Walk 5: Foots Cray Meadows
Distance: 2 Miles (1 Hour)
OS Map: Explorer 162 (Start at grid reference TQ474717)
Parking. There is a free car park at Foots Cray Place. If approaching from Orpington, make for Crittal’s Corner, go under the A20 and take the opposite exit (the one for B&Q) and carry straight on to the traffic lights at the bottom of Sidcup Hill. Go straight across at the lights into Rectory Lane. The lane bends sharply left at the church and the entrance to Foots Cray Place is on the right 250 metres past the bend.
From the car park entrance turn left along the private drive to the old stable block (all that remains of the old Foots Cray Place). At the corner, go through a gate on the right, bear left uphill past a tulip tree standing alone and up a bank onto a broad track. Turn right with the boundary of Cleeve Park School on the left and woodland on the right. At the corner of the wood, turn right along track. On emerging into open meadow turn left along edge of woodland. Cross asphalt track leading from the Five Arch Bridge on the right and continue across meadow, bearing right towards river where fence around Royal Park Primary School juts out on left. Pass a very well equipped children’s play area and basket ball pitch. Bear right to footbridge and cross the river.
Turn right along the riverbank and follow path parallel to river. Pass but do not cross the Five Arch Bridge. Continue past very broad section of river occupied by wide selection of water fowl. Cross side stream by small bridge and continue to another bridge, the Penny-farthing Bridge (note the one large and one small arch), across the Cray. Over the bridge, bear right at fork and head uphill back to car park.
The Tulip Tree
According to legend, as Adam and Eve were
expelled from the Garden of Eden, Eve tried to grasp a branch of the
Tree of Life but succeeded only in snatching the tip of a leaf from the
tulip tree. So the leaves of the tulip tree have veins leading to
a non-existent tip. To see the fine tulip-like flowers, visit in
Five Arch Bridge
This is a legacy of the parkland of North
Cray Place, landscaped by “Capability” Brown in the 1780s. The
Cray was dammed to create the lake lying up river from the bridge.
Our book of Ten
Favourite Walks in the Kent Countryside has routes for ten more
walks like this one.
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