Dunton Green Revisited

March 21st 1999

Prepared by Ian Smith, April 1999

GS62 and GS1 at Knockholt Pound It was just over a year since Dunton Green garage closed, and a small group of bus enthusiasts sought to revisit the routes operated by the garage with their vehicles. There was GS62 (Alan Charman), GS1 (Model Road & Rail), RF679 (Colin Rivers) and red RF486 (Paul Brophy).

My wife and I had driven down from Middlesbrough that morning, to start a holiday, and met the buses while we were enjoying lunch in the pub at Knockholt Pound. They had already been busy, including a 471 circular tour from Orpington in both directions.

The two Guy Specials arrived first, growling up the hill from Pratts Bottom to stop at Knockholt Pound. They waited there in the struggling spring sunshine (after a shower had thoroughly wetted everything), until green RF679 arrived as a 431. The little road junction looked quite crowded with three buses on the stand, and I pondered how often that had happened in the past. (Meanwhile RF486 had gone straight down Polhill to Dunton Green).

Knockholt Pound GS1 at Knockholt Pound

After we had shared greetings, the buses headed down towards Dunton Green, with me following GS62 on the descent of Star Hill. It reminded me of my youthful cycling days, when trips out from Bromley to Knockholt occasionally afforded a glimpse of a GS: usually heading away from me.

GS62 starting down Star Hill GS62 starting down Star Hill

The four buses gathered at Dunton Green, in the vicinity of the garage, for further plans and farewells: GS1 and RF486 were heading home from here. After trying out a number of different DG blind settings: 454, 431, 404, 471... RF486 was set with 402 blinds for its return journey up the A21 towards Bromley.

RF679, rear, Dunton Green RF486, front, Dunton Green RF679, nearside front, Dunton Green garage

GS1 rear, Dunton Green GS62 front, Dunton Green

Meanwhile Colin Rivers invited my wife and I to go with RF 679 on a trip to Chevening Church via Chipstead and Covney Green. GS62 was to join us at Chevening Church.

RF486 leaves Dunton Green inside RF679

RF679 at Covney Green

We went out via Riverhill and Chipstead Village: the daffodils were in full bloom along the way. Once across the M25 and A21 we approached Chevening, but turned west round the estate to reach the terminus at Covney Green: a tiny crossroads that required a right turn into a gateway, reverse across into the farm drive and a further right turn back onto the lane.

Covney Green
Then it was back along the little lanes bordering the Chancellor's country residence and up to Chevening Church.

One problem here is that the old turning circle beyond the church has been recycled. A three point turn with the RF was still possible however, just outside the church. As the RF was broadside on, GS62 appeared. Have two buses ever been seen simultaneously at Chevening Church before?

RF679 at Chevening Church RF679 and GS62 at Chevening Church

RF679 completed its turn, then the GS demonstrated its more manoeuvrable size as it completed the 3-point evolution.

RF679, offside front, at Chevening Church GS62 turns at Chevening Church

The two buses posed for photos outside the church, and the RF borrowed a set of Chevening blinds temporarily to complete the picture. Then RF 679 set off back to Dunton Green, while GS62, complete with 413A blinds for Four Elms, set off the other way into the Weald on its way back to East Grinstead.

RF679 and GS62 at Chevening Church RF679 back at Dunton Green

Our thanks again to Colin and Alan.

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