Main walk: 12.5 (7.9 miles)
Knockholt to Shoreham: 5.8km (3.6 miles)
7 out of ten: two steep hill climbs: otherwise not over-hilly
|OS Map||Explorer 147, Landranger 188|
This walk approaches the familiar walking territory around Shoreham and Otford in Kent from an unfamiliar angle, passing at first over wooded hills, then climbing up and over a steep ridge to get down to Shoreham. In the first 3km/2 miles of the walk there is some traffic noise from the M25, but how much depends on the way the winds are blowing and other atmospheric factors. As you approach Shoreham this fades.
In the afternoon the route largely reverses the morning of the Otford Circular walk (Book 1, walk 43 on this website), though with one twist that introduces the lovely hidden valley of Magpie Bottom, now a nature reserve, with fine downland flowers and butterflies in the summer.
The walk also has several nice bluebell woods, particularly (but not exclusively) in the latter part of the walk, and in autumn there are lots of beech and sweet chestnut woods to provide colour. In winter the walk is not over-afflicted with mud, but the descents into Shoreham and Otford can be a bit slippery.
Just after lunch – 5.8km (3.6 miles) from the start - this walk passes Shoreham station, which is on the line from Otford to London and is a possible place to finish or start the walk.
It is also possible to vary the ending by walking from Shoreham to Eynsford, a distance of 7.5km (4.6 miles): see SWC walk 56: Eynsford Circular on this website for details.
Knockholt is on the Sevenoaks line out of Charing Cross and London Bridge. Catch the nearest train to 10am to get to lunch in Shoreham in time.
Otford is on the line from Sevenoaks back to Bromley South, Victoria and Blackfriars, with the Victoria trains being faster.
A day return to Sevenoaks covers you out and back on both lines (and is the same price as a day return to Otford).
Alternatively you can use Oyster to get to Knockholt station as it is in London Transport zone six: but coming back you then need to buy a single from Otford to Swanley and touch in there (possible on Thameslink trains, which stop there, but not always on Victoria trains)
|Lunch and Tea||
Shoreham, 5.1km (3.2 miles) into the walk, has four possible lunch pubs:Serving more standard pub fare (and also being on the walk route) are the Kings Arms (01959 52310), the George Inn (01959 522017).
Alternatively a very short diversion off the walk route gets you to the somewhat more upmarket (but not over-pricey) Two Brewers (01959 522800) and the Crown (01959 522903).
In Otford, the most obvious tea option is the Pond View Cafe (10959 522150) on the roundabout, generally open until 4.30pm or so. In another 70 metres on the left the Hospices of Hope charity shop also has a tea room at its rear, which is open till 5pm year round on Saturdays, as well as on Monday to Friday from April to October and 4pm Monday to Friday from November to March.
Otford also has several pubs, the first one you pass being The Woodman on the right on the roundabout. On the far side of the roundabout is The Rising Sun, but perhaps the most cosy-looking of all is The Bull, 150 metres beyond the roundabout on the left.
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Out: (not a train station)
Back: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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