This walk which I measured as 12 miles,(but felt more like 13 miles!), repeats most of the ramble performed by Polyramblers back in July 1985, some 39 years earlier, less 1 day. But instead of starting from Otford, as we did in 1985, I shortened it slightly to start from Borough Green station ending at Cuxton, near the Medway Bridges.  I now say Bridges as, since 2003 a second bridge has been built beside the M2 bridge,  which carries the HS1 railway towards Ashford.  

Six Polyramblers gathered off the train at Borough Green & Wrotham station. Unusually a smaller group than in 1985.  After road walking into Wrotham village, we picked up the NDW in the far corner of a playing field. This suddenly led us to the A20 where we immediately crossed over the M20 to a roundabout. We proceeded along a lane then a path. So far, this had been a gradual climb, and by now views on our right were opening up across the High Weald. After another mile we climbed through Hognore Wood on the slope of the Downs, until this National Trail led us up to Trosley Country Park on the hills above Trottiscliffe(Pam advised pronounced Troesley) village.  A forest path ensued, taking us north-eastwards with the odd amusement siding, one of which was a hidden orchestra pit containing several  outdoor percussion instruments for the joy of children and a few Polys in my party!!  Soon we reached Vigo Village and the green outside ‘The Villager’ PH, where we sat on benches to eat our picnics.  Weather was cool and blowy, so some of us went inside to buy a hot drink which we drank on their patio.  Virtually no customers, the publican assured me that due to the pending Euros England soccer match, they were currently at home with their families and would come here  to watch it this afternoon. 

As we set off from the pub we continued through Great Wood, still affording views to the South, until a right turn sent us steeply down the escarpment to the lower Pilgrims Way,  where we came across a group of Surrey ramblers from West Horsley undertaking that route from Winchester to Canterbury in stages.  We then had to reclimb the escarpment into Whitehorse Wood to reach White Horse Road at Holly Hill Lodge.  Meanwhile, a noisy group of cyclists negotiated the road junction before we proceeded.  Views opened up across the Medway Valley.  After half a mile of lane, we proceeded into Great Park Wood, our route now swinging northwards,  then across some fields and into Horseholders Wood,  famed for what happened there when Polys did the ramble in 1985!  At a place in the centre of this wood I found a spot to stop the party and do a speech to explain that  whilst  rambling through this wood in 1985, the Wimbledon Single Men’s final, followed on the radio,  had suddenly reached its Championship Point,  causing a cry from that party of “Becker’s Done It“.  Since then, Boris Becker became (in)famous.  As you can see, I’ve given this ramble a pseudo-latin name of “bekkusdunnet” as a reminder of 1985!

Anyhow, back to 2024. From Horseholders Wood, we proceeded through Pastead Wood, Wingate Wood, across an open valley into North Wood,  thence northwards through the pretty hamlet of Upper Bush, until we reached the road taking us into Cuxton and its station, situated on the Medway Valley line.  We were in good time for 17.45 train to Strood, as I anticipated we might not finish before 18.30.  With some train jiggery pokery including 2 changes, within 25 minutes I got us onto a fast train from Rochester to Victoria where we arrived before 18.50. 

The party enjoyed the views during the day and this is a lovely walk with long wooded stretches.

Geoffrey Waters

Photos by Geoffrey, Chris and Pam