Trottiscliffe Pub Walk
Walk No 5 from Short Walks from West Kent Pubs by Bea Cowan
Trottiscliffe (pronounced ‘Trosley’) presents an attractive cluster of oast houses, old barns and weatherboarded cottages on the slopes below the scarp face of the North Downs. The George started as a private dwelling built for a fruit and sheep farmer. It became an alehouse in 1782 and was licensed in 1831. In places you can still see the old beams and peg tiles. There is one open area on two levels, with a ﬁre burning in one of the three ﬁreplaces on cold days. A dining room and a children’s room making this a pub for everyone. At the rear is an attractive garden. You will ﬁnd a large menu of both regular and special dishes. Home made pies are a speciality and you can choose from roast chicken, excellent cooked steaks and a wide variety of ﬁsh dishes. The puddings are enticing. Shepherd Neame Masterbrew and Wadworth 6X are on draught, as is a Strongbow dry cider. Lagers include Heineken, Heineken Extra and Stella Artois. The times of opening are Monday to Friday from 11 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm, open all day Saturday 12 noon to 11 pm and Sunday hours are 12 noon to 10.30 pm. Food is always available.
Telephone: 01732 822462.
How to get there: Trottiscliffe lies just north of the eastern end of the M26. Turn south from the M26 at junction 2A. Turn left 200 yards after you join the A25. The George is on your left as you enter Trottiscliffe, 1 1/4. miles north of the A25.
Parking: There is a large car park beside the inn.
Length of the walk: 3 miles. OS maps: Landranger 177 East London area, Pathﬁnder 1193 Chatham (inn GR 641600).
When the inn was first built the area bore orchards and hop gardens and was known for its sheep rearing. Today the land is mainly arable. The walk takes you through the village, across ﬁelds, then traverses part of the scarp face. This is a steep climb but the path is good and the view from the top superb. Yon continue downhill to an intriguing Neolithic monument, then return to the inn across ﬁelds.
Turn left as you leave the pub and Walk up Taylors Lane. Pass the left turn to Wrotham, then go past a small duck pond on the left. About 1/4 mile from the inn turn right into Green Lane. At the end of the road go to the far right-hand corner of the car turning space and take the public bridleway ahead, along a narrow track to an open field. Turn left. Pass the houses to your left and head towards the Downs, following the yellow circular walk signs. When the field opens up to the left you should keep going straight ahead across it. When you rejoin the hedge line, continue with it on your left. Soon you will reach a narrow path, with a barbed wire fence separating the walker from the grazing (photo1). In autumn you will see blackberries and rose hips in the hedgerow. Continue through two kissing gates up to the small road.
This road follows the route known as the Pilgrims Way which, as popular story goes, is the route taken from Winchester to Canterbury by medieval pilgrims. Cross, go up a few steps, and enter the Trosley Country Park. Turn right along a woodland path, through the frame of a kissing gate, then skirt the road, until the woods open out. Ignore a track which goes down the slope. Take the track straight ahead and start the climb up the chalk. As you climb, you begin to see the Weald stretching below you. On the slopes there are hazel and guelder rose, typical plants of the chalk downland(photo 2). At the top you will reach another kissing gate. Pause to take in the View south over the Weald, then go through this and turn right along a well made track. Where the path splits with, to the right, a steep downward path alongside a wire fence carry straight on into the woods. A woodland seat on the left, where another route goes left, gives you another chance to catch your breath.
To continue, take the route arrowed downward, with a fence on your nght-hand side. Go through a gate and continue, with the fence on your left. As you go you will see many old yews, familiar in chalk woodland. Soon the path widens as it drops further, and then brings you out above steep grassland. Follow the arrow straight ahead. This leads you to a stile on your left, marked by a circular 6. Go through a gate which swings on a weight. Follow the arrow straight ahead, first between trees, then into a wider, steeper stretch. At a small clearing you will find another seat. Pass an entrance into a field on your right and carry on slightly left, still downhill to the bottom of the scarp. Take the arrow to the right and come out onto the road. Turn left and walk along the Pilgrims Way. Continue to a whitewashed cottage on your left, then turn right, following the arrow and the National Trust sign to ‘Coldrum’, and walk down the side of a field. From here you have good views east to the Medway Gap and to the further slopes of the North Downs. At the bottom of the field the path winds slightly to the right, with a few trees arching overhead. You will find a wide field entrance sloping up and backwards to your right. To the left is a marker post with arrows showing different walk routes. Go on for about 100 yards until you see some steps leading up to the Coldrum Stones. These are what remains of a communal Neolithic burial site, probably over 5,000 years old(photo 3). Return to the wide field entrance, go up the slope to a field, and walk across to the corner and walk along the south side, with the hedge on your left. Then go ahead and enter a narrow lane between trees. This passes a house then leads to a small car park. Go along a metalled track for 50 yards to the road. Cross the road and follow a path across the field towards Trottiscliffe church. At the bottom of the field, cross a stile, go down some steps and turn right into another road. The fascinating and complete Norman church of St Peter and St Paul rises to your right. Pass the church and enter a farmyard. Go through the farmyard past a barn and walk into the field ahead, past an electricity pole bearing a route marker. Cross the field, leaving the fence on your left. At the far side you will reach the bridleway by which you frst entered this field at the beginning of the walk. Walk ahead to Taylors Lane. Turn left and walk back 1/4 mile to the inn.