Weekend rambles: Chartwell, Churchill and two more hills

After a couple of easier walks to get you ready, this week WALKER DUNELM’s ramblings along the Greensand Way takes you beyond Limpsfield and the M25 to hills around Chartwell, the wartime home of Sir Winston Churchill

Chartwell: now run by the National Trust, it was the home of Winston Churchill in his “wilderness years” and during the Second World War

This is a longer walk (more than 6 miles) and is also more demanding, around the hills of the Kentish Weald, offering some stunning views of the English countryside.

The walk starts at the National Trust car park at Toys Hill (grid reference TQ46955185), crosses to Crockham Hill, climbs up to Mariners Hill and returns to Toys Hill passing Chartwell (click on the link for the NT website to check opening times if you decide to combine your walk with a visit).

Walk to the rear of the car park and take a path on the left, just beyond an information board, with waymarks for the National Trust Orange Walk and the Greensand Way.

At a crossing bridleway turn left downhill between wooden barriers and, by a green open space on the right, down a sunken path. On reaching a road turn right along Puddledock Lane for 280 yards and turn left on a footpath by Bardogs Farmhouse.

Pass by a stile on the left, go through a woodland area and cross a stile into a steeply sloping field. Bear left downhill to a stile, along the left-hand edge of woodland and over another stile. Follow the left-hand edge of a field, go through a gap and bear right across a field to a stile. Keep to the right hand of the next field and, after passing Obriss Farm, turn right through a metal gate (footpath SR322).

A view of the Kent countryside, north towards Westerham

Walk along the farm lane for 700 yards, turn left at the road and, almost immediately right on a byway by Pollards. After 440 yards, cross a stile on the right (footpath 390) and make for the corner of a wood on the right, then continue rightwards to a stile. Turn left on a path through a belt of trees and parallel with a fence on the left.

After crossing a stile, bear right, across the field, towards a tile-hung house on a distant hill. On reaching a stile and marker post, maintain the same direction in the next field, climbing towards the house and a stile leading into an enclosed path skirting a garden, bending left and through a gate to a road.

Walk along the road for nearly half a mile, cross a stile on the right (footpath 376) and head towards Crockham Hill Church. If visiting The Royal Oak, walk ahead through a gate, continue along a road and turn left at the main road.

Otherwise turn round and follow the grassy path bearing left towards houses on the hill ahead. A kissing gate and bridge in the corner lead to a path up the left hand edge of a field. Cross a stile into a steep path with a long flight of steps.

At the top, turn left along a lane and, on reaching a road, climb a flight of stone steps on the right and turn right on a crossing track with fine views over The Weald on the right. Pass a stone seat, bear left, cross a stile into a field and make for a stile leading into a copse on the summit of Mariners Hill (more than 600ft above sea level) with a superb view over The Weald towards the distant glint of Bough Beech Reservoir.

Churchill at Chartwell in the 1940s

Follow the path ahead (part of the National Trust’s Limpsfield Walk), cross a track, go down steps and turn left on a path with a fence and field on the right. Enter woods near a National Trust Mariners Hill sign. At a crossing path, where the Limpsfield Walk goes straight on, turn right on a downhill path which emerges at a road opposite Garden Cottage (part of the Chartwell Estate).

To visit Chartwell or its restaurant, turn left.

To continue the walk, turn right along the road for 110 yards and turn left on a signposted footpath (the entrance to Chartwell Farm), bearing left and passing to the right of oast houses.

Bend to the right, cross a stile by a gate and walk along an enclosed track for nearly half a mile to a road (Puddledock Lane).

Turn left along the lane and, on reaching the sunken path descended at the start of the walk, turn left and climb back to the car park.

Start and parking: National Trust car park at Toys Hill GR TQ46955185
Distance: 6½ miles
Terrain: Can be extremely muddy in places after heavy rain.
Grade: A slightly strenuous walk with one steep ascent with steps from Crockham Hill to Froghole
Refreshments: The Royal Oak, Crockham Hill, the National Trust restaurant at Chartwell when the property is open to visitors.
Public Toilets: None
Nearest town: Westerham


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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