The Petts Wood & Hawkwood local committee make a habit of visiting other NT properties in the spring or summer each year, and in 2012 we went to Toys Hill, with the centenary in mind of the death in 1912 of Octavia Hill, a founder of the NT in 1895. Our first stop was the NT Octavia Hill Base Camp at Outridge, not far from Toys Hill. This is a NT Working Holidays scheme, offering “a chance to support preservation of NT places”.
From here we continued to Toys Hill car park to follow the shorter of the two walks forming the Octavia Hill Centenary Trail, our start being at the 96-feet deep well sunk by Octavia and given to the NT in 1898, one of its very first properties, and restored in 1999. The view from here gives a sight of Bough Beech Reservoir about 4 miles away and the well is a pivotal point for the two separate walks, one of six miles and one of four miles, arranged in a figure-of-eight.
Our 4 mile walk led through Scords Wood, along part of the Greensand Ridge, leading to Octavia’s stone commemorative seat that provides a stunning view for miles over the Weald.
Toys Hill, at over 800 feet above sea level and the loftiest place in Kent, involved some fairly strenuous walking through woodland with varyingly steep paths and carpets of bluebells, followed by more open but no less hilly ground. The views made it all worthwhile, not to mention the promise of tea and cakes at Emmett’s café at the end of our walk and the restorative tea and lemon drizzle cake were just what we needed for the last part of the walk back to the car park.
This is an abridged version of a more detailed account by committee member Roy Hopper.
Anybody wishing to see the full account, please contact the author, or Michael Crompton at email@example.com.