A walk around Farnborough, Bromley, London
An autumnal walk through fields and woodland paths (4.5 miles)
(Photos/words © urban75, 7th October 2006)
With the decision to go for a walk being a spur-of-the-moment thing (we were still lying in bed trying to shake off last night's hangover), we had to find a location that was relatively quick to get to.
A quick peruse through the 'Jarrold Short Walks' south London edition unearthed a walk in Farnborough, accessible via a train from our local station and then a bus ride from Bromley South.
If you're looking to do this walk, be sure not to confuse this small Kent village with the better known Farnborough in Hampshire or the towns in Berkshire and Warwickshire.
Waiting for the train at Brixton overground station.
A southbound Eurostar train hurtles through Brixton station.
We got off at Bromley South and then caught a 358 bus to the stop marked as 'The George, Farnborough.' Sadly, the pub is no longer with us.
The George (and the appropriately named 'Change Of Horses' pub nearby) are former coaching inns for the London-Hastings route.
Lychgate at St. Giles The Abbot churchyard.
Sited to the south of the village, it's believed that a church has stood on this spot for some 1500 years.
Wooden bench under ancient tree in the church yard.
The original churchyard was probably in use as the Parish Burial Ground by 1000 A.D., and was extended in 1854.
Memorial tombstones only started appearing in the 18th century - previously, the ground was constantly reused for burials, resulting in the earth level gradually rising.
The oldest stone in the churchyard is dated 1725.
Here you can see the tombstone of Levi Boswell (the 'Gipsy Chief') and Urania Boswell (the famous 'Gipsy Lee'), which lies in the Victorian Extension of the churchyard (to the right of the path as you walk through - it's easy to miss!).
Nearby is a memorial to Dr Thomas Young, the smart alec who figured out the Egyptian Hieroglyphics on the Rosetta stone.
Leaving the churchyard and heading south-west over open fields.
The guidebook was more than a little vague at this point, asking us to go left 'when the path divides' although we were buggered if we could see a clearly defined path matching that description!
Happily, it didn't really matter so long as found Shire Lane at the bottom of the hill, and then cut up past North End Farm.
Signpost on Shire Lane.
Just past North End Farm, we took a right along the amusingly-named Bogey Lane (well, it amused me).
We climbed up a little bank to walk parallel with the rather muddy Bogey Lane for a while.
Continuing west along Bogey Lane, there were some lovely views of the open countryside.
The path was completely covered in acorns, which are apparently great for pigs but bad for horses.
Like a pair of chumps we'd forgotten to pack any food, so these soon-to-be-wolfed-down blackberries were a welcome find. And they were delicious too!
My horse whistling skills managed to persuade this beastie to come over for some stroking action. Unfortunately, Eme's flashgun sent it scuttling off twice as quickly.
The route was scattered with brightly coloured rosehip hedges.
medieval times for cooking, rosehips are stuffed full of Vitamin C, containing twenty times more of the vitamin than oranges.
When we were kids, we used to open them up and stuff them down the back of our victim's shirt - rosehips work great as itching powder!
The path joined Farthing Street, and we turned right down the quiet road a short way before intersecting Shire Lane.
Looking south-east back up Farthing Lane. We then crossed Shire Lane and climbed up to a path behind a hedge which runs behind Holwood Farm.
We came across this weird scene featuring horse hair, a ladybird and a lurking spider on the coil of a barbed wire fence.
Passing the back of the farm, we turned right to follow an enclosed path up the hill.
Electricity equipment against an autumn blue sky.
Following the path directly up the hill we passes the site of the Wilberforce Oak.
Situated in the grounds of Holwood - the former home of William Pitt the Younger - the stone seat marks the spot where in 1788 William Wilberforce told Pitt of his intention to abolish slavery.
Funnily enough, another urban75 walk had passed this very spot last year.
Rosehips growing by the memorial stone seat.
Another visit to the source of the River Ravensbourne which goes on to run into the Thames at Deptford.
Looking across Keston Ponds.
Clouds and blue sky reflected in Middle Pond.
There were lots of fishermen clustered around the pools, some holding up to four rods which looked a bit like cheating to me.
Attractive Arts and Craftsy house on Westerham Road.
Turning right a short way up the busy Westerham Road (A233), we took a path that runs along the back of people's gardens.
Continuing for nearly a mile, this bridlepath has Stalag-like wooden fencing on the northern side, but there's attractive woodland to the right.
I liked this mysterious pointing glove we encountered on the way.
Arriving back in Farnborough Village. Here's a view of the Village Hall, originally built as the Farnborough Parish Room in 1897.
Farnborough Gospel Hall.
Although sadly understaffed (and thus unable to furnish us with the desired feast'o'food), The Woodman in Farnborough seemed a very pleasant pub and the 'Kent's Best' ale was excellent.
The buildings may look old, but this Oast house by the village is just three years old!
Farnborough street scene.
We stopped off at big-name-brand-tastic Bromley South on the way home for a coffee. We didn't stay long.
Waiting for the train back to Brixton at Bromley South.