Over the weekend, a little tweak to the bus network brought the countryside a bit nearer – the extension of route 320 from Bromley to Catford means it’s easier to get down as far as Biggin Hill, and go for a wander in the countryside at the top of the North Downs. Milking Lane, Leaves Green and Rushey Green, Catford are a world apart, but now just one bus away. The drone of planes from Biggin Hill Airport can be a distraction, but once you’re off the main road, it’s a peaceful area for a short stroll. I’m told it’s also good cycling country.
There’s a few of these little monuments dotted around – coal duty posts, which are dotted around the London boundary and marked the area within which the City Corporation could measure coal and other commodities so it could charge a levy on it.
This derelict farm – one tatty gate bearing the motto “ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS OF ENGLAND” – has an interesting history. Wikipedia says of Buckston Browne Farm: “Built in 1931 as a surgical research centre by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS). In the 1980s, the farm caused controversy because of its use of vivisection techniques, and in August 1984 it was raided by anti-vivisection activists.” It’s been a wreck for some years, and there’s now a planning application to turn this into housing. Down House, Charles Darwin’s former home, is around the corner.
I keep meaning to explore this area some more. Because this area falls within Greater London, it’s possible to visit really cheaply by public transport, although the network’s a bit patchy to say the least – an hourly bus back from Downe on bank holiday Monday evening felt more like a private taxi. But now there’s a bus down to this area from Catford, instead of hauling all the way down to Bromley for one, it should make it a bit easier.