Local and National Walks and Trails on the doorstep of The Garden of England
Westerham Green to Chartwell and back – 4 miles (2 hours)
This route is way-marked in both directions, difficulty moderate, read more here
Start: Winston Churchill bronze statue on The Green, grid Ref: TQ447540
- Start from the bronze statue of Winston Churchill on the green in Westerham. Walk towards the bus stop and cross the A25 at the crossing in front of the bus stop. Having crossed the A25 you will see an alleyway in front of you to Water Lane. Continue up the alleyway and once you see a stone hump/bridge, keep to the left.
- At the end of the alleyway you will come to a wooden kissing gate. Continue through the gate, entering the field (please keep dogs on lead at all times in the field) and head up the slope. Continuing up the slope, you will see a waymarked post pointing towards a metal kissing gate at the brow of the slope. Continue to the gate.
- Go through the metal kissing gate into the next field and continue on straight ahead. You will come to a cross roads of paths and meet a waymark. Continue on straight ahead.
- You will meet another waymark prior to a steep slope. Follow the arrow and carefully descend the slope, taking care in wetter conditions. Head for the metal kissing gate in the corner of the field which will come into view as you descend.
- Go through the kissing gate, entering a pine woodland. You will see a waymark pointing straight ahead; follow this path. You will come to a junction with a path going off to the left and the main path climbing up in front of you, which you will need to follow.
- At the next waymark post, take a left turn. Shortly after the turn you will meet a crossroads with some board walk. Walk straight across and continue up the path for approximately 5 minutes. You will reach Hosey Hill Road and a waymark.
- The waymark points across Hosey Hill Road at an angle. It is recommended that walkers walk along the grass verge for 50 metres and cross parallel with the waymark on the opposite side of the road. Take care when crossing as the road gets very busy.
- Once in the car park you will see a waymark pointing to the right, out of the car park and up the path on the left hand side. Shortly you will see another waymark confirming the direction upwards. Follow the path and you will join a main path and meet a waymark pointing leftwards.
- Follow this path climbing gently upwards and continue until you see a slight clearing on the right. You will see a waymark, continue in the direction on the waymarker.
- Continue along the path until you reach a Y-junction and follow the direction on the waymark. Walking this stretch of path it will begin to narrow and change of shape. You will meet a cross roads junction and another waymarker pointing ahead.
- Follow the path up ahead and you will come to a T-junction and a waymark pointing right. Take this turn.
- At the end of this path you will see a vehicle barrier and a waymark pointing across Hosey Lane. On the other side of the road you will see a Y-junction with a footpath to the right and another to the left. Follow the left path.
- Continuing downwards on this path you will notice a slight clearing to the right and a waymark on the fencing to the left. Continue in the waymarked direction.
- You will arrive at Mapleton Road with the Chartwell car park entrance on your left.
End: Chartwell, grid ref: TQ454513
Westerham Green To Chartwell and back – 4 miles
One of Westerham Ramblers’ favourite walks starts on The Green, at Westerham (O/S Grid Reference TQ447540) and goes to Chartwell via Tower Wood, returning via Hosey Common. Some of the walk is on designated Public Rights of Way, some is on Registered Common Land and some is on permissive paths on the Squerryes Estate. The permissive paths cannot be guaranteed to be open, although they usually are. The walk is generally uphill to Chartwell, as Chartwell is just to the south of the Greensand Ridge. There is a steep downhill stretch just before reaching Chartwell. The return route takes a gentler climb back to the top of the Greensand Ridge. Before doing this walk, remember to check the Chartwell website for opening times (see Related Items). The restaurant at Chartwell is open 7 days a week for most of the year even when the house is closed.
- Cross the A25 to the south side, turn right and walk through to the Market Square. Go through the arch of the Kings Arms hotel and walk down into the car park. Turn right into the enclosed footpath (SR348). When you reach the road at the end (Lodge Lane) turn right, then left, across it and up the steps continuing between the houses. Pass Rose Cottage on your right and walk through Back Meadow, down the hill past the entrance to Redwoods until you reach another road (Mill Lane).
- Turn left and walk to the end, bearing right then left past Park Cottage. Ignore the path to your right which goes uphill. Cross the stile in front of you and continue straight ahead with the lakes on your left. Immediately before the first stile, bear left and downhill to a stile (The other, longer, walk to Chartwell does not turn left but goes straight ahead at this point). Cross the stile and the bridge beyond and walk straight ahead. There may be cattle on the bridge and in this field. Continue ahead with a grassy slope on your left and Tower Wood on your right, until you reach a metal kissing gate in the corner of the field.
- Pass through the gate and turn sharp right up a steep bank to a track running from left to right. Turn right onto this track and follow it as it curves left, then right, and finally runs straight uphill through Tower Wood. Walk up the hill until you reach the point where paths cross at right-angles and there is a ruined stone tower in the middle of the crossing. Take the path straight ahead and follow it as it curves left then right until it finally reaches a road (B2026, Hosey Hill).
- Cross the road and enter the footpath straight ahead (SR384), following it until you reach a path crossing. Turn right onto this path (SR383) and follow it until you reach a large rock (Old Josh’s Stone) half buried in the ground to the right of the path.
- The path bears to the left of the rock and then forks. The right fork goes downhill and the left fork bears away into the trees. Take the left fork. When you reach a junction, turn right and follow the path as it bears left before reaching a lane (Hosey Common Lane).
- Turn left and walk along the lane for a few yards until you come to a footpath leading off to the right. Follow this path into the woods (SR382), ignoring the paths off to the right and then left, and continue downhill until you reach a path crossing. Turn right and follow this path uphill, meandering through the trees until you reach a broad track running from left to right. Turn right onto this track (SR375) and follow it back to Hosey Common Lane. Turn left onto the road and walk for about 200 yards to the first entrance on the right.
- Cross the stile, or duck under the barrier, to enter the grounds of Chartwell. Turn right and walk back parallel with the lane, following the path as it curves left and steeply downhill. Ignore the path to your left and continue until you reach a field gate on your left with a small gate next to it.
- Once through the gate you are in the Chartwell picnic field. Walk diagonally downhill to your right and pass through a gate into the overflow car park, then across this to exit into the main car park. The Chartwell restaurant is on the far side of the car park, with the shop and toilets to the left of it.
- To return to the town (starting from the restaurant verandah) walk along the vehicle lane away from the restaurant, with the main car park to your right and the fence to your left. At the end of the car park, walk up the grassy bank and exit through the vehicle entrance. Turn right onto the road and follow it until it bears sharply to the left. A Bridleway leads off to the right of the chevron sign and a Footpath leads straight ahead to the left of it. Take the footpath and follow it uphill until you reach Old Josh’s Stone.
- Turn right and follow the same path you used before. Turn left onto Hosey Common Lane, and right off it, and walk along the same path as before. This time, just before the path starts to descend, take the path off to the left which leads downhill to join another path at the bottom. Turn left onto this (SR381) and follow it until you emerge into a parking area in front of some school buildings which have been converted into houses.
- Walk straight ahead across the parking area to the road (B2026, Hosey Hill) and walk downhill towards the town centre. About 200 yards down the hill, cross the road and enter a footpath (SR349) running off to the left. Continue along this path until it emerges through a squeeze stile into a field. From this point three paths radiate. One runs across the field towards three oak trees (SR349), one runs off to the right along the fence (SR352) and a third runs out at an angle between the other two (SR351). Follow this path to a stile in a fence at the top of a slope.
- Cross the stile and follow the path downhill until it reaches a wooden kissing gate in the fence at the bottom (the kissing gate will not be visible until you are fairly close to it). Go through the kissing gate into the enclosed path and follow it back to Westerham Green.
Beating the Bounds of Westerham (Section of walks encircling Westerham)
This takes place every year: see What’s On.
Octavia Hill Centenary Trails East and West
Celebrate the life of Octavia Hill (1838–1912). The East trail is a walk to the picturesque village of Ide Hill and her commemorative seat, passing Emmetts Garden on the way back. The West Trail takes you to Crockham Hill village and the church where she was buried, up to Mariners Hill and on past Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill. Founder of the National Trust in 1895, Octavia Hill was a social reformer, philanthropist, artist and writer. A remarkable woman, her vision has led to her being a major influence on our lives today. Take The East or West Trails, or combine the two for a figure of eight trail.
East Trail: Octavia Hill Centenary Trail East
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 147; Landranger 188
- Terrain: The terrain varies throughout the route; some areas are quite rough and have steep slopes and some steps, including rough paths through woodland. Some sections are on the road so be aware of traffic. Dogs are welcome on the trail but not in the garden at Emmetts.
West Trail: Octavia Hill Centenary Trail West
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 6 miles (9.6km)
- Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 147; Landranger 188
- Terrain: The terrain varies throughout the route; some areas are quite rough and have steep slopes and some steps, including rough paths through woodland. Some sections are on the road so be aware of traffic. Dogs are welcome on the trail but not in the house or garden at Chartwell.
The Weardale Walk
This beautiful circular walk links Chartwell and Emmetts Garden; the walk is fully way-marked and passes through the woodland areas of Toys Hill and Hosey Common, as well as the pretty hamlet of French Street.
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 5 miles
- Time: 3 hours
- OS Map: Explorer 147 Landranger 188
- Terrain: This walk has steep slopes, steps and occasional rough terrain.
We are an informal group who walk on alternate Sunday mornings in north-west Kent, in the Westerham area although we do occasionally venture into Surrey or London (and very occasionally into East Sussex). Anyone is welcome to join us. Your dog will be welcome too, provided it is friendly.We have no membership and our walks are free. Our walks are generally between four and eight miles, with a stop for refreshments at around the halfway point. Sometimes the walk will be a fairly level one; other times they are more hilly. Be prepared for mud, particularly during the winter months.
Explore Kent iPhone App
The Explore Kent iPhone app is available to download in the app store. Browse and save routes straight to your phone, track and share your own routes with other users. Find out more by visiting the Kent County Council website.
Explore Kent also features a circular walk around Westerham in its ‘Six Circular Walks along the Greensand Way’ guidebook, priced at £4.99. Click here for more details.
A Walk from Crockham Hill to Chartwell
Much of the land around Crockham Hill belongs to the National Trust, bought by Octavia Hill’s efforts or gifts in subsequent years after she helped to create the National Trust.
Therefore begin the walk at Holy Trinity Church, Crockham Hill where Octavia Hill chose to be buried, rather than Westminster Abbey! As one of the founders of the National Trust this locality was well known by Octavia Hill. There is also a memorial beside the alter and a stained glass window, given by National Trust members commemorating her work in retaining country spaces and initiating town housing schemes.
Leaving the church, go through the adjoining field. This is ever changing with new hollows and streams appearing. At the other end, a ‘kissing gate’, then a footbridge over a stream, another field and then prepare to count the steps up to Froghole. Turn left at the top, where you will see a round oast house, but a cottage for many years. Further along the lane is Froghole Farm, a favourite subject of artist Rowland Hilder, and beyond it, a pair of square oast houses.
Where the lane joins the main road to Westerham, go up the flight of stone steps and then turn sharp right, so that you are now parallel to the lane. This brings you to a stone commemorative seat for Octavia Hill’s mother, with a view to the south-west.
Up the short slope to the field, at the top of the Mariners, and make for the stand of trees where there is a stone obelisk showing scars from the Battle of Britain. A little further along, under the Holly tree, is a wooden seat, in memory of Harriot Yorke, longtime treasure of the National Trust. From here is the view to the south-east, over Bidborough and beyond, with Bough Beech Reservoir a mile or so to the foreground. To the left is Toys Hill, another village well known to Octavia Hill.
A little slope to the next field then turn left along it’s edge into the trees. This part is the eastern section of Crockham Hill Common, and there are still signs of the damage caused by the big storm. All this higher ground is graced by displays of bluebells in the spring.
Follow the track downwards, from a little crossroads a few yards in, to Mapleton Lane and the grounds of Chartwell. Turn left, pass by the two big wooden gates in front of the house to arrive at the traffic exit from Chartwell. Time now for a cup of tea before seeing Chartwell’s House and garden? This is one of the many ways between these two points, but the one that takes in the National Trust’s open land and it’s founders’ connections.
North Downs Way
Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims as you journey through inspirational countryside on the North Downs Way National Trail. Steeped in history, this 153 mile route offers spectacular views and peaceful landscapes along the North Downs in Surrey and Kent.
There is always something new to explore on the North Downs Way. The route benefits from a wealth of wildlife, history, landscapes, attractions, villages and towns all waiting to be discovered.
With excellent public transport links to the trail (it is easily reached by train from London) and a wide choice of accommodation along the route there is plenty of opportunity to explore the North Downs Way whether on a day trip or a walking holiday.
And with a great range of circular walks guides it couldn’t be easier to enjoy a superb day out on the North Downs.
Churchill’s Hideaway at Westerham (AA route)
It might be right in the heart of the Kentish commuter belt, but there’s something timeless and deliciously rural about Westerham. It would be easy to imagine that the village has slept peacefully for centuries, undisturbed by the outside world. But during the Second World War, fighter aeroplanes frequently darkened the skies above Westerham, as pilots from nearby Biggin Hill airfield battled overhead to save Britain from invasion.
By coincidence, Winston Churchill’s country retreat was in Westerham and this walk takes you right past the entrance. Churchill (1874-1965) bought Chartwell in 1922 after losing his parliamentary seat, and at a time when many thought that his political career was over. The house, which required extensive renovation, offered outstanding views over the Weald of Kent. By the time Churchill was re-elected in 1924, Chartwell was the family home.
At 66 miles (107 km) the Vanguard Way is not too short and not too long, so is easily covered in a week or less, or over a few weekends. Formed in the mid 1960s by an unlikely group of Ramblers, sharing the guard’s van on the way home, The Vanguard’s Rambling Club remains an informal but still active group, notorious in the early days for pub visits and fun, also now highly respected in challenge walking and the walking establishment.
Nearly all the route is on public rights of way, and goes mostly through open countryside and woodland.
The route is well served by public transport, so you can easily walk it on day trips from London.
Saturday Walkers’ Club (SWC) Free Walks
The Saturday Walkers Club was started sometime in 1997 by Nicholas Albery, the author of the original Book of Country Walks. He devised a self-organising club without leaders.
- All club walks are free, and everyone is very welcome.
- Membership of the club is free (apart from the cost of the walking books or printouts).
- The walks have no leader – they are self led. Every walker is responsible for themselves. Hence, everyone is expected to have a copy of the route (either the appropriate book or a printout).
- The club itself has no leaders or officers, no membership fee, no bank account, and no legal existence.
- On a walk, it is perfectly acceptable for people set their own pace, or leave the main group.
- Anyone can organise a walk of their own, from either book, or from neither. They may have a theme, e.g. silent walk, children’s walk. Walks must be open to all.
- Walks usually start and finish at train stations.
- Walks usually stop at a pub for lunch, and end at a pub or tea room.
The Greensand Way
Stride out along 108 miles of the Greensand Way and discover some of the finest walking experiences in the South East.
The Greensand Way offers outstanding days out for long distance walkers tackling the whole route from Haslemere, in Surrey, through to Hamstreet, in Kent. There are also many opportunities for everyone wishing to sample shorter sections in the two counties.
The Greensand Way is named after the sandstone ridge, which crosses Hampshire, Surrey and Kent – one of a series of ridges running west to east across South East England.
The local section is described here.