Octavia Hill Centenary Trail - life and history

Walking trail

Founder of the National Trust in 1895, Octavia Hill (1838–1912) was a social reformer, philanthropist, artist and writer. A remarkable woman, her vision has led to her being a major influence on our lives today. Celebrate her life on a walk to Crockham Hill village and the church where she is buried, up to Mariners Hill and on past Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill.

Octavia Hill centenary trail east

You can also download the Octavia Hill centenary trail east, a 4-mile (6.4km) walk that you can do separately or together with this one to make up a figure-of-eight walk. Please keep dogs on leads when in fields with livestock.

Spring sun through the trees at Toys Hill, a natural area owned by the National Trust in Kent


Map route for Octavia Hill centenary trail west


Toys Hill car park on Chart Lane, grid ref: TQ470517


Park at Toys Hill National Trust car park on Chart Lane, leading from the centre of Brasted to Four Elms. In the top left-hand corner of the car park, by the information panel, go up the steps in the direction of the arrow on the Octavia Hill Centenary Trail waymarker disc. Pass a bench and at a crossing track and waymark post turn left, go downhill through a wooden post and fork left to drop down to Puddledock Lane and a grass triangle with a seat. Turn right through the hamlet and soon reach a low stone wall on the left, with steps leading down to a covered well and a viewpoint with extensive views over the Weald of Kent.

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Continue on the road past the well and downhill for some distance. Octavia Hill lived nearby at Crockham Hill and in 1898 she gave us one of our first properties. All that remains of this house in Toys Hill is the terrace with a sunken well. Since then, through the generosity of many different people, our ownership of Toys Hill has expanded to create an outstanding area of woodland for public access.


Where the road levels out by several isolated cottages, turn right over a gate just after the last cottage.


With fields on either side continue through two gates until reaching some impressive oast house buildings. Maintain this direction on the drive until eventually reaching a road. Turn left and very shortly you'll come to a cottage and old postbox on the right.


Go through the swing gate to the left of the entrance by a stone footpath marker. You're now on the private drive of Mariners, so please keep to the footpath. Continue on through a gate into the hamlet of Froghole. Take the first turning on the left at a footpath sign.


Ignore a right turn but keep straight ahead on a small footpath and down some steps. Emerging at a cottage and junction of paths, turn right onto a small lane leading to the village of Crockham Hill with its village garden, pub and church. Turn right on the main road, noting the plaque to Octavia Hill on the village sign. Very soon turn right again to Holy Trinity church.

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Leaving the church just as the lane bears right to pass the school, turn sharp left to a kissing gate and passed several benches. Go through a metal gate on the other side and maintain this direction across a field heading towards the hamlet of Froghole in the distance.


In the far corner of the field go through a kissing gate and cross a stream. Continue up the next field to a stile. Beyond an enclosed path take the steps leading up to Froghole. Turn left onto the lane and on reaching gates at the end just before a main road, turn right up the steps.


At the top of the steps turn right to follow the contour of Mariners Hill to a memorial seat with a spectacular view.

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Continue on the path across two metal gates and past a commemorative obelisk for land given to us. A little further on is another seat, dedicated to one of Octavia's five sisters, Harriot York. Maintain this direction until a crossing track. Turn left at the crossing track, pass a way marker and follow the path down some steps. While here enjoy the magnificent views across the Weald of Kent from Mariners Hill.

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Enter woodland and almost immediately turn right. Continue downhill to a wooden post on the left and turn left onto a clear footpath. Following the contour of the hill for some distance the path finally bears right downhill to Chartwell.

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Cross the road to a small enclosed footpath to the left of Chartwell entrance gate. At the top of the hill cross a lane to a wide footpath opposite. Maintain this direction for some distance, ignoring any turnings to the left, until coming out to French Street hamlet.


Turn right onto the lane and shortly take the left fork to Highview. Continue on this lane past French street Farm and between hedging to another fork. Bear left to Highview Cottage and enter the woodland of Toys Hill.


Stay on this wide track, ignoring any side turnings, until reaching the site of Weardale Manor. Continue straight ahead and soon bear left. At a waymark post fork right to return to the car park. If you wish to continue walking there is another walk - Octavia Hill trail east - that is 4 miles and will take you in a full figure of eight.

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Toys Hill car park on Chart Lane, grid ref: TQ470517

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Octavia Hill Centenary Trail - life and history


The terrain varies throughout the route; some areas are quite rough and have steep slopes and some steps, including rough paths through woodland. Some sections are on the road so be aware of traffic. Dogs are welcome on the trail but not in the house at Chartwell and must be kept on a short lead whilst in the garden there.

Octavia Hill Centenary Trail - life and history

Contact us

Telephone: 01732 750169

Email: chartwell@nationaltrust.org.uk

Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell


Octavia Hill Centenary Trail - life and history

How to get here

Toys Hill car park, Chart Lane, Brasted, Nr Westerham, Kent TN16 1QG
By train

Sevenoaks station then 404 bus to Ide Hill.

By road

From A25 in Brasted village take Chart Lane leading to Toys Hill car park (National Trust).

By bus

Service 404, Sevenoaks to Ide Hill (very limited service).

Octavia Hill Centenary Trail - life and history

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome but please keep on a lead in the garden at Emmetts
  • The café is open for takeaway drinks, cakes and light snacks