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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, 29 July 2017

Tonbridge to Penshurst - a gentle stroll with lots of refreshment stops

SWC walk 235 - Tonbridge to Penshurst
Length: 18km (11.2 miles) - with shorter option (15.3km/9.5 miles) and a longer one (21km/13 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.45 train from Charing Cross (9.48 Waterloo East, 9.53 London Bridge) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.28

Buy a day return to Penshurst.

For walk directions click here.

I have the most delightful memories of the last time this walk had an outing in March 2016. My impressions may have been skewed by the fact that it was the first sunny spring day we had that year, but I recall a gentle walk which took unfamiliar routes through well-loved territory and with plenty of places to refresh the stomach as well as the soul.

Those many walkers who did the Cowden to Hever walk in mid June might like to note that there is a small bit of overlap between that walk and this in the afternoon: but lots is different. The morning particular takes you on an interesting route along the River Medway though the Haysden Country Park.

Lunch is at the Leicester Arms in Penshurst, where you could also visit nearby Penshurst Place if you want. The pub is popular but has a history of accommodating us with reasonable efficiency. The walk directions mention a possible later lunch stop in Hill Hoath but this may not be serving food: you would need to check before relying on it.

For tea there is the well-loved Tulip Tree tea room in Chiddingstone mid afternoon, and the adjacent pub has also now reopened. At the end of the walk, the Little Brown Jug with its large garden is a walker favourite and is conveniently only a few staggers from the station.

The walk directions also have an afternoon short cut to Penshurst (the 15.3km/9.5 mile option) and a longer ending to Edenbridge (21km/13 miles), though there is warning of "poorly maintained paths" on the latter.

Trains back from Penshurst go direct to Victoria (far side of the footbridge) via East Croydon at 27 past until 20.27: then at 21.21 or 22.21 with a change in Redhill.

Just a few minutes slower, and so worth it if trains this way are more convenient to you, is the 31 past (until at least 21.31) in the other direction (this side of the footbridge) to Tonbridge, where you change (arrive 39, depart 49) for trains to London Bridge and Charing Cross.

If doing the longer option to Edenbridge Town trains go at 09 past to London Bridge via East Croydon. A return to Penshurst is valid on this route too. T=3.235

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm travelling from Clapham Junction directly to Tonbridge (not via London) and returning from Penshurst the same way. I think for this route a Tonbridge return ticket is needed as Penshurst is before Tonbridge on this line? Both Tonbridge and Penshurst tickets are the same price in any case so it may not matter.

Walker said...

N=25 on this walk including two who drove to Penshurst and then walked back to Tonbridge and vice versa. W=bright-in-the-morning-with-intermittent-rain-in-the-afternoon. The rain did not start till the end of our al fresco lunch, vindicating my choice of a train a train half an hour earlier than specified. The Leicester Arms was not full, though allegedly had a wedding party coming. One of our party caught them adding a service charge to a meal order made at the bar. We hope this was an isolated error.

We put waterproofs on as we set off from lunch but they quickly came off again as it was too darned hot and sticky for extra layers. The weather did not detract from what is a very charming section between Penshurst and Chiddingstone: indeed, speaking personally the whole walk delighted me as much as it had done the first time I did it.

The rain was patchy, though paths were slippery and even a bit muddy from previous days' downpours. Some faster walkers stopped at the Hill Hoath pub for drinks and then caught us slowcoaches up, so we all got to tea in Chiddingstone together. Here there was a split between pub and tea room. The rain hammered down for a while at this point but those of us in the tea room still got to sit outside under an awning. Wasps kept us company, mysteriously preferring to fly around our mouths and eyes rather than eating the jam on offer.

The rest of the walk was without incident. The Little Brown Jug was as busy with screaming infants as usual. Some got the 5.27 train, others the 6.27. Six of us had complex negotiations over dinner options and finally ended up at that nice Thai place near Waterloo.