Wednesday 18 September 2019

Words of Wisdom?

The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
Groucho Marx

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Visit Westerham

Click to visit www.visitwesterham.org.uk

This is a walk in ancient woods and rolling open downland, with no steep hills.  There are good views from the North Downs Way.  In the summer, the meadows are rich with wildflowers, including some of Britain's rarest plants.

The walk starts in the car park at the west end of Farthing Down (click here for directions).  It takes you to the Harrow pub in Chaldon on the North Downs Way, returning via Happy Valley.

  • Starting from the car park, cross the road and walk down the slope close to the houses on your right.  On the left you will see an information board showing a map of most of the route and the surrounding area.  At the trees, turn right past the Happy Valley sign to enter Devilsden Wood.  Stay on the path till the next junction, then take the right fork.
  • At the top of the rise turn left and down to take the left fork at the next marked junction.  This leads out of the trees into Happy Valley.  Keeping close to the trees on your right, walk along the valley and turn right up the path signed to Chaldon Parish Church (1086).  From the top of the slope, the church spire is visible in the trees beside the road at the bottom of the hill.
Chaldon Parish Church
  • Cross the road and walk up the drive with the church on your right, then go over the stile on the left into the field.  Walk diagonally across to the hedge and follow the path across the field into Furzefield Wood.  Turn left along a concrete path and straight ahead until you see a road.  Turn left just before the road into the field and follow the hedgeline until you come to a kissing gate into a busy road.  Take great care crossing over into Pilgrims Lane. 
  • Walk up the lane to the farm and follow the path left and right through the buildings.  Then straight ahead until you reach the top of the ridge, the highest point of the walk.  Turn left onto the North Downs Way with views of London and the M23/M25 junction.  Continue to a road and go straight over to stay on the North Downs Way (also known as Pilgrims Lane).
  • Follow this, bearing right after passing Hilltop House, until you see a round silo with aerials in Willey Park Farm.  Just past the buildings take the right fork with a duckpond on the right.  Stay on the tarmac path until you reach a busy road where you turn left to see the Harrow pub a few yards down on the right.  This is a dog-friendly pub with a garden.
  • When leaving the pub, take care crossing the road.  Take the left fork down Roffes Lane, a quiet road with high hedges.  Just before the end of the trees, take a sharp left turn into the wood and then bear right by a marker to follow the path to the other side of the wood.  Turn right back onto the North Downs Way, returning the way you came, this time passing the duckpond and Willey Park Farm on your left.
  • Continue until you see two phone masts in the trees on the right.  A little way past the stables, take the next signed path to the right and follow the edge of the wood.  At the path junction, go straight on over the stile and continue with a wood on your left.
  • At the end of the wood the path turns sharp right over a stile and shortly after left across fields to Rook Lane.  Take care crossing over this busy road, walk up Doctors Lane and turn right into Leazes Avenue.  Bear left where the road forks at the green and take the bridlepath down to the bottom of Happy Valley.  Here you can either turn left to return to the car park by a more direct route, or go straight on up the hill, taking the left fork in the steep path (it could be overgrown in summer) which brings you to the other side of the wood and out into a large meadow.
  • Keeping the woods on your left, follow the path to a main junction and turn left through the trees.  Follow the path as it opens out into Happy Valley and, after passing through the next line of trees, cut diagonally across the open space to pick up the path back through Devilsden Wood, leading to the car park on Farthing Down.
Happy Valley