Backup Only

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, 25 March 2017

Saturday walk - Northwards from Tunbridge Wells

SWC walk 238 - Tunbridge Wells to Hildenborough
Length: 17.7 km (11 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.23 train from London Bridge (9.41 East Croydon) to Tunbridge Wells, arriving 10.28.

Buy a day return to Tunbridge Wells.

For walk directions click here.

My reason for picking this walk is that I have never tried it and would like to.... But early in the walk (which initially reverses the ending of Book 1's Leigh to Tunbridge Wells) there is also a wood anemone wood, which hopefully will be at least partly abloom by now (though the flowers only open up on warm sunny days).

The route then strikes north over Wealden hills, passing a possible lunch pub in Bidborough, before descending into the Medway Valley, where there is another lunch pub and - somewhat later - tea in Hildenborough, one option being a cafe run by Olympic champion Kelly Holmes, apparently.

The first pub, in Bidborough, is described as having "limited seating" in the description of this walk and the pub's website says it has "limited availability for large groups at weekend". SWC groups have managed in the past, however. It is also Mother's Day weekend when pubs are busy, though usually it is Sunday that is most affected by this. An alternative for those with maps might be to divert for 600 metres eastwards up to through the woods just before you get to Bidborough to the main road. This is the centre of the charming old town of Southborough, which predates Tunbridge Wells and has at least two pubs - the Hand and Sceptre and the Imperial

Trains are a little odd for this walk due to engineering works - the reason why the outward train goes via East Croydon. This has minimal impact on journey times, however.

Trains back are similarly a bit unusual, at 09 and 39 past and morphing at Sevenoaks into a stopping service that goes to various points in South London. This takes 1hr 05 minutes to get to Victoria (not London Bridge or Charing Cross) versus the normal 45 minutes, but you can reduce this to 58 minutes by changing at Sevenoaks and waiting 9 minutes for a fast train, also to Victoria.


Unknown said...

If your doing a Walk Tomorrow. Well as you are going from a London Station. You just got to be Cautious at all times due to the incident since last Wednesday at Westminster.

Unknown said...

I am aiming to join the walk coming on the train from Hastings arriving at TW at exactly the same time.

David said...

An interesting walk in the morning, with some ups and downs, to keep exercise-minded walkers happy. A slightly faster group of 7 walked on ahead and chose to have lunch at the Hand and Sceptre in Southborough, while the majority dined at the Kentish Hare in Bidborough. The afternoon was quite gentle walking in comparison and included a pleasant stretch along the Medway, as well as a number of fine oast houses, reminding us we had crossed over the county border into Kent. A number of walkers stopped off at Café 1809 for a cup of tea and slice of sticky cake. It's a friendly café, but not ideal for thirsty walkers, who might like to order a pot of tea (unavailable), rather than a cup (or, in our case, a paper take-away cup, because they'd run out of proper cups)... tut-tut!

David said...

A postscript to the walk report... I emailed Café 1809 last Saturday, speaking highly of the warm welcome and tasty cakes, but also suggesting that thirsty walkers would really like to order pots of tea. I got the following reply from Kelly Holmes (see below):

Dear David

I have been forwarded your email.

Many thanks for the kind words and your feedback.

Yes we will be introducing teapots on our next revamp.

As you will appreciate different cafes have different styles of serving and to be honest tea pots are pretty expensive when you take natural breakages. However it is something I am now investing in and teapots will be at the cafe by mid April you will be pleased to know!

I hope to see you in the cafe sometime soon.

Best wishes


Dame Kelly Holmes

Cafe 1809 Ltd