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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.

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Saturday, 28 April 2018

Saturday walk - Yalding to Sevenoaks - Bluebells, apple blossom, oilseed, lots of pubs and tea stops

Length: 21km (13 miles) - (for shorter option see ** below)
Toughness: 4 out of 10 (gently undulating)

Catch the 9.10 (Ramsgate-bound) train from Charing Cross (9.13 Waterloo East, 9.20 London Bridge) to Paddock Wood, arriving 10.00, changing there (same platform) for the 10.11 to Yalding, arriving 10.19.

If you just miss the above, catch the 9.15 Hastings-bound train from Charing Cross (9.18 Waterloo East, 9.24 London Bridge) to Tonbridge, arriving 9.58, and pick up the Yalding train there, departing 10.04.

Buy a day return to Yalding.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. The route is entirely on the Greensand Way, apart from a couple of minor deviations for scenic reasons.

A slight change from my original plan to post the Sevenoaks Circular: given that bluebells, apple blossom and oilseed rape all look likely to be at their best weekend, I could not resist this fine walk, which combines all three of them (and which has not had an SWC outing for two years). The bluebell woods are scattered throughout the walk, some large, some small, so that by the end you will be completely blasé at the sight of them.

Refreshment opportunities are also abundant. There are three lunch pubs, the first one (the Swan) quite gourmet, the second (the Kentish Rifleman) a good straightforward pub serving food to 2pm, and the last, the Chaser Inn in Shipbourne a glorious and capacious place which nevertheless can be quite booked up: on the plus side they serve food all afternoon (as far as I am aware: sadly they have let a whizzy design company loose on their website, so this information is impossible to find there) so it may be a good idea to arrive after the main lunch rush.

For tea, there are the National Trust tea rooms at Ightham Mote and Knole House, and in between is one of the loveliest stretches of path on God's earth at this time of year - butterflies, spring flowers, views. "Heaven must be something like this", to quote the Lake District guide writer AJ Wainwright (though he was talking about rather different scenery...)

Trains back from Sevenoaks are very frequent - every 10 minutes or so. T=3.41

** SHORTER OPTION If 13 miles sounds too much, there are buses (route 222) from Shipbourne at 14.24, 17.24 and 18.41 to Tonbridge railway station and 16.15 and 18.12 to Borough Green railway station. Your Yalding return would be valid from either station. Doing this you would miss the lovely last bit of the walk, however. You could also use this bus to do a late start to the walk (there are several morning buses) going to either Shipbourne or Dunks Green (for the Kentish Rifleman).

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few of us are doing a late start 10:15 from Charing Cross.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I will join you on the later train

MG said...

On the National Rail enquiries website there is no Ramsgate train leaving from Charing X tomorrow and for Yalding the options are the Hastings train mentioned, changing at Tonbridge or on the high-speed line from St Pancras changing at Strood. I wonder if the train times have changed since the walk was posted.

Sean said...

MG: If you ask for times of trains from London to Tonbridge you'll see that the 09:10 Ramsgate train is running, as posted. If you specify Yalding as the destination the site will only show you the 09:15 Hastings train because (according to its rules) you can make the 6-minute connection at Tonbridge. But I agree with Walker's post as there's less risk of missing the connection as well as an easier (same platform) interchange.

Walker said...

Thanks, Sean. As you say. And there is a 9.10 to Ramsgate: I just checked.

acreativiter said...

Hi Everyone
Where is the meeting point at Charing Cross?
Vicky

Anonymous said...

how many intending to take later train please?

Walker said...

Vicky: the meeting point is on arrival at Yalding, where the group will be very obvious (not least because no one else ever gets off there), though in practice we should be pretty obvious while waiting for the connection at Paddock Wood.

Earlier than that, if you walk down the train you may find a group of us, yabbering away.

If you have not done already, read this page about how our walks work, because they are a bit different from other groups

https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/swc/index.shtml

Anonymous said...

I'm taking the later train as well.

Walker said...


People are free to take the 10.10/10/15 train if they like, of course, but just to point out that the 9.10 train was not chosen without careful thought. The first pub you come to, the Swan, is from memory quite posh and booked up. The Kentish Rifleman is a more traditional pub but is 6 miles into the walk and stops serving food at 2pm. If you are starting at 11.19 (ie taking the 10am train), then you need to walk at a fairly smart pace to be sure of getting there in time. The 9.10 was chosen because it allows for an easier pace and/or to linger looking at bluebell woods.

True the Chaser provides a backstop, providing it still serves food all afternoon, which I have not been able to check, and faut de mieux there is Ightham Mote and its tea room as a late lunch option.

For the record, some will DEFINITELY be getting the 9am train.

Enjoy the walk whichever train you get. Pity the weather forecast is not as springlike as last weekend....

Anonymous said...

I've eaten at both The Chaser Inn and The Swan in the last year and I'm happy to recommend both. We had called from the station to book a table.

Bridie said...

My compliments on Walker choosing an early train - it was ideal for lunch at The Chaser which is just over half way though the walk and changing at Paddock walk was easy with none of the concerns of changing at Tonbridge
I will leave others to do the walk report
Bridie

Walker said...

14 on the official train, 2 who drove and 9 (?) on a train an hour later. 4 or 5 of the latter lunched at the first pub, the Swan, with the intention, I am told, of doing the first half of the walk and taking the bus from Shipbourne. One of this party cleverly caught a bus from Sevenoaks and caught the main group at West Peckham. Three or four more caught up with us at tea at Ightham Mote. N=25 in all.

The weather was w=grey-and-slightly-drizzly but at least it did not rain. The bluebells were out throughout the walk but seemed a bit weedy for reasons I could not fathom. There was apple blossom and oilseed rape and the swallows were sitting on the same telephone wire they were on when we did this walk two years ago (in similar weather, alas). Two of us were inexpressibly delighted to hear a turtle dove at one point. (I can’t tell you what a BIG DEAL this is: this once common harbinger of spring has declined 93% since 1994).

Those who lunched at the Swan probably made a wise choice. The Kentish Rifleman was in headless chicken mode and some of us abandoned hope of eating there right away. Others waited ages even to order drinks and made the same choice. Ten of us eventually ended up in the heroically busy Chaser Inn, which could not accommodate us till 2pm. A fabulous pub and if you are a red meat eater the menu is great and well-portioned. The vegan sandwich was a bit of mushroom between bread with some wilting lettuce, however, and my potato rosti was a starter at a main course price: to give you some idea, I tripled its size by adding a “side” of vegetables. Why the idea persists in pub kitchens that vegetarians are not hungry, I do not know.

All if this was a big incentive to stop for tea at Ightham Mote a mile later, which seven or eight of us did. After this the turtle dove and a big wild garlic wood in full flower. Five of us later had a drink in Sevenoaks and then a very nice Indian meal. So weather apart, a grand day out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Peter and the rest sorry can't remember all your names. The walk after lunch was fantastic and I enjoyed the hills especially around Rooks hill - plenty of bluebells and fields and fields of wild garlic to sample a few. Many thanks to Andrew and Dave for the afternoon company and leading the way to Sevenoaks via the secret door and avoid the heavy traffic. Great day out but I think it appears more than 13 miles perhaps 14 miles.

Monica

Anonymous said...

Total late start 12 people. No drizzle or rain at all for later risers. Two immediately said they wanted to walk alone. One caught a bus from Tonbridge to catch the early start. We stopped at Swan for lunch (4 for food + 3 for drinks) having booked a table at the station. Two other disappeared at lunch. Fantastic food and well worth a visit and money. They even accommodated us for swopping a part of one dish for another- all worked to perfection. Some took 4:14 bus at Shipbourne. Two decided to have tea and cake at Chaser Inn - another pub deserves a mention - one tried signature dessert- which came with three regular sized desserts on one plate (best to order this for sharing in future) before catching 5:24 bus. Thanks walker for posting this walk with bus and late option. It took me back to the memory lane where we had a relaxed walk starting an hour later of the nature walk....

Walker said...

N=28 then