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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

Monday, 5 November 2018

Last Minute Changes / News

The week of 10 to 16 December sees the earliest sunsets of the year (but NOT the shortest day) at 3.51pm. They then creep up to 3.55pm on 23 December and 4.01pm on 30 December. There is light for walking for 30 minutes after these times. Dawn continues to get slightly later until 1 January or so (8.06am): on 22 December the lighter evenings start to counteract the later dawns and the days start to get longer.

After the leaves have gone: the countryside in winter - see Nature Blog

2018 Plans - Brecon: 04-07 May (new walks); Scotland (Dornie): 28 May - 04 June (see below); Peak District: 18/19 August (SWC 302 & 303/304).

Monday, 28 May 2018

Scotland 2018.......Dornie

Preparations for Scotland 2018 are underway with a group of small cottages having been secured in Dornie -- a small village on the route to the Isle of Skye, not far from the Kyle of Loch Alsh or Glen Shiel and the famous Eileen Donan Castle. The trip will run from Monday 28 May for 7 nights.  For inquiries on availability in these cottages and/or the trip generally, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Caroline, Or Change at Hampstead Theatre

Following a sellout season at Chichester Festival Theatre, the production is transferred to Hampstead Theatre.  It has excellent reviews from all major press.  To book, please click here.  Pre-theatre F&B will be posted in due course.

1963. In quiet Lake Charles, Louisiana, the destruction of a Confederate statue might just signal that change is in the air… But, whatever the progress of the civil rights movement, in the Gellman household things seem just the same – for now at least.
Eight year old Noah, heartbroken by the death of his mother and his father’s remarriage, sneaks down to the basement to spend time with the black maid he idolises, Caroline Thibodeaux: Caroline who runs everything. Whilst the basement may seem a fantastical place - even the appliances have a voice of their own - Caroline’s work there is repetitive and badly paid. But when Mrs Gellman comes up with a way for her to take a little more money home, the consequences for Caroline and Noah’s relationship are not what anybody might have expected…

An Olivier Award winning musical with a hugely original, highly eclectic and uniquely American score, Caroline, or Change creates an uplifting and profound portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval.

★★★★★ Sunday Times | ★★★★★ Mail on Sunday | ★★★★★ The Telegraph ★★★★ The Guardian | ★★★★ The Times | ★★★★ Financial Times ★★★★ The Independent | ★★★★ Evening Standard | ★★★★★ The Stage

Friday, 2 February 2018

Network at National Theatre

Network depicts a dystopian media landscape where opinion trumps fact. Hilarious and horrifying by turns, the iconic film by Paddy Chayefsky won four Academy Awards in 1976. Now, Lee Hall (Billy ElliotOur Ladies of Perpetual Succour) and director Ivo Van Hove (Hedda Gabler) bring his masterwork to the stage for the first time, with Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) in the role of Howard Beale.

To book, please click here.  This will be a very popular play (expect to sell out and hence early posting) and recommend to book early to avoid disappointment.  Several walkers have booked circle seats.  Pre-theatre F&B will be posted near the time.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Saturday Walk - 1066 Country: Battle Circular

Length: 20.3 km (12.7 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  450 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness:  6 out of 10

Take the 09.15 Hastings train from Charing Cross, (09.18 W’loo East, 09.24 London Bridge, then Orpington, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge etc.), arriving Battle at 10.42
Return trains: 16.07, 16.44, 17.07, 17.37, 18.07, 18.37, then xx.07 hours (90 mins journey time).  

Long journey on – possibly – the slowest railway line in the south east to a walk through 1066-Country, centred on the charming town of Battle. Woods, Valleys, far views, fairly undulating, but well worth it.

Lunch: The White Hart in Catsfield (4.5 km/2.8 mi), The White Hart (food to 14.30) and the Netherfield Arms (food to14.00), both in Netherfield (13.5 km/8.4 mi).
For tea there’s lots of choice in Battle, first and foremost The Pilgrim’s Rest, but also plenty of cafés.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos, and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.30

Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year's Day Walk, South: Riddlesdown to Coulsdon South

A late(ish) start, and a very short journey from Central London, for your opening walk of 2018.
For a walk close to London and a pub open and serving lunch on NYD, the minor inconvenience of a 10 minute bus ride at the start of your journey home is hopefully acceptable to our New Year's Day Walkers, South. However, for those averse to replacement buses, you have the option of walking the short distance at walk-end to Coulsdon Town railway station for a twice an hour train service back to London (see below). 

Book 2, Walk 15 - Riddlesdown to Coulsdon South (with afternoon short cut)

Length: 12.5 km (7.8 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

London Victoria: 10-23 hrs (East Grinstead service) Clapham Junction: 10-29;  East Croydon: 10-40 hrs
Arrive Riddlesdown: 10-47 hrs

Return: Coulsdon South:  a 10 minute bus ride to Purley for a fast train service back to Victoria, via East Croydon and Clapham Junction, with buses leaving Coulsdon South every half hour at xx-28 and xx-58 (amusingly, a lone Thameslink train is currently shown as departing at 16-45 hrs; don't rely on it).

Alternatively, a short walk up Coulsdon High Street would bring you to Coulsdon Town station, with direct services to London Bridge via East Croydon at xx-03 and xx-33. Change at East Croydon for Victoria.

Rail ticket: all these stations are within TfL Zone 6.

For a walk on the outskirts of the London Borough Croydon, today's outing is surprisingly pleasant and almost rural as it passes through unspoilt countryside and ancient grazing lands and commons, with some lovely views both in the morning and in the afternoon.

Being New Year's Day I suggest you toast in the New Year with bubbly from one of the morning viewing points. I leave it to you to bring along the medicine and nibbles.

Your pub lunch stop is The Fox, Coulsdon Common, Caterham.  Now please read the next bit very carefully as I will write zis only 'vonce. I have reserved a table for 10 for 1 pm (which should leave you plenty of time to enjoy your mid-morning bubbly and get to the pub in time). Please 'phone ahead to confirm your actual numbers - the pub is aware the number booked may vary, and although they anticipate being very busy they will do their best to accommodate more of you, should that be the case. I will not be with you, as I am on the NYD Walk West, so I am relying on one of you NYD South walkers to contact the pub: tel: 01883-340737.  If for some reason travel disruption prevents the walk taking place, would one of you please 'phone the pub to cancel the booking.

After lunch I suggest you take the short cut to Chaldon, stopping at Chaldon Church to look at its historic murals. Then you head for Farthing Down for a lovely, long descent to Coulsdon South. Facilities are a bit sparse here, but please read the Directions for suggested refreshment places.  The short bus journey at the start of your journey home should not be too big a hassle.

For those wanting a longer walk, you have the option of doing the full Walk 15 of 16.8 km (10.4 miles).
Walk Directions are here: L=2.15

New Year's Day Walk, West: Cookham Circular

Book 1, Walk 24 - Cookham Circular

Cookham Dean, Winter Hill, return to Cookham via the Thames, option to continue in the dark to Maidenhead on the Thames path

Length - Cookham Circular: 11.3 km (7 miles)   Cookham to Maidenheasd: 17 km (10.6 miles)
Toughness (both): 3 out of 10  (more if muddy)

A short walk with a late start and a late lunch - to see in the New Year in a relaxing way.

London Paddington: 10-37 hrs   Didcot Parkway service.  Ealing Broadway 10-45 hrs
Arrive Maidenhead: 11-24 hrs
Leave Maidenhead: 11-38 hrs   Marlow service
Arrive  Cookham: 11-45 hrs

Return: Cookham to Paddington:  21 mins past the hour
              Maidenhead to Paddington: 15 and 47 mins past the hour

Setting out from Cookham railway station we head through residential streets then over fields to Cookham Dean. Onwards then to Bisham Woods where we head uphill through the woods,  then along a ridge path to Winter Hill, to enjoy a fine view of the Thames Valley below. During the morning, as is customary on our NY Day walks, we will stop to toast in the New Year with some bubbles: if I bring the shampoo perhaps one of you could bring along some savoury nibbles to enjoy with our liquid refreshment.
We then have a lengthy descent to Cock Marsh for a walk alongside the Thames all the way back to the centre of Cookham, for a late, unhurried lunch at the Kings Arms.  I have made a booking for a number of our usual NY Day regulars.
Lunch over, it will be dark, so those happy with just the morning's exertions should head through the town for the railway station for a return journey to London.  If you don't hurry lunch your likely train will be the 17-21 hrs service.
The adventurous can embark on a 3.6 mile moonlight walk to Maidenhead. Once on the Thames path your way should be perfectly safe and straightforward in the dark. A torch might be handy for the short woodland section before you reach this path.

Our New Year's Days Walks, North or West are usually enjoyable occasions.
The Walk Directions are here:  L=1.24

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Saturday Walk - A Canal, a Tidal Harbour, a Sandy Beach: Chichester to West Wittering (New Lipchis Way)

Length:  20.1 km (12.5 mi) 
Ascent/Descent:  negligible; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ¼ hours
Toughness:  2 out of 10 

Take the 09.35 train from Victoria to Portsmouth & Southsea and Bognor Regis (CJ 09.42, EC 09.53), arrives Chichester 11.04. You need to be in the front part of the train.
Return: buses #52 or #53 (about 4 an hour); trains: xx.41 and xx.10 to 18.10, after that still 2 per hour but on different timings (from 89 minutes journey time).  
Buy a Chichester return

This is an easy walk along the final section of the New Lipchis Way. It starts in the historic cathedral town of Chichester and heads south, inland at first along a quiet canal, then a disused section of canal teaming with wildlife, then via the shoreline of Chichester's tidal harbour to West Wittering's wide sandy beach and East Head - a very pretty sand spit at the harbour entrance. Return to Chichester is by frequent bus.
The New Lipchis Way runs from Liphook to Chichester and is waymarked on OS maps. This is its final section. It has been adopted by Chichester Council, and is well waymarked.

Lunch: The Ship Inn in West Itchenor (10.1 km/6.3 mi, food to 14.30). Tea: Old House at Home.

For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=swc.167

Friday, 29 December 2017

Friday walk: Oxford Circular - Port Meadow, Rivers Isis and Cherwell, and University Colleges

Book 1, Walk 13 - Oxford Circular

Length: 15.2 km (9.4 miles)  or 11.3 km (7 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10 (more if muddy)

London Marylebone:  10-06 hrs    Oxford service
Arrive Oxford: 11-09 hrs

Return: Oxford to Marylebone:  15-43, 16-11, 16-43 and 17-41 hrs
             Oxford to Paddington: 15-31, 16-01, 16-31, 17-01, 17-30 and 18-01 hrs

This is an easy, relaxing walk which in the morning takes us on the flat over Port Meadow via the River Isis to the village of Wolvercote, where we will stop for lunch in the "library" of the cosy Plough Inn.
After lunch, we set off along the Oxford canal back towards the centre of Oxford. Those happy with a short(ish) walk today, particularly if the weather is inclement, stay on the canal tow path all the way back to the railway station.  Those wanting a longer walk can divert from the canal to Wolfson College to then follow the Walk Directions for a walk on an often muddy path beside the River Cherwell to the University Parks. Here, you can either embark on the Tour of the University Colleges (recommended if time and daylight permits) or you can head back through town to the railway station. Again, you don't have to decide until you reach the Parks.
Walk Directions are here: L=1.13

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Walk to be decided

There will be a walk on this day too - something nice and cosy and close to London.

Details to follow nearer the time

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Wednesday Walk - Sandy to Biggleswade or Circular

Length:  19.6 km (12.2 mi)  [26.1/16.3 for the circular walk]
Ascent/Descent:  146/140 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours [5 ¼ for the circular walk]
Toughness:  3 out of 10 
Take the 10.22 train from King’s Cross to Peterborough (Finsbury Park [Victoria and Piccadilly Lines] 10.28, Stevenage 10.47), arrives Sandy 11.08.
Return trains: 15.54, 16.20, 16.54, 17.19, 17.57, 18.32 etc. (from 43 minutes journey time, trains leave Sandy 4 minutes earlier). Buy a Sandy return ticket.

This Bedfordshire walk, although leading through an area of large arable fields, is no slogging through crops or over ploughed land . The walk is mainly flat and before lunch mainly follows the Greensand Ridge Walk. The route is a mix of attractive broad grassy tracks along field edges and woodland trails. Along the way you will see a number of information boards telling you about the animals, trees and plants you may see around you. Binoculars are useful as the area is rich in bird-life and a healthy population of muntjac deer and brown hares. You visit two lovely villages – Northill and Old Warden – which both have excellent pubs. Just after lunch follows a short climb into Warden Warren woods. There are no stiles on the main walk or the long circular walk back to Sandy.

Lunch: The Crown in Northill (5.3 km/3.3 mi) or The Hare and Hounds  in Old Warden (12.1 km/7.5 mi, food to 14.30). Tea: Various options, recommended is the Surfin' Cafe .

For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=swc.264

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Boxing Day walk

Chiltern Railways are running a Boxing Day service.

A walk in the Chilterns will be posted nearer to Christmas.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Saturday Walk – A Wandle wander (Mitcham Junction to Colliers Wood)

Extra Walk 273 – Mitcham Junction to Colliers Wood
Length: Up to 14¾ km (9.2 miles). Toughness: 1/10

10:47 Epsom train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:54, Balham 11:00), arriving Mitcham Junction (TfL Zone 4) at 11:09. The alternative Thameslink service from central London isn't running but you could arrive by tram (every few minutes on Route 3, taking 12 minutes from Wimbledon or 15 minutes from East Croydon); however, be aware that although tram journeys are covered by a Travelcard, you have to pay extra on Oyster.

I'm not sure how much demand there will be for walks this weekend, but this shortish London one does at least give you plenty of drop-out points along the way if you need to finish early. In the morning you head south past a large area being transformed into a new nature reserve, then loop through Beddington Park to a lunch stop in Carshalton. The most convenient pub is The Sun but real ale fans won't want to miss a visit to The Hope. The afternoon leg follows the Wandle Trail, a riverside path taking in some attractive parkland and more local nature reserves, with tea available at the National Trust's Potting Shed café in Morden Hall Park. You can either finish here or complete the full walk past Merton Abbey Mills to Colliers Wood tube station (on the Northern line, in Zone 3).

You'll need to print the walk directions and maps from the Mitcham Junction to Colliers Wood Walk page.

Saturday Walk - Wendover to Great Missenden

Length:  21.6 km (13.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  360 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness:  6 out of 10 
Length:  16.4 km (10.2 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  290 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours
Toughness:  4 out of 10 
Take the 09.27 train from  Marylebone to Aylesbury (Harrow-on-the-Hill 09.39, Rickmansworth 09.49 etc.), arrives Wendover 10.15, for the full walk. Or the 09.57  Aylesbury Vale Parkway service, if walking the short version. Return trains: xx.02 and xx.32 hours (48 minutes journey time). Buy a Wendover return ticket.

This walk combines some of the finest elements of the Chiltern Hills, while having very little overlap with other walks in the area. After leaving Wendover in a south easterly direction on the Ridgeway the walk rises into woods. It then passes along fields to get to the picturesque green in The Lee, a conservation area village. From there it continues through woodland and the beautiful Lee Common to a 16th century lunch pub at Swan Bottom. The afternoon offers constantly changing scenery. It completely avoids settlements and roads, mostly following grassy fields, while still passing through a variety of varied and characterful woods. Several beautiful valleys are crossed in between and the finish is a scenic descent into Great Missenden.

Lunch:  Cock and Rabbit Inn with its reassuringly (or frighteningly, depending on your perspective) traditional Graziemille Restaurant (7.3 km/4.6 mi) or The Old Swan in Swan Bottom (10.0 km/6.2 mi, food to 14.30).

For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=swc.140.b

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Wednesday Walk: Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill and Verulamium

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10 (more when muddy)

London Euston: 09-54 hrs   Northampton service
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-09 hrs
Leave Watford Junction: 10-24 hrs  St Albans Abbey Service
Arrive Garston: 10-29 hrs

Return: St Albans Abbey to London Euston, via Watford Junction: 15-22, 16-07, 16-54 and 17-42 hrs.

Rail ticket: but a day return to St Albans Abbey.

SWC Wags call this walk "Ghastly to St Albans" and whingers bemoan the traffic noise (verily, the walk is sited between two motorways). Add in some serious mud at the start of the walk as you try to negotiate Bricket Wood Common, and you might wonder why anyone would want to venture out on this walk.
But the walk does have some redeeming features which I like and methinks the Festive Season is the best time of the year to give it a spin: there is usually a good Christmas fair in the precincts of St Albans Abbey and if you are lucky you might catch a carol service in the Abbey. Even if not, a visit to the Abbey at walk end is de rigueur - and it has a very good cafe for your tea stop.
Having walked through Bricket Wood Common you pass Munden House and head along quiet tracks and over fields to Moor Mill for an early(ish) lunch at a Beefeater pub-restaurant, sitting snugly under the M25 motorway. You then head for Park Street via the only hilly bit today, on the Ver Valley walk passing some lakes en route. Onwards then over water meadows and a leg beside the River Ver and on into St Albans.
After visiting the Abbey you head downhill into Verulamium Park, on the way passing an excellent pub for beer lovers, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. It's then a pleasant walk through the Park to St Albans Abbey railway station for your journey home.
Recommended - but whingers should stay away.
Walk Directions here: L=1.7

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sunday walk: Sevenoaks Circular

Sevenoaks Circular SWC Walk 21
9.6 miles 15.4 km.
Difficulty  4/10
An old favourite taking in the Greensand Way, the Kent Downs, Knole Park with its deer, and Ightham Mote.
Trains: Get the 10.10 Ramsgate train from Charing Cross arriving 10:46
There are frequent trains back from Sevenoaks, the fastest being from platform 1.
Directions here
Lunch: A really-wheely early stop is the Bucks Head in Godden Green 01732 761330. Otherwise, later on, you have a choice between the Padwell 01732 761532 (phoning advised) or the National Trust Restaurant at Ightham Mote (open till 15:30).
Tea: Numerous tea places (eg Caffe Nero on the High Street) and pubs (eg the Black Boy) in Sevenoaks.
The (recently refurbished) Brewhouse tea-room at Knole House closes at 4 in winter.The (recently recommended) Malabar Coffee House, 81 the High Street 01732 743 055 is open till 6.

Sunday Walk: Loughton to Epping through Epping Forest

Loughton to Epping SWC walk 197
13.4km (8.4miles)
Difficulty 3/10
This walk takes you through the ancient woodland of Epping Forest, to lunch at one of two pubs in Upshire. After lunch you are in open countryside with good views around Copped Hall Park.
The forest is renowned for its ancient pollarded trees, primarily oak, beech and hornbeam, which support a wealth of rare insects and fungi. It is common to see deer in the more open areas. In the afternoon, you may. see English Longhorn cattle.
The walk starts from Loughton Underground Station at 10.30am. Meet outside near the ticket gates.
Loughton and Epping are both in Travel Zone 6 on the Central Line. Trains are frequent. It takes about 37 minutes to travel  from Oxford Circus to Loughton. Use the TfL journey planner to calculate your journey time from other stations.
There is car-parking at both Loughton and Epping underground stations.
You could have an early lunch at High Beach Visitor Centre where there is a refreshments kiosk, toilets, café and the Kings Oak pub (0208 508 5000).
The recommended lunch-time pub is the Good Intent in Copthall Green (01992 712066), a friendly pub with a good range of reasonably priced food.
Alternatively there is the Horseshoes pub (01992  712745 ) friendly service and good food.
For those hardy enough, the entrance gate to St Thomas’ Church, 80m before the Horseshoes, leads to a grassy area with wooden benches suitable for a picnic. (You might need a stick to ward off any polar bears.)
The recommended tea stop is the Verde Café, 88 High Street, Epping (01992 571476). Tea in china cups and delicious cakes. It closes at 4pm on a Sunday. If you're too late, there are any number of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Epping High Street (see text)
Walk Directions here
You can shorten the walk to about 5 miles by staying on the Three Forest Way at paragraph 7 and rejoining the main walk at the end of paragraph 30 (see text)