I know most of my posts are either rants or my attempt at humour (if you haven’t read them please familiarise yourself with them here) but with the school holidays fast approaching I thought I’d share my favourite outdoorsy places local to me. Obviously that will mean eff all to anyone not from around these parts. Sorry about that!
I love getting outdoors and I don’t like paying for it so they are all either free or cheap!
My first favourite place is Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve on Bradbourne Vale Road. I’ve had a love affair with this place since I was a little girl and I used to go bird ringing most of my weekends and holidays.
As well as being a lovely place to go for a walk with paths suitable for pushchairs and hides (also accessible for most pushchairs) to watch the wildlife from, they also put on activities for children over the holidays. You can check out the activities and book here (you may need to change the dates or venue etc.). There is also a cafe which is open a couple of days a week so you can enjoy a latte and a cookie or Kitkat after all that walking.
Whilst the reserve is a great place for kids it is worth remembering it’s a nature reserve so not suitable for running around shouting and letting loose but it’s a great place to teach kids to respect nature.
Second is Bradbourne Lakes, another place I spent much of my youth. I was baptised in Bradbourne Lakes, ok I fell in but you’re not a true Sennockian unless you’ve fallen in Bradbourne Lakes.
Now here is a place the kids can happily run around (as long as they’re not too close to the water) and have a paddle – make sure you take your wellies. Take some porridge oats and feed the ducks. Explore the lakes both sides of the road, take a picnic. If you’re lucky (or not depending on how you look at it) an ice cream van will turn up while you’re there.
The lakes are maintained on the whole by local volunteers, they do a grand job and organise work parties several times a year. They’re is so much going on there, frogspawn, fish, birds, insects. It’s a great place for kids to go bug hunting.
Third and just along the road from Bradbourne Lakes is Pontiose Close. There are actually two, the one for the littlest little people is tucked between houses through the close, the larger is also known as the Sandy Mountains but there isn’t much evidence of them under all the shrubbery these days.
Here you will find swings, a slide, seesaw, climbing frame etc. The equipment is quite tired but it does the job and there is also a large patch of grass and goal posts so you can kick a football about and explore the trail up behind the mountains
Number four is Knole Park. Knole is a National Trust property but the grounds are open to the public all year round. Knole is famous for it’s deer, please don’t feed them. They are wild animals! Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead. Here there are acres of woodland to explore. Knole produced a lovely map a while back with a good trail on for kids to explore. There is also a lovely café that sells everything from snacks to light lunches. Not the cheapest but if you can’t be arsed with a packed lunch (and I rarely can) you won’t starve! Whilst the park is free you do have to pay an entrance fee to the house.
Knole is walkable from Sevenoaks and has a couple of different entrances, the one through Buckhurst car park is very steep and I wouldn’t recommend walking it with a pushchair – I’ve done it, it was hairy! You can also park at the house, this will cost £4 but is well worth it if you’re spending a few hours and little legs do get tired after all the running around. The other option is the vintage bus which runs on various days and weekends over Easter and the Summer holidays an old London Routemaster that has been a big hit with Big L since it started running a few years ago. It does a route around Sevenoaks from Bat and Ball, stopping at various stops until Knole House then back again via Riverhead. It’s £3 all day for over 10’s and free for under 10s. It’s a hop on / hop off service so it’s great value for money and if you can get the top deck a great way to see Sevenoaks from a different angle. The conductor is fab and very knowledgable. If you have a pushchair it does need to be folded as there isn’t space to keep it up but the conductor is very helpful.
Anyway I hope you like my little round up of my favourite outdoorsy places in Sevenoaks on a shoestring. Please feel free to drop me a line of your favourite places. I’m always on the lookout for inspiration!