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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

A bit more leaf colour this weekend than I was expecting: see Nature Blog.

Scotland 2018....Dornie, please see further information below under 28 May 2018...

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.

Friday, 10 November 2017

INK at Duke of York Theatre

Following a sell-out season at the Almeida, Ink, written by James Graham (This House) and directed by Rupert Goold (King Charles III) transfers to the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.

 Fleet Street. 1969. The Sun rises. A young and rebellious Rupert Murdoch asks the impossible and launches The Sun’s first editor’s quest: to give the people what they want. No matter the cost.

★★★★★ Daily Telegraph
★★★★ The GuardianThe TimesDaily MailTime Out, Evening Standard, Financial Times

There are many theatre ticket websites selling this play, each has different seats available.  You can book via Almeida theatre web site, but I recommend you shop around as some charge booking fees and some have better availability than others. 

Pre-theatre F&B will be posted near the time..  

Saturday, 4 November 2017

A walk ending in Wadhurst for the fireworks (and full moon)

Details to follow

Marlborough Circular via Avebury (or Marlborough to Avebury) [New Variant] [Early or Late Start]

A new variant of the Pewsey Circular via Avebury walk:
This is an easy excursion into the heart of Neolithic Wiltshire, a mysterious landscape full of pre-historic earthworks, standing stones, sarsen fields and hillforts as well as barrows – burial mounds of kings and warriors. The route passes through or past two of the most important prehistoric sites in Britain: Fyfield Down Sarsen Stones Field and Avebury Standing Stones and Bank & Ditch Earthworks, while Silbury Hill and West Kennett Long Barrow, The Sanctuary and Windmill Hill can be explored on extensions.

Take a train to Bedwyn (unlike Pewsey, this is within the Network SE, and with a more frequent service), a cheap connecting bus to Marlborough and walk to Avebury. Explore Avebury village and surrounding sights as much as you like (every worthwhile site is covered by the written directions), and make your way back to Marlborough, either by bus or on foot. There will be enough time to add either the loop down to Silbury Hill, West Kennett Long Barrow and The Sanctuary or the one up to Windmill Hill, and still finish in daylight, but the late starters will have to take the bus back from Avebury to Marlborough to beat the darkness, with or without extra loops.

Short Walk: Marlborough to Avebury 13.6 km/8.4 mi
Long Walk: Marlborough Circular 24.3 km/15.1 mi
[in both cases without excursions to Silbury Hill, The Long Barrow, The Sanctuary or Windmill Hill] 
Ascent/Descent:  288m (M’boro Circ)
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours (M’boro Circ)
Toughness:  6 out of 10 (M’boro Circ)
Outward Travel
Early Start/Long Walk: take the 08.15 Cheltenham Spa train from Paddington (change at Reading [arr. 08.39/dep. 08.49] onto the Bedwyn service), arrives  Bedwyn 09.29.
Then take the 09.52 bus to Marlborough (line 20), from Great Bedwyn Square (2 minutes from the station), arrives 10.07.
Late Start/Short Walk:  take the 10.18 Bedwyn train (Reading 10.48), arrives Bedwyn 11.31, Then take the 11.36 bus from the station (this bus will wait for up to 10 minutes), arrives 12.01.
Note: The bus fare is £1.00 each way upon showing a valid train ticket!

Return Travel
Bus from Avebury: Line 42 from the Red Lion pub to Marlborough on 14.55 (arr. 15.20) and 16.43 (arr. 17.07). [Also stopping at West Kennett (on the A4, i.e. close to the extension to the Long Barrow and The Sanctuary)]. Then connect to one of below buses to Bedwyn station.
Bus from Marlborough: Lines 20 or 22 to Bedwyn on 16.05 (arr. 16.34), 17.15 (arr. 17.33) and 18.15 (arr. 18.32).
Trains from Bedwyn: 16.36, 16.56, 17.39, 18.41, 19.41, 20.48, 22.00 and 23.00.
Buy a Bedwyn return.

Lunch: The Red Lion  in Avebury  (12.2 km/7.6 mi, food all day).
Tea: Numerous options in Marlborough, see the pdf page 16.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.255.b

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Saturday Walk - The Fruit Bowl of England, Brickfields, Creeks & Marshland - Teynham to Faversham [New Walk]

Length:  from 13.6 km/8.4 mi to 29.2 km/18.1 mi, main walk is 24.7 km (15.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  90/84m (main walk)
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours (main walk)
Toughness:  3 out of 10 (main walk)
Take the 09.07 Dover Priory train from London Victoria (Bromley South 09.23), arrives Teynham 10.17
[Or take the 10.07 if walking the very short versions (or indeed take the earlier train and have lunch in Oare)].
Returns from Faversham are on xx.03 and xx.38 to Victoria and xx.26  and xx.59 to St. Pancras (High Speed surcharge needed). Buy a Faversham return.

This is a flat walk leading initially through ‘The Larder of London’, or the ‘Fruit Bowl of England’, the area around Teynham, not only the home of English cherries, but also with plentiful orchards of apples, pears, plums, strawberries and raspberries, as well as foraging opportunities for cherry plums, elderberries and blackberries. The area also used to be a large exporter of timber, grain and oysters. The local brick earth and chalk make the area fertile for fruit, but also were the foundation for the many brickfields in Teynham, Conyer and Faversham, remnants of which are passed en route. The bricks were an important source in London’s Victorian building boom, and were transported to London by the famous sailing barges, ruined remnants of which can be seen on the walk’s Conyer Creek option. 
From Conyer you follow the Saxon Shore Way along The River Swale, a tidal channel between mainland Kent and the Isle of Sheppey, and then along some creeks, with mudflats, salt marshes and fishing boats on the one side and the stark but beautiful landscape of drainage ditches and dykes, fertile meadows and windswept grazing marshes on the other, an unspoilt and tranquil haven for walkers, livestock and wildlife alike. Oare Marshes NR, passed late in the afternoon, is an internationally important birdlife sanctuary.
You finish in Faversham’s bustling streets past the stunning Market Place and its many caf├ęs and eateries. 

Plentiful options enable walk lengths from as short as 13.6 km/8.4 mi to as long as 29.2 km/18.1 mi. See the route map here
Lunch: The Plough Inn  in Lewson Street (6.1 km/3.8 mi, food 12.00-15.00), The Ship at Conyer in Conyer (10.3 km/6.4 mi, food to 14.30), The Three Mariners at Oare in Oare (11-12 km into the walk if taking one of the early morning shortcuts, food to 14.30), The Castle Inn in Oare (11-12 km into the walk if taking one of the early morning shortcuts).
Tea: Numerous options close to and in Faversham, see pdf page 2.
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml file click here. T=swc.299

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Wednesday Walk: Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard - woods, the Greensand Ridge and the River Ouzel

Book 1, Walk 41 - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard

Length: 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10 (more when the going is muddy)

London Euston: 10-13 hrs    Birmingham New Street service
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs
Leave Bletchley: 11-01 hrs   Bedford service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs

Return: Leighton Buzzard to Euston:  33, 53 (fast) and 59 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Bow Brickhill

This lovely woodland walk is particularly nice in late autumn, when leaf colour is near its best. In order during the morning you pass through Back Wood, Buttermilk Wood and Duncombe Wood before you arrive in Great Brickhill for lunch at the homely Old Red Lion pub which serves good, honest pub grub.
After lunch you walk through an oak wood before you walk above the River Ouzel, then cross a water meadow to reach the Grand Union Canal and your suggested tea stop on the canal, the Globe Inn.
Your homeward leg is to follow the canal tow path all the way to Leighton Buzzard, after which it is a short walk through the town to the railway station.
If you like woods, this is a walk for you.
Walk Directions here L=1.41

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sunday Walk - Princes Risborough to Great Missenden

Princes Risborough to Great Missenden  Book1 walk 45
15.7km  9.8 miles
Difficulty 5/10

Yay, autumn! A classic chilterns walk with sloping fields, beech woods, three steep bits (one avoidable), fine views and chances of autumn colour.
Trains: get the 10:13 Aylesbury train from Marylebone, arriving Princes Risborough at 11:00.
Trains return from Great Missenden at xx:59 and xx:29.
A return to Aylesbury covers both journeys.
Directions: Get your directions here.
Lunch is at the walker-friendly Gate in Bryants Bottom 01494 488 632 phoning advised.
A later option is the Polecat serving till 3pm 01494 862 253.
Tea: The twit-friendly Cafe Twit, attached to Great Missenden's Roald Dahl museum, last orders 4:45.
The cafe at the station, The Pantry on Platform 1, may be open but, when I peered out of my first class compartment on a recent Sunday, it wasn't.
There's also the Cross Keys pub.

Cross keys


Sunday Walk - Liphook to Haslemere

Liphook to Haslemere Book 1 walk 6
15km (9.3 miles),
Gently uphill, gently downhill, almost entirely through mixed oak, beech and chestnut woods. After Shulbrede Priory in the middle of the woods, you reach the lunch pub by Fernhurst village green. Then, it's across forest streams, through Valewood Park and up into Haslemere. The afternoon path can get muddy.
Get the 10:00 to Portsmouth Harbour from Waterloo (Clapham Jct 10:09) arriving Liphook 11:25
Return from Haslemere at xx:17 and xx:42
Get a return to Liphook.
Lunch: The Red Lion, Fernhurst (tel 01428 643 112). Large groups should phone.
Tea: Two suggested places on Haslemere High Street, Darnleys (tel 01428 643 048) open till 5.00 pm. Hemingways (tel 01428 656904) open till 4.00 pm.
The Swan Inn and the White Horse Hotel  are also in the High Street. The station is ten minutes walk from there.
Walk Directions: here

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saturday Walk - Witley to Haslemere

Book 1 Walk 44 - Witley to Haslemere
8.8 miles / 14.2 km

A great autumn walk through woodlands and various National Trust estates, with a lunch stop at a 12th century pub in Chiddingfold.

Trains:  Take the 10:15 Haslemere train from London Waterloo, arriving at Witley at 11:09.
Return trains from Haslemere at  xx02/xx15/xx32/xx39 til mid evening.
You will need a return to Haslemere.

Lunch: The Crown Inn (01428 682 255) at Chiddingfold is about 6km into the walk.  Alternatives are the Swan pub and Treacle's Tea Shop (cash only).

Haslemere has plenty of places for refreshments. Some tea suggestions are Darnleys or Hemingways in the High Street, for beer continue to the Swan Inn (Wetherspoons) or the White Horse Hotel.

Click here for full details and walk directions

Saturday Walk A Chilterns Combo (Saunderton to Wendover)

SWC 10 (in reverse)/Book 1 Walk 52:  Through the turning beech woods and over the rolling Chiltern Hills from Saunderton to Wendover T=swc.10

Train:   Take the 9:13 AM Aylesbury train from London Marylebone to Saunderton, arriving at 9:55.  Late risers who prefer a shorter walk can take the 10:43 AM Banbury train from London Marylebone to Princes Risborough, arriving at 11:27 and just do Book 1 Walk 52 in its entirety.  If all goes smoothly you should rendez-vous with the Saunderton starters at the Plough – probably arriving about 20 minutes before the earlier starters.  Return trains from Wendover are at 23 and 53 minutes past the hour until 22:23. Buy a day return to Aylesbury.

Distance:  14ish miles or 22.5ish km for those more metrically minded and 8.4 miles/13.5 km for the later/shorter route.

Difficulty:  7 out of 10 (6 out of 10 for the shorter option)

As something a bit different in the Chilterns, I thought this combination of two trusted favorites would make an enjoyable extended foray through the Chiltern hills and woods.  We will set off doing SWC 10 in reverse from Saunderton to Lower Cadsden for lunch.  After lunch, we will swap over to the instructions for Book 1 Walk 52 to complete our journey from Lower Cadsden to Wendover.  Both morning and afternoon routes pass through beech woods which should hopefully be tinting nicely.  The walk also includes a couple of nice panoramic views from which to survey the surrounding autumnal countryside.  More information and the instructions can be found here and here.  Don't forget both sets of instructions and it will also be useful to print the map for the morning section!

Lunch will be at the Plough in Lower Cadsden (01844 343 302), a popular pub.  If numbers are very large, some could also have an early lunch at the Pink & Lily in Parslows Hillock.  Recommended tea places in Wendover include Rumsey's Chocolaterie open until 18:00 (on the High Street about 5 minutes from the station) and the Shoulder of Mutton Pub (next to the station).

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday walk - Holmwood to Gomshall - beechwoods and the highest viewpoint in the south east

Book 1 walk 42 - Holmwood to Gomshall
Length: 16.7km (10.4 miles) - but see ** at end of post
Toughness: 6 out of 10

9.31 train from Victoria (9.37 Clapham Junction, 9.59 Sutton) to Holmwood, arriving 10.32.

Buy an any permitted day return to Gomshall, is my advice: this gives you the best choice of routes on the way home. This may be accepted to Holmwood or you may be liable for a small supplement for the one stop from Dorking to Holmwood.

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here.

Kay-okay: no prizes for originality this week, but what is autumn without Holmwood to Gomshall? There may be a bit of beechwood colour but there certainly will be a glorious climb to Leith Hill, the South East's Mont Blanc, and with luck the tea kiosk there will be open. Stand on the hummock 10 metres or so behind the tower and on a clear day you can see both Canary Wharf (at about 60 degrees) and the sea (due south through Shoreham Gap: they have helpfully built a windfarm out to sea so you can see where it is): is there anywhere else where you can see both from the same place?

After that there is a fine descent through the woods, though later the walk has some fields and views too. The lunch pub in Friday Street can be popular (they have hopefully forgotten about the time we reserved a table for 13 and only 3 turned up), but if they are full, the Wotton Hatch pub 40 minutes further on serves food all afternoon.

Gomshall groans with nice tea options: Tillings Cafe is the best, but one not mentioned in the walk directions is the Gomshall Mill, opposite the Compasses: nice armchairs and puddings.

Trains back from Gomshall have big gaps. At 15.53, 17.53, 19.53 there are trains westwards to Guildford and on to Waterloo (58 mins) and at 16.04, 18.04, 20.04 there are trains eastwards to Redhill and on to East Croydon and London Bridge (1 hr 14 mins). In either direction you can admire the new footbridge at Gomshall, which has been tastefully blended into its surroundings and does not look monstrously out of scale at all.... T=1.42

** Tough guy/gal challenge: last year five of us did this as a midweek walk and then finished it off by reversing book 2 walk 13 into Guildford - a further 6.8 miles. A great way to make use of one the last days of British Summer Time....

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Thursday Walk: Crowhurst to Battle - a battle to Battle via Westfield, the Pestalozzi Village and the River Brede

Book 1, Walk 35 - Crowhurst to Battle

Length: 20 km (12.4 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

London Charing Cross: 10-15 hrs  Hastings service. Waterloo East 10-18; London Bridge 10-23 hrs
Arrive Crowhurst: 11-46 hrs

Return: Battle to Charing Cross: 17-01, 17-36, 18-07, 18-36, 19-02 and 20-07

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Crowhurst

Sections of today's walk in the morning, between Beauport Park golf course and Westfield, can be overgrown and it can be quite a battle to get through. That said, early in August the Council had cut back the undergrowth and paths were clear and the going was good. Two months on - who knows ! Hopefully you will make Westfield just in time for lunch at the usually excellent and busy The New Inn. Last orders are 'twixt 2-15 and 2-30 pm and do 'phone ahead with your numbers - your e.t.a 2-10 pm if you maintain a steady pace: 01424-752800.

After lunch the going is pleasant and easy as you cross fields and go through the grounds of the Pestalozzi International Village before walking beside the River Brede as you make your way towards Battle, and the site of the Battle of Hastings, and the ruins of the Abbey. Lots of tea options in Battle although many of them close at "Tea Time":  really bugs me how a so-called Tea Shop can close at Tea Time - there should be a law against it........... that apart, this is a good, long walk that gets fewer outings than most Book 1 walks.
Walk directions here: L=1.35