Taking the bus into the country

Milking Lane, Leaves Green
Over the weekend, a little tweak to the bus network brought the countryside a bit nearer – the extension of route 320 from Bromley to Catford means it’s easier to get down as far as Biggin Hill, and go for a wander in the countryside at the top of the North Downs. Milking Lane, Leaves Green and Rushey Green, Catford are a world apart, but now just one bus away. The drone of planes from Biggin Hill Airport can be a distraction, but once you’re off the main road, it’s a peaceful area for a short stroll. I’m told it’s also good cycling country.

West Kent Golf Course

There’s a few of these little monuments dotted around – coal duty posts, which are dotted around the London boundary and marked the area within which the City Corporation could measure coal and other commodities so it could charge a levy on it.

Buckston Browne Farm
This derelict farm – one tatty gate bearing the motto “ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF ENGLAND” – has an interesting history. Wikipedia says of Buckston Browne Farm: “Built in 1931 as a surgical research centre by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). In the 1980s, the farm caused controversy because of its use of vivisection techniques, and in August 1984 it was raided by anti-vivisection activists.” It’s been a wreck for some years, and there’s now a planning application to turn this into housing. Down House, Charles Darwin’s former home, is around the corner.

Downe lane
I keep meaning to explore this area some more. Because this area falls within Greater London, it’s possible to visit really cheaply by public transport, although the network’s a bit patchy to say the least – an hourly bus back from Downe on bank holiday Monday evening felt more like a private taxi. But now there’s a bus down to this area from Catford, instead of hauling all the way down to Bromley for one, it should make it a bit easier.


  1. Keep going to the White Bear and Featherbed Lane – and on to the mines and the great line of forts

  2. The buses only go as far as Chartwell and Tatsfield though!

    I have been to the White Bear, though, many, many years ago…

  3. Yes, it’s good cycling country. Well apart form the hills….

    If anyone’s taking children out to Downe, there’s a pretty good children’s farm or petting zoo or whatever you call them at Christmas Tree Farm just a 200 yards or so to the west of the pub on the corner.

  4. I remember Downe as the site of a Boy Scout camp site in the ’50s. I went as a cub and ended up walking with some others from Downe to just outside Catford to catch a bus home to Greenwich

  5. I am not sure if you can join up with the bus routes that come out of Croydon. I have been on a bus which went round those villages but I picked it up in Warlingham – can’t remember where it came from.
    I have become very obsessed with the A22.
    (local reference – chalk from the great Rose and Crown pit at Kenley was used in that funny crenallated pottery which used to be in Woolwich Road near where the BP petrol station is.)

  6. Yes there are two Scout campsites I know of near Downe. One at the bottom of Cudham Test Hill, the other just off is just off the main road and is called William Wilberforce camping ground (or some such).

    The area is good cycling country because of the hills. 😉

  7. My father was a scoutmaster from Deal, Kent, and I remember him taking us to a scout camp near Biggin Hill must have been in or about 1950. His name was Tom Huckstep and the other scoutmaster’s surname was Kimpton. I remember the field well. Is this where some of you are talking about?

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