Knockholt walk via Pratt's Bottom, Mace Farm and The Washneys
Walk Route Description
While much of this Kent walk follows paths through woodland, across fields or along narrow country lanes, a significant feature of it is a few dry valleys which entail walking down one side and up the other. The route follows sections of the Green Street Green Circular and Cudham Circular walking routes and logos for these routes appear from time to time. There are a number of wooden stiles to climb over during the walk and, as usual, with country walks in the home counties, it is best to be prepared for mud by wearing suitable footwear. The route is mostly a circular one with an "out and back" across a golf course.
Knockholt station to Pratt's Bottom
The walk starts and ends at Knockholt railway station in the Sevenoaks district of Kent (trains from London Charing Cross and London Bridge). Leave the station via the approach road and cross the busy Sevenoaks Road ahead. Follow a signed public footpath uphill between rows of wooden posts. When the path contours round to the left at the golf club and then to the right, ignore a sharp left turn but instead continue ahead to the right of a hedge where a public footpath sign says "Church Road 2/3 of a mile". Follow the track ahead across the golf course as far as a point where a metal kissing gate in a hedge appears ahead. Note - the walk returns to this point in its latter stages, via the metal kissing gate.
Turn sharp right as far as a road, Stonehouse Lane. Cross this road and continue on the other side across a field and then down through woodland into a dip and up the other side. Emerge to cross a field with a stile at each end. On exiting the field follow the path ahead and then turn sharp left down a series of steps to reach Pratt's Bottom which is a village in the London Borough of Bromley.
Pratt's Bottom to Mace Farm
Cross the road and the village green with the village hall ahead and contour round to the right to continue the route. A public footpath sign indicates the way to go next up a lane which is initially a residential road but which later becomes a bridleway and then a path across fields. This path leads to a road at a farm. Turn right along this road and then take the next road on the left. Follow this road past Norsted Manor Farm, then take the next signed path on the right and then to the left. Already a glimpse of a dry valley ahead can be seen between trees marking a significant change in the scenery. This is the first "down and up" section. The path enters woodland at the top of the other side of the valley. Turn right at a T of paths then, when a gap between trees appears on the left with a field beyond, take the path that diagonally crosses this field with farm buildings on the horizon ahead. On reaching the far side of the field, pass through woodland briefly then take the unsurfaced road to the left to reach Mace Farm on the right.
Mace Farm to Finstock House
Just past Mace Farm, take a left turning (sign for Newyears Wood). The route crosses a couple of fields before descending steeply down a grassy slope to the foot of the next dry valley, entering Kangles Wood via a stile. Follow the path ahead uphill as it bends round to the right and then turns left to emerge on to an open grassy area via a gate. As you walk across the grass ahead, a look back will be a reminder of the height loss and regain in crossing the last dry valley. Keep ahead across the grass and, with a line of trees on your left, continue through a gate to reach a path running to the left and right. Turn left and follow the track around to the right, a sign for Norsted Manor Farm appearing on the left. At the end of this path, turn left along a narrow country lane as far as a house called Little Washneys at a junction of roads. Turn sharp right down a country lane and then take the next signed public footpath on the left. This track borders a field on the left before a sharp right turn over another stile leads steeply down through woodland to reach the foot of another dry valley. At the bottom, cross another stile and a fine view opens out of the valley where sheep may be seen grazing, a pastoral scene. Walk up the hill to cross the next stile and turn left, the path bending round to the right to reach Hookwood Road. Turn right uphill along the road to cross the busy road ahead, Rushmore Hill. An optional digression here is to the garden centre nearby but this route continues before the garden centre past Finstock House, along a road initially which later turns into a path.
Finstock House back to Knockholt station
Follow the path ahead, the route opening out at a grassy area with another "down and up" section. This is the last one on this walk. Continue ahead on the grassy section between bushes and trees. When three silver birch trees appear ahead on the right in front of a hedge, turn left to locate a public footpath. Cross the stile ahead and follow the path as far as a road. Turn left along the road past the Old Rectory and take the next signed public footpath for Knockholt station in one mile. After crossing two fields, you are back at the kissing gate in the hedge at the golf course, a point the route passed in the early stages of the walk. Therefore, follow the track back across the golf course and so back to the station.
Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers. This applies in England. Wales & Scotland have different and stricter rules which do not allow walking away from home.
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