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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.

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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Saturday Second Walk - A new route from Sissinghurst

SWC Walk 80a - Staplehurst to Cranbrook
Length: 14.6km (9 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

9.30 train from Victoria (not Charing Cross, due to engineering works) (9.56 Bromley South, 10.04 Orpington) to Staplehurst, arriving 10.38. (Despite starting from Victoria this is not a Southern train and is not affected by the "sickie strike".)

Buy a day return to Staplehurst

For walk directions click here.

A few midweek walkers tried this variation on the Staplehurst to Headcorn walk back in March and I thought Saturday types might like to try it too. It was devised to give those who want to visit the National Trust property of Sissinghurst a not too onerous walk to leave them energy to do so, and/or to introduce the very charming Wealden town of Cranbrook, complete with lots of old houses, nice cafes and a windmill

As far as Frittenden you follow the main Staplehurst to Headcorn walk. No bluebells this time of year, alas, but this is pleasant and gentle rural territory, starting flat and slowly getting a bit more undulating. At Frittenden you switch to option a) Ending in Sissinghurst of Cranbrook. (Note: I have updated the walk document this week, so make sure you have the 28 June version of the pdf or the preceding sentence will not make sense.)

The Bell & Jorrocks is the quirky lunch pub in Frittenden, serving food to 2.30pm, but it cannot cope with huge influxes. The alternative is to press on 3km (1.8 miles) - on the option a) directions - to Sissinghurst, whose ample self-service tea room does hot food till around 2pm and which otherwise has sandwiches and cakes. It can be accessed without paying to go into the site.

The walk then continues to Sissinghurst village, where there is a further pub, the Milk House - probably a bit late for lunch as it is 7.4 miles into the walk, but it does (somewhat gastro) food till 3pm and faster walkers might well get there in time. It is otherwise open all afternoon for refreshments.

You can finish the walk at this point, getting the number 5 bus (direction Maidstone) from Sissinghurst village to Staplehurst station at 59 past the hour until 17.59 and then 19.01 (last bus)

But the recommended finish to the walk is to continue the 2.6km (1.6 miles) from Sissinghurst village to Cranbrook through lovely hilly territory (though the route is flat or downhill apart from one hill climb). This pretty town has several nice tea places, all open till 5pm, and two pubs if you get there too late for those. It also has a very striking windmill, which sometimes open for visits on Saturday afternoons (till 5pm).

Cranbrook is served by the same bus as Sissinghurst village, the number 5, which you get (in the direction of Maidstone) at 53 past till 17.53, then 18.56 (last bus)..

It is a 16 minute journey from Cranbrook and 10 minutes from Sissinghurst to Staplehurst station, (don't get off in Staplehurst village, which is a mile earlier) from where trains go at 22 and 52 past back to Victoria.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

10 started the walk and we picked up a local enroute so N=11
It started well enough though it seemed that two missed the train at Victoria possibly because it set off from platform 8, something that is unheard of.
The train took 2 hours to get us to Staplehurst due to a refusal by the trains to run through half of the tunnel at 7 oaks, and these tantrums were still happening on the return journey
The morning passed without event except for a tumultuous rain storm but luckily we managed to shelter in a barn for 30 mins until it mostly cleared
We then took the obvious route which ended us up in the artisanal blue cheese maker yard much to the displeasure of the man who was resident there - he wasn't rude or nasty but certainly mighty displeased at our presence and asked us to retrace our route and he didn't know of the footpath and warned us that there were electric fences everywhere and no stiles. We duly found the route over a new stile and passed to the other side of the farmyard only to be barked at by horrible dogs.
The fields in this area were actually protected by electric fences as we had been warned and they were a bit of a problem and one of two of us with short legs received a few volts whilst crossing said electric fences - I promise that nobody laughed - not even the very tall people.
The written instructions managed to confuse us several times even when being backed up by maps and sat navs but we struggled through with quite a few false detours and the broad bean plants lying at the edge of the field gave us sustenance.
Lunch at the friendly Bell and Jorrocks was well welcome as we were somewhat tired and dispirited by the task of the morning.
Lunch was a long time coming but seemed to be enjoyed by all - even the person who was shocked at ' £9 for a sandwich ? '
Whilst we sipped it pissed down but miraculously the clouds cleared as we made our way again. One of our team who napped in the churchyard came into the pub soaked and bedraggled but he seemed cheerful enough
A little rain and a lot of mud made the going in the afternoon rather hard but Sissinghurst supplied tea coffee and cake and revived our spirits for the final walk into Sissinghurst town where we missed the bus by 5 minutes
We waited for 55 minutes for the next bus during which time a number of people took off their boots and socks to prevent trench foot - one chap surprised us with his shocking pink pedicured toe nails.
We got to Staplehurst where we waited just over an hour for a train - the trains were still arguing over who wanted to use the tunnel ( Bloomin Rev Awdrey )and joy of joys one arrived and we all got back to Vic
In brief we left Vic Station 09.30 and got back there at 09.40 so 12 hours for an 8 mile walk
A lovely day out

JohnnyHastings said...

The instructions for the Staplehurst walk referred to a kink in the path. No Ray Davies but there was a member of the Dave Clark Five on hand to help guide us.