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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Last Minute Changes / News

High spring - cow parsley, buttercups and hawthorn blossom - see Nature Blog 

Holiday/Advance Tickets (see listings below):
17 June Bruton (Somerset) Circular or from Castle Cary (via Hauser & Wirth Gallery) Advance train tickets now available!
12-13 August Peak District Weekend consider booking accommodation now -- Cheap Advance Tickets now available to book for 12 August -- Recommend booking ASAP as cheaper tickets are limited.  Book the 8:58 AM East Midlands Train from London St. Pancras arriving in Sheffield at 10:59.  Book a return ticket that suits your plans -- but recommend a later train on whichever day you choose to return.  A full walk post for the Saturday/Sunday will be posted later this evening (29 May).

Friday, 15 September 2017

Oslo at National Theatre

Direct from Broadway, nominated for 7 Tony awards including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play

Oslo tells the true story of two Norwegian diplomats who coordinated top secret talks and inspired seemingly impossible friendships.  Their quiet heroics led to the ground breaking Oslo Peace Accord between Israel and Palestine.

To book, please click here.  Tickets £18-65.  Pre-Theatre F&B will be posted in due course.  Expect the show to sell out, so recommend to book early.   

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Peak District Weekend

SWC 266 PLUS map led Peak District Routes T=SWC.266

Following on from the successful launch of SWC 266 Sheffield to Bamford last year, this is an advanced post for it again this year during the height of the Peak District heather season on Saturday 12 August PLUS a map-led Kinder Scout walk (a Peak District classic) on Sunday 13 August and a possible further map-led walk on the Monday for those interested in a long weekend in the Peak District.  This advanced post is being made to give people the chance to secure accommodation if they would like to stay over on the Saturday and possibly the Sunday night.  Since the train times and tickets are not yet available, it is recommended to book something which can be cancelled in the event that there is a problem with the trains.  A full walk post and details for train tickets will follow in due course.  Meanwhile, any questions please email goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.
For those wishing to stay over for 1 or 2 nights, it is recommended to spend the night in Edale which is where the Kinder Scout route will start.  However, accommodation is pretty sparse and is already starting to book out for August weekends!  I have listed a couple places below which appear promising – but please note that I have not contacted each of them – so cannot guarantee availability on the required date(s). There are also bound to be some other smaller B&B’s nestled around the Edale area which may require a bit of further digging to find.  If unable to secure accommodation in Edale, one of the other villages along the Hope Valley train line (Bamford, Hathersage or Hope) would work alright, as there should be a train to Edale on the Sunday morning. 

The Rambler Inn --

The Ollerbrookbarn --
YHA --

Mam Tor House --  +1433 670 253
Western House B&B -- +1433 670 014

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Saturday Walk - Bruton Circular or from Castle Cary (via Hauser & Wirth Somerset) [New Walk] [Early Start]

New Walk, we'll take the opportunity to check the walk directions.

Length: 25.1 km (15.7 mi) [longer and shorter walks possible, see pdf for details]
Ascent/Descent: 472m; Net Walking Time: 6 ½ hours
Toughness:  8/10       

Another walk far away, with advantages for early bookers (Advance Ticket Prices at time of posting are as quoted below). Start either from Bruton (longer journey with some waiting time in Westbury [but with a decent waiting room with hot drinks]) or from Castle Cary (this makes for a longer walk, but you’ll probably meet the Bruton starters along the way due to the earlier start).

Take the 08.35 Paignton train from Paddington (09.03 Reading), change at Westbury (arr. 09.56, dep. 10.37) to arrive Bruton 10.58 (£20.00) or stay on the train past Westbury to arrive Castle Cary 10.16 (£16.50).

Return trains from Bruton (which is a very nice place to while away some time):
18.02 via Castle Cary (46 mins wait, 500m to a pub), dep. CC 18.53, arr. Paddington 20.37; £20.00.
19.01 via Castle Cary (41 mins wait, 500m to a pub), dep. CC 19.47, arr. Paddington
21.36; £20.00.
19.40 via Westbury (16 mins wait) and Swindon (8 mins wait), arr. Paddington
22.23; £20.00. 
21.29 via Bath Spa (22 mins wait), arr. Paddington 00.33; £16.50.       

This excursion is centred on the remote Somerset town of Bruton, with its honey-coloured stone-built cottages, a large dovecote on a mound overlooking the townscape and a fine selection of lunch and tea options. It leads through a scenic South Somerset landscape of narrow steep-sided valleys and coombes with some fast flowing streams and rivers, with the route dipping in and out of the Brue, Alham and Pitt valleys. From the rolling hilltops you get some far views across to the range forming the boundary with Wiltshire and Dorset, with the local landmark Alfred’s Tower, a folly, on top of it.
The route leads close to the renowned art gallery Hauser & Wirth Somerset, and a short version of the walk (16.2 km/10.1 mi, rated 3/10) leaves enough time for an extended visit to it and/or its fascinating bar and restaurant (exhibition at time of walk: Rashid Johnson).
The recommended lunch stop on the main walk is a fine country inn in Batcombe.
A start from Castle Cary (with faster and more frequent trains) adds about 50 minutes of walking. 

Lunch: The Three Horseshoes Inn (8.9 km/5.5 mi) on the full walk, and any of four choices in Bruton (7.1 km/4.4 mi, see pdf for details) and the Roth Bar & Grill  at Hauser & Wirth (8.0 km/5.0 mi) on the short walk (pre-booking recommended at the Roth). Tea/Dinner: Roth Bar & Grill (as above), Cole Manor Tea Rooms in Cole hamlet (2.6 km from the end), or The Godminster Farm Shop near the station or any of five choices in Bruton (see pdf for details). 
For summary, route map, height profile, photos, walk directions  and gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.284

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Kelvedon Circular

Kelvedon Circular
SWC Walk 216
Toughness 3/10
Length: 16.3 or 19.3 or 23.2 km  = 10.1 or 12 or 14.4 miles.
Highlights of this Essex walk include stretches of the Blackwater river, old mills, medieval abbey buildings, and Grange Barn, said to be the oldest timber-framed building in Europe. The town of Coggeshall has over 300 listed buildings, many of them medieval, including Paycockes (a 15th C merchants house). The length can be adjusted by missing out or shortening a morning loop that takes you past Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum.
Take the 10:02 Ipswich train from Liverpool Street, arriving Kelvedon at 11:00.
Return trains at xx:41.
There are many options in Coggeshall, see the walk notes. Some of the pubs (eg Chapel Inn, Woolpack) are ancient.
If doing the full walk you could also visit Bouchier’s Barn CafĂ© at Marks Hall (01376 563 796).
The Sun Inn, Feering Hill (01376 570 442) is recommended. There's also the earlier Bell Inn, in Feering,(01376 570 375) and the later Railway Tavern in Kelvedon. (01376 570293)
Things to visit 
If you want to look inside Grange Barn and Paycockes, combined admission is £7 (free for NT).
Marks Hall Gardens & Arboretum. Admission £6. (£5.50 for old-timers, RHS free)
Walk Directions here.

Petersfield to Liss

Petersfield to Liss Book 2, Walk 11.
17.2 km 11 miles (7 miles with shortcut)
Toughness 7/10

This walk takes you along the Hangers Way through unspoilt Hampshire countryside. There is a steep climb up Shoulder of Mutton Hill - with good views back - but you can take a longer gentler route up if you prefer. Later, there are good views down the other side, as is often the case with hills.
Trains:  Get the 09:30 Havant train from Waterloo (Clapham Jct. 09:39) arriving Petersfield 10:39.
Trains return from Liss at xx:29. Get a return to Petersfield
Lunch: The walker-friendly Hawkley Inn in Hawkley (01730 827205)  Phoning advised.
Tea: There are several tea places in Liss. Some are said to be open on Sundays - check out the High Street.
The Whistlestop pub, just past the station, will be open. It has been fairly friendly in the past.
An earlier option, the Spreadeagle  is only slightly off the walk route, on the road into Liss from the cemetery (Farnham Road), near the junction with Hawkley Road).
Directions: available here or in book 2.
Note that the short walk option in the directions (option a) has no lunch stop. The detour described is not a right of way.
This suggestion, from the comments page, would shorten the afternoon and reduce the main walk's length to 7 miles. It isn't included in the walk text.
  • "Leave the Hawkley Inn and turn left onto the road instead of right, heading east. In 250m go straight across a T-junction and take the fenced footpath opposite between fields. In 350m turn right onto a lane, rejoining the main walk between [8] & [9], just after you would have passed a house called Uplands. Pick up the book directions at "In 200m you go steeply downhill..." 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Ash Vale to Worplesdon

Ash Vale to Worplesdon - SWC Walk 136
12.4 miles/19.8km

The Basingstoke Canal, Ash Ranges (remote, hilly MOD land with unrestricted access), Cobbett Hill and Whitmoor Common.

Trains: Take the 9:23 Alton train from London Waterloo, arriving at Ash Vale at 10:14.  If you miss this train, catch the 9:30 Portsmouth Harbour train and change at Woking.
Return trains from Worplesdon are at xx40.  Buy a return to Ash Vale, you may also need a single from Worplesdon to Woking at the end of the walk.

Lunch: The Royal Oak, Stanford Common, Pirbright, a popular village pub, reached after 11.6km, food served all day. Tel: 01483 232466.

Later stops at Perry Hill, Worplesdon (15.5km into the walk) are the White Lyon and Dragon, a pub and Thai restaurant, and the Worplesdon Place Pub and Rooms.

The Jolly Farmer, Whitmoor Common, Worplesdon is 17.5km into the walk and requires a small detour, but has a beautiful setting.

Sutton Valence to Pluckley - a gentle section of the Greensand Way

SWC Walk 151 - Sutton Valence to Pluckley
Length 17.1km (11 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10: mostly flat but high up, with a few hills

9.40 train from Charing Cross (9.43 Waterloo East, 9.49 London Bridge) to Headcorn, arriving 10.45. Buy a day return to Pluckley.

** At Headcorn, go quickly to the station forecourt for the 10.49 number 12 Maidstone-bound* bus which takes 12 minutes to Sutton Valence (Kings Head stop: the bus climbs a long steep hill up to the village and Kings Head is the first stop) 
           - Don't get on a Tenterden bus by mistake: this calls at 10.39 from the same stop but is sometimes late. 
           - If you miss this bus, there are usually some taxis at Headcorn and the fare for four of you to Sutton Valence would probably be competitive with the bus fare, which was £3.50 last time I looked.

For walk directions click hereFor GPX file click here.

This is a very nice outing along a pleasant section of the Greensand Way - it follows the GSW throughout, though waymarking is not always wonderful. There are a few apple orchards, a mansion house that turns out to be a women's prison, lots of fine escarpment views, and some ancient old churches. This is generally just nice Kentish countryside.

This walk had only had one Saturday outing in 2015 when one of the two lunch pubs, the George in Egerton, closed. It has now been resurrected as the Barrow House - a gastro pub but not unfriendly. They take bookings for lunch but serve food in the bar all afternoon, they tell me.

An earlier option (3.3 miles into the walk versus 7.3 miles for the Barrow House) is the wonderful Pepper Box Inn. Being wonderful means it is often booked inside and I am not sure they would respond well to a great phalanx of walkers arriving at once. But they do have plenty of outside tables which are not reserved, and provided you don't alarm them with numbers this is a nice place to eat.

If you have not had lunch there, the Barrow House has a nice sofa area for tea. Otherwise, tea options are the Black Horse pub in Pluckley or - after 6pm - the Dering Arms by Pluckley station. The latter is a high-falutin seafood restaurant but does actually have a very nice bar area with sofas and is usually happy to serve tea.

Both these are on the walk route, but 1km off it, just before Pluckley, is the lovely Rose and Crown in Mundy Bois, a pub with an isolated rural location - fields lie all around it - and a nice garden: directions are not provided for this, but you turn right at the ditch junction in paragraph 109, then right at the house (Honey Farm) to come to a road/track, and turn left on this to follow it down to a T-junction, with the pub ahead of you. You would need to retrace your steps after leaving the pub.

Trains back from Pluckley go at 08 and 38 past till late.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Pink Floyd Exhibition - Their Mortal Remains at V&A

This is the first international retrospective of one of the world’s most iconic and influential bands.  

Experience an unprecedented, innovative and multi-sensory journey through Pink Floyd's extraordinary worlds, chronicling the music, design and staging of the band, from their debut in the 1960s through to the present day.

Advance booking is highly recommended as tickets are likely to be sold out near the time.  To book, please click here.  Book 18:30 time slot.  Meet at the entrance to the exhibition 5 mins beforehand. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wednesday Walk - Haslemere to Midhurst via Temple of the Winds & Henley (Short Version)

Length: 19.3 km (12.0 mi) [longer walk possible]
Ascent/Descent: approx. 600/714m; Net Walking Time: 5 ½ hours
Toughness:  7/10                       
Note: The above details apply to the shortened walk, walking both the morning and afternoon shortcuts. Consult the pdf for details of the longer versions.

Take the 10.00 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo (10.25 Woking, 10.34 G’ford), arrives Haslemere 10.48. From Clapham J take the 09.52 stopping service (arrives H’mere 10.45).
Return to Haslemere from Midhurst either by bus number 70 (roughly hourly, £4.90 fare in 2016, last dep. 19.05) or by taxi.  
Return trains from Haslemere are on xx.02 (last at 21.02), xx.15, xx.32 (last at 21.32) and xx.39 (last at 19.39), journey time from 48 to 66 mins.

From the medieval town well in Haslemere to the stocks and pillory in Midhurst, this walk is a journey partially in the footsteps of a poet. It gently climbs the highest point in Sussex (the Black Down), and then drops steeply to traverse a valley along a roller coaster of a path through some light woods before entering more thickly planted pine forests, allegedly haunted by the ghost of the last wild bear killed in England. After lunch in the idyllic hamlet of Henley at a pub boasting views back to the Temple of the Winds, the route again gently climbs a second hill offering stunning views back across your journey of the morning before a long descent into Midhurst across the Cowdray Estate with the mighty South Downs ahead, passing by the intriguing ruins of Cowdray House en route where various historic figures of note were either voluntary visitors or held captive prior to execution.

Lunch: The Duke of Cumberland Arms  in Henley (12.8 km/8.0 mi, food to 14.00), or The Kings Arms  a little earlier on a 1 km diversion (11.9 km/7.4 mi, food to 14.30).
Tea: lots of choice in Midhurst (see the pdf for details), recommended are Cowdray Farm Shop & Cafe (2 km from the end), Garton’s Coffee House, The Wheatsheaf, The Angel Inn and The Olive & Vine.

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here.T=swc.263.c
Nxet Week: Stonegate to Battle