Saturday, 17 March 2018

17/03/18 - London Countryway Stage 3 - Borough Green to Sevenoaks

Distance - 9 Miles
Start - Borough Green
Finish - Sevenoaks
Geocaches - 12
Pubs - 2
Previous Stages - Stage 1, Stage 2

God really didn't want me to complete Stage 3 of the London Countryway.

Two weeks ago, I set off and made it as far as Sandwell and Dudley Station, fighting valiantly against the Beast from the East.   I made it.  Virgin Trains didn't.

Hastily rebooked tickets (made with a leap of faith that I'll get a refund from Virgin's bearded one) and the Big Man in the Sky sends Son of the Beast from the East.  I make it as far as Otford to hear the words that strike the fear into any explorer.

Rail Replacement Buses.

And its not the weather this time but Murder.  Someone shoved off the platform at Maidstone, should the lady at Borough Green Station be believed.   I listen to her theories as I take advantage of her closed station to don full head to toe hard shell waterproofs.

The walk is what I have come to expect from the Kentish part of the London Countryway - Orchards, beautiful farms and elevated paths on the Greensand Way.

Kentish Orchards
Kentish Orchards
Kentish Farms
Kentish Farmhouses

A Geocache Trail is picked up at Ightham Mote, a splendid moated, Medieval manor house.  Not that easy to find tupperware buried in the snow but I make a reasonable job of it and admire some unique hides.

Ightham Mote
Medieval.  Moated.  Manor House.
The final part of the walk is through Knole Park, a stately home with a huge deer park surrounding it.  The deer must be inside in the warm - which is something I am looking forward to, having not passed a pub since Basted, right at the start of the walk.

Knole Park
Knole Park - not a Deer in Sight
Knole House
Knole Manor House

If you're coming into Sevenoaks - this is the approach to take.  Knole Park itself is quite an amazing piece of Greenery in the built up South East but you get the added advantage of seeing more of Old Sevenoaks than if you had just walked up from the Station.  I was significantly more impressed with the town than my last visit after completing the Darenth Way last Summer.

Then, I was looking for the single Good Beer Guide entry of the Anchor for post walk refreshment.  Today, I vow to see what else the town has to offer and have a couple of ideas from Google Maps.

First up - a C16th Coaching House, hidden behind an impromptu market, staffed by brave traders in the increasingly cold temperatures.  They get in the way of my external photo.

The Chequers, Sevenoaks
Make do with the trophies
The roaring open fire is guarded by pensioners who won't budge up for a man who has actual ice formed on his jacket.   Still, I get prize spot on the high bar stools to enjoy a world class Harvey's Sussex Best.

I will be surprised if this place is not challenging the Anchor for a place in the bible next year.  There were other local brews on (and obligatory Tribute) and from my vantage point, they all looked wonderful as other punters ordered them.

The Chequers, Sevenoaks
I'm voting for the Chequers to be in Good Beer Guide 2019
Next up, I think I will try the Black Boy - hidden down a tiny alley between the main roads.   It certainly looks the part from the outside.

Black Boy, Sevenoaks
The Black Boy, Sevenoaks
It's all a bit bright and gastro inside but in the interests of exploration, I make my way to the bar.  Where I stand for 10 minutes holding my £20 aloft, in the forlorn hope that they may wish to exchange it for their Shepherd's Neame Wares. 

No acknowledgement from the bar staff, who are dealing with ice cream orders (have Kentish people not seen the weather).  Knowing I can get a crate of Spitfire from Lidl for my twenty quid, I leave in a hump and head back to the Anchor.

Where the barman instantly introduces himself, shakes my hand and asks me where I've walked from.   A taster of English Garden by Frankins Brewery is provided, in case for any reason I wouldn't like it.

Of course I do.  And you Barry.  Restoring my faith in good landlord-ery, as you have.

The Anchor, Sevenoaks
Identical Shot of Barry's Gaff to last Summers Walk
A pleasant place to spend an hour, before heading to the Station to see if the trains are still running.


  1. Lovely stuff, astonishing photos (I was down that way in shirt sleeves 2 days ago !)

  2. Most unexpected in March. Three weeks time, I am completing the Inn Way to the North Yorkshire Moors. Googling Husky rentals as we speak.