Further details on walks - 2010

Sunday 7th February - Extra Walk 5: Wadhurst Circular via Bewl Water

13km (8 miles). Toughness: 5/10

Trains: From London Bridge 9:58, via Orpington, arrive Wadhurst 10:52 (N.B. Train does NOT call at Waterloo East). Return trains are 28 and 58 past the hour.

The area around Wadhurst is one of the prettiest parts of the Weald – a place of hidden valleys, ancient woods, and quaint old farms which feels far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This walk, which only overlaps with the Wadhurst Circular walk in Time Out Country Walks book two in its last two miles, gives you a perfect introduction to it. Starting at Wadhurst station, it follows the Sussex Border Path to lunch at a pub in Cousley Wood, and then descends with fine panoramic views to Bewl Water, whose shore is open and unfenced unlike many other reservoirs, and which makes a fine spot to while away some time on a sunny day.

The pre-lunch section of the walk (2 ½ hours) will be in silence, arriving back in Wadhurst at approx 1.30pm for lunch. There are 2 or 3 pubs here including the White Hart (01892 782878) and The Greyhound (01892 783224). After lunch, there will be a further 45 minutes walk to get to the station.

Please note these walks are self led.

Walk report

Sunday 7th March - Sole Street Circular [variation of Book 2 Walk 17, Snodland to Sole Street]

13.5 km (8.4 miles)

10.23 from London Cannon Street (London Bridge 10.27), arriving Sole Street 11.10.

This walk was originally posted in January during the snow and due to an inaccurate weather forecast and unfounded fears of travel problems, was largely aborted in favour of a Richmond Park ramble.

Since most walking terrain is waterlogged at present, this Kent walk might be a good choice since a lot of it is on chalk (that's the theory anyway!). The morning section follows a tranquil route, some of it along the Weald Way to link up with the Snodland to Sole Street directions near Harvel. It's in a quiet, mostly unpopulated area with the advantage of being only a short journey from central London. There is no toughness rating given but from memory I'd guess it's about a 4 out of 10.

The first section of the walk instructions need to be downloaded and you will find them in the Book 2 Walks section under 17 Snodland to Sole Street (go to downloads towards the bottom of the page).

The suggested lunch place is the Amazon and Tiger in Harvel. On Sunday it serves roasts and a less extensive standard menu until 4pm. Groups of more than eight should phone in advance. Virtually anywhere along the route would be a good picnic spot. The suggested tea place is the Cock Inn in Henley Street. However strangely, they have stopped serving tea (although they do serve coffee).

Return trains are 17 past the hour back to London Bridge and Cannon Street.

Walk report

Sunday 11th April - Extra Walk 78 Cowden to Hever

16.25 Km (10.1 miles) 3 out of 10 toughness

10.22 from London Victoria [East Grinstead Train], calling at Clapham Junction 10.29, arriving Oxted 11.12. Change trains [quickly] for the 11.18 [Uckfield Train] to Cowden, arriving 11.35. Buy a return to Cowden.

Return trains from Hever are 48 past the hour, changing at Oxted (journey time of one hour).

This walk will provide you with no less than two castles (Chiddingstone and Hever) and an NT property (the beautiful Penshurst Place). A remote start in away-from-it-all Cowden leads you through the Kent Weald and down into the Eden Valley to end at Hever. The suggested lunch stop is Penshurst (7km into the walk) where there is a choice of pub (The Leicester Arms Hotel) or delightful tea shop/cafe (Quaintways). From there it is 5.5 km to Chiddingstone for tea and a further 3.75 km back to Hever. There are several shorter options if required.

Walk report

Sunday 9th May - Extra Walk 1a Lenham to Hollingbourne

14.5km (9 miles) 3 out of 10 toughness

9.45 London Victoria arriving Lenham 11.00 (calling at Bromley South at 10.01). Return trains are 7 minutes past the hour, [journey time 1 hr 11 minutes]. Buy a day return to Lenham.

This is a gentle Kent North Downs walk, on little used footpaths. There are some spectacular bluebell woods in the first half which last year (on 3 May) were absolutely stunning. Fingers crossed the bluebells will be still be blooming in their full glory this weekend. There is a very good reason for not doing this walk last weekend which is when 1000 other people also do it, as part of an annual sponsored charity walk. We met them last year going in the opposite direction and good humour wore thin after the 100th person quipped about us going in the wrong direction. The suggested lunch pub is the Blacksmiths Arms Wormshill ME9 0TU (01622 884386) which is almost exactly halfway along the route. Please note the food information on their website is not up to date and they no longer offer the bar snack menu, only main meals. [There is also the earlier option of the Ringlestone Inn Harrietsham 6 km from the start of the walk]. Last year some people picnicked in a conveniently situated field close to the Blacksmiths Arms and some will be doing so again this year. Tea is at the delightful village of Hollingbourne.

Walk report

Sunday 30th May - Book 1 Walk 44 Witley to Haslemere

15.5km (9.6 miles) 2 out of 10 toughness

10.00 train from London Waterloo arriving 10.59 Witley (calling at Clapham Junction at 10.09 and Woking at 10.32) Return trains from Haslemere are twice hourly at 17 and 42 past.

The morning section of this walk passes Combe Court manor house and its fifteenth-century farmhouse to end up in the medieval village of Chiddingfold for lunch at the Crown Inn (01428 682 255). After Lunch the walk is through National Trust land ending in Haslemere High Street for tea.

Walk report

Sunday 27th June - Book 2 Walk 23 Hassocks to Devil's Dyke or Upper Beeding

8km (5 miles) or 16.1km ( 10 miles)

Trains: 9.42 from London Bridge arriving Hassocks 10.35. If travelling from London Victoria: 9:32 (Clapham Junction 9.37) arriving at East Croydon 9.47. Change trains at East Croydon for the 9.54 for the Hassocks train.

Buy a day return to Brighton for the Devil's Dyke option or a day return to Shoreham-by-Sea (NOT Shoreham in Kent) for the Upper Beeding option.

A breezy South Downs walk with a sea option at the end, perfect for a summer day so let's hope we have one on the 27th! The pre lunch silent section of this walk makes a complete outing in itself. It is a three hour strenuous hike with steep ascents and descents ending at the dramatic Devil's Dyke with panoramic views of the south downs and beyond. After a picnic or lunch at the spacious and popular (often crowded ) "Devil's Dyke" pub (01273 857 256) there is a convenient and regular Sunday only bus service into Brighton for swimming, lying on the beach (weather permitting), hostelries, retail therapy in the Lanes etc.

If you want to carry on to Upper Beeding from where you catch a bus to Shoreham- by-Sea, it is a further 5 miles and estimated 2.5 hours walking time.

Walk report

Sunday 25th July - Book 2 Walk 24 Lewes to Rottingdean (Variation of Book 2 Walk 24 Lewes via Rodmell circular)

7 Miles (11.2km)

Buy a £5 Oyster promotion return ticket to Lewes which will be valid for return from Brighton (last day of promo today!).

9.47 London Victoria (9.52 Clapham Junction, 10.02 East Croydon) arriving 10.48 Lewes. Journey time one hour one minute direct.

Starting on the flat plains of the river Ouse with its magnificent views, the route climbs up to a lesser known part of the south downs leading to the attractive sea front village of Rottingdean. Seaviews are to be had on parts of the walk plus a good swimming spot at Rottingdean. From there there is the option of regular buses or a sea front walk into Brighton from where there is a regular train service back to London. Bring a picnic lunch or else wait until Rottingdean where there is a good selection of pubs and teashops.

Instructions need to be downloaded from the website. You will also need the first page of the book instructions from Book 2 Lewes Via Rodmell Circular.

Walk report

Sunday 22nd August - Extra Walk #90 Berwick to Exceat or Seaford

14.9km (9.3 miles) or Seaford 21.1km (13.1 miles

Toughness 7 out of 10.

Take the 10.06 from London Victoria to Brighton, arriving Brighton 11.00 and change there for the 11.20 to Berwick, arriving 11.43. Return trains from Seaford to London Victoria, changing at Brighton are 57 and 27 past the hour (journey time approx 1hr 35). Check at ticket office for which ticket to buy - a day return to Berwick may be acceptable.

Highlights of this walk are climbs up two of the most beautiful hills in the South Downs, both of them affording panoramic views. The first of these is Windover Hill behind Wilmington, on which is found the chalk figure of the Long Man of Wilmington - seen at close quarters on this walk. The second is High and Over, a dramatic vantage point above the Cuckmere River, with views down towards Cuckmere Haven and the sea. Before and between these two hills are two fairly flat sections - one approaching the South Downs ridge from the north, and the other along the pretty valley of the Cuckmere River south of Alfriston. Both Wilmington and Alfriston have wonderful pubs for lunch, though in the latter village you may prefer to sample one of its two tea rooms. The walk ends at the Golden Galleon pub by Exceat Bridge, from where there are very regular buses back to Seaford. Or you can walk to Seaford via Cuckmere Haven and then over the cliffs of Seaford Head, a beautiful 6.2km (3.9 miles) extension, with stunning backward views of the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters. Swimmers can choose between Cuckmere Haven (a wonderfully scenic swimming spot 3 hours either side of high tide) or Seaford, an unremarkable but reliable swimming beach at all times of day.

Download the walk directions here.

Walk report

Sunday 19th September - Extra Walk #5 Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular

12.7 km (7.9 miles)

Toughness 4 out of 10.

[Hastings train] 10.16 Waterloo East (10.21 London Bridge) arriving 11.24 Wadhurst Return trains 37 and 05 past the hour. Buy a cheap day return to Wadhurst.

When this Weald walk was done back in February the general consensus was that it was a real gem and well worth the one and a quarter hour train journey. In autumn the impressive Bewl Water reservoir should be looking even more beautiful. The route follows the Sussex Border Path to Bewl Water, and then follows the reservoir banks back to Wadhurst village. The suggested lunch stop, the Gastro Pub, The Old Vine, is 3 miles into the walk. However it's perfectly feasible to do the two and a quarter hour walk from the start to the Hart pub (food served until 2.30pm) in Wadhurst Village which made a very good alternative lunch stop last time. From there it is approximately 2 miles to the finish. Hidden valleys, picturesque farms and gentle gradients, in, according to the author of the walk, "one of the prettiest parts of the Weald".

Download instructions here.

Walk report

Sunday 17th October - Extra Walk #57 Guildford via Chantries Hill Circular

15 km (9.3 miles)

Toughness 2 out of 10.

10.00am from London Waterloo (calling at Clapham Junction 10.09) arriving Guildford 10.40. Make sure you catch this fast train and not a stopping service which will take ages.

An attractive walk through varied scenery, that takes in the River Wey Navigation, a climb up the North Downs, climbs up to several Surrey viewpoints, mixed woodland and open fields. Much of it is familiar territory, being a combination of two other walks in the area from Books 1 and 2, with the addition of the new Chantries Hill section which promises "glorious golden beech woods in autumn".

The suggested lunch stop is The Villagers (01483 893 152) in Blackheath, approximately halfway into the walk. Booking is essential and feedback is requested by walk checkers! There is also the option of the Percy Arms close by. There are several tea options in Guildford, one being Debenhams cafe on the riverside.

Download walk instructions here. Silent walks are every fourth Sunday, next one Nov 14th.

For further information on silent walks see www.silentwalks.org.uk

Walk report

Sunday 14th November - Walk 20 Milford to Godalming

17.9km (11.1 miles)

Toughness 6 out of 10.

Take the 10am train from Waterloo arriving Milford 10.55 (calling at Woking 10.32).

Return trains are 56 past the hour to London Waterloo, journey time 48 minutes direct.

This is the perfect time of year to do this classic book one walk, the highlight of which is the beautiful Winkworth Arboretum which will be in full autumn colour. The walk also takes in part of the Greensand way in the morning and ends with a riverside route into the attractive town of Godalming. The suggested lunchtime stop is the White Horse pub in Hascombe, which serves food until 2.30pm. There is also the option of a later lunch for those who like a good stretch before lunch, at the Winkworth Arboretum National Trust café. There are several good tea options.

Walk report

Sunday 12th December - Book 2 Walk 1a Wendover Circular via Cross Coppice shortcut.

13.5km (8.4 miles)

Take the 10.27 train from London Marylebone arriving Wendover 11.14. Return trains are hourly at 13 minutes past, journey time 52 minutes direct.

This energetic walk serves as a fine introduction to the Chiltern Hills, passing through woodland, hidden vales and fields with some great views thrown in.

A good lunch time stop is The Plough in Lower Cadsden, a short diversion from the walk route (the suggested lunch time pub, The Rising Sun is now closed). The Plough serves food midday to 2pm daily; groups of more than 15 people should book (tel 01844 343302). Alternatively there are plenty of picnic spots on this walk. Due to the short daylight hours and the later start (9.30am trains from Marylebone aren’t popular on a Sunday:), a picnic lunch may be a good option. There are several tea options in Wendover.

Chris L has kindly provided the following instructions for the diversion to the Plough (adds a total of 1.6km to the total walk length). Please note these instructions have been written from a map, however they are likely to be trustworthy:

Don’t forget the walks are self led so please bring the instructions with you!

Walk report

Walk Reports

Sunday 10 January, Book 2 Walk 17 (variant), Sole Street Circular

6 intrepid walkers (4 on the early train, 2 on the later one) defied the threatened blizzards and enjoyed a perfect, trouble-free, winter walk in about 12cm of snow, which was freshened by some light flurries in the afternoon. The Amazon & Tiger provided a good lunch for those eating in the pub, and the trains ran on time. Sorry to disappoint anyone hoping to read another horror story of lost walkers stranded by cancelled trains!

Sunday 7 February Wadhurst Circular

10 on this walk. Some muddy stretches at the start but rewarded by a very beautiful and tranquil Bewl Water which was very still and refected the light grey sky. We managed to pass the Vine without calling in for swift half, to reach Wadhurst and the White Hart - a proper local pub with good food at modest prices. (£7.95 for sea bass) This is a very attractive part of Kent and worth the time / cost from London.

Sunday 7 March, Book 2 Walk 17 variation, Sole Street Circular, Silent Walk.

About 16 on this fine walk. Most now seem to prefer the Sole Street start to the Book 2 start in Snodland. Sunday was sunny but very cold, only 1.5 deg C at 11:00 am with a cold wind across this very rural part of Kent with its open fields and secret valleys. Those at the front set off at a pace and got to Amazon & Tiger in good time to find tables for lunch. The A&T does not accept reservations but gives good value with its small, medium and large roasts. Some got a bit lost and two got a later train due to ticket machine problems at London Bridge. However, all were reunited at the pub and strolled back to Sole St in a more relaxed manner. The Railway Inn seems much more friendly now and serves mint tea.

Sunday 11 April, Extra Walk 78 Cowden to Hever

25 people on this silent (in the morning) Cowden to Hever outing, a delightful walk in perfect sunny weather.

Sunday 9 May, Extra Walk 1a Lenham to Hollingbourne

15 on this cold and overcast May day. The Blacksmith Arms told us it was full when we phoned, but the excellent Ringlestone Inn was happy to take a booking for 8 and in the event about 11 had lunch there. It is probably the better lunch stop and although only 6 Km into the walk you have done the climbing and its mostly down hill in the afternoon. Sadly the pie and a pint for £10 offer was not available but the food was good and served reasonably promptly. After lunch some took a taxi to the station but those who walked on through the long wet grass and muddy fields were rewarded with the spectacular view as you come over the ridge above Hollingbourne and a rather refined tea with little cakes in the Dirty Habit PH in the village.

Sunday 30 May, Book 1 Walk 44 Witley to Haslemere

Around 15 people on this lovely walk though woodland and meadows filled with flowers. The weather was sunny and slightly breezy, perfect for walking. A few of us decided to forego the recommended lunchtime pub, the Crown Inn in Chiddingfold, and instead sat outside at a very nice cafe on the green, just a few metres away. The tea stop was at the TO favourite, Darnleys in Haslemere. A really enjoyable day out.

Sunday 27 June, Book 2 Walk 23 Hassocks to Devil's Dyke or Upper Beeding

A small band of 6 on this one. We had a lovely (albeit sweltering) time clambering up hill and down dale ending in a picnic at the top of the Dyke within view of a conveniently placed ice cream van. Due to a certain event taking place at 3pm it was uncharacteristically and delightfully quiet up there. After lunch we took the tourist open top bus down to Brighton beach which was as antipated very busy. However it was straight into the empty icy sea for two of us for a fabulously refreshing dip. Afterwards someone found a cool bar at a local nightclub for drinks before heading home.

Sunday 25 July, Lewes to Rottingdean

-lovely walk - rolling countryside, Rottingdean very quiet - some hardy souls went swimming...! - and all for a fiver! - 15 in total.

Sunday 22 August - Extra Walk #90 Berwick to Exceat or Seaford

Only 4 of us. We decided to abandon after 2 hours due to driving rain. It really was one of those days where the weather got the better of us, on what is a fairly exposed walk for the large part.

Sunday 19 September - Extra Walk #5 Wadhurst via Bewl Water circular

13 people enjoyed this pretty walk along the Sussex border path to the picturesque Bewl Water reservoir.

Sunday 17 October - Extra Walk #57 Guildford via Chantries Hill Circular

20 people. A gorgeous morning with very clear views of the Surrey hills and woods from St Martha's Church. Most people lunched at The Villagers, Blackheath, which lived up to its questioned reputation. It may have been Les Routiers in 2004 but food takes at least half an hour to serve, unless you order a crumble first, in which case you get served straightaway. Staff seem reasonably friendly.

Sunday 14th November - Book 1, Walk 20 Milford to Godalming

10 started the walk at the same time as the rain started falling. We didn't stop walking until we arrived at the Arboretum and went into the café there for lunch, which is when the rain also stopped. By this time one of us had realised that the cheap coat from Primark was not waterproof as promised and unfortunately neither were the expensive goretex ones worn by the rest of us. We were soaked through. Time to reproof maybe. 5 carried on the walk in the afternoon whilst 3 of us bailed out and got a lift to the station and I am not sure what happened to the other 2.

For all the wetness the views were still good with a lovely light, sort of classic rolling English countryside with some autumn colour still on the trees and the walk for all the mud and damp was thoroughly enjoyable.

As we passed St Peters Church at Hambledon in the morning I noticed that it has a notice outside stating that it is one of the best 1000 churches in England. Pity that we couldn't stop and have a look but there was a remembrance service going on. I resolve to stop next time and I'll keep my eye out for the other 999 best churches in England.

Sunday 12th December - Book 2 Walk 1a Wendover Circular via Cross Coppice shortcut.

6 people left the station for this walk and thus there was 'no chatting at the back'. As we were a small group and 'we thought that we could get away with it' we gave up the silent bit long before lunch. The weather was not too cold with wonderful winter sun throughout the first half of the walk making it quite warm and melting most of the frost. Views throughout the day were excellent and the walk through a mixture of fields and woods with a fair bit of up and down was a joy. The afternoon was a bit grey resulting in some of the worst mud ABSOLUTELY EVER meaning that our boots were leaden and when we 5 finally got to eat at the Leg Of Mutton by Wendover station it was a welcome relief to shrug them off before tucking into a late lunch. We don't know what happened to the sixth member of the group but he seemed happy enough making his way with instructions at his own pace. The Leg of Mutton comes recommended for fair food and fairly quick service. My kind of walk with a very short stroll, less than 300 metres, after lunch to the station.