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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, 3 November 2018

Saturday walk - Wadhurst Circular (Book 2) - Deep Wealden woodland and a bonfire

Length: 20.8km (12.9 miles) - 17.6km (11 miles) to Wadhurst village, from where a bus is possible (These distances are based on the GPX file rather than the length stated in the walk directions).
Toughness: 5 or 6 out of 10 depending on mud T=2.18

9.45 train from Charing Cross (9.48 Waterloo East, 9.54 London Bridge) to Wadhurst, arriving 10.47

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This walk (which after a very short bit at the start, goes off in a completely different direction from the Wadhurst to Tunbridge walk last week) is chosen to coincide with the Wadhurst Bonfire, which has proved a perfect event over the years. It is large enough to have a great big blazing bonfire (with only minimal safety barriers, so you can stand as close to it as you can bear - your last sunbathe of the year) and a firework display to match any urban one. But it is also local/remote enough to not get too crowded. You can buy tickets (£5.00) in the Co-op and Jempsons supermarket, the White Hart and Wadhurst Ironmongers: buying on the day has never so far been a problem. The site opens at 5.30pm, the bonfire is lit at 6.30pm and the fireworks start at 7.30pm. There are refreshment tents with beer, burgers etc

Otherwise this walk gives you an idea of what the medieval forest of the Weald must have been like - lots of woods, some clearings, the landscape of fairy tales. It should be the ideal place to see whatever autumn colour is available.

The terrain might be muddy - the Weald gets very gloopy in winter. But it is not winter yet, and it will depend on how much rain we have had. Also at this time of year (here's the science bit) the un-rotted fallen leaves help to counteract any softness in the ground. Don't wear open-toed sandals, however.

There are two pubs in Mayfield for lunch: I don't know which is considered better. In Wadhurst, Jempson's Cafe has closed and only the superhuman will get to the Wholefoods Cafe before it stops taking orders at 4pm. I would not rely on the Cottage Tea Room being open either, though it may be. The Greyhound pub will be busy with Bonfire goers (see below) so may not be in the mood to do hot drinks: the White Hart may be a better bet. Wadhurst also has a small supermarket or two if you want to buy sugary snacks.

Trains back from Wadhurst station go at 29 and 59 past the hour until 7.29pm and then hourly until 10.29pm.

It is 3.2km (2 miles) from village to station via the main walk route, which goes down pretty back lanes - allow an hour for this to be comfortable, though speedy types might do it in 45 minutes. Alternatively you can walk 2.2km (1.4 miles) down the main road (pavement all the way, traffic: much less romantic) - 30-40 minutes walking time.

Those not staying for the Bonfire might also want to use the 254 bus from Wadhurst, which cuts out this last section of the walk altogether (reducing it to 16.6km/9.8 miles): this goes from outside the Greyhound (same side of the road) at 5.04 and 6.04pm, taking six minutes to Wadhurst station or 22 minutes to Tunbridge Wells (stopping right by the station there: trains to London every 15 mins).

Those staying for the Bonfire will be aiming for the 9.29pm train. Recommended here is the very atmospheric walk down the back lanes (ie the main walk route) in the dark, for which it is best to leave an hour. To allow for the small crush getting out of the Bonfire site, leave not long after the fireworks finish. If darkness is not your thing, the main road route is reasonably well lit, as far as I can remember.


Bridie said...

8 of us ate at The Middle House and the restaurant was fairly empty whilst we were there from 1 to 3.
Service was by an excellent waitress who knew the menu and the wines and though the food delivery was fairly slow it was delightful
I had Steak and ale pie with a shortcrust pastry and a very good selection of vegetables including peas , broccoli, carrots, dauphinoise potatoes and curried chipped parsnips. £14

Others had
Lamb Rump, Grilled Courgette, Aubergine, Goats Cheese, Tomato & Basil Bon Bons, Black Olives, Crispy Rosti Potatoes & Tomato Jus 17.5
Duo of venison, venison steak and venison pie with a selection of vegetables £21
Linguine with courgette in cream sauce £14
Soup of the day £5
and a selection of deserts at £6 each.
No charge for the coffees ( she forgot to put them on our bill and when we told her she said no matter) nor soda water
There was no Service Charge though we left a circa 10% tip

These prices seem very reasonable and for the comfort of sitting and eating and relaxing in a spacious dinging room by a log fire it strikes me that The Middle House should be the preferred eating establishment in Mayfield

Walker said...

N=30 on this walk. W=Variable-sun-and-cloud is how I would describe the weather. Very mild. No mud to speak of yet.

This made a very enjoyable walk in the deep deep depths of the wooded Weald. At times it was like being in some lost enchanted fairy tale land. The leaf colour was fairly good but not yet at its best. Maybe next week?

About half of us lunched in the Rose and Crown, which got in a panic at our massed arrival but produced food fairly speedily. Some others went to the other pub. I realised that despite doing this walk half a dozen times I have never seen the centre of Mayfield village.

After lunch some thought they encountered a naked walking group putting on its clothes in a field. Others may have seen said group fully clothed. We got to Wadhurst village in daylight without much difficulty. Some got the bus here. Some had a drink and then got the bus.

Fifteen went on to the bonfire, a wonderful great blaze whose heat forced us back towards the beer tent. Truly the last sunbathe of the year. Then spectacular fireworks. Afterwards ten walked the back lanes in the deep deep dark (only punctuated by some annoying teens larking around with torches) under a sky of sparkling stars (I could see dozens: younger eyes claimed hundreds).

We got the 9.29 train home and had wine on it.

A top notch day.

Sandy said...

Five of us walked back from Wadhurst before tea and just missed the 4.59 train. Pedant's corner - perhaps the directions should be updated with the distances posted here (my map says it's 21.3 km) especially the advice to leave an hour for the walk back to the station on the main route and the detail that the main road has a pavement all the way. In particular, the final zigzag to the station (last para of directions) is more like half a mile than the 335m described.
Thanks for a nice walk by the way, and I'm glad you enjoyed the fireworks.