Kent Ramblers Walk 18



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Path Problems

Keston Ponds and Padmall Wood

Distance:  2.1 Miles (1 hour)

OS Map:   Explorer 147 (Start at TQ419639)

Click map to magnify and click again to magnify further

Park in the free car park off Westerham Road.  Numbered circles on map represent concrete posts bearing red numbers that are part of an old nature trail.

Initially the route follows the waymarked Three Commons Circular Walk (TCCW).

Go up the steps at the south end of the car park and follow path above edge of small valley on left.  Follow waymarks for Three Commons Walk.  At T-junction where path on left leads to road, take a waymarked right turn along a broad track that descends into a hollow (don’t take bridleway on right).  Follow the Three Commons Walk waymarks along the valley bottom, bearing left at a junction near the lowest point and then right after a couple of metres.  When you reach Fishponds Road bear right across and follow the waymarks downhill to a T-junction.  Turn left and cross a plank bridge to an asphalt path passing school on left.

Leaving the Three Commons Circular Walk, go through gap on right to children’s playground.  Don’t enter but turn right to skirt two sides of playground, emerging in open field at far corner.  Cross field and take path into woods, bearing right downhill towards stream.

Approaching bottom of path, turn left just before bridge and keep left uphill through Padmall Wood.  At far end is open space and information board where you re-join the Three Common Circular Walk.  Keep right of information board, over duckboards and across stream.  Follow path, ignoring right turns, back to stream.  Keep stream on right for a while, follow path sharp left at post “9” then sharp right to cross stream.

Pass concrete post “8” on right and pond on left.  Follow track to reach lowest of Keston Ponds.  Cross bottom of pond, then turn left along bank of pond and up steps to Fish Ponds Road.

Cross road and follow edge of next pond.  At far end of pond, take path between two ponds and at far side turn right along bank of upper pond to Caesar’s Well.  Climb steps back to car park.

Points of Interest

Keston Ponds

The three obvious ponds were built as reservoirs to supply water to nearby Holwood House, once the residence of William Pitt, later a seismological research institution and recently converted into up-market apartments.

Caesar’s Well

A natural spring, the source of the Ravensbourne River.  So-named because of a myth that Caesar once camped nearby and was short of water for his men.  He spotted a raven frequently visiting the site and correctly deduced that there must be a source of water there.  Hence the names of both the spring and the river (“bourne” being a variation of “burn” meaning “stream”).

Keston Bog

The point on the map marked with a red-circled L is Keston Bog.  This wetland environment is rare in London and is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).  It was here that Charles Darwin studied the sundew and discovered that it captures and digests insects to obtain the nitrogen that is so scarce in wetland soils.

Padmall Wood

The wood is largely sweet chestnut and birch coppice.  Wood is harvested by cutting the trees back to ground level every 15 to 20 years.  The trees then regenerate from the stumps and the cycle can be repeated many times.

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

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

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.