No. 9: Otford

Yes, I’m intrepid and I still did a challenge this week – despite ‘The Beast From The East’ swooping in and bringing the country to a grinding halt and causing widespread ‘panic’ – although it wasn’t without consequence – I did have to get the car washed (because someone had written ‘Cock’ on the side of it in the snow!)

Friday brought ‘calamity’ to Londons transport network – but the positive side of a 3 hour commute (to go 7 miles) was that I ran into my good friend Kevin who I talked into coming on a walk with me on Sunday.

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I fell victim to work-induced lethargy this week – I knew that I wasn’t going to roll out of bed on Saturday, full of beans and raring to go so I didn’t force myself  to – because that would be counter-productive.

Instead I spent Saturday reading, baking bread and playing with my puppy – if I was better at Instagram, the posts would have been adorabubble! #Saturdays

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Otford is 14 miles outside of London, reachable by train from Victoria. It’s a pretty town, with a village pond that doubles up as a roundabout and it has good access to the Kent Downs. The Otford Circular walk takes you through woodland, fields and chalk upland. It’s around 5.5 miles long, takes 2-3 hours and it wasn’t busy at all – the ‘Beast’ had seen to that.

Kevin, the puppy and me set off from the train station with some instructions for the walk that I downloaded from the internet, because I didn’t want to pay for a map, because I’m cheap.

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The walk starts by taking a right out of the station and again up Pilgrim Road East, then it takes you up what looks like a private driveway, you walk through a narrow alleyway and then it turns into the Kent Downs and becomes a nice little patch of countryside.

The puppy was loving the last bits of snow and did his usual trick of jumping around like a billy goat, although it became clear that he had eaten the tennis ball we gave him last week when it made a bizarre reappearance – no details necessary but mystery solved!

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I didn’t… Sorry Kent.


After an hour or so, we stopped for a sandwich on freshly baked bread (thank you me). Kevin and I don’t get to hang out that much, it was great to catch up over a walk – it’s like a catch up over a pint only you actually listen to each other and it all makes sense.

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After clearing the chalk uplands we came to these amazing tree arches, which took us up to Dunstall farm – the puppy still can’t figure out his opinion on farm animals, but he spent a good few minutes staring at a cow like he thought they might be related. I don’t like to disappoint him so I’ll probably spend some time teaching him to ‘Moo’ this week.

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The farm leads you to more woodland and down to Shoreham station, where you walk through a golf course and back to Otford. Coming out of the woodland, Kevin and I were discussing the pro’s and cons of downsizing and taking life on the road (I’m slightly obsessed with the idea of van life and van conversions). A man overheard and immediately stopped us both – ‘Don’t think about it, just do it’ he said ‘Do it or you’ll always regret it’… I wish I wasn’t impressionable.

This is a nice little walk if you fancy a quick break from London, it’s quick to get to and not too long/short/testing/boring.

Also, there are a couple of ok looking pubs in the town and a load of thrift shops… Who can resist Bygones and Curios?

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15 thoughts on “No. 9: Otford

  1. That place looks so pretty! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, I can’t help but wonder whether the desire to live in a van is some sort of genetic affliction of the men in our family. Just promise me that if you get one and it dies you won’t dump it outside my house like a certain older brother of ours I could mention…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, are you adding a new layer of complexity to the challenge by only changing one letter in the place name each week? I look forward to hearing about your adventures in Itford this weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Strange, was thinking the same thing while away in Palawan, Philippines and found a mega-truck on eBay that more than fit the bill… here’s the link

    …but may be obsolete now so will WhatsApp the picture – ex-army 4×4 truck with camouflage paint house capsule on back – cooking, sleeping, toilet, shower, etc, shed for gas and bikes, fore and aft winches to get you out of anything, 1 metre diameter wheels with off-road tyres, towing rack at rear for complimentary Suzuki jeep: ha ha…
    A dream or not…?

    Also watched a film there about a guy and girl who fitted out a US school bus and travelled from Alaska to Mexico (gave up because Mexican vet said the dog was too sick to travel 🙄) – nice pictures … they had a drone… but I think perhaps their ceramic bathroom tiles not up to Mexican roads too… and ran out of money for vet fees… or got to hate each other – naff ending but feel-good stuff, Nat Geo quality pictures and dreamy Scando/chill-out music that the girl wrote: Expedition Happiness (Netflix)

    Also reckon Toyota HiAce vans a better bet as they are ubiquitous in less developed areas as cheap community transport the world over and can come with 4×4… so no repairs troubles…


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