Hever, Eynsford & elsewhere

Distance: 80.1 miles. Elevation: 6506 ft.

I extended my Hever route so that I could get my November mileage up to 400. I hadn’t had a chance to go out with the club last week, so my mileage was on the low side and I still needed 78 miles to bring it up to my target of 400 miles per month. And today was the last day of the month, hence the longer than normal ride. Just to add a bit of fun I included the complete climb of Toys Hill from the South, Brasted Hill (a new one on me) and Lockyers Hill (25%).

The weather was mainly overcast, 7°C with a northerly breeze. I took my Giant Defy this time, with mudguards on, although the roads were nearly all dry. I’m still glad I took the Defy though because there was some off-roading (see below) and I was glad of the extra 2 teeth on the back when it came to climbing Brasted Hill and Lockyers Hill

The ride started pretty much to plan. The route looped south of Tunbridge Wells and then to Hever where I stopped briefly to have a Mule Bar. Six miles later I was climbing Toys Hill. That was followed by the most amazing descent all the way down Chart Lane on the North side of Toys Hill – another new one on me.

The next event of the day was Brasted Hill. It’s about 17% but I found it tough going and I ended up slaloming to get up the final section.

The route meandered through Knockholt and Halstead and on to Eynsford.

tea room

Through Farningham I crossed the A20 and M20 making my way to the North Downs. Just the other side of South Street my Garmin led me onto Heron Hill Lane – except that it wasn’t a ‘lane’, or at least it was like no lane I’d ever seen! It was more of a bridle path, although it would be difficult imagining that a horse could climb it, with it being so ridiculously steep. “How steep?” I hear you ask. It’s difficult to say. Strava has all sorts of figures ranging from 30% to 100%! Measuring from an Ordnance Survey map I get figures of about 46%!! Basically you’re just climbing up the side of the hill. Needless to say I pushed my bike (with difficulty) up the ‘lane’.

Heron Hill Lane
Heron Hill Lane – this photo gives little clue to the true severity of the gradient

Once I was at the top, I carried on with my journey, my shoe cleats now caked in mud and not clicking-in to the pedals properly. For the next eight miles I had one thing on my mind, namely Lockyers Hill. I didn’t know if I had enough left in me to climb its 25% gradient. I was hoping to take it easy on the approach to it, but there were quite a few other hills to climb before I reached it. In the end I did manage it – the good thing about that hill is that once the really steep bit kicks in, you can see the top of the hill, so you know you only have to reach that and you’re home and dry.

The rest of the journey was just 13 miles home. As I was nearing home I took a slight detour up the road and back to increase the total distance to a more impressive-sounding 80 miles!

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