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Spring sun through the trees at Toys Hill, Kent
Spring sun through the trees at Toys Hill | © National Trust Images/David Sellman

Octavia Hill Centenary Trail West

Celebrate National Trust founder Octavia Hill by following a trail that charts the important places and history of her life. A social reformer, philanthropist, artist and writer, she helped create the National Trust in 1895. Head to Crockham Hill village and the church where Octavia is buried, up to Mariners Hill and to Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill, to follow in her footsteps.

Octavia Hill Centenary Trail East walk

You can also try out the Octavia Hill Centenary Trail East. This is a 4-mile (6.4km) walk that you can do separately, or combined with the West trail, to make up a figure-of-eight walk.

Total steps: 14

Total steps: 14

Start point

Toys Hill Car Park on Chart Lane, grid ref: TQ470517

Step 1

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 to 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.

Step 2

Continue on the road past the well and downhill for some distance.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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 will come to a cottage and old postbox on the right.

Step 5

Go through the swing gate to the left of the entrance by a stone footpath marker. You are 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.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

Leaving the church just as the lane bears right to pass the school, turn a sharp left to a kissing gate and past 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.

Step 8

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.

Step 9

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

Step 10

Continue on the path across two metal gates and past a commemorative obelisk for land given to the National Trust. 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 waymarker and follow the path down some steps.

Step 11

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.

Step 12

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.

Step 13

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. Turn left to Highview Cottage and enter the woodland of Toys Hill.

Step 14

Stay on this wide track, ignoring any side turnings, until reaching the site of Weardale Manor. Continue straight ahead and shortly turn 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.

End point

Toys Hill Car Park on Chart Lane, grid ref: TQ470517

Trail map

Octavia Hill Centenary Trail West map
Octavia Hill Centenary Trail West map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Brasted Chart, Kent, TN16 1QG

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