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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

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sunday Walk – Bluebell woods in the High Weald

Extra Walk 175 – Hever to Ashurst
Length: 16¼ or 19½ km (10.1 or 12.1 miles). Toughness: 4 or 5/10

09:55 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:01), changing at Oxted (arr 10:38, dep 10:43; same platform) for the Uckfield train, arriving Hever at 10:55.

If you're travelling to East Croydon the Uckfield train starts from there at 10:21, but changing there from the East Grinstead train this Sunday is not recommended as you'd have to change platforms with only 3-4 minutes to do so. If something goes wrong and you end up taking the train an hour late, you could do the walk's shorter start from Cowden and get to the lunch pub at about the same time as the main group.

Trains back from Ashurst are hourly at 01 minute past and go to Oxted, where you change for Victoria.

There are some nice bluebell woods in this quiet part of the High Weald, away from the tourist coaches cluttering up the roads around Hever Castle and Penshurst Place on the other side of the railway line. After two hours of walking through remote hills and wooded valleys you'll come to the Fountain in Cowden, an attractive village pub deservedly popular with other walking and cycling groups. It's got a new conservatory and a large back garden, but call ahead if you want to be sure of a table inside.

The lunch and tea places are not far apart but you can extend the afternoon section with an extra two miles along a river valley if you wish. Your reward is a proper tearoom at the Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop, which incidentally sells a tempting range of local ciders (which you can taste beforehand). Note that it's a fairly hilly 4 km onwards to Ashurst station – at least an hour – so time your departure carefully as there's nothing to entertain you there if you're faced with a long wait for its hourly trains.

You'll need to print the directions from the Hever to Ashurst Walk page.


Anonymous said...

Barbara, I lost your email I am afraid! I will be doing this walk on Sunday the 30th so hopefully can get it again! Jodi

JohnnyHastings said...

I may join you tomorrow, driving to Hever station.

Ian T said...

N=9 walkers on a w=cloudy-dry day. There was plenty bluebells. And wild garlic. And celandine.And a few orchids that were early, purple and spotted so must have been early purple spotted. Little lambs skipped about. The Fountain was OK. Some had tea at Perryland at least one bought cider. Some got the 16:01(just!) - others the 17:01

Liz said...

Beautiful walk as Ian said. Loads of wildlife and stunning bluebells.
Re Fountain Pub: Beware of publican. One member of our group needed pub lunch so when we purchased drinks we asked at the bar if we could eat our sandwiches in the (deserted) garden to keep her company and were told 'no problem' by a very pleasant member of the bar staff only for the publican to come out later and attempt to tell us off. Unfortunately, she was incredibly rude, so watch out for mixed messages from bar!
However, this did not spoil an amazing walk.

Sean said...

Sorry Liz, but I've got some sympathy for the publican. I know you were trying to be considerate when only one of you wanted a pub lunch, but I expect the publican flipped when she saw 8 out of 9 walkers eating sandwiches in her garden on a quiet Sunday when she probably had masses of unsold lunches in her kitchen. Of course she shouldn't have been rude (and the kindly bar staff will have been told off in no uncertain terms) but many pubs are being squeezed by rapacious pubco's and they need food sales to survive. If rural pubs like The Fountain close then this walk - and many others in the SWC repertoire - will become much less satisfying and might be dropped altogether. The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on our site says:

"The walk instructions assume that you will be stopping for lunch at a pub and one or more will be suggested. You can of course bring your own food, but please do not try to eat this on the pub's premises: find a quiet place nearby and then rejoin the others in the pub for a drink if you wish."

If publicans form a bad impression of walkers then other groups might be refused bookings or even turned away. Let's be discreet about eating our own food and try not to antagonise them.

Anonymous said...

Lots of room for sandwichers in the church porch or the covered bus stop outside it. Best to eat one's sandwiches first, then join one's companions for a drink afterwards.