It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe

Click to visit

This walk starts from the service road on the A25, just east of Sundridge crossroads (click here for directions).  It goes by way of Manor Farm and Whitley Forest to The Woodman, at Ide Hill, and returns via Manor Farm and Sundridge Church.  The walk is generally uphill to The Woodman as Ide Hill is at the top of the Greensand Ridge to the south of the A25, whereas Sundridge is in the Darent valley.  When parking, avoid blocking any driveways.

  • Walk a few yards west (towards the Sundridge crossroads) then cross the road and enter the driveway to the left of a house.  On the way up the driveway, there may be wallabies and muntjac deer in the field to the right.
  • At the top of the drive, pass the towbar fitting centre on the left and turn right.  Enter the enclosed path to the left of the gates of the pet supplies company.  At the top of the path, cross a stile and enter the field beyond.  Walk straight ahead for about 75 yards until you see a piece of rock about a foot across lying on the ground to the left of the path.  This marks the junction of two paths.  Turn left through 135 degrees and walk diagonally back across the field to the hedge.  When you reach the hedge, pass through the two metal squeeze stiles with steps between them set into the rising bank which the hedge runs along to enter a field at a higher level.
  • Walk diagonally to the right across this field, climbing gently, until you reach the right hand hedge.  (Note: there are sometimes cattle in this field, and an electric fence with a temporary stile)  There is another metal squeeze stile in the right hand hedge which will not be visible until you are fairly close to it.  Pass through this stile and turn sharp left, to follow the left hand field boundary into the corner of the field.
  • Pass through another metal squeeze stile and go down a shallow flight of steps to yet another squeeze stile, and then walk straight ahead along the left hand field boundary.  At the end of the field, turn left into the corner and go through a metal kissing gate to exit onto the road, then turn right.  Turn left almost immediately, at Dry Hill Lodge, and follow the track, which initially rises and falls.  Continue on this track until it runs downhill for about 150 yards to a house (Manor Farm).
  • Cross the small stream, either on the stone bridge or by fording it (it should not be deep) and, ignoring the path off to the right, walk straight ahead up a gently climbing path which runs in a gully.  Partway up the hill, cross a stile in a fence which runs across the path.  About 100 yards further on, turn left up a steep slope (there is a waymark on a post at the junction).  At the top of the slope, the path bears left initially and then right.  When you reach a field gate on your right at a junction, continue ahead for about 30 yards and then enter a path that runs diagonally to the left.  Follow this path downhill until you reach a road (Back Lane).
  • Turn left onto the lane and follow it until you see a house on the right.  Turn right up a short slope into a path just before the house.  Follow this undulating path until you reach another road.  There is a house (Shrubs Cottage) on the left just before the road, with bushes cut in the shapes of animals.  Exit onto the road (B2042) and turn right.  Follow the road for a few hundred yards, past some commercial premises on the left, and enter a path on the left about 50 yards after the buildings.
  • Follow this path straight ahead to a gate with a stile.  Cross the stile and walk straight ahead along the left hand boundary of a large field.  At the far end of the field, the path divides.  The left hand path goes downhill and bears farther to the left.  Take the right hand path, which climbs between some trees and across an open space to a fence with a stile and dog door in it.  Cross the stile and continue ahead till the path reaches the top of the hill.  The path then forks again, the left hand fork continuing along the edge of a wood and the right hand fork going downhill through the wood in a gully.  Take the right hand fork.
  • At the bottom of the hill the path bears left and runs straight for about 150 yards to a junction where several paths meet (there is an old concrete water tank to your left).  There are six paths radiating from this junction (excluding the path you have approached on).  Take the fourth exit (the third is straight ahead), passing what looks like a large metal valve sticking out of the ground.  The path leads into a field.  Follow the left hand boundary of the field, past some outbuildings and a house to the right, then continue up the driveway of the house to reach the road (B2042) after two hundred yards.  Turn left onto the road and walk a few steps to The Woodman public house.
  • When you leave The Woodman, turn left onto the road, cross over and walk a few yards before entering a signposted footpath to the right.  Follow the enclosed path beyond until you re-emerge onto Back Lane next to a house called Beech Grove (the last bit of the path runs across the property).  Turn right and walk about 100 yards to a road junction with a triangle of grass in the middle.  Turn left and follow the side road downhill until you reach a gate on your right, with a stile to the left of it.
  • Cross the stile and enter the wide track beyond.  Follow the track and, where it forks after 150 yards, take the right fork.  After approximately 80 yards, at a crossroads, go straight ahead and follow the path downhill until you emerge from the woods onto an arable field.
  • Enter the field, turn right and follow the right hand field boundary uphill, over the top, and down the other side.  Keep following the boundary and go through a gap in the hedge.  Turn right and again follow the boundary for approximately 150 yards to a gap in the hedge to the right.  Turn right through the gap and then left, down the path and back to Manor Farm.
  • Cross the small stream again.  Walk past the house and back up the track which you walked down earlier.  At the top of the hill, as the path bears to the right, climb the stile to your left.  Once across the stile walk straight away from it, looking straight ahead, until you see the spire of Sundridge Church.  Walk across the (very large) field straight towards the church.  At the far side of the field, cross the track beyond and continue downhill towards the church.  Climb a short slope and enter the churchyard through a kissing gate.
  • Once in the churchyard (dogs on leads now, please) bear right and follow the grassy path through the churchyard.  The path bears to the left, round the side of the church and past a yew tree, and then bears to the right and downhill to another kissing gate leading out of the churchyard.  Exit from the churchyard and follow the enclosed path with a hedge on the left and a wire fence with a field beyond on the right.
  • Walk straight ahead to the end of the field and turn right along the second side of the field.  At the end of the field, continue straight ahead between hedges until you reach a stile.  Cross the stile, enter the field beyond and continue straight ahead.  Continue along the left hand side of the field to another stile.  Cross this stile (with a cattle trough to your right) and continue straight ahead.  You will then find yourself walking back along the path described in paragraph two, to the stile you crossed earlier.
  • Cross the stile and follow the enclosed path back to the towbar fitting centre and to the A25.