RF28 on 704, Bromley High Street

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday 15th May 2011

Prepared by Ian Smith, 26th May 2011.

South-West, North-West

413: Sevenoaks to Ide Hill: RF633

I emerged from lunch in the cafe and looked round to see what was next. Camden Coaches' AEC Reliance was awaiting a turn on its old 68 route to Plaxtol (taken over from M&D), and RF315 arrived on a 454 from Tonbridge to Chipstead. Neither was quite what I was looking for.

RF315 on 454, Sevenoaks 900SAF, Sevenoaks

But RF633 was just going round the block to load for a 413 to Ide Hill, and I joined it. We loaded up in the bus station, then circled the block to turn south down the High Street. We squeezed along the narrow twisting road past the gate to Knole Park and Sevenoaks School, then turned right up Solefields Road through leafy outer suburbia. At the top we turned right, and right again, past the school and down to Cross Keys.

We turned left along Oak Lane, to reach Gracious Lane Bridge over the A21 cutting. We went forward along White House Road, then stopped at the Bayley's Hill junction before the narrow section of Rycroft Lane, to wait for the bus coming the other way.

RF633 on 413, Bayleys Hill RF633 on 413, Bayleys Hill

After a while it became apparent that the other bus must have gone the other way to Gracious Lane, and the photographers reboarded the bus. We eased forwards up the green tunnel of Rycroft Lane to meet the main road, where we turned left to run along towards Ide Hill.

RF633 on 413, Bayleys Hill Rycroft Lane

We met the B2042 from Bessels Green, then dropped a little way down Wheatsheaf Hill then turned off the main road up into Ide Hill village. We stopped at the wooden pump shelter on the green.

RF633 on 413, Ide Hill RF633 on 413, Ide Hill

413: Ide Hill to Chipstead: RF633

Soon Laurie Akehurst was ushering us back aboard for the return trip. I had a quiet word with driver Peter Aves, and let him drive the bus off to round the roundabout. He did stop for me on the way back!

RF633 on 413, Ide Hill RF633 on 413, Ide Hill

We headed back towards Sevenoaks: down the dip to the main road, then up forking right across Goathurst Common, and located the unsigned Rycroft Lane. We wiggled back to Gracious Lane Bridge, crossed over the A21, and headed in to Cross Keys. A right turn took us up Ashgrove Road, and up to the top of Solefields Road, for the long swoop down into Sevenoaks.

At the bus station we pulled in alongside one of the few public services of the day, Kent County Council's service 401 between Tonbridge and Chartwell. Today, like last year, it was in the hands of 3179 of Go-Coach. But since last year the mauve and yellow house livery has given way to Kent County Council's sombre dark green with white Invicta.

We exchanged some passengers, and went on, back onto the High Street and down into St Johns to the A25 at Bat & Ball. There we turned left to dive under the railway to Riverhead. Past the two roundabouts there we continued west on the A25 through Bessels Green, and then, at the edge of the countryside, approaching the M25, we turned right and back into Chipstead. Chipstead was its usual charming car-clogged self. We paused briefly for photos.

Go-Coach 3179 on 401, Sevenoaks RF633 on 413, Chipstead

413: Chipstead to Sevenoaks: RF633

Then it was back onto the bus for the return. The direct lane to Riverhead is inaccessible these days for buses, so it was right turn at the green at Witches Lane, and back out onto the A25. We wiggled through Riverhead, much LESS crowded these days than in the 60s thanks to the M25 and A21 by-passes. Under the main line railway and along to Bat & Ball, where we turned right in front of RF146 on the 421. Then back up the long hill to the War Memorial, Sevenoaks High Street and the bus station.

RF146 on 421, Bat & Ball RF633 on 413, Sevenoaks

We were followed into the bus station by RF600, also heading for Chipstead, and RF146 completing its 421 trip.

RF600 on 413, Sevenoaks RF146 on 421, Sevenoaks

What next?...

Part Four: West

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

Ian's Bus-stop Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5