Darent Valley Rail Trails
A new walking app is available to download free, with walks from each of the stations along the Darent Valley, from Swanley to Sevenoaks, including Eynsford, Shoreham, Otford and Bat & Ball, offering wonderful insights into local history and landscape features along the way.
The trails can be downloaded and used offline and they offer a whole range of options, from short circular walks to long panoramic trails along the hills surrounding the valley. Featured trails include:
Heritage and Meadows – a 2.5 mile (4km) linear walk from the beautifully restored Victorian railway station Bat & Ball (with a café) to Otford, a lively village with plenty of tearooms, pubs and shops to explore, taking in the meadows of Oxenhill Shaw and the ruins of the Archbishop’s Palace in Otford en route.
Downs and Butterflies – a 2.7 mile (4.3km) circular route from Otford station, with stunning views across the valley from Fackenden Down Nature Reserve (Kent Wildlife Trust) and rare chalk grassland butterflies and wildflowers in the summer months.
Veterans and Lavender – an 8 mile (12.9km) circular route from Eynsford station taking you through the heart of the Darent Valley, featuring the UK’s largest lavender farm (flowers in June/July), majestic veteran trees (and views) in Lullingstone Country Park and the impressive heritage sites of Lullingstone Roman Villa and Lullingstone Castle.
Created by the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme and the Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership, these trails are designed to encourage visitors to use rail travel, leaving their cars behind. Huge thanks is owed to local volunteer Alan Dyer who conceived of and tested most of these walks.
To access the Rail Trails, go to the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme website and follow the links to the Trails App The Darent Valley Trails app – Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme (darent-valley.org.uk). Alternatively printed copies of the trails are available at railway stations along the Darent Valley Line or can be requested from the Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership on the Contact Us page.
The Rail Trails have been a wonderfully collaborative project between the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme, the Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership, and committed walking enthusiasts living in the area. Bringing together a love and deep knowledge of this beautiful landscape, we have devised a variety of walks which explore all areas of this unique valley, taking in its fascinating local history, unusual rare habitats and stunning views – and the trails touch on the extraordinary stories of famous and less well-known local residents.
The trails have got everything from medieval deer parks, a chalk stream, a Victorian viaduct, Roman villas and riverside villages within this protected landscape, and there’s usually a good pub or tearoom within proximity!