Stage 17 - Shoreham Station to Westmore Green, Tatsfield (11.2 miles)
Start: Grid Reference TQ5239361493 Post Code TN14 7RT StreetMap
If you just want to print out the "Route" instructions of stage 17 of this walk,
without all the blurb on the website, you can download this as a
Word Docx by clicking on the link.
If you just want to print out the "Route" instructions of stage 17 of this walk, without all the blurb on the website, you can download this as a Word Docx by clicking on the link.
Follow Darent Valley Path across Darent Valley Golf Club, but where it turns left we continue straight on to quaint village of Otford. We join the North Downs Way & also soon rejoin the Darent Valley Path. At Dunton Green say goodbye to the Darent Valley Path for the last time. After half a mile we divert from the North Downs Way to take in Chevening Church and Park with a tough climb. Later we follow the Pilgrims Way along narrow country lanes, then back onto the North Downs Way, before diverting along the Tandridge Border Path thru' Park Wood Golf Club and past the lonely old St Mary's Church to the finish at Westmore Green. It's an undulating and hilly stage.
Starts at the Station Road entrance to Shoreham Station.
A video on YouTube, uploaded by a runner and entitled "Eynsford to Otford via Shoreham (Kent)", follows our identical route of the last 3.9 miles of stage 16 and the first 1.47 miles of stage 17 to Otford. It's worth a watch as the runner has done her homework, it also covers every step of the way from Eynsford on stage 16.
On exiting the station onto Station Road, turn right along Station Road and soon past the entrance to Darent Valley Golf Club. After another 70 yards turn left onto an enclosed path, signed Darent Valley Path.
Follow an enclosed path, south and away from Station Road, signed Darent Valley Path. This leads to The Darenth golf course.
Where the path comes out to cross the golf course a sign at the side of the path notifies of the presence of the golfers and also says walkers and dogs are welcome at the clubhouse.
Look left and right for golfers before continuing straight across the golf course and then through a metal kissing gate. Go straight on around the LHS of the grounds of the Shoreham Village Cricket Club and then veer left just before reaching the pavilion to exit the grounds.
According to the Cricket Club website, there is a very long history to cricket in the village, dating back as far as 1668, and the game has been continuously played on this ground since 1796.
100 yards later, go straight on across the lane (beware of traffic) and back onto an enclosed partly tree lined, partly open bridleway. At the point where we cross the lane, the Darent Valley Path turns right along the lane - we divert from the Darent Valley Path here.
The diversion from the Darent Valley Path at this point makes navigation simpler. The route is just as scenic and it means following a path to the old historic centre of Otford Village. The Darent Path misses most of Otford, but our route does rejoin the path as it crosses the river on the way out of the village.
Filston Hall is just half a mile to the west of here. This is medieval with a listed moat surrounding it. Beyond the hall are Filston Farm and an adjacent old Oast House which has been converted to a private dwelling. All of these properties are built on a much earlier settlement named "Vielestun". It took its name from the Norman Knight Vital, who is depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry as reporting back to William the position of King Harold's army just before the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Below is part of a more detailed article about Filston Farm entitled "A Wealth of History, Farming and Wildlife" (link broken December 2018) and taken from the "Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" website.
the arrival of the Romans to toothpaste connections, from strawberries to
orchids, there is a wealth of history and wildlife at Filston Farm near Shoreham
As with so much
The half moat around the house is a
Lane, just west of the driveway to the farm, is a carved wooden sign displaying
Filston Ancient Trackway.
According to maps the route of this
goes through the settlement and across the golf course. It crosses the
300 yards later, as the bridleway becomes a lane, continue straight on past a lane to the RHS (at 1 mile).
After another 450 yards we pass a farm on the left and soon afterwards some converted oast houses.
Behind the houses is with what is / was Otford Cricket Club? To the right through the hedge is the recreation ground with the village's unique model of the Solar System, which I'll come back to later.
The lane comes out onto Otford High Street next to the "Old Forge". Turn right along the pavement staying on the RHS.
Otford is where the route joins the North Downs Way and the Pilgrims Way, and within 220 yards, just before crossing the River Darent, the Darent Valley Path rejoins from the RHS. The route stays with the Darent Valley Path for another 1.6 miles to Dunton Green and with the North Downs Way for over an extra 0.8 miles to just before Turvin's Farm near Chevening.
The village blacksmith has long gone and the old forge is now a restaurant. The centre of the village is just to the left and is built around a roundabout with a pond in the middle. The pond is fed by a stream rising near the station and is unique in being classified as a listed building. The ducks have their own little house in the centre and are given a food allowance by the parish council. In 2014 this won The Roundabout Appreciation Society, "Roundabout of the Year".
From excavations there is evidence of settlement in this area for at least 3,000 years. The route of the Ancient Trackway on the way into the village, from the east, helps to confirm this, although if the track was also used by later pilgrims, or not, I have been unable to ascertain. Also, to the east of the village, just south of Pilgrim Way East, remains of a very large Roman villa have been uncovered. This has been listed as a Scheduled Monument.
state two bloody battles took place at Otford. The
Battle of Otford"
in 776 when local Kent forces under
Egbert II fought
to regain their independence against
King Offa of Mercia
796). Although no outcome is stated in the Chronicle, it can be deduced that the
battle was won by the smaller
In 1016 (240
years later) battle raged once more at Otford. This time
1016), son of Ethelred the Unready, and the Dane
Canute the Great
(died 1035) fought over the throne of
Ten years after
the first "
Anglo-Saxon times until 1537 the palace was one of a chain of houses belonging
to the Archbishops of Canterbury. It was rebuilt around 1515 by
to rival Wolsey's at
Here are links to two videos of Otford Palace. The first is a short history of the palace, the second is an aerial view of the part of what remains.
To the east of the palace is St Bartholomew's Church dating from c1050, and said to have the oldest standing wall in the area.
The village sign depicts the duck pond, the church and the old palace (see video). The placing of each on the sign is quite accurate. It is well worth taking the short diversion to view all three.
Much of the
village is designated a
37 listed buildings,
plus most of the site of the Royal Palace which is a scheduled ancient monument.
There are many other interesting buildings in the village, including a Heritage Centre (with a model of the palace) and three pubs, all on the High Street. The Crown is 16th Century and overlooks the duck pond and the pub website claims it is haunted by four ghosts; The Woodman also overlooks the duck pond, was originally built in the 18th Century as a wheelwright's and converted in 1861 to a pub - many sources claim the pub is haunted. The Bull dates from 1512 and contains a "wishing chair" from the old palace and claimed to have belonged to the Saintly Thomas a Beckett himself. According to the Historic-Kent.co.uk website (link broken), the Bull was once a refectory of Otford Monastery and was granted a license by Papal Bull in 1538. The pub sign displays a large beast (bull) but apparently the name originates from the Papal. Inside the pub is also a board detailing the history of the inn and a wooden carving of Henry VIII and one of his six wives;
There are other
information boards in the village telling of the history of the area and a novel
one showing the local recreation ground as the centre of a model of the Solar
System at midnight on 1st January 2000. The model keeps the
within the village and explains that on the same scale the nearest star "Procima
Centauri" would be as far away as Los Angeles. It claims to be the largest model
of its type in the world and the website is well constructed and full of
information on the planets.
Otford village is well served by road and rail. The A225 (the main road from Dartford to Sevenoaks) goes through the centre and the railway station is only 450 yards east of the pond. During excavations for both transport systems many remains of bodies were found, many more were found close to the river. These were mainly soldiers who died in both battles, but Stone-Age, Iron-Age and Roman remains have also been uncovered. Some of the artifacts are on show at the Otford Heritage Centre.
On the wall of church hall on the High Street is a stone mosaic telling the story of the history of the area (mosaic1, mosaic2, mosaic3). The mosaic was designed and constructed by Oliver Budd and commissioned by the Otford Society to mark the millennium.
After walking along the High Street, and shortly before reaching the River Darent is a very well-preserved 15th century timber-framed house named Pickmoss. The house and adjacent cottage (c1700) are grade II* listed. 100 yards later, on the LHS and soon after crossing the river, is the entrance to Broughton Manor. Its grounds sit on the River Darent. The manor house dates from the 16th century and is again grade II* listed.
After crossing the river, continue along the High Street for 650 yards to just after Frog Farm (at 2 miles). Then turn left to cross over and into Telston Lane, signed "North Downs Way". Follow the road straight uphill through a housing development and then, after 370 yards, when the road turns right, go straight on along a narrow road (still Telston Lane), signed "North Downs Way".
The lane continues between fences and houses for 200 yards, then opens out with a large field to the RHS and a hedge to the LHS. If you are lucky to be here at the right time of year, the field to the right may be a carpet of lavender.
100 yards after the lane opens out, follow it right past Oast Cottage, then left past New Barn Farm. Continue straight on, gradually uphill, eventually past a large house (Heather Cottage) and onto a narrow track to cross a bridge over a railway line, then over a stile (next to a gate) and straight on across a large field. Follow the path as it crosses a track and enters a wood. On exiting the woods bear left to follow the path downhill to cross a stile, then along the edge of a field to cross over another stile and along an enclosed path past the Donnington Manor Hotel.
The path comes out onto a road (London Road) with the hotel to the right. Turn left along the pavement (at 3.1 miles). After 230 yards and just before the junction, turn right to cross over and past the Rose & Crown to your RHS, onto Morants Court Road (the A224). Stay on the pavement on the RHS along this busy A-road for 700 yards. On approaching the bridge over the M25 motorway cross over to the LHS and over the M25 via the pavement.
North of Dunton Green, near where Pilgrims Way West crosses over the M25, on Polhill was found an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. It was on the false crest of the hill and would have been visible from Otford and across the Darent Valley. The cemetery contained between 180 and 200 graves dating from the 7th and 8th Centuries. To read more see the entry at Wikipedia.
The Donnington Manor Hotel and the Rose & Crown are in the north part of the village of Dunton Green. The area around the hotel and pub are sandwiched between two motorways. The M25 is only a few hundred yards to the north and the M26 is 200 yards south of the junction by the pub, thus cutting this small area off from the rest of the village. The junction of the two motorways is less than a mile to the west.
Parts of the Donnington Manor Hotel dates from the 15th Century with some additions from the 16th and 17th Century. These are on the north side of the hotel and are now Emma's Restaurant. This part is Grade II Listed. Some of the hotel is mock Tudor, built after World War 2, but done very tastefully. The history section of the hotel website states it was once owned by the "Kray Twins" and named the Emma Hotel. However, the connection cannot be proved because it wasn't held in their names. The hotel website also contains much more history on the Manor of Doddington going back to the early 14th Century and the origin of the hotel.
100 yards after
turning left along London Road is the entrance to Great Dunton House. Just past
the entrance and sitting back against the hedge is an
old milestone stating 21
to London and 3 to Sevenoaks. It shows how London Road was once the main road
between here and London and also on through Sevenoaks to the coast at Hastings.
It meant that the Rose & Crown was an important coaching inn on the route and a
stopping off point. The old road was the A21 but is now just a quiet country
lane. The Rose and Crown dates from at least 1839, but an older inn named The
Chequers sat on the site during the 17th Century. At that time the
inn is thought to have overlooked the village green. The Rose & Crown is now
owned by of
You can read more about the history of the pub at the
Just past the pub the Darent Valley Path turns left to cross the road and disappear for one last time through the hedge into a field. The field was acquired by the Woodland Trust in 1999 and through their "Woods on the Doorstep Project" they have planted some 5.5 hectares of native trees, creating Crown Meadow Wood, to provide a valuable area for public recreation and local wildlife. The Darent Path goes south downhill between the trees and after 200 yards goes through a subway under the M26.
Dunton Green railway station
is reached by going south along London Road (A224) for 400 yards and then
following a footpath east along the southern edge of the recreation grounds. It
can also be reached by following
On the right of Morants Court Road, 400 yards north of the Rose & Crown is an old thatched house (or to be exact, three adjoining cottages). The roof has for years contained thatched sculptures of birds on the top. It has recently been re-thatched, and look closely to see that the birds have also been redone.
A few yards
later a lane goes off to the left. This is the entrance to
is a sad tale associated with the small
The father's servants intercepted the highwayman and promptly hanged him, cut off his head and made a cruel present of it to the shocked daughter. She was so horrified by the gruesome spectacle that she went insane.
The ghost of
the headless lover has been seen jumping the stream behind
You can listen to a version of the poem at
Once over the M25 motorway, turn left at the roundabout. Follow the Sundridge Road (B221) west as it runs downhill and parallel to the motorway. Stay on the LHS as there is a pavement some of the way.
After 630 yards, and 280 yards after Morants Court Farmhouse, the North Downs Way turns right and disappears uphill through a field. At this point, for safety reasons, cross over to the RHS and continue straight on along the road for another 230 yards, past Turvins Farm and then left around a long sweeping corner. Near the end of the corner and immediately before two semi-detached cottages (at 4.2 miles), turn right past a gate and onto a wide enclosed grass track, signed footpath.
The path leads directly towards a church after 600 yards. NOTE: On this wide path / track (after 440 yards) you pass an old metal kissing gate, to the RHS and no longer in use. Immediately after this the path narrows between trees / hedgerows and can be overgrown. However, you can still get through and it soon opens out again.
Where the path comes out behind Chevening Church, stay left (the church will be to your RHS). This takes you out to Chevening Village.
village is tiny and hidden away under the rolling hills of the
history of Chevening seems to be somewhat sketchy with a few gaps.
GenForum, presented by
earliest records of the area of Chevening:... [Chevening] first mentioned in
records in 766, when it was the site of the battle with Offa. In various
charters between 785 and 822 different parcels of land were ceded to the
lay along the western border of the Manor of Otford. In the later Saxon times
another east-west track had developed along the southern slopes of the
The name Chevening means either Cefn's people, derived from the Saxon name of the first family to settle in the area, or "the people of the ridge" in the pre-Roman Celtic tongue; either suggests an ancient origin.
Crevequeurs were the first recorded tenants of Chevening, in 1171, owing one
knight's fee for land they had acquired from Haimo, the steward." As part of the
victorious Norman army they had other lands in
The "Textus Roffensis" (compiled 1122 - 1123), records from Rochester Cathedral, refers to the parish of Civilinga - the Anglo-Saxon name for the parish now known as Chevening. This suggests a church and a settlement. It seems strange Chevening is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. However, it is later recorded as being owned by Sir Adam de Chevening from 1199 to 1216. He was Justice of the Assizes to King John. The de Chevening family held the manor until 1432 when it was acquired by the De la Pole family. It was sold to John Lennard in 1540 and stayed in the Lennard family until 1717, when it was sold to Major General James Stanhope.
The village is
at the foot of the
The closure of these old routes was probably a blessing in disguise as since the 18th century very little has changed at Chevening. The houses which once serviced the estate still retain their Georgian and Victorian character. Lennard Cottage, now a private dwelling, was once a public house. The stone pavements are centuries old and blend in well with the red brick of the houses and much older church.
St Botolphs Church
(see video1 and
video2) dates back to
at least 1122. However, there are Roman slates in the walls which are thought to
be from a nearby villa. The church was enlarged during the 13th & 14th
Centuries with the tower being added around 1518. Inside there is much to see
including the Lennard family tombs and many memorials to the Stanhope family.
There is a splendid monument by Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey which depicts the
white marble figure of Lady Frederica Stanhope who died at childbirth in 1823.
This is considered to be one of the finest works of the sculpture. Botolph is
the patron saint of travellers and at the gates to many towns and cities,
including London, there are churches dedicated to St Botolph. The church at
Chevening has welcomed many travellers throughout the centuries on their
journeys along the two ancient routes which passed through here. The
is a wealth of information and has a detailed write up on the history and
contents of the place.
(also referred to as
educated at Eton and
Stanhope's grandson Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl (1753 - 1816), was a statesman and scientist. He was well known for his outspoken democratic views and often referred to as "Citizen Stanhope". He changed the appearance of the house drastically between 1786 and 1796 by refacing it in stone and cream coloured fire proof tiles.
stayed in the hands of the Stanhope family until 1959, when it was presented to
the nation by the
James Stanhope, 7th
and last Earl
1967). James Stanhope was a successful politician and also inherited the more
senior title of Earl of Chesterfield in 1952. He never used the
gave an endowment of 250,000
for the upkeep and maintenance of Chevening. He wished that after his death the
house would be used by a cabinet minister or a descendent of King George VI. The
Estate Act of 1959"
turned his wish into law. He died in 1967 and with no offspring both titles
became extinct. Since then house is managed by trustees and occupied by a
nominee of the Prime Minister.
From 1970 an intensive programme of renovation and began. This lasted for four years and exhausted most of the endowment. It undone the work of Citizen Stanhope and restored the house to its original Georgian glory.
In 1974 Prince Charles accepted the prospect of using the estate as a country residence. At the time he was considering marriage to Amanda Knatchbull, granddaughter of his great uncle Earl Mountbatten and great niece of the last Baroness Stanhope. If all was to happen it would has made a lovely story for the last Earl. However, Charles' proposal of marriage was refused and after visiting the house on many occasions, in June 1980 he wrote to Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minster at the time, to decline the use of Chevening. Since then Chevening has been the official country residence of the British Foreign Secretary.
Two weeks after
declining Chevening, Prince Charles bought Highgrove in Gloucestershire and soon
afterwards started dating Lady Diana Spencer. He still resides at Highgrove to
Since the death of the 7th Earl of Stanhope occupants of the house have included, Lord Carrington, Lord Hailsham, Geoffrey Howe, Jack Straw, Nick Clegg, William Hague and Boris Johnson. Chevening village was designated a Conservation Area in 1978 and this was renewed in 2007. The private park covers an area of over 3,000 acres and within it there is much to see including the landscaped gardens, the lake and the Roman tombstones. However, they grounds are only open to the public a few times each year.
Chevening in the 1999 and thought it an idyllic and peaceful place. I was
organising a relay run around
Weald.net website has some lovely old black and white sketches
and photos of the outside and inside of Chevening House and of the grounds and
Chevening House was where Boris Johnson and his girlfriend disappeared to in early 2020, just shortly after being elected as Prime Minster. According to press reports, at the time, he hid here during storms, floods and the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. Apparently, he missed many COBRA meetings, and was lambasted by the press. There are hundreds of different versions on this, and I'll let you research them yourself.
Turn right, along the road, past the lychgate and after another 80 yards, turn right onto a gravel track, going past the north side of the church. After 120 yards turn left onto an enclosed path heading north and directly away from the church.
I recently changed this as I didn't believe it was fair to divert you to Chevening without seeing the church, the old houses and all that is going on here.
going north from the church runs along the east boundary of
Just a few yards along the path a sign to the LHS states, "Please keep to the path and keep dogs on leads". Take the advice as top members of the UK Government live just to the left and there is lots of security and, in the past, some have been arrested and charged for diverting from the public footpaths we use on this route.
On studying maps, some show the old route of the Pilgrim's Way once crossed this path about 400 yards north of the church (see map). However, this part of the Pilgrim's Way was closed by Earl Stanhope in the late 18th Century so he could enlarge the park northwards.
600 yards north of the church turn left over a wooden stile (easy to miss) and straight on along the lower edge (LHS) of a field (at 5.1 miles) (there maybe cattle in the field). At the opposite side of the field cross over another stile to a lane Cross straight over the lane (to the left a sign says "Private") to climb a path, up the verge, to a wooden stile. Once over the stile, turn left to follow the edge of the field with trees to your LHS. Soon the path turns right and the trees on the left disappear to give a great view to Chevening House.
Continue straight on along the edge of the field (and now with a fence to your LHS) to cross over another lane and enter a second field. Follow the fence to the opposite corner and then turn left along the edge of a wood.
At the next corner turn right, up to and over a stile and into another field. Stay straight on uphill along a well-trodden path with the woods to your RHS and the large open field on the left. At the top go straight on over a stile and along an enclosed path which veers slightly right through the trees.
On studying old maps, it appears the first lane crossed on the route through Chevening Park (see map) is the continuation of the old Rye Road from the village which was used by the fish merchants and many years before by King Harold and his army on their way to the Battle at Hastings. The climb up the side of the wood, after crossing in front of the large house, is long and steep. However, don't think it finishes where the path enters the wood, the steepest bit is yet to come. On the climb, look left for the views of Chevening House, towards the High Weald and the historical towns of Sevenoaks and Westerham, the M25 below and the Weald and Gatwick Airport to the south. Shortly after entering the woods, there is a small viewing area on to the right with a bench to rest on and enjoy the view through an opening in the trees.
After another 120 yards the path levels off. Shortly after this, turn left along a wide track through the woods. Stay straight on along the track for 450 yards to and past a cottage (Keeper’s Cottage) and out onto a quiet road (Sundridge Hill). Turn left along the road (at 6 miles) and follow it down a steep hill. After 950 yards and near the bottom of the hill, turn right onto another narrow road - Pilgrims Way.
rejoins the Pilgrims Way and it's
just a few yards back from this point where the Pilgrims Way is closed off to
public as it enters Chevening Park on its way eastwards. For the next 2.5 miles
our route continues almost in a straight line along the base of the Downs,
following country lanes along the course of this ancient trackway. It is the
best opportunity we get to follow the route travelled by pilgrims for hundreds
of years (in the opposite direction) on their way to the Shrine of Thomas a
A video taken from a car, entitled "Pilgrims Way Titsey to Sundridge Hill" follows our route along the Pilgrims Way, but in reverse. It joins where we leave the Pilgrims Way at 5 minutes and 15 seconds in, and finishes where we join the Pilgrims Way at Sandridge Hill. It does show that you need to take care along this 2.5 miles of the route and it maybe wise to wear hi-vis clothing.
Way runs for 120 miles from Winchester to Canterbury. Today we think of it as an
old route which became popular with pilgrims walking to
You can read a more detailed version of the history and thoughts of this ancient trackway at Pilgrims Way Canterbury, or visit the entry at Wikipedia.
After 0.6 miles the road comes to a T-junction. Turn right, and after just a few yards turn left, staying on the Pilgrims Way (at 7.2 miles). Continue straight on for 1.8 miles to a crossroads with the busy A233, named Westerham Hill to the RHS and London Road to the left.
To the left,
800 yards after the staggered junction, is the driveway to
Court Lodge Farm.
250 yards later go straight over Hogtrough Hill crossroads by the lonely
on the corner. The hill to the right is a popular climb for cyclists.
For the next 1.35 miles to Westerham Hill this old lane is gently rolling with high hedges on both sides, only breaking intermittently to give pleasant views of the fields to both sides.
Turn right along Westerham Hill, crossing over (with care) as soon as possible, and after 150 yards turn left into The Avenue (at 9.1 miles). It is a private road, but it is also where the North Downs Way rejoins us from the right, and is a "public right of way".
Follow this private road for a mile to a Y-junction. Turn left along Chestnut Avenue, signed North Downs Way. Then straight on for 0.72 miles, to just after the entrance to Park Wood Golf Club (at 10.5 miles).
Along The Avenue and Chestnut Avenue the route climbs gradually, but the road is not great underfoot. Beware of potholes. After 0.75 miles look out for the North Downs Way milestone, next to a wooden fence, on the RHS. It's tasteful with an engraved acorn in the centre. It states - "Farnham 48 miles, Canterbury 65 miles and Dover 77 miles". It also has the distances in kilometers. The acorn is the symbol of the North Downs Way, Farnham is the start of the North Downs Way; Canterbury is where the Pilgrims walked to for centuries to the site of the murder and the shrine of Thomas Becket, and Dover is a port and for thousands of years the gateway to and from the European mainland.
boundary is just 125 yards after the milestone. It is marked by a small pillar,
to the RHS, just after the gateway to a large house.
After another 210 yards, at a Y-junction turn left onto Chestnut Avenue. On the corner an old red post box serves those who still use mail instead of e-mails and a few hundred yards afterwards to the left an attractive house named Mole End has some tasteful paintings of animals on its front walls.
At the Y-junction we also join another long-distance path - the Tandridge Border Path. This is 50 miles around Tandridge Borough and is waymarked by green and white discs. It's not marked at every point, but we do follow it from here till the end of the stage.
yards after the entrance to the golf club turn right,
by a wooden marker, onto a footpath through
trees and along the edge of the golf course. After 200 yards the path comes out
into the car park of Tatsfield Church.
The lych gate to Tatsfield Church is just a few yards to the left and the detour to visit the church and churchyard is well worth it. The church is 790 ft above sea-level and probably the highest in the southeast of England. There are wonderful views across to The Weald and South Downs.
St Mary's Church dates mainly from the 11th & 13th Centuries. It is Grade 2 listed and is passed by on our route half a mile before reaching the village. The exact date of the church is unknown and although it is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, St Mary's decided to celebrate its 900th birthday in 1975. For many years the church has played host to a duel congregation of Anglicans and Roman Catholics. In the church graveyard there is an ancient yew, and on the tombstone of Timothy Burgess (died 1876) a novel inscription reads:
"Once I stood as you do now,
And gaz'd over them as you do now,
And you will be as I do now,
While others thus look down on thee."
It is thought the original settlement was around the church and there was once a manor house nearby on Church Lane called Tatsfield Court Lodge. According to British History Online it was pulled down, by its owner Sir John Gresham before his death in 1801, and a new house was built at the foot of the North Downs near to the Pilgrims Way.
Today the focal
point of the village is around Westmore Green and a half mile northwest of the
isolated church. The population of the village by the start of the 1880 was only
168 people but soon started to grow with an influx of Londoners being attracted
by the open spaces, fresh air and
Go out through the entrance of the car park and turn right along the road, past Church Farm and Gwynedd Close.
After another 100 yards, just after a large gate and as the road turns right, go through a gap in the hedgerow and follow the path across a golf course.
The path passes a tee-box, goes through trees and then crosses a fairway (take care), then through trees with a field / paddocks to you RHS.
Follow the path as it zig-zags downhill, over a stile and across a track, then across two more stiles before skirting a school and out through a metal kissing-gate onto a road (Ship Hill).
The photo at Geograph is from the metal kissing-gate, looking back along the path in the direction of Tatsfield Church.
Cross over Ship Hill and turn left along the pavement. Then after 80 yards turn right by a wooden bus stop and just by Ye Old Ship pub, turn left to cross road to finish on Westmore Green, next to the horse trough.
is at the southwest corner of the built-up area of
The village is
perched on top of the North Downs in a small corner of Surrey with
and London to the north and bounded by Kent to the east. At 790ft above
sea-level, it claims to be the highest village in Surrey and it is said its
pub overlooks Westmore Green as does the Old Bakery which has now been converted
restaurant. A few yards north along
On Westmore Green, just opposite Ye Old Ship is an old horse trough which remembers an era of transport before the motor vehicle, and in the centre is the village duck pond - the sign next to it states "Beware Deep Water".
Famous people associated with Tatsfield include:
John Surtees (born here on 11 February 1934) was Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Formula 1 driver. He is the only man to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels. Surtees' father (also named John) owned a motorcycle dealership and thus developed an interest in motor sports. His first incursion into professional motor sports was at the age of 14, riding side-car with his father on three wheels, which they won but were subsequently disqualified as he was underage at the time.
Rev. Thomas Streatfield
1848), was firstly Curate of St Mary's
at Long Ditton, then Chaplin to the Duke of Kent and later Curate at St Mary's,
Tatsfield. He wrote many books on the history of
"Be it remembered that the masonry of this porch and tower is the free gift of the Rev. T. Streatfeild, of Chart's Edge, Curate, 1838. Thomas Barrett, Timothy Ringoss, churchwardens."
1983), was a British diplomat educated at
You can read
more about the history of
by visiting the
Tatsfield Village Website,
British History Online.
For old photos, maps, stories and more about Tatsfield visit the
Francis Firth Website.
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