Take a walk on the wild side: Toy’s Hill to Ide Hill via the Greensand Way

Taming rowdy kids (especially when school’s out) is tough work, so pull on the wellie boots and explore the picturesque Kent countryside on a family ramble. It’s fun, free, improves fitness - and is even more enjoyable when there’s the promise of good food at a family-friendly pub en route, says Zoe Rawlins
Bluebell woodland walk, photo by Amy Lewis

Photo by Amy Lewis

Located about 6 miles west of Sevenoaks, the ancient woodland around Toy’s Hill is perfect for a ramble. Grown-ups will enjoy the sweeping views (Toy’s Hill being one of the highest points in Kent) while youngsters can burn off energy playing hide and seek in the woods and climbing trees.

Route overview:

The vast woodland around Toy’s Hill is owned by the National Trust and is crisscrossed with numerous colour-coded walking routes and well-signposted public footpaths. One option is to park at Toy’s Hill car park then meander eastwards along part of the Greensand Way, a long-distance rural path between Kent and Surrey, on to the pretty village of Ide Hill where you can revive and revitalise with traditional food at the cosy and kid-friendly Cock Inn pub. Your options then are to simply retrace your steps back to Toy’s Hill car park or complete a circular route via Emmetts Garden and Scords Wood.     

 

Total walking time (excluding food stops): approximately 2 hours

Route difficulty: Woodland paths with some leg-testing grassy hills and farm tracks thrown in. Not suited to buggies and pushchairs.

Mud factor: One for the wellies/walking boots as the walk crisscrosses woods and fields.

Pit stops: The Cock Inn pub (highchairs but no baby changing facilities), plus tea rooms and public toilets at Emmetts Garden. 

Route directions:

Toy’s Hill car park to The Cock Inn, Ide Hill (approximately 50 mins walking)

  1. Walk east out of car park entrance, cross over road and join footpath opposite. Bear left at fork following sign marked Greensand Way.
  2. Where 5 tracks meet in a clearing, head straight over and downhill (following the yellow Public Footpath and red National Trust route arrows. Tip: Bough Beech Reservoir seen below in the distance should be on your right.
  3. Pass through metal squeeze stile into a field, turn left and head towards far-right corner of field.
  4. Cross wooden stile and continue downhill bearing right. Cross wooden bridge over stream, through gate then steep uphill walk to join farm track on right side of field.
  5. At the top, go through metal gate and onto narrow tarmac lane (passing school on left) towards Ide Hill village.
  6. Turn right onto Sundridge Road, left at roundabout then left onto Camberwell Lane. Cock Inn is on the left.  

 

Route directions:

The Cock Inn to Toy’s Hill car park (circular route via Emmetts Gardens, approximately 1 hr 10 mins walking)

  1. From pub, retrace your steps to roundabout. Turn right onto Sundridge Road. Turn left onto path signposted Ide Hill Cricket Club and Emmetts Garden.
  2. Follow track uphill, through wooden gate and enter Emmetts Garden. With tea rooms and toilet block immediately on your right, follow path towards small wooden gate and leave Emmetts Garden.
  3. Through wooden gate and into Scords Wood. Turn left at track crossing and follow path downhill.
  4. At next crossing go straight over (past wooden gate on your left), and head uphill.
  5. Straight over next crossing.
  6. At next crossing (large wooden gates on either side), turn right and uphill.
  7. At clearing where 5 paths meet, turn left just before path climbs steeply uphill. Continue to Toy’s Hill car park on opposite side of road.
Family walking in woods

Sat nav info:

Toy’s Hill car park (sat nav TN16 1QG). Parking is free - beware height restriction barrier if you have roof-mounted bikes.

The Cock Inn, Camberwell Lane, Ide Hill (TN14 6JN, tel: 01732 750310) Kitchen open daily from 12pm.

Emmetts Garden, Ide Hill (TN14 6BA, tel: 01732 868381)

Sevenoaks Greensand Commons project

The 108-mile-long Greensand Way path connects to the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons, a diverse habitat set in an AONB.

Find out how Kent Wildlife Trust’s Sevenoaks Greensand Commons project is protecting local wildlife and restoring the area’s natural heritage by visiting our project page.

Learn more