Ide Hill walk – peaceful paths and inspiring hills
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Leave the picturesque green at Ide Hill – the highest village in Kent – and follow the path to the first stile to join the Greensand Way and your first taste of the breathtaking panoramic views to be enjoyed along the route.
The path then crosses the bottom of the valley and a gentle brook before heading uphill once again for more views over the Weald.
A bench at the top of the slope offers the opportunity for a rest after the climb. Views such as this inspired Sir Winston Churchill, at home in nearby Chartwell, to declare – “This is what we are fighting for.”
Toys Hill, on the right, is maintained by the National Trust and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This area was an essential part of the local medieval economy for charcoal burners and wood collectors as well as for grazing livestock.
There is still evidence of charcoal pits at Toys Hill but the pits to be found in Scords Wood are mainly from quarrying chert – a stone used in road building.
A chainlink gate leads on up the hillside and into Scords Lane. Follow the path along the valley into open fields mainly used for cattle and arable farming taking advantage of the many small streams that flow across the lower slopes of the Greensand escarpment.
Shielded by woodland and hills on all sides, the route along the valley floor is incredibly peaceful.
A small footbridge leads once more across open farmland before the land begins to rise gently again and pass by historic Henden Manor.
Henden Manor Farm covers more than 600 acres and has supported an exceptionally large dairy herd supplying one of the largest UK food retailers.
At the top of the hill head through Chains Farm passing a series of ponds to reach Boar Hill Road and the fringes of the Country Park at Stubbs Wood – a further Site of Special Scientific Interest in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
English oak and beech trees are the main species to be seen although holly, whitebeam, ash, chestnut, hazel and rowan are also present.
Finally, the hill drops away on the left and you join a road over the ridge crest and follow the path downhill,with fine views across the roofs of the houses set on the hillside.
Rejoin the main highway straight over the crossroads to re-enter Ide Hill. Proceed gently uphill to the green as the road opens out alongside the Cock Inn.