The Improbable Blog

No. 9: Otford

Yep,  I still did a challenge this week despite ‘The Beast From The East’ disrupting travel and sending everyone running for cover. I did get the car washed though, because someone wrote ‘Cock’ on it in the snow (lol).

Friday’s storm ‘broke’ Londons overground network and it took me three hours to get home, but the positive side was that I ran into my pal Kevin and talked him into coming on a walk with me.

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Otford (not to be mistaken with last weeks Oxford) is 14 miles outside London, you can get there quickly via train from Victoria.

It’s a pretty town with a central village pond and good access to the Kent Downs.

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Kevin, Fuggle and I set off from the train station, following instructions that I found online.

The Otford Circular walk takes you through woodland, fields and chalk upland. It’s around 5.5 miles long, takes 2-3 hours and it wasn’t busy at all – probably due to the weather.

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The walk starts by going right out of the station and up through some residential roads, before it turns into the Kent Downs and becomes a welcome patch of countryside.

Fuggle (my puppy) was loving the last bits of snow, jumping around in it like a billy goat until the time came to do his business and the tennis ball I gave him last week made a shredded reappearance. I scooped it up with quiet dignity and promised we wouldn’t speak about it again.

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I broke the hell out of this rule… Sorry Kent.


After an hour we stopped for a sandwich (thank you me). Kevin and I don’t really hang out that much so it was great to catch up over a walk.  It’s like a catch up over a pint, only you actually listen to each other, it all makes sense and you remember it the next day.

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After the chalk uplands we passed under these tree arches and up to Dunstall farm.

Fuggle still can’t figure out farm animals and spent a good few minutes staring at a cow. I think he thinks that they are the same, which is adorable.

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The farm leads to more woodland, then down to Shoreham station, through a golf course and back to Otford.

Coming out of the woods Kevin and I were talking about the pro’s and cons of packing up, buying a van and taking life on the road (I’m obsessed with van conversions at the moment). A man overheard and interrupted to say – ‘Don’t think about it, just do it’ he said ‘Do it or you’ll always regret it’… I wish I wasn’t impressionable…

This is a nice little walk if you fancy a quick break from London, it’s quick to get to and not really a challenge, but also not boring.

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Also, there are a couple of ok looking pubs in the town and a load of thrift shops… Who can resist Bygones and Curios?

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  1. Ruth March 7, 2018

    That place looks so pretty! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, I can’t help but wonder whether the desire to live in a van is some sort of genetic affliction of the men in our family. Just promise me that if you get one and it dies you won’t dump it outside my house like a certain older brother of ours I could mention…

  2. Owen Varley March 7, 2018

    Oh look… A soft background. Lovely

  3. Tom Varley March 7, 2018

    An old van outside your house tells passers by that you have not joined the dark side

  4. Ruth March 8, 2018

    Also, are you adding a new layer of complexity to the challenge by only changing one letter in the place name each week? I look forward to hearing about your adventures in Itford this weekend 🙂

  5. Jacqueline Lucas March 9, 2018

    Your travels have reached Brixworth Robin and I am enjoying the outdoor challenges. Well done.

  6. Simon Tickle March 24, 2018

    Strange, was thinking the same thing while away in Palawan, Philippines and found a mega-truck on eBay that more than fit the bill… here’s the link

    …but may be obsolete now so will WhatsApp the picture – ex-army 4×4 truck with camouflage paint house capsule on back – cooking, sleeping, toilet, shower, etc, shed for gas and bikes, fore and aft winches to get you out of anything, 1 metre diameter wheels with off-road tyres, towing rack at rear for complimentary Suzuki jeep: ha ha…
    A dream or not…?

    Also watched a film there about a guy and girl who fitted out a US school bus and travelled from Alaska to Mexico (gave up because Mexican vet said the dog was too sick to travel 🙄) – nice pictures … they had a drone… but I think perhaps their ceramic bathroom tiles not up to Mexican roads too… and ran out of money for vet fees… or got to hate each other – naff ending but feel-good stuff, Nat Geo quality pictures and dreamy Scando/chill-out music that the girl wrote: Expedition Happiness (Netflix)

    Also reckon Toyota HiAce vans a better bet as they are ubiquitous in less developed areas as cheap community transport the world over and can come with 4×4… so no repairs troubles…

    • 52Reflect March 25, 2018

      Yeah I’ve been looking at the Toyota – i might skip the film though 🙂 Please give me a call and tell me all about the philipines!!!

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