Bluebell Walk

Walkers

Guide

Bluebell Walk

Sunday 1 May 22,
Cudham, Kent

One walk, two routes

Getting to Bluebell Walk

The start and finish for all walks is at:

Cudham Recreation Ground,
Cudham Lane South,
Cudham,
Kent TN14 7QB

Bluebell 2022 Bus Timetable

Our wonderful supporters from Stagecoach have donated 2 buses to get you all to and from Bluebell Walk this year. They are providing an express direct service in a perpetual loop.

Buses will run every half hour from Orpington Train Station to Cudham Recreation Ground starting at 8am

The last service will leave Cudham recreation Ground at 5pm.

There will not be any services between 12 noon and 1pm.

Buses will depart as soon as they are full to speed up the service for all participants and to alleviate peak times.

Departing Orpington Train StationDeparting Cudham Recreation Ground
8:00am 
8:30am8:30am
9:00am9:00am
9:30am9:30am
10:00am10:00am
10:30am10:30am
11:00am11:00am
11:30am 
12noon to 1pm – driver lunch break
1:00pm 
1:30pm1:30pm
2:00pm2:00pm
2:30pm2:30pm
3:00pm3:00pm
3:30pm3:30pm
4:00pm4:00pm
4:30pm4:30pm
 5:00pm

*Please note buses will leave as soon as they are full to accelerate the service through the peak periods.

FINALLY, this service is being provided by Stagecoach to make our event greener and more environmentally friendly.

Parking at the Cudham Recreation Ground is very limited and the roads are very narrow. St Christopher’s are very keen to leave the home of Cudham Wyse Cricket Club in the pristine condition we found it in and we hope you and you group will make use of this service.

Parking

There is free parking available at a first come first served basis at Cudham Recreation Ground.

Bluebell 4 Mile Family friendly Walk

bbw map
Click to download map as a PDF

This walk should take you between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. It follows a well-established route known as the Cudham Chalk Paths but with a short-cut that takes you through Newyears Wood, where the forest is springing into bud and bloom before you find yourself on Cacket Lane, and back in Cudham once more.  Follow the steps below and keep your eyes and ears peeled. You never know what you might find along the way.

There will be Blue St Christopher’s directional signs at regular intervals along the route to reassure you.  

There are several styles and kissing gates, but no steep slopes.  

There are no toilets along this route – so best visit the Portaloos and top up your drink bottle before you head off.

Download the 4 mile Google Map to have the map installed on your phone in Google Maps before you depart.

The steps

From the Start/Finish line on Cudham Recreational Ground you will be heading out to the right of the cricket pavilion and then past the graveyard. Don’t forget to put your bluebell in the Bluebell Memory Field as you go.  You will leave the ground here, adjacent to the beautiful Rectory House and cross the road (Church Approach) and enter the field on the opposite side of the road.

Just look for our blue St Christopher’s signs!!!

You will follow the footpath through the field, following the fence (keeping it on your right-hand side). Go through the style into a new field and continue on the path until you come to a tree across the path before you reach the road (Mace Lane, 420m/1260ft). Mace Lane will be the first signed marshalling point on the route.

Turn right, following the almost-car free Mace Lane (north-east) for (430m/1290ft) watching out for a wide variety of small birds in the hedgerows, as well as sloe and various berries. You will pass Mace Farm houses (on your left), keep straight on, then pass the cream house on your left and ignore the path to your left. Stay straight on and after a while the path becomes a chalk path. Stay on the path, ignoring the two paths on your right and the one on your left marked Green St Green Circular) keep straight on in the wood . This is where you will find your next signed marshalling point.

Note. Don’t take the broad path off to the left. Heading off again the path bears right (south-easterly). Walk for 690 metres down the path which descends from Broom Wood (on Bridle Path BR263) into a dry valley between meadows. After reaching the foot of the shallow valley the route ascends into High Wood, with a view of pastures on your right and Bluebells on your left.  Here you will reach a junction and the next marshalling point. You need to take the path to your right. You are now heading south towards Newyears Wood and you have passed the halfway point.

Continue along the path to the kissing gate, cross the field to the kissing gate at the other side. It is a short walk (240m/720ft) to enter Newyears Wood. Keep going straight. You will shortly join, and follow, a footpath signposted as SK694. You should now be seeing Bluebells everywhere. The path you are now on continues south through the wood and reforestation project (300m/900ft). Eventually you will reach a corner in the path where it meets Newyears Lane at Newyears Cottages on your left (and your next marshalling point). Newyears Cottages are very unusual buildings for the area, far more reminiscent of a colonial style farmhouse with its low slung verandas than a Kentish farm house. Follow the path straight on (southwest) into the woods and more Bluebells! 

From the cottages to Cackets Farm (the next marshalling point) it is a further 600m/1800ft straight ahead. Leaving Newyears Wood, continue along the main path to the end where you meet the road Cackets Lane, where you turn right.

WARNING: Cackets Lane will be open to traffic and there is the possibility of farm machinery moving along and across it. Please stay alert and keep your eyes and ears open.

You are now nearing Cudham Recreation Ground and should be able to hear the music and frivolities. Walk carefully along the lane (for 290m/870ft) until you reach Cottage Farms Turkeys (farm buildings) on your left.

Here you will see more Bluebell Walk signage.

Take the public footpath on your right signposted Cudham, going through the gate and across the field to the gate on the other side. Cross the track, go through the gate and cross the field following the path towards the buildings. Go through the gate and follow the path alongside the wall on your right, back to the Recreation Ground. And you’re home safe and sound.

Most importantly, collect your medal, grab a drink, some food, and enjoy the entertainment before you head off.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Spitfire from nearby Biggin Hill

THANK YOU for being part of our walk and celebration – its nice to be back!

Bluebell 8 Mile Walker’s Walk (serious ups and downs)

bbw map
Click to download map as a PDF

This walk should take you between 3.5 and 4.5 hours. It follows well-established public footpaths and bridleways. Follow the steps below and keep your eyes and ears peeled. You never know what you might find along the way.

There will be Blue St Christopher’s directional signs regularly along the route (approximately every 200 metres) to reassure you.

There are numerous styles and kissing gates. There are also regular steep ascents and descents. Please take your time and enjoy the beauty around you.

There are toilets and refreshments at the halfway point at BEECHE in the High Elms Country Park. You will also be passing through Downe Village should you require a comfort break or refreshments. Before you head off please do visit the Portaloos and don’t forget to top up your drink bottle at the ground.

Download the 8 mile Google Map to have the map installed on your phone in Google Maps before you depart.

The steps

From the Start/Finish line on Cudham Recreational Ground you will be heading off to the top left (north-west) corner of the ground. Don’t forget to put your Bluebell in the Bluebell memory field as you go.  

You will leave the ground here, and pass through the church yard down the hill to your first marshalling point at the junction of Cudham Lane North, Church Hill and Downe Roads.

This is a very busy complicated intersection.

Please stop, follow marshals’ instructions, look for the Blue St Christopher’s bunting to find your way across this intersection and safely onto the public footpath beyond.

Cross the road and go down the hill (Church Hill) and pick up the footpath on the left-hand side with the road sign with the horse. Follow the path until you reach a branch to the right. Follow this round back down to the road. Again, take great care crossing the road at this point. Pick up the footpath across the road and keep straight on (ignore the path to the left).

Follow this path with Downe Rd on your right for about 620 metres (1860ft).

Keep looking for our blue St Christopher’s directional arrows!!!

On reaching the next marshalling point, there is a gap in the hedge where you will be crossing Downe Road again at the bottom of the hill (opposite some gates to a farm).

Having crossed Downe Road very carefully, you join Bridle Path 238 which heads steeply uphill into the woods (with steps). Nearly at the top, there is another public footpath on your left (just after the bench). Take this path, and follow it downhill and through the valley below. After 350 metres (1050ft) you will be climbing again and you will reach two gates which sit between Downe Bank and Orchis Bank. Go through both of these gates and carry on.

These gates were visited regularly by Charles Darwin on his walks and are home to nine different species of Orchid. These rich chalk grasslands provide a carpet of Bluebells and are a home to essential and rare pollinators throughout the spring.  A herd of 30 deer also call these woods their home. Take time to read the signs along this path.

Continuing straight up the hill to another gate from where you can see Hang Grove Cottage (230m/690ft) and Downe Road (again!). Turn left after passing through the gate towards, and then past, the cottage to the road.

This is your next marshalling point and a busy road crossing.

Turn right at the road and from here continue on the public footpath that again shadows Downe Road. 

Follow the path for 612 metres when the track joins the road again. A few yards past this you will see two large wrought iron gates on the left-hand side to Christmas Tree farm. Take the footpath marked to Luxted on the right-hand side of the gates. Follow the path through the avenue of trees for about 135 metres until you a reach a path going off to the right. Take this path and follow it along the fence line on your right-hand side.

After 160 metres the path comes to a T junction. Turn right and shortly after, the path will turn hard left. Follow the path all the way to Luxted Road and turn right to walk into Downe Village.

At the end of Luxted Road, turn right. Downe Village Hall will be open and staffed by Rotarians, should you need a comfort break. From Downe Village Hall, carry straight on past the church and then take the road on the left-hand side down High Elms Rd. Stay left, on the footpath, heading north, and walk past the primary school. (say hello to the Langley Rotary volunteers)

Once you reach the recreation ground re-join the public footpath to the left of the hedges. You will shadow High Elms Rd (on your right) for 330m all the way to its junction with Mill Lane. Cross Mill Lane at the junction and continue along the footpath Keeping High Elms Road immediately to your right.

After 425 metres you will reach a fork in the path. Looking through the trees to your right to will see a white cottage ‘Cuckoo Lodge’. Take the path on the right to make your way to two barriers and the crossing point on High elms Road which will take you up a road beside ‘Cuckoo Lodge’ (the historic Game Keepers cottage) and into High Elms Country Park. (say Hello to our long-term volunteers from Orpington Crofton Rotary)

VERY IMPORTANT: you will walk the next stretch between this marshalling point and the next, twice! The First time you will stay on the road, following it all the way to BEECHE and its amenities. The second time you will walk straight on through the second marshalling point and down a steep hill and out of the park.

Leaving the Marshalling point beside the Gamekeepers Cottage you will walk along a well-defined track (wide enough for cars) to the next marshalling point in Cuckoo Wood. This stretch is 615 metres in length. You will keep following this wide track past park signs and benches, eventually topping a rise and continuing all way to the bottom of the hill, when the you will see the next marshalling point and the road itself swings through 90 degrees to you left.

The first time through this point the Marshals at the Cuckoo Wood will keep you on the road and send you directly north (leaving the power lines directly behind you).

(IF THE WALK HAS BEEN HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT AND YOU WANT THE SHORTCUT BACK TO CUDHAM RECREATION GROUND, HEAD STRAIGHT ON HERE AND FOLLOW THE POWERLINES TO SNAG LANE AND THE NEXT MARSHAL POINT. JUMP AHEAD NOW TO **** IN THESE NOTES TO FIND THE RELEVANT DIRECTIONS)

Heading off again you will walk straight ahead for the next 1300m before being eventually turned left again by the road. Along the way to that point follow the signage, read the information boards, stop and talk to the flora and fauna experts!

Bluebells will be on your left and right, birds will be breeding and the Dormice will be asleep. Please stay on the paths and keep “Fido” (your dog) with you at all times.

Here is the good bit – along this stretch you will:

  • Be in a Site of Special Scientific Interest – SSSI
  • Can use the iNaturalist App “SEEK
  • See conifer trees from around the world, including Douglas Fir, Corsican pines, Wellingtonia, and Sequoia,
  • Cedar trees
  • Clouded Magpie Moth
  • Man Orchid
  • Yellow-necked Mouse
  • Queen Yellow Meadow Ant

You will pass by the fenced chalk meadow on your left, straight on through two big barrier gates and eventually arrive at Whitelands Wood where the road (as noted before) sweeps you left (west). Continue to walk straight on ignoring all the paths to your right and left. The BEECHE centre and your HALF WAY point is 450 metres ahead of you and Rotarians will be waiting there to direct you to the Café, St Johns Ambulance first aid, Portaloos, and a sanitation station, staffed by Orpington Crofton Satellite Rotary. The park’s Café is expecting you should you want to take a break, rest and refuel.

From BEECHE, with the Rotarians guidance make your way to the front gates of High Elms Country Park (on Shire Lane). When you reach the gates, Flint Lodge is on your left-hand side. Originally known as ‘New Lodge’ built in 1841. It served as the entrance to the High Elms estate. The lodge, now a private residence, was home to the Lubbock’s estate gatekeeper and his family.

Go through the gate, follow Marshals instructions and cross the road.

WARNING: This is a very busy road, please cross with caution.

Take the footpath straight ahead through the woods on Long Walk. This takes you towards St Giles church 430 metres straight ahead of you, uphill.

For more information on the Lubbock family and their stewardship of this part of Kent follow these links. (Sir John Lubbock)  (High Elms Country Park)

You are now on “Lubbock’s Walk”, part of several Estate Walks around High Elms. The wood you pass through before reaching the Church was formerly the Lubbock Family Burial ground. Most of the family graves were moved to St Giles in the 1980s. You will pass through a few remaining graves toward the top of the hill. You can explore the churchyard if you would like.

The Bluebell Walk continues with the Churches graveyard to your right.

At the top, there will be St Christopher’s Blue directional signs to guide you along the path.

Carry on walking straight ahead keeping the trees and hedgerow to your right. This is a well-defined farm road/walking path that skirts the perimeter of the field you are in, and the meadow is to your left. The path gradually goes uphill. Along this path, to your left, you will see several small clumps of trees known as the Roundels, planted by John Lubbock in 1896 as part of the conservation and beautification that the estate became known for. After a while, you will reach woodland. Walk through this straight on until you reach a junction. Turn left here into a passage that leads to a field. Keep straight on across the field towards the road (Shire Lane) and North End Farm ahead of you.

At the road, cross over the road and walk up North End Lane, to the end of North End Farm(235m/705ft).

You will see a blue St Christopher’s sign turning you left and back into the woods (High Elm Country Park) joining the public footpath (FP228), 

Walking up hill into the woods briefly, (60m/180ft) you will reach a wood railing in front of you, with two paths running in parallel, right and left. Take the broader of the two paths going to your right, keeping the wood rail on your right. Follow this path and don’t leave it until you have walked under the noisy powerlines and once again reached High Elms Rd. In this wood look for the glossy leaves of the evergreen Laurel trees which provided cover for pheasants during the 19th Century when High Elms was a shooting estate.

WARNING: Please cross this narrow road again with care.

On the other side of the road to your right is the Gamekeepers lodge (again) one of seven grade 1 listed building in High Elms. “Cuckoo Lodge”, now a private residence, was built in the 19th century. The trackway you are now standing on, again, was made using ‘Blitz’ rubble removed from East London during World War II. These trackways enabled access for forestry vehicles during the 1940s.

You are on your way home now, so once more continue straight ahead for 615m and back to the Cuckoo Wood Marshalling point. This time instead of following the road around to the left you will follow the narrow steeply descending footpath straight ahead of you.

****You are now heading back!!

You are now back at the Cuckoo Wood Marshalling Point. Marshalls will direct you straight ahead, down and out of tfhe forest. Go straight ahead, off the main path and carry on down, past the benches. Be warned this is a steep descent out of the wood into the field beyond where you will re-join the public foot path (FP233). Continue straight ahead (east), following the fence line downhill and then UP HILL! until you reach the Kissing Gate at the intersection of Cudham Lane North and Snag Lane.  

THE GOOD NEWS IS IT GETS FLATTER FROM HERE ON!!.

Be careful stepping down the embankment onto Cudham Lane North.  This road can be busy and the houses immediately to your right can obscure the view of drivers.

From here, go to your right and start walking 200m/600ft up Snag Lane. Where Snag Lane turns hard right YOU WILL JOIN the Bridle path (BR254) straight ahead of you and continue on until you reach a T junction after 750m/2250ft. Turn left at the junction, keeping Foxberry Wood on your left and keep walking (410m/1230), through a clearing, and into the centre of Broom Wood where you will now be joining the 4-mile walkers for the return leg to Cudham Recreation Ground.

Again, keep following the Blue St Christopher’s signs.

At this junction to your left is a path to Norsted Farm DO NOT take this path

Heading off again the path bears right (south-easterly). Walk for 690 metres down the path which descends from Broom Wood (on Bridle Path BR263) into a dry valley between meadows. After reaching the foot of the shallow valley the route ascends into High Wood, with a view of pastures on your right and Bluebells on your left.  Here you will reach a junction and the next marshalling point. You need to take the path to your right. You are now heading south towards Newyears Wood.

Continue along the path to the kissing gate, cross the field to the kissing gate at the other side. It is a short walk (240m/720ft) to enter Newyears Wood. Keep going straight. You will shortly join, and follow, a footpath signposted as SK694. You should now be seeing Bluebells everywhere. The path you are now on continues south through the wood and reforestation project (300m/900ft). Eventually you will reach a corner in the path where it meets Newyears Lane at Newyears Cottages on your left (and your next marshalling point). Newyears Cottages are very unusual buildings for the area, far more reminiscent of a colonial style farmhouse with its low-slung verandas than a Kentish farm house. Follow the path straight on (southwest) into the woods and more Bluebells! 

From the cottages to Cackets Farm (the next marshalling point) it is a further 600m/1800ft straight ahead. Leaving Newyears Wood, continue along the main path to the end where you meet the road Cackets Lane, where you turn right.

WARNING: Cackets Lane will be open to traffic and there is the possibility of farm machinery moving along and across it. Please stay alert and keep your eyes and ears open.

You are now nearing Cudham Recreation Ground and should be able to hear the music and frivolities. Walk carefully along the lane (for 290m/870ft) until you reach the farm buildings on your left. Take the public footbath on your right signposted Cudham Church, heading diagonally across the field to the gate on the other side. Head towards the buildings in front of you and follow the path alongside the wall on your right, back to the Recreation Ground. And you’re home safe and sound.

Most importantly, collect your medal, grab a drink, some food, and enjoy the entertainment before you head off.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Spitfire from nearby Biggin Hill

THANK YOU for being part of our walk and celebration – it’s nice to be back!


THANK YOU for being part of our walk and celebration – its so nice to be back

The Bluebell Walk team

Frequently Asked Questions about Bluebell Walk

Walkers of all ages are welcome to take part. All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. If you are under 18, you must have parental consent to take part.

The event officially starts at 8.00am. It is important that you arrive at the event to start your walk at the time you booked at registration.

We ask you to return no later than 5:00pm when the event finishes, for us to congratulate you and to receive your medal!

Absolutely, it’s a lovely way to remember a loved one. Please let us know when you register who you are walking in memory of.

As the routes contain stiles and narrow footpaths through the countryside, unfortunately the routes are not suitable for those using a wheelchair or pram.

Yes, dogs are welcome but do make sure you clear up any mess, keep dogs on leads where applicable. Please read The Countryside Code for more information.

We also have the latest Bluebell Walk fashion accessory for your four legged friend which can be purchased. Buy your dog bandana in our shop!

We do not allow the use of bicycles or scooters on this walk.

Please make sure you wear some comfortable and supportive shoes or trainers. The weather can vary so do come prepared for anything and check the forecast beforehand. The walks are country walks so the paths are uneven and can be muddy if it has rained.

If you are taking on the 8 mile route we recommend you wear walking shoes or boots, especially if it has been raining, for extra support and comfort on the uneven terrain.

Parking: there is free parking available at a first come first served basis at Cudham Recreation Ground.

Shuttle Bus: There will be a free shuttle bus from Orpington Train Station on the day. We will update this page and contact walkers on the email provided at registration with the exact timetable in April. It will be approximately every hour.

Absolutely, the more creative, the better. We encourage everyone to dress up for the occasion!

There are no cloakroom facilities, so you will not be able to leave your belongings behind when you do the walk.

There will be hot food and refreshments and drink to purchase on the day at the start/finish point at Cudham Recreation Ground.

We ask all our walkers to be considerate of their and others wellbeing and we recommend the following

  • Always stick to the 2m rule – stay at 2m distance from members of the public (as per government guidelines)
  • Bring hand sanitiser – you will come into contact with gates and fences, please sanitise your hands to protect both yourself and others
  • Do not walk if you show any symptoms of Covid-19
  • Do not walk if you have come into contact with anyone with symptoms of Covid-19
  • Wear a face covering when at the start and finish and if you enter any public spaces along the route
  • Stay up to date, with and adhere to the current government guidelines

You can walk at your own pace, whatever your fitness level, but please ensure the distance you choose is right for you, especially If you’re taking on the longer routes.

Please let us know by emailing bluebellwalk@stchristophers.org.uk or calling the team on 020 8768 4575. If you are unable to participate in the Bluebell Walk for any reason, all monies collected in support of St Christopher’s must be offered back to the individual sponsors or forwarded to the charity if sponsors do not want their donations returned. You must not attend the event if you show any symptoms of Covid-19 or if you have come in to contact with anyone with symptoms of Covid-19.

On this walk you’ll get to see the many beautiful elements of nature the Kent countryside has to offer besides bluebells. Local guides will be on hand to provide information about various rare birds and trees where possible. You might see:

Owls, Robins, Blue Tits, Gold Finch, Starlings, Hawks, Wood Peckers, Slow Worms, Blackbirds, Sparrows, Kites, Shrews, Voles, Grass Snakes, Roe Deer, Yellow-Necked Mice and much more wildlife!

For plants and trees there will be species like: Primrose, Hawthorn, Marjoram, Bugle, Birch, Cedar, Douglas Fir, Wellingtonia, Dogwood, Yellow Rattle, Ox Eye Daisy, Red Clover, Birds Foot Trefoil, Rockrose, Common Spotted Orchird, White Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Salad Burnet, Eyebright, Germander Speedwell, Common Pipistrelle, Field Scabious, Quaking Grass plus many more!

For the 8 mile route, toilets are located at Cudham, Down Village Hall and at High Elms (adjacent to the BEECHE centre). The 4 mile route only has toilets at the Cudham Recreation Ground.

We have hired 10 portaloos for the event and there will also be hand washing sanitation stations at all sites.

Bluebell Walk 2022 is supported by

Pedder