Run Kent: Toys Hill Route
An 8 mile route predominantly on woodland trails, featuring the National Trust site Toys Hill.
This loop starts and finishes at Toys Hill car park. This is a relatively big car park but it can fill up quickly on a nice day. There are also bus links to the car park.
Details for this route can be found here and you can download the GPX file to follow the route directly from your watch.
This route mainly covers woodland trails. If you're looking for a route that's mostly in the trees, then this route is perfect. It's not as varied as some of the other routes I've made though. Trail shoes (or walking boots if you're walking) are preferable, especially during the winter months as some parts can get quite muddy!
From Toys Hill car park cross the road and enter the woodland on the other side. The path forks - take a left and follow this wide path through the trees. Once you get to the next crossroads of paths take a right and then the first left. At the next junction take another left and follow the path downhill until it meets Emmetts road.
For the next part of the route you need to take a left along Emmetts Road. There is actually a trail that runs alongside the road which you can take instead. At the end of the road there is a footpath straight ahead. This enters into another woodland. Take the path that heads uphill to the right.
Head straight along this path. You will eventually reach a fence, continue along the path with the fence on your right side. Ahead you will see an opening into a field. Don't go through the field! The path continues to the right along the edge of the field, with a fence now on your left.
At the end of the field take a left to join Piper's Lane. Take a right along Piper's Lane.
Follow Piper's Lane for a short distance. You will see some buildings on the left side. Opposite these buildings will be a footpath sign heading right. Take this right and cross the field ahead. At the end of the field there is a wooden stile that leads into a woodland.
The trail within the woodland will lead downhill to a small stream. Take a right to walk along the stream, and then a sharp left at the point where you can cross. The path will then head uphill away from this stream. The path is relatively steep and there will be some iron fencing along the edge of the path.
Continue along the path until it meets Hosey Hill Road. Turn right and head along this road for a short distance before following the footpath sign on the left side.
Follow the footpath that leads off of Hosey Hill Road. There will be a wooden fence on each side. It eventually leads out into a large, open field. Follow the path that cuts across the field straight ahead. This will eventually lead downhill (quite steep!) to a small stream.
There is a gate at the bottom of the field. Pass through the gate, walk across the bridge and then take a sharp left along the road. This is Mill Lane. Mill Lane then forks into two footpaths: one that goes uphill straight ahead, the other on the left that runs along a very small river. Take this lower, narrow path on the left.
After about a third of a mile there will be a left hand turning where you will be able to cross the water and head into the trees.
Follow the path as it leads around the edge of the woodland. Eventually the path heads right towards the middle of Tower Wood. The path heads gently uphill. At the first crossroads of trails, continue straight. At the second crossroads of trails take the right path. This heads downhill back towards the small river.
Cross the river and head left through a large open field. There is no clear path through this field, but keep to the bottom and keep walking straight ahead.
The field eventually leads into a wide track through some trees. This track leads into Crockham Hill Common. There are quite a few trails in this area so it may be difficult to find exactly which trail you need. Follow the main trail straight ahead and continue on the trail as it turns left. This trail heads uphill to Mariners Hill. Here there is a crossroad of trails.
At the crossroad of trails take the path that heads downhill very slightly to the left. This path leads to Hosey Common Road. Cross straight across the road and continue on the path that is straight ahead going uphill.
The path goes up and over a hill before joining Mapleton Road. Turn right and follow the road for a minute or so. On the left will be a footpath sign. Follow this sign and walk down what looks like a fancy driveway with an open field on the right side. Walk by the houses (in the photo) and take the footpath on the right (there is a metal gate and wooden stile).
The footpath will open out to a wide grassy path with fields on each side. At the end the path will lead onto Puddledock Lane. Take a left and follow Puddledock Lane uphill. As you reach the top you will see Toys Hill Well on the right with a viewpoint. Continue a little further until you reach an intersection where a few roads meet. On the left there will be a footpath heading uphill. There will be a National Trust sign here saying Toys Hill. Follow the path uphill, keeping to the right. This path will lead to the car park where the route started.
This is a great route to run or walk, especially in the Autumn. The course has a total elevation of 1345ft over 8 miles. The steepest section is right at the end but this is a manageable climb with a maximum 18% gradient. This course does not pass through any villages so there are no amenities available - I'd recommend taking some water and snacks!