Monday 2 April 2012

Circular walk from Downe, Kent

Beginning in the hamlet of Downe, this undulating four mile walk takes in some of the finest countryside inside the M25. Parking in the village, you follow the signs to Down House, the longtime home of Charles Darwin.  You skirt around the grounds, across a big open field, cut through a patch of bluebell wood and join a steep path, which runs alongside the road up to Cudham. In the village, you can stop for a pint in the unpretentious Blacksmith's Arms - try and grab one of the few tables in the sun at the front. Head back towards Cudham's church, walk through the churchyard, around the north side of the playing fields, past some farms, admiring the distant views of  Canary Wharf, shimmering on the horizon. When you reach Foxbury Wood, head west and follow the signpost - 11/4 miles to Downe. The footpath takes you up and down through fields and woodland, underneath sizzling electricity pylons and back to your starting point. You re-enter Downe near the school. 7/10