RF633 at Goathurst Common

Sevenoaks Fun Day

Sunday May 15th 2005

Prepared by Ian Smith, 2nd June 2005

Part Two

RF633 on the 431A to Four Elms and back.

Today was a two-bus fun day by Country Bus Rallies. Every now and then the team takes a break from preparing Running Days, with all the trappings of hired facilities, programmes, permissions, organising. They have a fun day, with one or two buses, when the team can get together and relax, have a chat, ride the cushions. Someone still has to drive, but there are plenty of drivers, and no formal timetable, so that is more relaxed too. They can go to places that are a bit far out for ordinary Running Days, when there is pressure from the public to have a bus at the main stops every five minutes. They can visit favourite places, or relive old routes with childhood memories. These days can also pave the way for later Running Days in the same area.

Today the team were using the two group buses: RF633 and RT3148, the former on the 413 group of routes, and the RT on part of the 401.

The RF arrived at Sevenoaks Station to take the folk who had arrived by rail up to the new Bus Station in Sevenoaks. We climbed aboard, and Ron swung left up St.Botolph's Road to the heights of Sevenoaks at the War Memorial. We rolled along into the town, with its new one-way system, and turned left into the bus station.

RF633 at Sevenoaks Railway Station RF633 at Sevenoaks Bus Station

It was not long before RT3148 arrived too, and the two buses stood side by side in the bus station while people greeted each other and decided who was going where.

RT3148 arrives at Sevenoaks Bus Station RT and RF at Sevenoaks Bus Station

Then we were away, with Alan Charman driving the RF. We followed the RT round to the High Street, where it turned right to head for Farningham while we turned left. We trundled through the town, past the entrances to Knole Park and the Sevenoaks School, then turned right to wiggle our way through leafy suburbia to the junction at Cross Keys. A left turn there took us onto an even leafier country lane over Sevenoaks Common, up to the bridge over the roaring A21.

RF633 at Cross Keys Sevenoaks Common

We crossed the bridge towards Bayleys Hill, but turned right up through a narrow cutting and headed for Goathurst Common. The country lanes were beautiful, and today there were bluebells in great sheets on the commons. We paused at another crossroads, at Goathurst Common, for a proper photo-stop.

RF633 at Goathurst Common RF633 at Goathurst Common

Then it was on along the high road, with its magnificent views of the Weald, to Ide Hill, where we turned off the main road to wiggle up into the village, to stop beside the superb bus shelter. Another photo stop, improved greatly once the car parked on the bus-stop had moved off.

RF633 at Ide Hill RF633 at Ide Hill

We had a lttle trouble with the front blind, so out came the ladder and the key, the box was opened and the errant tape holding the blinds together was refreshed. Then we reboarded, and turned round the roundabout where the erstwhile 413 route to Brasted turned north. Following the 413A we returned to the main road, and turned right at the triangular junction to drop down off the sandstone ridge into the Weald. We passed Scollops Road, where one service used to turn short of Four Elms while the driver took a break, and rumbled on towards Edenbridge, only to stop short at Four Elms as dictated by the London Transport boundary laid down in the 1932 London Transport Act. Most of the passengers alighted, then RF633 rumbled off north from the crossroads to seek the official turning point (some half-mile up the road). It seemed an awfully long time before it came back.

RF633 at Four Elms RF633 at Four Elms

Alan parked the bus at the old stop, a hundred yards or so up the road. We puffed after it. A 413 Chevening blind was rolled up on the front, and there was some discussion as to whether any buses actually went from Four Elms to Chevening, the latter being a Sunday church destination. One of our passengers produced an old timetable and showed that yes, there was such a working, just one a week.

RF633 at Four Elms RF633 at Four Elms

With Colin Rivers now at the wheel we set off back towards Sevenoaks. We toiled up to Ide Hill, and eased round into the village. This time our stop was at the Sevenoaks-bound stop (no shelter) outside The Cock Inn. After a brief stop we rumbled on our way again, back along the picturesque ridge road over Goathurst Common.

RF633 at Ide Hill Goathurst Common

We eased down the cutting by Bayleys Hill, and turned back over the A21 bridge onto Sevenoaks Common. We picked a way down into Sevenoaks, and explored the one-way system to arrive back at the bus station. There we took a decent luch break for once.

Bayleys Hill RF633 at Sevenoaks Bus Stn

Part 3: RT3148 on the 401

All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 1: Getting there: Rail Replacements Part 3: RT3148 on the 401