The route was based on ride No. 2 from Jack Thurston’s excellent new book Lost Lanes. The OS-based map of the route and GPX download he provides made navigation very straightforward. We travelled on the 10:53 from Charing Cross to Sevenoaks and the ride started at about 11:30. After a mile or two on the not very pleasant roads to Riverhead, we turned onto the first of many quiet lanes that make up almost the entire route allowing 2-abreast riding much of the time, singly out in response to the traditional cries of ‘car up’. Jack Thurston’s route offered wonderfully varied views and provided a ride on quiet lanes that was manageable for all. Our only change was to offer an alternative to the extremely steep Yorks Hill. About half the group followed George down the gentler Ide Hill and we regrouped at Bough Beech Reservoir. Country houses are a highlight of this ride. We stopped to view from outside at three: Chiddingstone Castle, Penshurst Place and Ightham Mote. The Porcupine Café at Penshurst Place made an outstanding lunch stop and we enjoyed the well-surfaced track (part of NCN 12) for about a mile across the estate. We paused outside Ightham Mote (say it like ‘item’!) a perfect moated Elizabethan manor and the most impressive of the three. A 1:8 hill was then conquered before a welcome stop for refreshments at the Plough Inn, Ivy Hatch. The remaining 7 miles to Sevenoaks were then covered in style.
At Sevenoaks Station Into the lanes
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Photos by Paul Braithwaite and Geoff Stilwell