The Valley of the Dell


This page contains Video footage - can also be viewed by clicking on the 'Video' tab at the very top of the page.

The valley of the Dell still exists in an almost 'untouched' way. It lies East to West between the stream (that runs North to South from Baldwyns Park towards the A2) and towards the direction of Denton Road. It formed part of what was once a main footpath from Bexley to Dartford over the heath. The earliest Ordnance Survey maps confirm this. The Valley has only been heavily tree lined since c1940s. Before then it was mainly heather, grass, shrub, fern, broom and gorse. This was owing to the fact that the heath was common land and grazed. Early Edwardian postcards also evidence how well used this area was for recreational purposes. The Great Storm of October 1987 did much to reduce the volume of trees but it is now nearly back to it's former glory.
Below - location of the valley of the Dell - most photos below were taken from the left point of the triangle looking left towards Coldblow and Wansunt.

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

The video footage below is a walk down the path from the direction of the old sandy road which once led from Denton Road to Heathwood Lodge. The old sandy road was once wide enough to facilitate the delivery of coal in lorries etc to the large Victorian residence. Certainly until the late 60s vehicles still drove up and down allowing passengers to either picnic or canoodle ! The sandy road is no longer distinguishable. All that is left now is a very narrow path inching between high bushes. This video was taken in Spring 1988 - just after the Great Storm of October 1987. There is much debris and - uncanny sunlight from above !

This end of the Dell is the furthest end from the stile which crosses the stream between Coldblow and The Heath and the opening still scene is pointing in the same direction as that of the photograph below.

No apologies for the soundtrack - put together in a moment of creative vacuum 20 years ago !




Below video news clip from 1987 the day after the Great Storm, which caused so much damage to the Dell and Maypole area



Video footage (below - taken in 1988 and below that taken in 2008) of the path which was once a sandy road leading to Heathwood Lodge on the heath.
No apologies for the soundtrack - put together in a moment of creative vacuum 20 years ago !








Below three images
The valley of the Dell cearly 1900s. Looking towards Coldblow. The stile over the stream still exists (though not the original) and lies roughly where the light patch is in the middle of the trees.

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

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Above photo courtesy of Brian Porter

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below courtesy of Brian Porter

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below courtesy of Brian Porter

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath


The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

The below is a painting by Youens c1892 of a scene from Dartford Heath - could this be the Dell ? It matches the contours and general vegetation of the time


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Below - shot taken (c. early 20th century) looking away from the stile and towards where the above photos were taken from


The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below (c1950s) showing the large tree in the photo above

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath
Below 1988 - the Spring after the Great Storm - at the foot of the three hills running up to Portman Close and Denton Road direction. 1. Towards the A2 - first path 2. Middle path (now overgrown) 3. and 4. Middle path and path to Portman Close

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford HeathThe Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford HeathThe Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford HeathThe Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath





Below - Video of the tree swing remnants attached to bough - 1988. This was a favourite place for children to play.

Video left is 1988 and video right is 2002 - notice the density of the foliage in the 2002 take.

Play them side by side and see the differences

. . . . .

Below taken 1988 - original rope placed in the fork of an upper bough where children of the 1950s / 1960s swung out across the Dell. The black rope was the original.
No apologies for the soundtrack - put together in a moment of creative vacuum 20 years ago !

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below taken 2005 with additional ropes

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below the base of the tree

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

The Valley of the Dell - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath


Below - courtesy of Fred Perkins, same tree and taken many, many years ago in 1969.


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