GS62 at Sevenoaks Bus Station

Sevenoaks Running Day

Sunday May 22nd May 2016

Prepared by Ian Smith, 29th May 2016.

Part Three: West across the Weald

413A: Sevenoaks to Four Elms (RF633)

I went to find the crew of RF633. Peter Aves was driving, and Laurie Akehurst was conducting. We scooted round the block to load up for the 413A to Four Elms.

RF633 on 431A at Sevenoaks Bus Stn

We set off, round the block again onto the High Street, then south, past the entrance to Knole, then turned off right up Solefields Road. At the top of this outer suburban road the bus turned right along the edge of the Wealden forest. We passed the West Heath school, source of much of the route's traffic in the RF days, and the reason why this was a large saloon route, and headed north-west along Ashgrove Road, which is too narrow in most places for two RFs to pass. We turned left at Cross Keys onto a wider road - Oak Lane - which took us through the forest to Gracious Lane Bridge over the deep A21 cutting. There were occasional houses along thehe road towards Bayleys Hill. The green tunnel closed in. Rycroft Lane is another too narrow for two buses to pass. We did manage to squeeze past a motor-bike! Even road-signs were being hidden by the verdant undergrowth. We met a slightly wider road, and turned left towards Ide Hill. Our road joined that from Bessels Green - once the route for West Kent Motors - and wound down Wheatsheaf Hill before forking right up into Ide Hill.

Rycroft Lane Rycroft Lane

We paused at the substantial bus shelter on the north side of the green. Photos were taken.

RF633 Ide Hill RF633 Ide Hill

Getting out of Ide Hill was another matter. The road north to Brasted was closed, with barriers. Cars were parked round the little roundabout. It is a tight turn for a 30foot RF anyway, but the cars meant a multi-point turn to get round. We paused very briefly at The Cock, then descended the hill, forking right onto the Edenbridge Road. Now we rolled down off the Greensand Ridge, passing the little junction at Scollops Road. This is where the RFs would stand during shift changes at the hospital (just north of Ide Hill). The buses could not stand at the hospital, and Ide Hill village would not allow them to stand in the village, so they came here.

We rolled on into Four Elms. This was the London Transport boundary limit, so they were not allowed to continue to Edenbridge, as West Kent Motors had done. The bus could notturn at the crossroads, and therefore turned right along Pootings Road to the turning point at Mapleton Road. LT could not carry passengers along this road. Having turned, the bus returned to the crossroads to pick up passengers for the return.

RF633 Four Elms

413A: Four Elms to Sevenoaks (RF633)

We toiled back eastwards, up to Ide Hill. We climbed the lane up into the village and went to the roundabout. This time Peter turned left, then reversed round the west side of the roundabout onto the Brasted spur, then completed the turn - much easier than trying to spin round the roundabout.

We went on: back down to the junction, then up Wheatsheaf Hill. We forked right to head across Goathurst Common, along the crest of the ridge, and located the unmarked turn onto narrow Rycroft Lane. We made it to Bayleys Hill without meeting any traffic, and crossed over the A21 cutting.

Just before CrossKeys we paused at a wider stretch of road, to await the oncomiing buses. First along was RF406, on a 413A to Four Elms. We continued to wait, expecting RF146. This had been due to work a 413 from Brasted, which had been cancelled due to the road works, and so had been allocated as a 413 relief to Ide Hill. It did not appear (It had been reallocated again).

RF633 Cross Keys RF633 Cross Keys

RF406,RF633 Cross Keys

So eventually we set off again, hoping not to meet it on Ashgrove Road. We turned left by the school, and descended Solefields Road to Sevenoaks, where we motored along the High Street to reach the bus station. Peter Aves was changing buses to GS62, for a trip to Dunton Green, so I went too..

Part Four: Heading north

Ian's Bus-stop One Two Three Four Five Six