
Repeat of walk on 2nd July.
If you prefer a paper copy of the walk as included in the information pack then download and print the pdf below.
Adobe Acrobat pdf version of detailed route description (amended 17th July 2016)
The walk uses the Darent Valley Path in a number of areas. For more information on this path see the Wikipedia entry:
Otford Orifice and Chalk Channel
Meet: 10.45am at Otford station (Ordnance Survey map reference TQ532594).
There are toilets at the station, but only one of each. The station also has a kiosk for coffee etc. and a small waiting room. It also has a large car park.
Access: Saturday rail services: Blackfriars 09:42* Victoria 09:52 Bromley S. 10:14 Bromley S. 10:09 Swanley 10:26 Swanley 10:20 Otford 10:37 Otford 10:28
* This Thameslink service calls at all stations via Catford, Bromley South and Swanley.
Maps: Ordnance Survey 1:25 000 scale Explorer Sheet 147 and 162; 1:50 000 scale Landranger 188.
Outline route: Otford, its Palace, the Pilgrims’ Way and the Darent Valley Path (DVP) to Shoreham (lunch stop/aircraft museum), then back on to the DVP via the Hop Shop, (optional), Lullingstone Visitors Centre (toilets and refreshments stop), Lullingstone Castle (optional), the DVP route up the side of the valley past Eagle Heights and down into Eynsford and on to the station (6.9 to 7.2 miles).
Terrain: Mainly river valley paths, with some minor roads. Slight undulations apart from one ascent and descent of 50m near the end of the walk. Two stiles at railway level crossing.
Early finish option: Shoreham Station (2.7 or 3.0 miles).
Late start option: From Shoreham Station, turn right down Station Road to Church Street. The DVP will be by the War Memorial on your right (4.6 miles).
Detailed route description: From the Station entrance turn left into the car park. About 60m on the right is an unsigned footpath. Ignore a path immediately to the left and go ahead until you reach the churchyard, then continue past the church to see the spring-fed duck pond in the middle of the traffic island. This is unique in being our smallest listed building.
Turn back towards the church but take the path SSE, slightly to the right of the one from the church, to the remains of Otford Palace. Continue to the sign board on the green, where you can read about the palace. Go over the grass past the west end of the palace to cross the Bubblestone Stream, then turn left to follow it to where it emerges from a garden near its source at St Thomas à Becket’s Well. Return to the east end of the palace and complete a circuit of the remains.
Turn SW along the footpath across the Palace Field, with the Bubblestone Stream on your left. On exiting to a small lane, turn right to the main road, the A225. Turn left past a small row of shops and cross the road. Take the footpath ahead (Pickmoss Lane), leading NW, with the main Darent river running parallel on the left.
On reaching Otford High Street turn left, where you are on the Pilgrims’ Way. Continue to the main branch of the River Darent about 100m ahead, then turn right on to the Darent Valley Path (DVP).
After 1700m, while passing the golf course, the DVP turns to the right. For an attractive optional diversion, take the track left down to the main river where there is a small trout pond at Home Farm. Continue a further 160m to a secondary stream before retracing your steps to the DVP by the edge of the cricket ground.
From the right turn, head uphill for 250m, then turn left past the cricket ground to eventually reach Station Road. (For an early finish, turn right uphill for 200m to Shoreham station. 2.7 or 3.0 miles. Trains at 10 and 40 minutes past the hour.)
Otherwise, turn left towards Shoreham village. After 80m turn right along a footpath for a few metres before turning left into and through the churchyard to Church Street and the War Memorial. (Lunch stop, 2.9 or 3.2 miles. Shoreham has at least three pubs doing lunches and a small cafe. In addition there is the Aircraft Museum which has a tea room, open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until the end of October 2016 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is further on, up the hill beyond the War Memorial. Turn right at the High Street.)
After lunch return to the War Memorial and take the DVP downstream, northwards on the east side of the river. Cross the river near the old mill and continue 1800m through fields, until reaching a road. Continue northwards along the road, passing the Hop Shop (optional visit) on the right after 200m.
After a further 300m, where the road bends to the right, continue north along a footpath. The river will be alongside on the right and Lullingstone Visitors Centre on the left (toilets and refreshments). Soon a large lake will appear, beyond the river, to the right.
After 600m the path reaches a minor road and the lake ends. Continue northwards along the road past Lullingstone Castle and various other buildings on the estate.
Just before the modern building which houses the remains of Lullingstone Roman Villa, there is a DVP sign off to the left up the hill. The climb up the valley side is not steep but is quite long. Anyone not wishing to climb can continue to Eynsford, along the road.
After about 600m the DVP takes a right turn along the valley (lovely views) towards the Eagle Heights Birds of Prey Centre, where the path starts to descend into the valley. Part way down there is a level crossing over the railway. There are stiles on both sides of the track to slow progress and the track is quite busy, so care must be taken.
The path takes you down to Eynsford near the ford with a narrow footbridge alongside. (Cars going fast through the ford can drench walkers on the bridge.) Over the bridge, continue up the hill to the A225, then turn right along the main road to the station, 700m away and off to the left.
Return: Saturday rail services: Shoreham 16:10* Eynsford 16:13 Bromley S. 16:29 Bromley S. 16:35† Blackfriars 17:04 Victoria 16:51
These services repeat every half-hour.
* Thameslink service calling at all stations via Swanley, Bromley South and Catford.
† Non-stop Southeastern service.