Darent Valley Path: Eynsford to Dartford


Mum, Dad, and I went for a fairly short walk along the Darent Valley Path. Having made it from Sevenoaks to Eynsford last time, we resumed at Eynsford.


After walking down from the railway station, we had a look around the outside of the church.

Church corner.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′3″N 0°12′42″E
Lych gate shadow.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′3″N 0°12′40″E

Then we stopped for a while at a nice tea shop beside the ford. (Incidentally, we did get to see several vehicles using the ford this time around.)

Our route after that ran beside Sparepenny Lane, so called because if you went down this back lane you could avoid paying the penny toll they once charged on the main road. We also had a distant view of ruined Eynsford Castle, which we hadn’t realised existed; looks like it might be worth a visit, but we weren’t going to walk all the way back for it.


Farningham is the next village along. It has an ex-mill that has been converted into expensive flats, quite a range of more-or-less twee buildings, and an infeasibly large (but quite nice-looking) pub, The Lion Hotel.

Building on the high street.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′55″N 0°13′7″E
Tree in churchyard.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′48″N 0°13′18″E
Shadow in church.
1/125 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′49″N 0°13′18″E
Church tower (1).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′47″N 0°13′18″E
Church tower (2).
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′47″N 0°13′18″E
Nash Mausoleum in graveyard.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′47″N 0°13′18″E

River Darent

We followed a riverside path under the A20, past machinery that appears to be driving deep boreholes for Thames Water, and then under the M20 before sitting to have our lunch by the river near a mansion/estate called, strangely, Franks.

The large road bridges began a quite impressive crop of graffiti from this walk; I’ve only included a selection of it in these pics. There were also two teenage girls riding horses along the ‘no horse riding’ footpath, so it was quite a varied selection of law-breaking.

A20 bridge.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′57″N 0°13′25″E
A20 bridge graffiti (SPOOKIE, EURO). ‘Proud around London like rats in a sewer’.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′57″N 0°13′26″E
More of the A20 bridge.
1/30 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°22′57″N 0°13′27″E
M20 bridge graffiti (RAKM, VIMEZ).
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°23′0″N 0°13′39″E

Horton Kirby

Later, we crossed the river to take a look at a village called Horton Kirby. The church was closed.

Building backing onto churchyard.
1/250 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°23′39″N 0°14′37″E
Church sign and scaffolding.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°23′40″N 0°14′39″E

South Darenth

Our path left the river at South Darenth, which used to have a large paper mill (it only closed in 2003) and still has a very impressive railway viaduct.

1/200 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′3″N 0°14′41″E
Looking up at the last arch. (EURO again.)
1/200 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′5″N 0°14′45″E
Slightly ugly housing estate that has replaced the mill, with surviving (listed) chimney.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′10″N 0°14′48″E
Shed on the outskirts of town.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°24′25″N 0°14′48″E

The path ran across a short stretch of countryside and beside a fresh food distribution site (as a lorryload of French mushrooms drove past) into what I think is called Darenth itself. By coincidence we met one of the church wardens who kindly showed us around St. Margaret’s church. The church was quite fancy inside, although I didn’t take many pictures.

Nearing Dartford

At the end of a short side road we crossed a field to rejoin the river as it ran under the M25 motorway. This is about the point where it began to feel that we were getting near to Dartford itself.

M25 bridge. (BELCH!, DRONE, OSTON.)
1/250 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′18″N 0°14′6″E

Emerging from the M25 bridge, we had to walk along a road for a short distance, under the A2, and then back to the river near what used to be a large quarry. It’s been filled in and grassed over.

Discarded tires and DANGER sign.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′34″N 0°13′43″E
Bridge into quarry site, now just a field.
1/160 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′35″N 0°13′48″E
Bridge again.
1/30 at f11, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′36″N 0°13′48″E
Tree across river.
1/125 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′42″N 0°13′37″E
Large concrete blocks (sewer inspection hatches?).
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′42″N 0°13′37″E

The next point of interest was the water channels for what had once been a mill. Several channels spread the river water (with modern footbridges added), and there were remains of concrete bases on the islands these formed. It reminded me of the gunpowder mill in Crane Park, and (looking it up online afterward) it is indeed part of the site of Dartford Powder Mills.

Water running through a narrow channel.
1/15 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′1″N 0°13′33″E
Reflections in smoother water below a bridge.
1/15 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′2″N 0°13′31″E
Fallen tree and water channels. (Graffiti: OWTIE.)
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′2″N 0°13′32″E

The path then leads through an industrial estate, beside a lake, and through a rather nice tunnel into Dartford’s Central Park, which is slightly less famous than the one in New York.

Building in the industrial estate.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′3″N 0°13′31″E

From there we walked through the town to Dartford station and got a train back.

Dad also took pictures of this walk, incidentally!

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.