Petts Wood to Chislehurst and Chislehurst Caves – 24 September

Thirty Poly Ramblers and 3 guests gathered at Petts Wood station for the shortish walk to Chislehurst at the end of September. We followed the London Loop for the first mile or so, then veered off slightly uphill along country lanes until we emerged onto Chislehurst Common which was surrounded by a surprising number of pubs. We paused to view the old cock pit and visited St Nicholas Church. In the graveyard were buried Sir Malcom Campbell, the racing motorist and setter of land speed records, and Sir William Willett who invented the concept of British Summer Time. Continuing through the town we walked through woods and common land, pausing to view the Prince Imperial Monument to the son of Emperor Napoleon III who lived in Chislehurst in the 1870s. A little later we came to the Ramblers Inn and ensconced ourselves in there for the next hour or so until it was time to walk down the hill to Chislehurst Caves. We enjoyed a very informative hour long tour with a knowledgeable and entertaining guide. We learnt how the Caves were used as ammunitions storage in WW1, for mushroom cultivation in the 1930s, as a WWII air raid shelter and underground city for thousands, and a music venue in the 1950s and 60’s. After the tour we enjoyed tea and homemade cake in the café before heading for the station, or the pub next door.

Gillian.  Photos by Jill and Stuart