The southern part of the borough of Bromley is almost entirely rural and includes the attractive villages of Downe, Chelsfield, Cudham and Pratts Bottom. The area has several excellent pubs and many miles of footpaths and tracks; the London Outer Orbital Path (the Loop) passes through and the North Downs Way is close to its southern boundary.
If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy CAMRA’s Summer of Pub, this could be a possibility.
In 2019, CAMRA’s Bromley branch published the first edition of Bromley Pub Walks, a series of online guides to the many walking routes linking the pubs and clubs in this area. More routes have recently been added and the Bromley Pub Walks network now has 32 routes, directly linking 34 of Bromley’s pubs and clubs, including five that are listed in the 2022 Good Beer Guide. Another ten routes just cross the border into Kent and Surrey, so you can also visit pubs there. Further routes are currently being prepared.
The routes include paths taking you past Down House, the former home of Charles Darwin, through Orchis Bank, the valley where Darwin studied orchids, and past the site of the Wilberforce Oak, with its links to the ending of the slave trade. Other routes pass through the National Trust woodland named in honour of William Willett, the campaigner for daylight saving time, and you could even visit the highest pub in Greater London (at approximately 220 metres above sea level).
Each route is a link between two locations, with the walks ranging in distance from less than one mile to about five miles. Two or more routes may be combined to form longer one-way or circular walks to suit your mood or stamina.
You don’t need to use a car to access the Bromley Pub Walks network; currently every pub or club on the network has a nearby public transport connection on at least six days of the week. Access from central London is easy, as there are rail stations at Hayes, Chislehurst, Petts Wood, Chelsfield and Knockholt, all within Zones 5 or 6.
Each guide contains all the information you need for your chosen route, including details of public transport connections, an indication of the nature of the terrain (how easy or difficult the walk is), and, most importantly, a list of the pubs or clubs on the route. The guides are all free to view or to download from the Bromley CAMRA website at https://bromley.camra.org.uk/pub-walks/.
This edition’s cover photo features one of the pubs in the area, the Two Doves at Bromley Common (BR2 8HD).
Bob Keaveney (who also took the above photo)