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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.

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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Saturday Second Walk - Wolf Hall territory in the High Weald

SWC walk 78 - Cowden to Hever
Length: 16.6km (10.3 miles), with possible extension to 19.5km (12.1 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

10.08 train from London Bridge (10.23 East Croydon), to Cowden, arriving 10.53

Buy a day return to Cowden.

For walk directions click here.

The High Weald between Hever and Penshurst has always been popular with the SWC, so much so that we probably visited it too much a couple of years back. A reaction then seems to have set in, because none of the walks has had an airing for some time.

In particular, this variant has not had an outing since October 2014, if our resident statistician is to be believed, and so deserves one now. It takes some familiar building blocks - the villages of Penshurst and Chiddingstone, the attractive Rock Inn in Hoath Corner - and assembles them in a different order.

Since we are still (just about) in the long lazy days of summer, you might even have time to visit one of the attractions on the walk - particularly the Elizabethan mansion of Penshurst Place (Wolf Hall territory), and perhaps, if you do one or both of the shortcuts, Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn). (Chiddingstone Castle is annoyingly closed on Saturdays.)

As a walk poster one gets lots of moans - too many long walks, not enough long walks, too many confusing options, winter walks posted in winter, swimming walks posted or not posted etc - but this walk is well designed to please all tastes. The main walk is a reasonable 10.3 miles, and you don't have to decide until near the end of it if you want to do the longer option (12.1 miles) - a circular route back to Cowden. Meanwhile there are two sneaky short cuts on the main walk which save a mile or two and might enable slower walkers to catch up with their speedier comrades.

For details of the various lunch and tea options see the walk document. Travel is by Southern Railways, so let's hope they behave themselves. The train starts from London Bridge, whose new underground concourse is worth a look.

Trains back from Hever are at 05 past the hour (until 22.05): from Cowden they are 01 past the hour.

6 comments:

PeteB said...

"winter walks posted in winter"!! This is clearly unacceptable (;>)

Anonymous said...

What time from clapham?

Bridie said...

I agree Pete B - certainly broken my rule

Walker said...

n=14 on this walk and despite downbeat weather forecast it was w=cloudy-but-warm-and-not-wet-till-4pm. Nice to be in the Weald again a time of year when the paths are not muddy, but the cloud and fallen leaves make it feel a bit autumnal - decidedly so for the two of us who opted for the longer circular walk in what was by then steady rain.

Lunch at the Leicester Arms was.....hmm. The staff were friendly but the soup was a disgrace - water laced with oil and vinegar, according to my companion, and no hint of the supposed tomato flavouring. I found the menu choices disappointing and had fish and chips (admittedly nicely cooked) faut de mieux. On the plus side we had the outside terraces to ourselves.

Three of us stopped for tea at the Chiddingstone tea room. What happened to the rest of you? Having been nagged by my companions into having a vast slab of chocolate fudge cake - truly a giant piece - I am now on a diet for a month. It was in a vain attempt to use up some of the calories from this that I did the longer walk option.

Southern need to sort out the train indicators at Cowden, which indicated a London Bridge train, only for one going in the opposite direction to pull in at the single platform. Luckily I know north from south. The London train then disappeared from the indicator, with only the one an hour later showing, but did materialise five minutes later. On the plus side this may be the first Southern journey I have taken since May in which neither outward or return train was cancelled or terminated early....

JuneT said...

Another four of us left Hever at 3.30 to do the longer walk option, two stopping at Markbeech for a quick half, and we all got the 5.01 train from Cowden station together with a fifth walker from another subgroup. We left three people in the King Henry in Hever. A very nice day out.

Bridie said...

I was one of the three in The Henry. 16.05 from Hever after refreshment - delightful