Thursday 19 September 2013
Linda was not able to make this trip, so Mary and I met at London Bridge to find our way to Petts Wood, from whence the R2 was to take us to Biggin Hill Valley. We arrived at the centre of attractive Petts Wood, and a helpful young man on the railway bridge pointed out the bus stop to us. We were on board our single decker by 10.32, heading into the residential streets around Church Hill and Sefton Road.
We looped around and came to Cray Valley Road, where we crossed what we assumed to be a branchlet of the Cray, and admired some fine allotments on the outskirts of Orpington (though, as Mary says, all allotments are looking pretty good this autumn).
We have always liked the doodled inn sign of the White Hart, and today were able also to admire the rowan trees which grow around it. We thought the mix of yellow and red berries particularly fine. Though I shall here insert a reminder to anyone of the 'food for free' generation: rowan jelly is pretty tasteless, and the amount of sugar it needs makes it less than free (sorry, Richard Mabey)
Mary and I were tempted to leap off the bus when we saw that The Fabric Place was having a sale. It was also pleasant to see a shop selling actual things in amongst all the eateries.
We again noted the excellent hanging baskets, before heading out past the war memorial to reach and pass the station, which is a bit of a step from the centre of the town. It is, however, right next door to Crofton Roman Villa, which is worth a visit.
On up the hill, we were back in residential streets, with houses which must command fabulous views over the countryside. Some of them were enormous; I suppose that, as the planning laws are relaxed, there will be more of this stuff in the green belt.
We soon came to Locksbottom Village centre, a change after all the housing we had admired, and saw signs to the Princess Royal Hospital, which Mary knows well. We travelled on past Keston's fine garden centre and then its handsome Parish Church. We had been going uphill, and were rewarded with excellent views across the Kent countryside. On the other side of the road was Biggin Hill Airport, once at the Heart of the Battle of Britain, but now a commercial airport, specialising in business and private travel.
We came down into Biggin Hill Village, passing the Black Horse Pub and the Post Office (we noted it for our next bus as we swept past). Heading first down Stock Hill and then steeply up we travelled through more residential streets to reach Melody Road at 11.20 and finish our ride.
We had much enjoyed this tour of a prosperous area of commuter Kent.
We got into conversation with the driver (as we wanted to ride back to Biggin Hill Village). He was politely impressed with the Project, and told us that Green Street Green Bus Garage is having an open day this very Sunday (23 September), with fun for all the family. There is information about how to get there here.
Sadly, I shall not be there, having a prior engagement to watch Wiggins, Stannard Cavendish and the rest of them as they finish of the Tour of Britain.