Things to see and do at Toys Hill

Dog walking at Toys Hill
Toys Hill is ideal for dog walking National Trust / Zoe Colbeck

Explore echoes of the past at Toys Hill and get active by walking, cycling or horse riding on woodland paths.

Toys Hill former mansion

Toys Hill woods were once home to a sprawling Tudor style mansion owned by Lord and Lady Stanhope. Originally staffed with several servants, gardeners, a French chef and chauffeurs it fell into decline after Lord Stanhope died and was finally destroyed by a bomb during the Second World War.

A batty place for a tower

The bat tower was once used as the water tower for the Weardale estate. After suffering damage in the 1987 storm, we decided to convert the tower into a bat hibernaculum. The tower is well used by bats and they seem to like hanging out in their new home.

Well, well, well

Octavia Hill (one of the founding members of the National Trust) sank a well for the residents of Toys Hill to use. The well was restored in 1999 and has some of the best views across the Weald of Kent to the Ashdown Forest in the far distance.

Pump it up at Pugden

See the remains of the Victorian ram pump system which was used to supply water for the Emmetts estate. The basic idea behind a ram pump is simple: it uses the momentum of a relatively large amount of moving water to pump a relatively small amount of water uphill.

Go geocaching

There are lots of geocaches hidden around Toys Hill. Get yourself a GPS tracker and go search for treasures. Who knows what you will uncover. Happy hunting!

Walk in the footsteps of Octavia Hill

Toys Hill was one of the places that inspired Octavia Hill to found the National Trust. She grew up at nearby Crockham Hill and wanted to preserve the area for others to enjoy.
Celebrate the life of Octavia Hill on a walk to the picturesque village of Ide Hill and her commemorative seat, passing Emmetts Garden on the way back. Also download the Octavia Hill centenary trail west, a 6-mile (9.6km) walk that can be done separately or together with the east trail to make up a figure-of-eight trail.

Horse riding

For those who prefer a more traditional form of horsepower, there is an extensive network of bridleways around Toys Hill. They are just perfect for hacking out with your horse.


Fancy yourself as the next Bradley Wiggins? Toys Hill is the highest point in Kent and has some fantastic bike trails, both on and off road, which are popular with both mountain bikers and road riders.