Freedom, orchids and ancient rivers!


This 8.4 mile walk is set on the southern outskirts of London, close to Bromley, but far enough away from city life to escape the chaos. The walk starts and finishes from Keston Ponds, the source of the Ravensbourne river, and takes you on journey that includes fascinating geological and geographical observations, with overlay maps to help you see into the past.

You will also discover the place were William Wilberforce discussed the abolition of the slave trade, the woods where Charles Darwin studied the lifeccyle of orchids, and the house where he wrote his book on the 'On the Origin of Species'.

After all that philosophy, natural history and geography, to say nothing of the physical exertion, you may well be in need of some refreshment at Holwood cafe and farm shop.

Cross-section of the walk from the start, at Keston Ponds, to the eastern most dry river valley

Geology Legend Claystone Sand and Gravel Chalk
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Further information about the map:

The map was inspired by walks and bike rides in the area. Some of the material mentioned in this map stems from reading information boards at the various locations. The story about ancient rivers was based on detailed information about the geomorphological features in the North Downs chalk by the Mole Valley Geological Society.

The map uses data from the British Geological Survey for the Geology layer and the Ordnance Survey Opendata was the source for the shaded relief topography / and contours layers.

The map was compiled using Leaflet, and the basemaps used are from OpenStreetMap (OSM).