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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, 17 March 2018

Saturday Walk St. Patrick’s Day on a Penshurst Circular

SWC Walk 300 – Penshurst Circular via Bough Beech t=swc.300

Distance:  13.4 Miles or 21.5 km for those more metrically minded (shorter options available roughly 9 miles or 15 km)

Difficulty:  5 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:39 AM Tonbridge train from London Victoria (stopping at Clapham Junction at 9:45 and East Croydon at 9:56), arriving at Penshurst at 10:33.  Return trains from Penshurst are at 27 and 33 minutes past the hour until 18:33; then 19:33, 20:27, 20:31, 21:21, 21:31, 22:21 (some requiring a change at Tonbridge). Buy a day return to Penshurst.

This is a relatively new walk (having only had one Sunday outing last autumn) combining both some new and familiar territory. It makes an anti-clockwise circuit from Penshurst Station (AKA Chiddingstone Causeway) around Bough Beech Reservoir before passing through the charming villages of Chiddingstone and Penshurst en route back to Penshurst Station. Along the way, you encounter several country pubs where you can honor St. Patrick (and a popular bird watching site). There are a couple of short cuts available for those preferring a shorter route.

As a little twist for the day, for anyone interested in honing their navigational skills in advance of the upcoming hill walking trips, I would suggest we do the route in reverse relying on the old map and compass (not a line on a device) to navigate between the various refreshment points. With any luck, we will encounter the main group at one of the pubs along the way and of course at the end at the Little Brown Jug. If interested in this option, please bring a compass and a print out of the route using the OS Map tab on the introduction page for the walk.

Whichever option you choose, you can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is either the Wheatsheaf (01732 700 100) at Bough Beech (6 miles/9.5 km into the main walk) or the Castle Inn (01892 870 371) in Chiddingstone (8.5 miles/12.5 km into the main walk).

Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Fir Tree House in Penshurst (on the main walk) or at the Little Brown Jug, a stone’s throw from Penshurst Station.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the reverse walk. Thanks Stargazer!

Anonymous said...

Given that this is the first Saturday outing of this walk and that the walk creator has gone to a lot of time and trouble to create the directions, might I suggest that it would be courteous to try the walk in the direction it’s author intended, rather than merely using it as the jumping off point for a map-led navigation exercise?

Anonymous said...


(damned spellcheckers)

Sean said...

As the walk author, I've got no problem with Stargazer's proposal. The people doing the walk normally will invariably end up following someone with a gizmo, which will defeat the object of a map-reading exercise (or a check of the directions, come to that).

The various lunch pubs come at suitable times in either direction. The only thing about doing it in reverse is that several chunks will seem familiar because they duplicate existing SWC walks, which is less of an issue if you do the walk as intended.

Stargazer said...

I certainly hope that plenty of people do come and enjoy the walk as originally planned by the author. I am a great supporter of the written fact, quite recently on Sunday I pointed out some of the interesting features of the walk to some of the "line readers" who most likely would have passed by without noticing as these details are not part of the line....However, as it is a circular walk with a number of possible stops and some short seemed like good route for some nav practice for those interested...because the different groups can meet along the way and again at the end...

Kasia W said...

Hi everyone,

I'm totally new to this club and don't know anyone here yet....One of my friend has recommended me this website recently.
Just wanted to check if anyone is planning to do Penshurst circular tomorrow? I will be taking OS map with me. I love hiking but it's more enjoyable to admire countryside with like -minded people than alone... :)


Stargazer said...

Hi Kasia,

Yes, there will certainly be a few regulars at least. Look forward to meeting you.

Walker said...

W=Snow-and-east-winds - ha! Defiant of such trivialities, with British (and multinational) pluck, n=13 assembled on Penshurst station. Four set off to do the walk backwards as a map-reading exercise and were never seen again....but no, I jest: we met them in a lane half way round and they all got to the end safely. Nine of us did the walk the right way round and set off into the teeth of driving snow (or with driving snow in our teeth). This first few hundred metres was really rather unpleasant but luckily the route soon turned more westerly, putting the wind at our backs.

It sort-of snow-drizzled all day, sometimes abating, never heavy. There was a good covering, but the ground was sadly not frozen and there were a LOT of slippery arable fields. But the woodland sections were more pleasing, with every twig coated with snow (something you only see when the snow is fresh). My botanist’s eye also noted many of these were bluebell woods: this would be an excellent bluebell walk.

At one point I saw a lapwing doing its display flight over a field - a sight about as rare these days as snow on March. I was momentarily confused when the directions promised a view of the reservoir and all I could see was snowy fields. Then I realised one snowy field was in fact water (see photos on our Facebook site).

The Wheatsheaf - always booked at weekends according to the directions - was empty but for us and two other diners. This meant we got attentive service. The map-followers ate at the pub in Chiddingstone which apparently has the same owners and menu.

In Chiddingstone most went to the pub for pudding but two of us went to the tea room. A portly robin and two dunnocks enjoyed the cinammon and raisin bagel crumbs I put out for them. We all then decided honour was satisfied and took the short cut to Penshurst, passing several fields of lambs not in the least nonplussed to find their fields covered in snow (“what is the world usually like, then?”). I am guessing many got the 4.27 train: three others got the 5.27. Myself and three mappers enjoyed the fire a bit longer and got the 6.27.

Walker said...

Oh, I forgot. Six also did the morning short cut.