Cudham and Christmas
Distance: 3.9 Miles (1h 45 mins)
OS Map: Explorer 147 (Start at grid
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Park in free car park at Cudham recreation ground (on
left, just past Blacksmith’s Arms, when approaching from
Green Street Green). Closing times vary from as
early as 4.30pm in winter to 9.00pm in summer.
Leave car park on tarred path past tennis court and
toilets. On reaching churchyard, bear right along
edge of recreation ground and go through metal kissing
gate. Bear right across drive of Rectory House and
through another kissing gate. Follow right hand
edge of field to third kissing gate. Cross next
field and take path between trees.
On reaching Mace Lane turn left and soon take
footpath on right. Cross field to gap in hedge.
Through gap, turn left to follow left hand edge of field
edge then between fences emerging onto Cudham Lane.
Turn left, walking on right side of road, and soon come
to drive for The Shaws (first on right). Go down
drive and when it turns right take footpath straight
ahead. When path bears left, take right turn between
posts onto path fenced initially on right and after some
steps on both sides. Follow to bottom of valley
and up other side through Downe Bank Nature Reserve.
On reaching drive, turn uphill to Cudham Road.
Turn right and very shortly take path on left that
runs parallel to road. Follow this path, crossing
a track about half way along, until it emerges onto the
road. Immediately beyond gateway on left with
brick pillars, take path on left. Christmas Tree
Farm is on right – this is open to visitors every day
from 10am or earlier. At corner of farm turn right
then left along two sides of field to far corner. Go
through hedge into another field and again follow two
sides to opposite corner. Down House can be seen on
At far corner of field, go through gate and follow
yellow waymarks and signs Downe Court. Turn left
along field edge. At corner of field, turn right
along next field edge. Half way along, take path
on left. Follow edge of field, enter wood and
follow path descending gradually to Cudham Road.
Turn right past a couple of houses and note the white
“Coal Post” on the right just before stile. Climb
stile and take permissive footpath along right hand edge
of field alongside wood. At stile into wood on
right, turn left downhill along path emerging the wood.
Continue to valley bottom and climb other side, through
kissing gate and emerge onto Church Hill close to Cudham
Cross road to permissive bridleway; follow this
initially to right, bear left at junction, follow round
to pass Blacksmith’s Arms and join Newbarn Lane.
Turn uphill back to car park. (The bridleway can
be muddy after rain; to avoid simply turn left up Church
Hill, cross Cudham Lane, go up past church to recreation
ground and turn right to car park.)
Points of Interest
Downe Bank Nature Reserve
Home to nine species of wild orchid, this spot was
called Orchis Bank by Charles Darwin who wrote a major
book on the astonishing variety of ways in which
different orchids exploit insects to ensure
The Bank may also be the inspiration for the
Origin of Species to “an entangled bank, clothed
with plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the
bushes, with various insects flitting about and with
Home of Charles Darwin from
1842 to his death in 1882. He wrote On the Origin of
Species here. The house is run by English Heritage and
is well worth a visit, despite the cost of £14.50 per
adult (booked in advance). The audio tour is
Normally open from Wednesday
to Sunday, from 10am until 3pm; weekends only in winter.
There is a tea-room. Check latest visitor information at
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
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.
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