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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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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Wednesday Walk - The High Weald (before it gets too muddy)

This walk, originally planned for Dec 14, has been swapped with the original Dec 28 posting due to strike action. It will be postponed further if the strike action continues.

SWC Walk 236a – Ashurst to Eridge (w/o Burrswood)

Length:  18.3 km (11.3 mi)
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ¼ hours
Toughness:  4 out of 10 
Ashurst to Eridge (Full Walk)
Length:  21.0 km (13.0 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  290 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness:  5 out of 10 
Take the 10.08 Uckfield train from  London Bridge (EC 10.23), arrives Ashurst 10.58.
Return trains: 15.50, 16.50, 17.20, 17.48, 18.20, 18.49… (from 65 minutes journey time).
Buy an Eridge return ticket.

The High Weald can be very muddy in winter, let’s hope for a dry-ish period  preceding this outing…
Decision time for whether or not to walk the full walk (head torch recommended if you do) is mid-afternoon.

From a remote station this walk climbs up the low hills between the River Medway and Tunbridge Wells, soon with some attractive views across a steep-sided open hillside reminiscent of wilder parts of Britain. A gently undulating route along field edges, country lanes and wooded valleys takes you to the village of Speldhurst, where the parish church of St Mary the Virgin contains a set of notable pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows.
After a lunch stop in the village's 16thC inn the walk loops back towards the Burrswood estate, situated in a wooded valley passed near the beginning of the walk. Its 19thC manor house (omitted on the shorter walk) is now a small NHS hospital, with walkers being encouraged to use the permissive paths through its grounds (and visit its tearoom). Its long driveway leads to the hamlet of Old Groombridge and the remainder of the walk is the same as the shorter ending to Extra Walk 120 (Eridge Circular). This goes past Groombridge Place, a beautiful Jacobean manor house surrounded by a medieval moat, then follows the course of the heritage Spa Valley Railway's extension from Groombridge to Eridge. Along the way you can often see climbers practising their skills on an impressive outcrop of Ardingly sandstone, Harrison's Rocks.

An early lunch is possible at the Chafford Arms in Fordcombe, but the recommended stop is the highly-rated George & Dragon in Speldhurst (7.2 km/4.5 mi, food to 14.30).
For tea in Eridge, The Huntsman right by the station seems to be the only choice and it is open all afternoon these days.

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
Next Week:  Book 1 Walk 5 (in reverse) Amersham to Great Missenden, 16.8 km, 4/10 

1 comment:

Thomas G said...

w=Cold-without-a-breeze-and-very-sunny weather, with frosted grassy fields, firm-ish ground, some mist still rising from the valleys in the early stages, and with the sun breaking through the clouds, and later dominating a blue sky all afternoon, and with the few fluffy clouds reddened by the setting sun just as we walked past Harrison's Rocks; what more can one ask for on a winter's day? (ok, so there was no snow...)
The pre-booked table at the George & Dragon turned out to be on their upper floor, quite possibly the best lunch room ever in any SWC lunch pub. And the food was pretty good as well (just ask the SWC Lunch Monitor when you next meet her)...
Admittedly the p.m. route falls off a bit, with less good views, a few annoying road bits and some indifferent fenced paths plus softer ground due to the continuous sunshine and the 'pain' of walking into the blazing sunshine, but all in all: eerie, atmospheric, fascinating, with great views, some lovely woods and oast houses, and Harrison's Rocks.
n=10 walkers (incl. one US of A-tourist over for a Xmas break) had a great time.
The sandwichers had missed the 15.50, so were still at The Huntsman when the rest of the troupe arrived, and then we all (bar 2) decided to let the 16.50 go and settle for the 17.20. Only that the 17.20 didn't exist (several people confirmed though that it had been listed on the website as late as this morning). So we went back to the pub and then took the 17.48 train for 7 (1 had driven down from Tonbridge).