Our Circular Sunday Walk
Sevenoaks & Ide Hill
Our sunny Sunday walk gave us over eleven miles of the attractive leafy Kent countryside to the west of
Sevenoaks. The affluent village of
Ide Hill was our aim.
Here we found that the historic pub,
"The Cock Inn", made a pleasant lunch stop.
On the way back to Sevenoaks we went up on to the Hanging Bank and traversed the southern reaches of Goathurst Common, all the while enjoying south-facing views towards the scenic
Bough Beech Reservoir and beyond. Finally, we reached Kippington, the western gateway to Sevenoaks.
There are several ways of reaching Sevenoaks, including, of course, by train. Since many participants on the walk lived south of the Thames, coming by rail generally proved to be a good idea. Coming in from Essex, the
was a time-saving option. This journey also allows one to admire the cable-stayed Queen Elizabeth II bridge, which is normally the route for southbound travellers. Here you see three pictures which show the graceful structure of the bridge.
The QE II bridge, seen end-on, ...
... presents a changing pattern as one travels across.
Sevenoaks to Ide Hill
On the first stage of our walk, we strike roughly north out of Sevenoaks from the station. Then we turn west and eventually cross the A21. The places on the map, namely Green Lane, Manor Farm and Brook Place, all echo, in succession, to the sound of our walking boots. This stretch of our walk is all of about five to six miles. We are in Kent and indeed, on our leafy way we see at least two
oast houses - probably retired from their once important role in producing Kentish beer. There are some nice views across the rolling countryside. At Green Lane, our walk is punctuated by what looks like a "gun emplacement" - cleverly sculpted by a gardener keen to show his or her skills in the art of
topiary. At one farm we are invited to as much donkey manure as we want, but - however generous the offer - we think this might be noticed by fellow passengers on our homeward journeys.
On leaving Sevenoaks we eventually reach the verdant countryside.
It's April, so Spring still has a while to go.
In "Green Lane" we see our first
We are greeted by what looks like an anti-aircraft gun,
cleverly sculpted by a gardener keen to show his or her skills in the art of
The South-East of England was very much in the line of fire
when it came to aerial bombardment in WWII.
It appears that the topiary is intended to remind us of this.
Here's another view of the house with distinctive wall tiling.
Rural? Yes, but a satellite dish (top left) and a car (lower right)
are modern day pre-requisites of living in the countryside.
It's mixed forest around here.
Deciduous and coniferous share the landscape.
Sun and trees. Result: intricate patterns across the way.
We stop for a break and a natter.
A forest path.
Then the landscape opens out ...
... to give us a view to the north west, or so the shadows suggest!
We have caught a cloud.
The landscape has got a tad darker!
This tree is looking forward to the summer,
judging by the delicate green on its branches.
The spire of St Mary's Church
tells us that we are getting to within about a mile of Ide Hill.
Yes, we are getting close to our lunch stop.
Our second oast house of the day graces the gently rolling countryside.
And here's is an offer we simply have to refuse.
It might get noticed by fellow passengers on our journeys home.
Woodland and houses with seemingly lots of garden space.
Space in which to exercise one's chosen life style.
Lunch with Local Atmosphere
The nominal aim of our walk is
whose bustling pub - the 18th century
"Cock Inn" - makes the focus of a nice lunch stop. We have a chance to savour the affluent ambience which is emphasised by some classic cars parked opposite. These cars include a red MG and something somewhat larger in the shape of a Yellow Rolls Royce. The Yellow Rolls Royce (see links below the picture below (two belows)) probably dates from around 1934 and is similar to the one I saw on an Essex walk. St Mary's Church is close by and we shall visit it before we leave.
Some of us will have lunch on the gentle grassy bank which is opposite the Cock Inn
and also in full view of the yellow Rolls Royce which we shall look at a bit later.
But first, we see what local beverages are on offer in the pub.
The Cock Inn appears to be a well-known and established watering hole
in down-town Ide Hill - a place for meeting the neighbours!
Here is the Yellow Rolls Royce. (Plain Radiator Cap.)
It "appears" (sorry about the pun) to be a version of the
A version also starred in the film
"The Yellow Rolls Royce"
I also saw
a very similar version
(with RR radiator cap) on one of my Essex walks.
We are gradually flexing our muscles in preparation for our six mile walk back to Sevenoaks Station. In the meantime, a blue Aston Martin has appeared in front of the Yellow Rolls Royce.
Before leaving, we take in the white house on the south side of the road. This house is an elegant example of Kentish weather boarding.
As we mentioned, Ide Hill is also dominated by another aspect spiritual, St Mary's Church. As village churches go, St Mary's is a relatively new edifice built in 1865. (In Kippington, we shall also see a St Mary's Church which is even newer, dating from 1880.) However, at 216 metres above sea level, St Mary's Ide Hill is the highest church in Kent - a candidate for quiz questions!
St Mary's Church is close-by.
It was built as recently as 1865 but, at 216 metres above sea level,
it has the distinction of being the highest church in Kent.
We have a few moments to spare to look inside.
The verdict. The church is plain, but no doubt serves its purpose.
Views to the South and Bough Beech Reservoir
In the afternoon, suitably fortified by our lunch-time break at Ide Hill, we traverse a very leafy part of Kent.
We first go up above the "Hanging Bank", which is part of the
Stubbs Wood Country Park.
Then we skirt around the southern edge of Goathurst Common and proceed to a point just west of Bayley's Hill. All the way from Ide Hill we enjoy fine south-facing views, dominated by
Bough Beech Reservoir. After this we head north through Mill Bank Wood before recrossing the A21 and heading for Kippington - the western gateway to Sevenoaks.
From above the Hanging Bank we enjoy views to the south.
It's April, so bluebells line our path.
There are more bluebells in this south-facing view.
We come out into the open and get our first view (left of centre) of
Bough Beech Reservoir
Here is the Reservoir again.
The famous steep cycling path (of which more in a moment),
is hidden in the trees and woodland on the left.
At the cross roads we leave the Hanging Bank.
One of the directions on the four-way sign post is south to Yorks Hill. This very narrow road is one of the steepest roads in England and beloved by cyclists who wish to demonstrate their cycling prowess.
This is described on a number of web pages, including:
On the house on the north east side of the cross roads is this crest.
It is probably that of Earl Amherst because of his connection with the afore-mentioned
Stubbs Wood Country Park
. Clues arise from the first of five entries for the Amherst family on the
Crest Finder Website
. These clues, which appear on the crest depicted here are:
(a) the three arrows on the shield, (b) the letter "A", which is partially obscured by the shield, and (c) the coronet, which an earl is allowed to wear.
And here is the crest in closer detail.
It is starting to weather, but still retains its former glory!
In front of the house is a tree in blossom, reminding us
that we are still in April and that Spring still has a way to go.
We are on the southern flank of Goathurst Common and are able to go off-road again.
We are greeted by this pruned tree standing sentry ...
... over the woodland path.
After a short while,
Bough Beech Reservoir
appears to the south.
More woodland path.
Bough Beech Reservoir
A bench for a longer enjoyment of the view.
After a while, another bench for enjoying a similar view.
Another view to the south.
Some nice flowers. Rambling roses in the wild?
Our last view of Bough Beech Reservoir.
We head north towards Mill Bank Wood.
On the way ...
... we are dwarfed by ...
... a plantation of conifers.
Soon we shall cross the A16 and enter Kippington.
Western Gateway to Sevenoaks
On the last part of our walk we come to Kippington, on the western outskirts of Sevenoaks. Kippington owes much to a certain
William James Thompson (1817-1904), and the church of
St Mary's, Kippington,
is pivotal in that story. After soaking up some of the local history we are ready for our return to the original starting point of our walk, namely Sevenoaks Station.
The stairs beneath a mock-Tudor building lead up to the church.
St Mary's Church was completed in 1880.
The late Victorian architecture is evident within.
(The photographic distortion was kept,
so as to keep some of the architectural detail.)
A leafy road takes us out of Kippington and towards Sevenoaks Station.
flowers bid us a colourful goodbye
before we make a U-turn and head southwards to Sevenoaks Station.
It's been a good day. Now we go our separate ways until we meet again on another walk. The return to Essex is again via the
Dartford Crossing - this time through one of the two northbound tunnels. This affords a good sideways view of the architectural elegance of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge (which usually carries the southbound traffic).
By taking the tunnel, we get a side-ways view of the QE II bridge.
This visit to Ide Hill was part of the schedule of walks for CLOG. For those not familiar with "CLOG", this acronym is short for "Central London Outdoor Group". As the name implies, this is a popular London-based club for outdoor activities including walking, hiking, cycling, horse riding and canoeing.
So now is the occasion to say thank you to CLOG for hosting this walk, and to say thank you to all on our walk. Also, thank you, as so often on our CLOG walks, to the legendary "weather gods".