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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.

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Saturday, 23 June 2018

Saturday walk - Hever to Leigh - a short, leisurely walk for (nearly) the longest day

Length: 14.2km (8.8 miles)
Toughness: None (all right, 2 out of 10)

10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Hever, arriving 10.49

Buy a day return to Leigh ("Lie"), Kent. Our train ticket boffins tell us that this is valid to Edenbridge Town, the stop before Hever, because Edenbridge station (nearby but on a different line) is a possible route to Leigh and tickets to Edenbridge are valid to either Edenbridge station. Hever is one stop beyond Edenbridge Town, but Leigh is several stops beyond Edenbridge, so going one extra stop to Hever should be OK.....Alternatively, you might reverse this logic and buy a day return to Hever: this by definition is valid via Edenbridge Town, and so also via Edenbridge station. A valid route from Edenbridge station to London is via Leigh and Tonbridge, so a Hever return should one theory work on that route too. (Good luck explaining any of this to a bolshie train manager, however...)

For directions click here. For GPX click here.

Oh, how fashions change!! Once this walk was posted so often we could have changed our names to "The Hever to Leigh Walking Club". Its popularity was undoubted and unassailable. But now like a child that becomes a teenager, the SWC has moved on to longer, more adventurous walks. Would you believe that dear old "H2L" has not had a Saturday posting for two and a half years, nor a spring or summer one for four?

My other reason for picking it is that I hear the mutterings from the "Left Behinds", from the ones who do the short option, take the bus from the lunch pub, watch sadly as the group races off into the distance. "Why do we never have any walks under ten miles anymore?" they cry. So here is my response.

Also not incidentally, today is the longest Saturday of the year. No doubt other posters will wish to celebrate that fact by posting long expeditions to far-flung places. Well, this is a short expedition to a near-flung place and one well worth dawdling over. You might decide to visit Hever Castle or Penshurst Place (not, alas, Chiddingstone Castle, which perversely does not open on Saturdays) You might want to linger over tea in the Fir House Tearoom (if it still exists or deigns to open) or stop in one of the four pubs en route for a summery drink. This is a walk to savour, not to gulp. It is light till 10pm: take your time.

Trains back from Leigh are at 26 past (until 22.26, if you want to make the most of the daylight...) changing at Tonbridge for a train back to London Bridge or Charing Cross. T=1.19


Anonymous said...

Anyone wanting to do a longer option could of course continue on to Tonbridge. As for me, I can feel an afternoon snooze on a hillside coming on :-)

Anonymous said...

This walk is perfect, good for both a day out in the countryside and a night out in town. Thanks for posting this.

Walker said...

You can indeed extend this walk to Tonbridge using the morning of the Tonbridge to Penshurst walk in reverse: a pleasant evening stroll

Walker said...

N=23 on this walk on a day of w=sun-and-high-cloud.

I was asked to call this report “Three Weddings and No Funeral” but I personally only saw two weddings, one in Chiddingstone and the other in Penshurst. The former almost put us off going to the pub as they were all drinking outside it. But in fact the pub itself was empty and positively begged for our custom. The fact that they only had four mains - they were working up a new menu, apparently - might have been one reason. We nearly all had fish and chips. It was grand sitting out in the very picturesque garden with the church spire behind.

In the afternoon the countryside looked parched: it will be time to break out the desert kit soon. Coming into Penshurst we passed wedding number two (or three) and found a small queue outside the Fir Tree tea room waiting for it to open at 2.30pm. We turned this into a big queue and I was all ready for grumbles from the proprietress as it became clear we wanted a table for fifteen or so. But in fact she could not have been nicer. Tables were moved, chairs were moved and we all sat in the delightful shade of a willow tree in the garden and were royally served. The tea - in pots so big they were heavy to lift - seemed inexhaustible. The cakes were gorgeous and all was dished up on proper china. There was even soy milk. We all agreed that this was the best SWC tea ever.

Passing the happy couple being photographed drinking a freshly opened bottle of champagne in the back of their chauffeured Aston Martin (I wonder how much all that cost) we carried on. Always nice to have a walk with a good stretch after tea to work the cake off. Most finished at Leigh but four of us went on to Tonbridge (one more having started with us but then changed her mind), adding 2.5 miles or so to the walk. In Tonbridge we rehydrated in Weatherspoons and went to a nice Nepalese curry house. There are worse ways to spend a day.