Walk 1510 - printer friendly version
Otford, Romney Street & Woodlands Walk
Author - Richard Donovan
Length - 14.5 miles / 23.6 km
Ascent - 2200 feet / 667 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference TQ502616
Lat 51.333661 + Long 0.15469013
Postcode TN14 7BD (approx. location only)
The walk starts and finishes at the Car Park in Shacklands Road, Badgers Mount (Grid ref. TQ502616). Shacklands Road is a turning off the A224 Orpington Bypass about a mile south of the A21 / M25 spur road. By rail, the nearest station to the start point is Knockholt, about a mile distant, but Otford Station is on the route and may be more convenient. Refreshments - Choice of pubs and shops in Otford (visited twice on the walk); also pubs at Romney Street and Cotmans Ash, as mentioned in the text.
Walk to the ranger hut at the end of the car park farthest from the road and follow the broad track to the footbridge and cross the motorway. Bear right immediately after the bridge and after 100 yards turn left downhill by a wooden barrier opposite a bench down a tree-lined track. On reaching a wider track turn left, later going downhill to reach a carved seat at the bottom of the hill where several tracks meet. Turn right steeply downhill for a few yards to reach a stile to an open field. Continuing downhill, cross the stile at the valley bottom and go up the other side of the valley entering Meenfield Wood half way up. On reaching a wide cross track, turn left and then immediately right. Pass through a wooden barrier then continue downhill to a viewpoint overlooking Shoreham village. [Note the hill in the distance behind the foreground tree - you will be there later!]
Turn right at the viewpoint and continue along the side of the hill for about 700 yards, emerging at an open field. Turn left downhill and cross a stile to reach a farm track and continue to Filston Lane (Grid ref TQ515610). Cross the road and follow the lane (Water Lane) almost opposite, soon passing cottages on the right. After passing Kennel Cottage on the left, continue when the lane becomes a bridleway with a stream to the right and Robins Wood to the left. Cross a bridge over the river and continue on a lane. Continue on the lane past a water mill on the right. The lane then goes uphill with a field on the right. When the lane meets a golf course on the right, turn right on an enclosed footpath (Darenth Valley Path).
Continue on this enclosed path for some time. Later, cross a track connecting the golf course on either side and shortly reach an open field. Looking back, you can see the war memorial cross cut into the hillside above Shoreham. Continue along the left hand side of the field, then cross two stiles over a farm track to the left of a farm house. Follow the footpath across a field and stile. Continue with the river on the right onto a lane with allotments on our left leading past cottages to the road at Otford (Grid ref. TQ523593).
Cross the road (High Street, Otford) and turn left past an Elizabethan building on the right. After 400 yards, at a row of shops on the left, re-cross the road and take a lane by the side of The Forge restaurant. Continue on this lane past a house and some barns on our right. Shortly after the barns turn right through two wooden gates into a field. Follow the footpath which bears slightly left across the field to a post, bear right for a few yards and then cross the railway track, continuing to the road (Shoreham Road, Otford).
Turn left on the road and after 150 yards turn right on a footpath across a field. Maintain direction at the end of field on the path, which continues uphill to a bench with a good view behind over Otford towards Sevenoaks. Keep right of the bench and continue uphill through trees bearing right to a gate and continuing up the open side of the hill. Bear left over a stile back into trees and then cross a stile by a gate to pass a radio transmitter on the right. Continue across a field with good views to the right. Immediately after leaving the field over a stile, turn left on a narrow footpath through trees keeping the fence on your left to reach Rowdow Lane (Grid ref TQ593603).
Turn right on the road and after 350 yards turn left on a footpath just before some cottages. Follow the footpath, which later goes through woods, and emerge in a picturesque open valley. Continue slightly downhill and then steeply up the other side of the valley. Looking left you see Magpie Bottom. At the top of the hill go over a stile in trees and bear slightly left across the next field arriving at a lane just past the end of a garden fence. Turn left down the lane for 25 yards and then right uphill on a footpath. After crossing a field with the fence on your left, continue onto a farm track for 300 yards, cross a stile beside a metal gate and bear right through a smaller metal gate. After 75 yards cross a stile on your right and bear half left across a field to arrive at the "Fox and Hounds" pub at Romney Street.
Turn right past the pub and soon pass a caravan site on the left. At the road junction with Bower Lane take the footpath opposite. Continue on the footpath which later goes through a wood and then across more fields just to the left of a row of telegraph poles. Continue across a final field to join the road at East Hill just to the right of a row of farm buildings. The track opposite is the public footpath (although it is unsigned) and follow this with a caravan site over to the left and after several hundred yards continue steeply downhill through trees on a stepped path to reach Knatts Valley (Grid ref. TQ567617).
Turn right on the road and after 600 yards, where another road (Hills Lane) joins on the right, turn left on a footpath. Later, when the path enters a wood, turn right at a waymarked post and follow the footpath with the golf course on your right. Ignoring gaps in the hedge, continue on this path to its conclusion where it turns right downhill with the seventh tee on your right and emerges on the golf course. Cross the golf course keeping a pond to your right and following waymarks to arrive at Tinker Pot Lane, Woodlands, opposite the golf club house. Turn left and follow the road uphill. After 400 yards, where the road bends left after some houses on the right, turn right onto a wide byway. Follow the track for almost half a mile until it ends at Cotmans Ash Lane (Grid ref TQ565600). Turn right on the road and after 350 yards reach the "Rising Sun" on your right.
Continue past the pub and after another 50 yards take a footpath on the left, opposite a metal gate. Cross a stile and continue with the fence on your left. Cross another stile and go forward, with the fence on your left again. At the end of the field cross a third stile into woods. On leaving the woods over a stile, bear half left across a field. Cross a stile with buildings over on your left and bear very slightly right to follow the footpath to the field corner. There, a stile beside metal gates leads onto a farm track, which after 50 yards ends. Turn left over a stile onto the drive of Otford Manor. Turn right on the drive and follow it until it ends at a lane (Shorehill Lane). Turn right.
After 75 yards (Grid ref TQ550597) take the footpath on the left which crosses several fields then finally turns right to reach Birchin Cross Road. Turn left on the road and continue for 200 yards to a road triangle where our road joins Rowdow on the left and Rowdow Lane on the right. Continue in the same direction on a footpath leading off the triangle. This path crosses a field with woods on your left, crosses a stile into woods, and later goes steeply downhill, eventually emerging in a residential road, Pilgrims Way East, Otford (Grid ref. TQ533595) . Turn right on the road then left at the main road (Station Road).
Pass Otford Station, and after a quarter of a mile at the village green bear right along the High Street, soon passing the recreation ground crossed earlier. Continue along the road again passing the Elizabethan house. Take the footpath on the right by a bus stop opposite Rye Lane. Cross the field to a stile, and continue along the side of the next field with the hedge on your right. At the end of that field leave it via a stile and continue with the fence on your left. Continue on this footpath as it turns left at a gate, then over a stream. Continue on the same footpath with a fence on our right and a ditch on our left. Later the footpath merges with a track by some gates to your right. Continue heading for an oasthouse with hills beyond it.
Some way before the oasthouse, just before a plantation, turn right on a footpath, passing by two wooden electricity cable supports. After 100 yards turn left on another footpath with fruit trees on the right. On reaching Filston Lane (Grid ref TQ509601), cross it to climb steps up to a footpath, which leads up across a field under overhead electricity wires with an orchard on your right. Cross a stile and continue up a steep hill (Polhill Bank Nature Reserve) still following the line of the electricity wires and passing under them half way up the hill. Go through the gate near the top of the hill and follow the path uphill soon bearing right alongside the motorway.
Climb some wooden steps next to the footbridge across the motorway and after 80 yards bear right veering away from the motorway on a bridleway through trees. Continue on this bridleway for several hundred yards to enter Pilots Wood. Maintain direction for some distance, passing a bridleway joining on your right. Eventually you reach a wooden barrier fence at a junction of tracks. Continue on the broad track just to the right of the fence, ignoring the footpath on the right.
Continue on this track for well over half a mile, slowly getting further away from the motorway. Eventually, just after a row of tall pine trees set either side of the track, turn left on a footpath just ahead of another footpath on the right. You are now retracing your steps, and after going downhill through trees and across this valley, you reach the carved seat. Here, turn left and immediately bear right on the rightmost of the two tracks, which leads round to the bridge across the motorway and back into the car park.