Bradbourne Lakes in Sevenoaks, Kent

Situated in Kent’s Sevenoaks District, Bradbourne Lakes is an attractive village 20 miles (32 km) south-east of London and home to numerous independent schools – making it an attractive place to live. See more tips here.

Sevenoaks offers plenty of attractions and activities, from exploring its history to touring its historic houses and gardens – such as Knole House which was formerly used as a manor house.

Bradbourne Lakes are another must-see attraction in the village and offer an inviting natural landscaped area located within a conservation site that features several ponds and lakes for you to admire while walking or enjoying wildlife watching. 

These gorgeous surroundings make the Bradbourne Lakes ideal for walkers who appreciate natural settings as well as those who admire wildlife.

The Lakes offer an idyllic place to discover their surrounding wildlife while offering an ideal outdoor venue for various events, from family fun days and weddings to family reunions and more. 

Kent Wildlife Trust has joined Sevenoaks District Council in creating an ambitious vision plan commissioned by Sevenoaks District Council that celebrates the history, improves biodiversity, and encourages public access.

This plan seeks to enhance how people experience and utilise lakes by dredging, repairing edges, walls and ornamental features as needed, improving water quality and upgrading paths so as to make the site more accessible for users. 

Furthermore, Kent Wildlife Trust will employ an educational engagement officer who will deliver engaging events and activities tailored specifically for this community.

Bradbourne Lakes is a popular family destination, featuring an impressive range of facilities designed to entertain and delight children of all ages. Additionally, this venue provides various recreational activities like fishing, bird watching and horseback riding for its visitors.

The history of this magnificent estate began when the crown sold Bradbourne to Ralph Bosville in 1555. After his purchase, he consolidated his lands and made Bradbourne a country estate rather than a manor.

After his death, his nephew Henry Bosville took over and improved Bradbourne greatly. He acquired Blackhall, a neighbouring manor, in 1563 and this was an important acquisition. His son Ralph also enlarged his possessions by adding Brittens Farm to his portfolio. The two families became rivals.

Sir Ralph’s heir was the well known Francis Crawshay, a Welsh Iron Baron who owned coal mines and iron foundries. He was also a zealot and insisted on great stone monoliths and Druidical circles being erected within the grounds to keep the superstitious ‘locals’ out after dark. This is why we see the Bradbourne Tower (now a chapel), a tall stone building with a high doric column at its centre.

It is thought that the building may have originally been a private chapel, but when it was demolished it seems to have formed part of the house, as a large round window has been preserved. The building is often referred to as the Clockhouse, but its exact origin is unclear.

Bradbourne Lakes are a series of ornamental lakes laid out in the late 18th century by Henry Bosville, a reclusive landowner. They are now in the care of the Sevenoaks Urban Council and are open to the public for the enjoyment of visitors.

The lakes were created by a renowned water engineer and are no less impressive for the way they have been constructed with waterfalls, sluices and embanked stone verges. The five interconnected lakes cover a distance of a quarter of a mile making them no mean feat of water engineering.

Among the many features of the lake system are two separate arms which have been fed by limestone springs, while the eastern arm is fed by streams. 

It is this that makes the eastern arm the best place to see the spectacular display of water lilies which cover the waters in June and July, with flowering times dependent on how warm the weather is and the type of plants which grow there.

The Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks is another great idea if your are visiting the local area.

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