Flying honey bee collecting pollen at yellow flower

Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism – It’s In Our Nature!


Throughout Sevenoaks District there are literally hundreds of options for getting outdoors – it is one of the greenest areas in the whole of Kent, with acres of beautiful woodland, extensive commons, picturesque lakes and family-friendly parks. And with so many local businesses working to lower their carbon footprint, there is plenty to enjoy in a sustainable way.

Blessed with six separate railway lines, 16 railway stations and plenty of bus routes, it is also possible to visit a whole range of attractions by public transport. With companies like Country Hire and Go, you can even arrange for e-bikes to be delivered to a specific location for you to jump on and go.

The area is very popular with road cycling groups and there’s a brilliant family-friendly cycle route along the Tudor Trail and more options on offer at Bore Place, so the options are many and varied.

It’s also a walkers paradise, with trails along the North Downs – including the long-distance national trail – offering breath-taking views, or perhaps a serene stroll through woodland carpeted with spring-time bluebells is more appealing.

There are also the many Rail Trails to enjoy along the Darent Valley Line and nearby railway stations. From short walks in historic towns to long hikes around the valley, these trails offer a chance to explore rare chalk grassland habitats, stunning views, fascinating castles, and plenty of pubs, cafes and museums. There’s something for everyone.

Useful links:
For information about how to move around sustainably and for more great things to do, check Kent Connected, Darent Valley Community Rail Partnership (for the stations between Swanley and Sevenoaks), Southeast Community Rail Partnership (for the stations around Edenbridge).

For more about sustainable tourism in the county, check Visit Kent

On the water…

Wolfe of Westerham Cycling Sportive


Kingfisher at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Charity Shop Trail

Young woman buying second hand clothes at a charity store


Try the National Trust’s Octavia Hill Centenary Walk at Toys Hill. This celebrates the life of one of the Trust’s founders, Octavia Hill. She was a remarkable social reformer, artist and writer who believed passionately in the benefits of everyone having access to nature and the countryside.

She donated a sunken well terrace in Toys Hill village, kick starting the concept of protected land and ultimately the Green Belt. The walk starts at nearby Toys Hill car park (yes, you will have to drive here), a 200 acre green space with stunning views from the ruins of Weardale Manor, and moves on to the sweeping landscape around Crockham Hill village where Octavia Hill had a cottage and is buried, then goes past the picturesque grounds of Chartwell, former home of Winston Churchill. As you enjoy the walk, remember it is thanks to Octavia that the National Trust began and now cares for a staggering 250,000 hectares of farmland, 780 miles of coastline and over 500 historic properties, gardens and nature reserves.


A familiar sight on most West Kent roads, cyclists cite two of our highest hills (Toys Hill and Ide Hill) as among their top ten routes in the county. There are picturesque wooded lanes climbing up several hundred metres on either side, with wonderful views across the Weald of Kent if you take time to pause (ideally at Ide Hill Community Shop) for a look.

There is also the wonderful Tudor Trail which runs between Tonbridge and Penshurst (with navigable extensions to Edenbridge). Summon hired bikes to your arrival point by phoning companies such as Country Hire and Go, who will drop off the required bicycles and pick them up when you’re finished for the day or weekend. Remember you can catch the train to Tonbridge, Leigh, Penshurst (actually in Chiddingstone Hoath) or Edenbridge Town to start the adventure.

On the water…

For a land-bound area of Kent, this area has quite a few options for water sports. If you’re willing to adjust to the cold water of springtime, Longford Lake in Chipstead near Sevenoaks has open water swimming and stand-up paddle boarding options through the club TriSwim. There are set times for long-distance swims (a 1.9km loop is possible) in this truly picturesque setting, with plenty of coaching available if you aren’t yet confident. On certain days of the week you can also swim in the serene 38 acre lake at Hever Castle with optional 400m or 750m courses.

There is a great sailing club at Longford Lake too, Chipstead Sailing Club, with dinghy classes, RYA Training Courses (sailing and powerboats), Junior and Youth training and racing, radio sailing and plenty of social events. Bough Beech Sailing Club also offers club sailing, regattas, radio sailing, wind surfing, paddle boarding and plenty of courses in all of this at one of the largest and most beautiful inland sailing waters in the South East. There is a sheltered boat park with easy access to the water and a clubhouse with hot meals, drinks and snacks at the weekend.
For those who fancy a more leisurely river trip up the Medway into the Eden Valley, check Tonbridge River Trips, who offer electric power launches as well as rowboats (not to mention special wildlife trips, picnics, guided tours and more).


There are hundreds of ponds and lakes in the area with an incredible choice of beautiful places to enjoy fishing. Most venues need pre-booking so be sure to check with the clubs running sites in each location.

The award-winning environmentally- friendly Gabriel’s Fishing near Edenbridge offers a great range of spaces from which to choose (five lakes and a mile or more of river bank access), together with a tackle shop, a 24 hour bait and tackle vending machine, the option of camping or caravanning on site for a complete holiday, together with visiting food vans. Match and night fishing are also on offer.


If staying still is more your thing, all our lakes offer great opportunities to spot species which love open water, with perhaps the best facility being Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, a 20 minute walk from Bat & Ball (or Sevenoaks) station.

This was one of the first gravel pits restored for nature conservation (instigated by Jeffery Harrison, after whom the Visitor Centre is named). The reserve has five large lakes and hides dotted around the 73 hectares. It is a spectacular site for birds and has a diverse community of insects, fungi and plants. Kent Wildlife Trust, which runs the site, says over two thousand species have been identified. Grey herons are resident, with kingfishers and grey wagtails often visiting. Waders frequent the shallow water and the trees and shrubs support breeding perching birds including tree creepers, bullfinches, siskins and redpolls. Check the website for the frequent events (walks, children’s activities). There is a fully accessible bird hide overlooking the West Lake, accessible picnic tables and a sensory garden.

For close-up viewing of birds, try Willows Bird of Prey Centre in Knockholt, where a whole variety of experiences with raptors, owls and small mammals are on offer. Or Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation in Eynsford (Green Tourism accredited), one of the UK’s largest birds of prey centres, where wild birds are rehabilitated, bred for release in the wild and trained to fly for demonstrations. As a bonus, you can enjoy days out with huskies and alpacas or sit in the café watching meerkats scramble around their enclosure (residential courses also on offer). Perhaps you’d like to have a look through their second-hand clothing and sustainable gifts on offer too.

Charity Shop Trails

Buying second-hand clothing is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways of shopping for ‘new’ clothes, and it will always help a charity too, so a double win.

We have created a charity shop trail for Sevenoaks town which you can check out here. The area also has dozens of antique and bric-a-brac shops filled with treasures. For other shops accessible by train, check the venues in the heart of Otford village, with dozens of rooms to explore.

Blue Bells in wood
Selection of cheeses at farmers traditional market.