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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Sunday Walk: Sunday Spring Saunter through Orchards from Yalding to Harrietsham

SWC Walk 150: Greensand Way – Yalding to Harrietsham along the Greensand Way T=SWC.150

Distance: 15.1 miles or 24.3 km for those more metrically minded (with option to shorten to 9.5 miles/15.3 km by ending in Sutton Valence and catching a bus to Headcorn)

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:40 AM Paddock Wood train from London Charing Cross (stopping at Waterloo East at 9:43 and London Bridge at 9:50), arriving at Yalding at 10:49 (with a change at Paddock Wood – arriving 10:33 and departing 10:41). Return trains from Harrietsham are at 03 (direct to Victoria) and 52 (via Ashford to St. P) past the hour until 22:03 and 21:52 (respectively).  If planning on the shorter version to Sutton Valence, you will need to take an Arriva bus 12 towards Tenterden (9 minutes) from Sutton Valence to Headcorn (buses at 31 past the hour until 17:31). Trains depart Headcorn at 35 and 55 past the hour until 21:35.  Please note that there is a bus replacement service for the first part of the journey with a change onto a train either at Paddock Wood or Ashford.  Buy a day return to Yalding if walking to Harrietsham (you should then buy a single from Harrietsham to Maidstone) or a day return to Headcorn if walking to Sutton Valence.

This walk largely follows the Greensand Ridge with fine views to the south and has recently been extended to offer an ending in Harrietsham. I recall doing the original version once in February and it did not involve significant mud at that time – so, hopefully, notwithstanding the dire conditions this spring, footing should be pretty firm….  Additionally, the route passes through many orchards, so, with any luck, given the warmer temperatures this week, perhaps there may be some blossom on display……You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is The Bull in Linton (01622 743 612) about 5.5 miles into the walk. They serve food all afternoon and have great views from the terrace (weather permitting).

Sutton Valence has several pubs from which to choose for afternoon or post walk refreshies (depending on your choice of walk length). In Harrietsham, the Roebuck Inn is apparently 4 minutes from the train station. In Headcorn, the George and Dragon is always a pleasant place for a drink and/or a bite to eat before the train (or bus in this case).

Enjoy the walk!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Could you clarify, please, if there is a rail replacement bus on the way to Yalding? Thanks for scheduling this walk.

Walker said...

No. The bus replacement is only for the return from Headcorn, if you should chose not to walk to Harrietsham. There is no bus replacement on the way to Yalding

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Walker.

Walker said...


On another W=gloriously-sunny-day, a glorious turnout of at least n=26 on this walk (“at least” because we had some “pop-ups” joining us after we left the station: I have only counted those I definitely know about). To put this tally in context, this has only twice been exceeded on a Sunday walk since I started keeping records in September 2011. So well done to Stargazer for a stellar performance.

Well done too to Mr Greensand for giving us a wonderful walk along his Way. This is a beautiful slice of Kent at any time with its regular “villages perchés” and ancient churches, with its fine escarpment views and apple orchards, but add in a whole treescape of fresh green leaves, lots of verge flowers and butterflies, fields of yellow oilseed and shy patches of bluebells, plus, yes, quite a bit of apple blossom even if it was not yet full out, and this was a constant delight for the senses.

The same might be said about lunch in the garden of the Bull pub, with its jaw-dropping view of the plains below (the herds of wildebeest, the elegant giraffes...). Not being a Sunday regular, I was entranced by the carvery and the all-you-can-load-onto-your-plate veg. A man could get used to this.....

After a garden tea in the King’s Arms in Sutton Valence, a clear majority of the group, I think, went on to do the extension. Scenically more of the same, with more fine views and an encounter with a truly mountainous yew. Alas, the Pepper Box pub is closed on Sunday evenings but some of us sampled the Rutland in Harrietsham. A smart place with nice seating areas and efficient service, and if we were rather different from their usual clientele, they concealed their surprise at that very well.

Stargazer said...

Ps:

One minor correction, it was the Roebuck Inn in Harrietsham...

Anonymous said...

How about some consistency? Last Thursday's walk report called it 5 walkers on that walk when in fact there were 7, but the reporter doesn't count the ones that only did small parts of the route. In total contrast, this walk report counts the 20 people on the platform (the number as told by several usually reliable people that were there), adds all of the 3-4 walkers that had driven to the lunch pub, some of whom are said to have then walked parts of the route near the lunch pub, and pumps it up to "at least 26"...

Walker said...

Scuse me, but I COUNTED the number of people on the platform at Yalding TWICE and WROTE THE NUMBER DOWN and there were 23. The "several usually reliable people" were chatting to their friends when I did this.

I can only speak for the walks I am on, but on those I am the only person who deliberately and specifically counts those present and as anyone who knows me can attest I usually repeat the count two or three times to be sure. Then I put pen to paper and record it.

I said "at least" 26 because I did NOT count those who drove to the lunch pub, only three people who joined us fairly early on during the walk and who I definitely knew went on to walk the rest of it, or at least a significant bit of it.

I take the latter part of the count quite seriously. Joining the walk party for lunch is not enough, but doing the morning walk and then taking a short cut or a bus back to London for an evening event or somesuch is. The question is, did the person turn up with the intention of doing a reasonable portion of the walk. Fyi, back in January we had a long discussion on the way back from the Portsmouth to Hayling Island walk about whether a walker who we recognised at the station but who walked off without joining the group was on the walk or had just happened to be at the station on the same day as us doing his own thing. I argued the latter case but was overruled by everyone else in the group and so added him, reluctantly, to the count.

Whoever you are, I look forward on some future walk to you joining me in the count at the start of the walk and discussing any additions with you. The more data the better. But on this walk there were "at least 26" and I would happily swear to the same in court (where, incidentally notes taken at the time have strong weight in evidence over hearsay).