Kent Ramblers: Walk 8

Pratts Bottom and Halstead

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Pratts Bottom and Halstead

Distance:   3.7 Miles (1.5 hours)

OS Map:   Explorer 147 (Start at grid reference TQ474618 )

 

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Parking:  Turn up Rushmore Hill from Pratt’s Bottom roundabout on A21 to village green.  Park in Ringwood Avenue (first left after Bull’s Head), near village green or on non-school days opposite school (first right after village green).

Take path between Pratts Bottom Free Church and the Bull’s Head car park.  At top of steps turn right over stile between fences then almost immediately go over stile on left.  Cross field diagonally to far corner and go over stile into wood.

Follow path downhill through wood to fence corner at bottom.  Bear left, uphill, with field on left at first.  Continue out of wood and across field to Stonehouse Lane.
Bear right across lane and take path alongside golf course.  At waymarked post go through gate on right and follow track, passing well to left of church, to rejoin Stonehouse Lane.  Cross to footway and turn left.  (You could miss this bit out and just walk (right) up Stonehouse Lane instead but there is no footway at first.)  Pass entrance to Halstead Place, former special school now converted into housing, noting house bearing blue plaque commemorating the work of Anna Atkins who lived and worked on the site.

Pass Old Rectory on left and go through gate on right.  Bear left with new hedge on right to a stile and go over.  Bear slightly right across disused golf course, soon down waymarked path with brambles on both sides to bottom.  Bear right uphill across grassy ride between copses, gradually moving from left to right side of ride then enter copse on waymarked path and emerge at top left corner.  Go over stile onto narrow (and sometimes muddy) track with Coolings Garden Centre on left.  Continue to Rushmore Hill.

Cross road and bear right, take left fork (Hookwood Road) and after a few metres take footpath on left signposted to Cudham.  Follow broad track until gate ahead marked “Private No Entry” then go over stile on right.  Go down to bottom of hill and over stile into wood.  Go uphill through wood.  On emerging from wood go left along top of wood to join Perry Lane.  Turn right uphill.

At junction turn left along Washneys Road.  At first left hand bend, go through stile on right along track between two fences.  In the hedgerow on the right, amongst the wild roses and hawthorns, are several spindle trees bearing, in late autumn, characteristic orange seeds within pinkish-red fruits.  When path enters wood bear slightly left downhill.  Continue to Port Hill.Cross lane and go through gate.  Go sharp right uphill, parallel with road.  Note Fairtrough Farm on right, formerly an Equus Kinski stud farm.  Keep going uphill to gate into broad track from road junction.  Go through gate and turn left along track.  Follow track back to village green at Pratts Bottom.  Bear right across green and up road to car.

 

Points of Interest

Pratts Bottom

The village is best known for a 1985 advertising campaign that promoted Lois Jeans as “tougher than living in Pratts Bottom”.  The name is said to derive from the Latin word “pratum” meaning “meadow”.

Halstead Place

Once the home of the Atkins family and later demolished.  Until the early 2000s the remaining buildings and additional modern blocks were used as a residential and day school.  Now converted into homes.

Anna Atkins (1799-1871)

There is a blue plaque on the lodge commemorating Anna Atkins who lived and worked at Halstead Place.  She was a botanist who between 1841 and 1853 published British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, the first book to be illustrated with photographs – example below.


Public Transport

The walk is ideal for travelling by train to Shoreham Station on the route from Victoria to Maidstone or St Pancras and City Thameslink to Sevenoaks.

Fox and Hounds

This pub at Romney Street which you may find marked on your Ordnance Survey map is no longer open.


In addition to the walking routes on our web site we have published three popular walking guides:

Guide to Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk and other walks in the area

Guide to the Kent Coast Path: Part 1, Camber to Ramsgate

Guide to Three River Valley Walks in West Kent: Darent Valley Path, Eden Valley Walk and Medway Valley Walk


Please report any problems with this walk to info@kentramblers.org.uk.


Ramblers' volunteers in Kent work tirelessly to ensure that our paths are as well protected and maintained as possible.  Of course we also organise led walks but most of our members are independent walkers who simply want to support our footpath work.  Please join us and become a supporter too.  You need us and we really need you.


Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2020.  Some paths on map are based on data provided by Kent County Council but do not constitute legal evidence of the line of a right of way