Another new route. Walk 26, Underriver and Budds, cobbles together the optional scenic extension to Walk 6 with the Wilmot to Budds path of Walk 7. It’s a brilliant walk with a superb hedgerow-lined path currently full of berries, a sunken trail with amazing trees growing out of its embankment, atmospheric oasthouses and far-flung views of the Weald. The woods at One Tree Hill are always a pleasure to walk in, especially the ‘tropical’-feeling bit east of Rooks Hill lane and there are myriad springs and little streams that trickle out of the sandstone ridge at various points – mostly around where the farms are, their positioning being no accident. It’s a two-hour round-trip hike starting and finishing at Underriver village.
For those who do these walks with younger children, I wonder if any of them find the appearance of oasthouses a bit disturbing; I certainly used to when I was small. I still find them fascinating and this walk takes you close to some of the best.
‘Walking’ beech trees on the sunken path near Underriver
The only blot on the landscape is the temporary (we hope) closure of the White Rock Inn, one of the nicest pubs on these walks.
The farms encountered have attractive old houses attached and pasture for horses, sheep and cattle, plus a few alpacas. However, around Budds, the fields are for cereals and can be quite barren depending on time of year. They lack wildlife/wildflower margins too – a slight blemish on what is a tremendous afternoon’s stroll. Check out the interractive map below and, as ever, on the walk’s page there are links to GPX (real time location) maps – including a nice short cut variation too.
Here’s a new circular route not far to drive from SE London that’s great for a bit of quiet contemplation and is fun to navigate. Sadly public transport options for getting there aren’t great, though the R5 and R10 buses from Orpington station do drop by from time to time and Knockholt station is a couple of miles away. The Cudham/Knockholt area is rich in paths and sleepy lanes, linking up its chalk valleys and lovely woods. With lots of old hedgerows, meadows and pasture it’s not bad for birdlife with buzzards and finches aplenty.
The walk starts at the recreation ground car park just off Cudham South Lane, close to the hamlet’s lovely church and attractive pub, the Blacksmiths Arms, and takes about 1.5 hours. As car parks go it’s a really pleasant one, too, with playground and huge cricket pitch backed by trees. I’ve called the route “Cudham chalk paths” because it sounds nice and early on there are a couple of trails where the North Downs chalk comes right to the surface. It also differentiates it from the many Cudham circular walks on various other websites.
Being close to walks at Downe, Knockholt and Andrews Wood/Polhill, it’s an easy route to combine with others for a full day out. It also is a bit of a marker as it is the 25th walk I’ve added to Kent Walks Near London. I’m sure there’s another 25 I can rustle up… and I’m open to ideas.
I’ve only ever done this four-mile walk on dull drizzly days so my photos are lacking dazzle but, like I say, it’s a walk that seems to suit quiet reflection and I wouldn’t want to oversell it.
• Full instructions with PDF, GPX maps and all the trimmings here.