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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

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Saturday Second Walk - Marc Chagall windows and a multi-tiered Gothic Folly: Tonbridge Circular

SWC Walk 220a – Tonbridge Circular (via Hadlow)
Length:  24.3 km (15.1 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  150 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¼ hours
Toughness:  4 out of 10
Tonbridge to Hadlow
Length:  17.0 km (10.6 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  125 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 3 ¾ hours
Toughness:  2 out of 10

Take the 09.10 Ramsgate train from Charing Cross (09.13 Waterloo East, 09.42 Sevenoaks), arriving Tonbridge at 09.50; 
or the 09.03 Tunbridge Wells train from Cannon Street (09.07 London Bridge, 09.26 Orpington, 09.36 Sevenoaks), arriving Tonbridge at 09.46. (Fast) return trains are 6 per hour.  
If finishing in Hadlow, you will need to take a bus (Arriva 7/77/147) to Tonbridge (every 20 minutes or so up to 18.00 hours, then less frequently up to 19.43).

This walk takes in both sides of the River Medway to the east of Tonbridge, a low-lying area of meadows, farm fields, orchards and hop gardens. The scenery is pleasant rather than dramatic but the walk benefits from two highly unusual features: a unique church and a striking folly. All Saints, Tudeley’s twelve stained glass windows were all designed by the Russian artist, Marc Chagall. The final group of windows were only dedicated in 1985, a few months after his death at the age of 98. Tudeley's sister church, St. Thomas a Becket, is also on the walk route, it has a series of 13 wall paintings.
Throughout the walk there are occasional glimpses of its other main feature, rising high above the landscape, a multi-tiered Gothic folly, taller than Nelson's Column: Hadlow Tower, built by William Barton May as an embellishment to his equally eccentric father's extravagant house in Strawberry Hill Gothic style. Much of Hadlow Castle was demolished in 1951 but the Tower was saved. Hadlow's other attraction, Broadview Gardens, is passed as well (free entry).

The suggested lunch stop is the Two Brewers in Hadlow (16.0 km/10.0 mi).
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. There will be mud, there may be flood: bring your gaiters.


Anonymous said...

You can also shorten this walk by leaving out Hadlow and following the route of walk 3-219 from just after Golden Green to Tonbridge. If you do this, you'll still get good views of the Hadlow Tower over your shoulder as you head back to Tonbridge.

Kelda said...


Plenty of mud as promised, but not enough to cause distress!

10 off the train at Tonbridge. Lovely morning wandering through paths at fields. The stunning stained glass windows at All Saints Tudeley were admired, as were the wall paintings at St Thomas a Becket.

We attempted lunch at the Bell Inn at Golden Green, but the lovely new landlady informed us the chef doesn't start until January. We had a few light refreshments anyway.

The main group caught up with the short-cutters at the lunch pub in Hadlow having done a brief detour to admire Hadlow Tower.

The remainder of the walk followed the river Medway, leading us back to a very nice tea room on the high street in Tonbridge just before sunset.

Another lovely day out.

Thomas G said...

Finch House Cafe and Bakery (and healthy salads and sandwiches etc.) that was. On the High Street. Really nice place. Also in Orpington, apparently: