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Words and Photography by

Harry Hawkins

Petts Wood Station to Hayes Station

The Source of the River Ravensbourne

November 2007

The London Loop Leg 12

Petts Wood Station to Hayes Station

Saturday, 24th November, 2007

The London Loop is a 140 mile walk around London and roughly just inside the M25 (although you do not see it) passing through as many green places as possible such as parks, woods, commons, riverside protected areas and open farmland.

The West Essex Ramblers covered this in about 10 mile stretches over the period 2006 to 2008.

We followed the path using "The London Loop" by David Sharp, ISBN1854107593, £13 rrp.

Click photos below for larger image

Click below for largest image as specified

Some commentary on the photos,

which is also a reflection on the walk

[Road information is just to help identify where we were].

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We left Petts Wood Station soon reaching Jubilee Country Park (Image 1). Passing some houses, we went into Crofton Wood (Image 2). We reached the A232 where there was a sign to Crofton Village (Image 3), crossed the road, passed more housing, then continued through Darrick Woods (Image 4).

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Soon we walked between playing fields (Image 1). The playing field on our right is shown in Image 2. Finally, we reached the top of a hill with a fine view (Image 3) We stopped here for drinks then went down the hill to Farnborough village (Image 4).

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We had lunch at the Woodman.

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Just outside of Farnborough was the church of Saint Giles the Abbot (Images 2 & 4). A church has stood on this site for 1,500 years.Due to storm damage, it was rebuilt in 1639. The bronze in Image 1 is a memorial to a former rector's wife and was made by Elsie March, a local artist. The font dates from the 14th century although the stem is Victorian (Image 3) .

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Almost immediately we were in the outer part of the, 400 acre, High Elm Estate (Image 1). Crossing Shire Lane (Image 2), we continued through the countryside (Image 3).

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The information board about High Elm Estate contained interesting history, but the map is upside down, i.e. north is at the bottom! Briefly, it was the former home of the Lubboch family, but now Bromley Council own it. More detailed information is on the board.

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There are some very nice specimen trees on the estate (Image 1). There was also an Eton Fives Court (Image 2) (click link for more details on Eton Fives). A plaque (Image 3) commemorates Sir John Lubboch, First Lord Avebury, who lived here. We walked down to High Elm Road by way of this avenue of bushes (Image 4).

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Along the road is Clockhouse Farm (picture 1) where we turned right.

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Between High Elm Road and North End Lane  was a golf course (Images 1-2) followed by woodland paths (Images 3-4).

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A horse found it was greener on the other side of the fence in North End Lane, opposite Bogey Lane.

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Bogey Lane - this could be a very expensive place to park! (Image 1). The track, now on higher ground, looks down over Shire Lane which runs parallel to it ( Image 2 ). Image 3 shows a house in the Lane at the foot of a wood. This tree (Image 4 ) was ... hmm .. somewhere before the next picture!

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We reached Shire Lane for the second time, turned left, slipped round the back of Holwood then climbed a hill. We looked back from the top (Image 3) then forwards (Image 4). In images 2 & 3 the vale of Keston can be seen. An ancient stump was behind the fence (Image 2), but it is not visible in the picture - see section 13.

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On the hilltop, this plaque showed parliamentarians at work in the countryside - this time concerning the abolishment of slavery.

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We crossed Westerham Road and were soon at the source of the river Ravensbourne, known as Caesar's well. It has been dressed up in a modern brick lining.

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Near the river source is this pond, one of three on Keston Common. All are fed by this "new" river.

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The Keston Common information board is only just readable in the photo’, but at least north is at the top.

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For a short distance we crossed and followed numerous roads: Westerham Road, Fishponds Road, Lakes Road and West Common Road. After this we walked near Baston Manor Road and Croydon Road, the A232, (Images 1-3) which runs along the southern edge of West Wickham Common.

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West Wickham Common information board. The common is long and narrow and is situated immediately below the much larger Hayes Common.

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This was taken near the western side of West Wickham common.

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We reached Gates Green Road where some pollarded Oaks, possibly 700 years old and sometimes called 'Domesday Oaks', were seen. Compared to the others, this example was merely a large hollow stump.

Here we left the Loop for Hayes Station, a half mile walk away, then went home.