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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, 13 February 2016

Saturday Second Walk - Kentish Downland

Book 2 Walk 17 - Snodland to Sole Street
Length: 13.1km (8.1 miles) - Possible extension to 18.7km (11.6 miles): see end of post.
Toughness: 5 out of 10: some hill climbs, none too strenuous

9.55 Southeastern high speed train from St Pancras to Strood, arrive 10.27, connecting there (quick zip down into the subway and across to the other side) to the 10.34 to Snodland, arriving 10.45.

Alternatively for non-high speed types, three options:

a) Least complicated: 9.09 Charing Cross (9.12 Waterloo East, 9.27 Lewisham) to Strood, arriving 10.19 to connect with the 10.34 to Snodland, as above

b) Prettier route: 9.10 Charing Cross (9.13 Waterloo East) to Paddock Wood, arriving 9.58, changing there (wait on the same platform) for the 10.11 direct to Snodland, arriving 10.45 (not the same train as the one the high speeders get - this one comes from the opposite direction).

c) "Oh blast, I missed the train!": 9.15 from Charing Cross (9.18 Waterloo East, 9.39 Orpington) to Tonbridge, arriving 9.57 - sit in the front of the train so you can quickly cross the footbridge for the 10.04 from Tonbridge direct to Snodland, arriving 10.45.

Best ticket: probably a day return to Rochester. This covers you for London to Strood and Sole Street to Victoria. That only leaves the short hop from Strood to Snodland if you come out via Strood on the high speed train or option a) above. This is not problem on route b) or c) as by these routes Snodland is definitely on the way to Rochester: but these options might be seen by a very literal minded ticket inspector as a somewhat unconventional way to get from London to Rochester.

For the main walk directions bring book two or click here. If you plan to do the extension see ** below


We have a lot of walks in this lovely area of downland south of the Medway towns, but the original book walk - or rather, its morning route, which is the bit not in other versions - has been neglected. Our resident statistician in fact tells me it has not had an SWC outing since January 2013.

This is a pity, as it is a perfectly nice walk. True, it starts out in the somewhat downbeat surroundings of Snodland itself, but it makes a decisive beeline for the downs and then goes over various hills and dales before it gets to the familiar lunch pub, the unpretentious Amazons and Tigers at Harvel.

The afternoon of the walk following a long ridge down to Luddesdown will probably be familiar to many. The Cock Inn just beyond this is a lovely pub to finish in, but seems to veer between doing tea cheerfully or not. The alternative is the Railway Inn which is also very nice and handily situated right next to Sole Street station.

Though mud is fairly inevitable at this time of year, this route is - at least for long sections - on chalk downland, so cross fingers it will not be too gloopy.

PS If you you want to stay in the Cock Inn after dark, you can: to get to the station afterwards, turn left out of the pub, stay on the road for 1km until you come to Sole Street village and a T-junction with a main road: turn left on this to find the station in 500 metres on the right. All of this is perfectly walkable in the dark.

Trains back from Sole Street go to Victoria exactly on each hour (so 16.00. 17.00 etc). St Pancrasites can take the 25 past in the other direction, to Rochester and connect there, but your ticket would not be valid from Sole Street to Rochester and this only saves you 20 minutes: better to spend them in the pub)

** EXTENSION It is possible to extend this walk by an extra 5.6km (3.5 miles) using part of SWC Walk 35 Cuxton to Sole Street. This makes a total walk of 18.7km (11.6 miles). The extra route takes you in a loop up to the village of Cobham, where there are two nice pubs - the Leather Bottle and the Darnley Arms (which in December 2014 was doing tea and cakes). Or you can just carry on back to the Cock Inn and join the slower walkers for tea there. To do this option, follow the main walk directions as far as the Cock Inn, then pick up the directions on page 6 of this document at paragraph 55. If you do this, you might be the first SWC walker ever to do this option.


DGA said...

E=MC2 n=15 w=drizzle-light-rain-clearing-pm-chilly.
Excellently written Book 2 walk that attracted 12 off the train, some high-speeders, some snail-arrivardists, with 3 more joining by lunch at the remarkably unpretentious, inexpensive Amazons and Tigers. We may have had some Amazons on this mostly mud-free trail a.m. but surprised Moontiger didn't get his claws damp on this today. We DIDN'T see any cricket going down. Our entertainment came from seeing four going off in the wrong direction near the start but as the walk directions weren't good enough for some they decided to incorporate part of a different walk into proceedings; well, it all helps to massage someone's ego no doubt but no doubt he'll fill you in on their extracurricular activities in due course.
Meanwhile, four of us had tea at the cosy yet quixotic Cock Inn. Btw the road walk finish via Henley and Gold Streets added a few metres but avoided mud which we'd had enough of p.m. Four caught the 1700 train home on the best walk this correspondent has enjoyed since New Year on the mudscale!

Walker said...

Not sure where egos come into it but seven of us elected to do the extension via Cobham as outlined in the walk post. We got rained on for our pains, which seemed a bit unsporting on the part of the weather gods. The Darnley Arms had nice cakes, which only I had, and big tea pots, which I did not get to sample as only one other person had tea (so they supplied it in little cups). We did our own version of a lane walk and got the 6pm train - except that train was cancelled and mysteriously replaced with a 6.15.

Mr M Tiger said...

Mr Tiger managed to get his claws damp, don't you worry about that. But not on this walk