RF168 on 421, Otford

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday 16th May 2010

Prepared by Ian Smith, 1st June 2010.

404: Ide Hill and back: GS62

The 413 routes to Ide Hill were worked in the main by RF buses (plus a Green Line coach on a filling-in turn). Travelling the route today one wonders why. This seems good GS territory. But there are at least two schools on the route, and the hedges and greenery hide a good number of large houses, from where the ladies of the house, or their housekeepers (or other factotums), would have expected to be able to catch a bus into Sevenoaks for the shopping. Later the route linked up with the 404, leaving the busy Chipstead end to the 454 and gaining the quieter Shoreham Village north end. Bristol BLs sufficed here.

Today Alan Charman was using his 404 blind (having passed the Green Line 704 blind on to an RF). I arrived just as he was about to announce the bus full, but he let me on - and off again to take a picture!

We growled out of the bus station and turned south along the High Street. We turned heads as we passed along the busy street, passing the entrances to Knole Park and Sevenoaks School and turning up Solefields Road. The GS grumbled up the gradient through quiet Sevenoaks suburbia: plenty of trees and a sprinkling of houses. We turned right at the top into Ashgrove Road, passing the entrance to another school, and pottered along to Crosskeys.

GS62 on 404 at Sevenoaks Sevenoaks suburbia: mainly green

We turned left at the crossroads onto Oak Lane, and headed west warily: RF168 was due along on the scheduled 413, and we wanted to pass where it was possible. The modernised Green Line RF duly appeared, and we passed without problem. (The LT timetable was carefully arranged so that buses would not pass on difficult stretches).

We headed on west, then south, through Wealden forest, to find Gracoius Lane Bridge over the A21 cutting. We soared over the bridge, then picked a careful way past the big (and mainly hidden) houses beyond and back up onto the top of the ridge by Rycroft Lane. We began to see bluebells not in clumps but in drifts.

RF168 on 413 bluebells

We continued through the bluebell woods over Goathurst Common, and joined the "main" road from Bessels Green (the B2042) before the sudden dive down the hillside opposite Ide Hill. We turned up to the village and climbed up the hill to reach the village green. We stopped at the westbound stop, the one with the posh shelter.

more bluebells GS62 at Ide Hill

I don't know the reason why, but the posh shelter is for the seldom needed westbound stop. The terminus, and eastbound picking up point, where passengers would be expected to wait, was a bare stop on a pole outside The Cock Inn, just along the road. Was this village politics, or what?

GS62 at Ide Hill

We set up the blinds for the other end of the 404 (ie Shoreham Village), and loaded up again. After a twirl round the little roundabout we headed back east, down the dip and up again onto Goathurst Common. We had a different view of the bluebells. Further on, along Rycroft Lane, I noticed that this was coppice woodland, and looked to be in need of a coppice cut.

more bluebells coppice woodland

I was really enjoying the spring woodland. We rounded a corner at Bayley's Hill with a delifghtful colour group of trees and flowers. A little further Alan stopped the GS, apparently in the middle of nowhere: it was because of the flowers in the garden alongside the road. He invited me to hop off and get the picture.

colour corner GS62 in the flowers

We went on, back over the A21 bridge, and forked right to reach Cross Keys, where we turned right and stopped at the old bus stop (no longer physically present). We had to wait there for the oncoming 413A, as Ashgrove Road is too narrow for two buses to pass. After a while Peter Aves bowled up in RF633. Some of our passengers wanted to join him for his excursion to Four Elms, but he was already fully loaded. It was a good job that they had not waited at Ide Hill.

GS62 at Cross Keys RF633 on 413A

We continued on, turning down Solefields Road. There a maroon Volvo tried hard to impale itself on our front bumper. It had been parked, indicating left, then suddenly shot out into the path of the bus. We missed it by bare inches. It drove off rapidly. We continued our sedate progress down into Sevenoaks, and ran along to the bus station, where we found RMC1500 on the 705.

RMC1500 at Sevenoaks RMC1500 at Sevenoaks

I still had time for one more excursion before I headed home, but now not a lot of choice...

Part Eight: RF168 on 421

Photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.

Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part One Part Six Part Eight: Heaverham