North Downs Way - Westerham to Wrotham

30 March 2008

With Lucy taking Ellie to a dog show in Maidstone, Stephen and George took advantage of a lift, for another walk along part of the North Downs Way. Last year Stephen walked about 49% of the main route, so time for a bit more.

On a day which started dreary after rain, George starts the day cheerful and clean as we make our way along a field edge just north of Westerham

Looking down to the M25

A damp George takes a break

Bluebells were nowhere particularly dense, but there were quite a few to be seen today

It was a muddy walk throughout, but this was one of the worst sections of the "path". This stuff came over the top of my boots in places

A rather muddy George takes shelter from the muddy field

Eventually we escaped from the worst of that, and though there were muddy tracks across fields and through woods, that was the worst over for the moment. Here we cross the M25 just north of its junction with the M26 and A21. Although the rest of the journey was close to the M26, it didn't really make its presence felt.

Crossing fields on the way to Otford after a couple of kilometres alongside roads.

George - perhaps not impressed with the walking conditions?

The pond in the middle of a roundabout in Otford.

We sat by the church looking at the pond and had first lunch

Having regained the North Downs escarpment on the east side of the Darent valley, we look across Kemsing. Somewhere down there is the intruigingly named place of "Noah's Ark".

Climbing round the edge of Fab's Wood

Daffodils and a cross perched on the edge of the escarpment

The sun has come out!

Summersyards Woods, with the trees showing evidence of coppicing

A very muddy George pauses by a mile post.

A very flinty field, perhaps part of Drane Farm

Emerging from the woods, we have a fairly steep grassy descent then a field to cross before we regain the ancient Pilgrims Way trackway which we will follow the rest of the way to Wrotham

George on the trackway. The muddy surface was very slippery, and in the distance can just be glimpsed the first of a number of deep and wide puddles that filled the width of the track. This proved to be a very tedious last couple of kilometres

Three motorbikes went past in one direction, and some minutes later came back in the other direction, splattering me with mud. These bikes and others like them were substantially responsible for the terrible surface of the track, and probably for a fair degree of creating the big holes that have been subsequently filled with water. There was some schadenfreude when one of them fell off in the puddle. 

George lurks by the muddy and slippery track

Two muddy pilgrims arrived in Wrotham

A very fluffy George safely cleaned at home later on

Total distance 22.7km (22.4km on the North Downs Way) with 472m ascent, in 6 hours 3 minutes. The primary feature was squelching mud, and though there are many muddier walks, I did think that if the field near the beginning proved typical then I would look to give up and come back in drier weather. Fortunately most of the walk was OK, but that last section was very trying. Nevertheless, it was good to be out and enjoying the fresh air.

Previous North Downs Way walk - Merstham to Westerham North Downs Way next North Downs Way walk - onwards to Rochester


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson