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
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
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
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
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