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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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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sunday Walk: Stonegate to Robertsbridge

SWC walk 112: Stonegate to Robertsbridge via Burwash
13.7 km (8.5 miles) Difficulty 4/10

With gentle hills, classic woods and tranquil valleys, this walk's attractions include the unspoiled village of Burwash for lunch. Skull-and-crossbone tombstones in the churchyard mark the graves of executed smugglers, Burwash once being a centre for such activities. After lunch, it's off to Robertsbridge, along a beautiful route, which climbs up onto a ridge, has fine views to the north, then descends with panoramic views directly into the heart of Robertsbridge.
Anyone wanting a longer walk could substitute the morning of Stonegate Circular (Book 2 Walk 19) to increase the distance to 16.4 km (10.2 miles).
Trains: note corrected times
09:52 Hastings train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 10:01) arriving Stonegate 11:07
Return from Robertsbridge at xx14. Get a return to Robertsbridge.
Lunch: The Rose and Crown, Burwash (01435-882600) serves pub food from 12 to 2.30pm. It is west down the High Street from the church. The Bear Inn (01435-882260), is  further along. The Lime Tree Tea Rooms, also on the High Street (01435-882221), serving light snacks and cakes, stays open to 4:30 Sundays. Bateman's, once the home of Rudyard Kipling, is a short detour shortly after Burwash. It can be a lunch venue or early tea-stop but, unless you're an NT member, you have to pay the £12 entry fee first.
Tea: The Ostrich (01580-881737), close to Robertsbridge station, is conveniently placed to act as your afternoon tea/beer stop. Or there's the George in the High Street.
Directions can be found here. Leave your best shoes at home.


Cool said...

I am interested in joining the walk and have gone through new members' instructions. I understand thisis not a led activity but not sure how to meet others who are going for the walk. The instructions says "look around you", I am not sure that would work in London Terminals..
I really don't fancy going for a walk alone in this weather :)

Walker said...

We meet up on the platform at the ARRIVAL station, in this case Stonegate. Trust me, no one else will get off here - it is a remote country station - so the group should be obvious.

Cool said...


Cool said...

Which train are people taking? It seems there is no 9:50 train from London Bridge but at 9:01 or 10:01.

Mr M Tiger said...

Thanks Cool - dont know if I put in the wrong times or the time table changed but they are now showing as Charing Cross 9:52 London Bridge 10:01 Return time unchanged.

Cool said...

See you tomorrow

Cool said...

Oks, sontrain has been cancelled.. is there a bavkup plan?

Mr M Tiger said...

Sorry I havent got a crystal ball. You could check twitter to see if anyone else has a plan. My soggestion would be to get a later train and do the short Stonegate Circular. You might be on your own though. And be aware Stonegate has little by way of facilities while waiting for a train back

Walker said...

You were very unlucky. This almost never happens. For the record, I would have got the next available train and hoped some other walkers did too

David Colver said...

As Cool reports, the specified train was cancelled, as were all others heading in the same direction until at least 1036. Website bulletins estimated that the problem would endure until 1115.

Notices implied that services were being diverted to and from Victoria, but it wasn't clear whether that applied to this issue or other weekend works long-scheduled. Three regular walkers recognised each other and together went to Victoria to find what we could. Nothing on the departures board there was going towards Stonegate. The help desk suggested going to Orpington and changing there, but we had little confidence that we weren't being directed to connect to the service that had been cancelled; and even if we completed the journey, we would likely arrive too late to complete the walk in the light.

So we zipped two stops up the Victoria line to Oxford Circus, and then rode the Central Line to its western end, where we did a 7.5 mile walk I reserve for foul-ups such as this, which included one of the best pub lunches I can remember. Notable roast potatoes.

I'm sorry this was Cool's first experience. I've walked with this group most weekends since 2001 and experienced complete cancellation of the service only about three times in that period. Please come and try us again.

David said...

There were problems with power supply, northbound, between Orpington and Charing Cross, so this affected those coming from central London and caused the cancellation of some trains. I had no problem getting to Orpington from Lewisham. The scheduled 10.21 Hastings train was there when I arrived (I think it must have started from Orpington). There were n=13 walkers in total. 7 managed to get to Stonegate on the scheduled train and the other six caught a train an hour later. The weather was w=overcast_in_the_morning_but_clearing_nicely_in_the_afternoon. Late January is the not the best time of year for this walk, especially a winter as mild and wet as this one. The first 2 miles or so to Burwash were heavy-going, but it was better after lunch. Three of the early group visited the graveyard of Burwash church and found graves with skull and crossbone, but otherwise illegible. Mention must be made of three Chinese PhD students on the earlier train who, despite only having trainers, made it through all the mud to Burwash and found long sticks somewhere en route to help them negotiate the unfavourable conditions underfoot. I'm certain they would have made it to the end, though they weren't on the 16.14 back to London. One of the highlights of the walk was Socknersh Manor, bought in the early 1960s by Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdinck, with its impressive grounds and stone barn. There were also some excellent views during the day and nice woodland. Towards the end of the walk, we went past the oldest Bruderhof (Anabaptist) community in Europe on the outskirts of Robertsbridge... very interesting. On the approach to Robertsbridge station, we wisely opted for the winter diversion. The low-lying (main) route was probably impassable. I hope this walk can be scheduled later in the year when the bluebells are out.

David said...

Some feedback on the walk: in para 11, the house passed is on the right (not the left). In para 14, the three-armed footpath sign is lying in thick undergrowth, so almost invisible. Paras 53-55 can be condensed into the following single paragraph: "40 metres past the barn veer left between two parallel black metal railings, which have been helpfully constructed to help walkers through the manor grounds". From para 56, the directions are correct.

Walker said...

Thanks for the corrections to the directions: the pdf has been updated.

Unknown said...

Skulls and crossbones were actually fairly common on gravestones circa the 17th and early 18th century. They were a reminder that no one gets out of this life alive - our forebears were keen on correcting misbehaviour with such warnings. I seem to remember reading that there were pirates buried in the graveyard at Burwash, but I wonder if that was because someone these particular gravestones and thought they were Jolly Roger symbols.