Detour 1: Kemnal Road
Foxbury in the 1930s
Developed in the 1870s, Kemnal Road runs between the A20 and Royal Parade. The road follows the route of an old footpath described by Canon Murray as 'one of the prettiest walks in the neighbourhood', taken by many to pick up the Sevenoaks to London coach on the Sidcup Road.
Only a few of the original Victorian buildings now remain, but the largest, Foxbury, still sits proudly to the east of the road. As the road narrows past South Lodge, walk about 100 yards beyond the entrance to Foxbury and look up at the house that was built in 1877 by Henry Tiarks on land formerly part of Kemnal Manor. It was sold in 1938 by the family to the Church Missionary Society, and was restored to a family home recently. Michael Jackson took a lease on the house in 2009 for his use during his London concerts, but died before he took up residency.
Beyond Foxbury, the Kemnal Manor estate is one of the oldest known properties in Chislehurst and goes back to the 12th century. The last house was build in the late 19th century, but burnt down in 1964. There is nothing to be seen now of the house, and while much of the old estate is being developed into a burial ground there are still some interesting sights. The Glass House was built around a wartime bunker, and is surrounded by woodland. There are still a number of footpaths through the ancient woods here with stunning bluebell displays.