Walk 17: Bough Beech/Bore Place 2.5 miles

A sublime short walk only accessible by car that takes in the low Kent weald, beautiful Bough Beech reservoir and the interesting, historic organic farm Bore Place. Can be done in a day with the Ide Hill walk just up the road and the Hever or Chiddingsone walks a few miles further south. Also the route is perfect before or after a spot of birdwatching on the causeway road that bisects the reservoir or at the hides at the former Kent Wildlife Trust centre (now Forest School education centre). It’s a modest little walk this, but it’s got something about it and my fellow strollers seem keen.

Distance from SE London: 45 min drive from Sydenham

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Find the walk

  • Drive via Hayes, Keston then on the A233 via Biggin Hill to Westerham.
  • Bypass Westerham by remaining on the A233 which turns left at a roundabout and joins the A25.
  • Head east through Brasted then turn right on to New Road heading south, become Sundridge Rd close to Emmett’s Garden.
  • Continue through Ide Hill then at the Village Hall (outstanding view at this point, one of the best in the country) follow the B2042 downhill for two thirds of a mile then take the left turn signposted for Winkhurst Green and Tonbridge.
  • Follow this for 500m then follow the road to the right (south for Winkhurst Green). Park after around 600 metres close to the old visitor centre entrance or by the northerly end of the reservoir a tad further on.

The walk

Retrace your steps by walking back a few metres along the road until you find a rather discrete public footpath sign by a metal gate. Start the walk on the signed footpath at this point (Google map reference)

Point 1-2 (700m): take the path heading roughly east on the right hand side of a cereals field. Follow down to a damp strip of wood with a stream. Cross on the wooden footbridge and continue up the right hand side of the field on the other side. There are some nice glimpses of the reservoir to your right here and lovely views back towards Ide Hill. The fields are a bit intensively farmed though so not much of interest in them usually. As you walk uphill towards woods, the path heads diagonally left towards the corner of the woods.

Point 2-3 (1.4km): At this corner of the woods you join a track passing the trees, rich with birdlife at most times of the year and particularly popular with greater spotted woodpeckers I’ve noted. You are still heading east. Soon, the track turns right (south) towards Bore Place. This excellent, remote-feeling and historic locale is an organic farm and training ground for young people seeking experience of farm and rural life. It’s also big into promoting conservation and wildlife, and offers an eco-friendly events venue. Idyllic spot really. Please have a look at its website. Anyway, the walk continues south past the historic farmhouse, the cow pens and a really attractive walled garden. Keep on walking for about 450m, then…

Point 3-4: (600m) … just past a lovely stone house built in 1745 (it says so on it) turn right (west). There’s also a lane junction here so you can’t miss it. The path is up a hedgerow alley to start with by the house but emerges into a field often used as pasture by flocks of geese. In fact there’s always loads of wildlife around here: dragonflies, small flocks of finches, swooping swallows and martins in summer, bats towards dusk. You are now about here (Google map ref). Walk across the fields (there might be a stile in the middle, I can’t remember, it’s all easy though) heading west towards the reservoir beyond the crest of the shallow slope. Walk towards the woods.

Point 4-5 (300m): Turn right (north) into the woods then quickly emerge into a field with a large organised pile of logs (and a ‘do not climb on the logs sign’) ahead of you. Pass the logs then quickly turn left (west) down the field, into a strip of woods, over a stream (crossed by little bridge I think) and arrive back on to the quietish reservoir road on which your car is parked to the north.

Point 5- (600m depending on where on the road you parked) Turn right (north) on the pavement on the reservoir side of the road and admire the lovely views across the water as you stroll back to your motor. The reservoir’s banks are a nature reserve so there’s no access apart from one very short little footpath. There’s no swimming allowed either. You can always amuse yourself by reading my oh so funny blog on Bough Beech though.

Nearby walks: Ide Hill, Chiddingstone, Hever

Pubs: Cock Inn, Ide Hill; The Woodman, Ide Hill; Wheatsheaf, Bough Beech (southern end). All three are excellent – all do good food, but perhaps the latter two excel for meals and have good gardens.


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