Backup Only

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

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Sunday walk: The Eden valley and the Greensand ridge

Edenbridge to Westerham (short ending)
Length: 11.6km (7.2 miles) or 17.8km (11 miles) Toughness: 4/10 or 8/10

09:43 Dover Priory train from Victoria (Bromley South 10:00, Orpington 10:07), changing at Tonbridge (arr 10:25, dep 10:29) to arrive at Edenbridge at 10:43.
Or 09:52 East Grinstead train from London Bridge (East Croydon 10:09), changing at Oxted (arr 10:33, dep 10:38) to arrive at Edenbridge Town at 10:47.

Starting from Edenbridge Town adds 1.8km to the distance. Although both routes merge a short way north of Edenbridge, those starting from Edenbridge Town will initially find themselves about 20 minutes or so behind the main group, but can expect to catch them by lunchtime.

From Westerham, the 246 bus runs at xx:26 to Hayes (28 mins) and Bromley South (40 mins) stations. The 401 bus runs at xx:36 to Sevenoaks station (18 mins) for regular fast trains to Charing Cross.

The walk begins with a slow climb from the Eden valley up to the Greensand Ridge, and continues past Churchill’s home, Chartwell (NT), and Emmetts Garden (NT). The shorter ending proposed for today has not been posted for four years, and takes you direct from Chartwell to Westerham in 4.8km, which may suit those still suffering from festive over-indulgence. However, those with greater energy should have enough time to complete the main walk.

The recommended lunch stop is The Royal Oak in Crockham Hill (01732 866335) - booking essential. A reliable alternative about 2km further on is the National Trust tea-room/restaurant at Chartwell, which can be visited without paying for entry to the property.

You will need to download the Walk Directions.


Hayward's Heath via Lindfield

SWC Walk 141: Haywards Heath Circular T=SWC.141

Distance:  11.8 Miles or 19.0 km for those more metrically minded 

Difficulty:  4 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:57 AM Brighton Southern service from London Bridge (stopping at East Croydon at 10:12), arriving at Haywards Heath at 10:41.  Return trains from Haywards Heath are very frequent…. Buy a day return to Haywards Heath.

This walk explores the low hills on either side of the Ouse valley on the southern edge of the High Weald. It passes through two nature reserves: one (the Scrase Valley Local Nature Reserve) en route from Haywards Heath and the other on the outskirts of Lindfield. You may also spot the Bluebell Railway running its holiday service in the afternoon. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is the Sloop Inn (01444-831219) at Freshfield Bridges (5 miles/ 7¾ km from the start) with food served until 3pm. Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at various establishments along the attractive High Street in Lindfield (see walk notes for suggestions).

Enjoy the walk!

Saturday, 29 December 2018

North Greenwich to London Bridge - a wander along the Thames Path "Sowth of the River"

The Greenwich Peninsular, Greenwich, Rotherhithe, Shadwell and the Pool of London

How to get there:
Catch a Jubilee line tube or appropriate bus to North Greenwich tube station.

What tickets to buy:
Use your Oyster card or buy a ticket that covers your starting zone, zone 1 and North Greenwich tube which is in Zone 2+3.

Meeting point and time:
The main station atrium at the top of the station escalators for 10:30 am.

Walk Options:
There are three drop out points on this walk, so if you're planning to take up walking in the New Year, or you are a regular walker, there should be an option here that suits you.

  • North Greenwich to Greenwich Town  5 km (DLR station)
  • North Greenwich to Surrey Docks Farm 9 km  (C10 bus to Rotherhithe)
  • North Greenwich to Rotherhithe  12 km  (Overground station) 
  • North Greenwich to London Bridge 15 km (Tube and National Rail)

If the London Bridge option doesn't cut the mustard, you can continue along the South Bank to the Tate Modern where there are free exhibitions by Christian Marclay (The Clock) and Jenny Holzer (Artist Rooms)

Walk highlights:
The walks starts by circling the Greenwich Peninsular alongside the O2 arena where there is artwork by Antony Gormley (Quantum Cloud),  Gary Hume (Liberty Grip), Richard Wilson (A Slice of Reality) and an interesting piece on the Greenwich Meridian Line by Thomas & Graighead (Here) to exercise your brain cells.
There is a small diversion as the walk approaches Greenwich which takes walkers past the The Old Royal Naval College Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Well worth a visit if time permits,  The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College opposite will re-open in March 2019 and that too will be well worth a visit then. You may find other points of interest in the TFL guide (see the link below)

Lunch Options:
If you are intending to end the walk at Greenwich, there are a good selection of pubs, food stalls in Greenwich Market, the Tai Won Mein noodle bar and many more establishments.
Further on there is:

The Piccalilli cafe at Surrey Docks Farm at 9 km.

The Mayflower t: 020 7237 4088 at 12 km (about three hours into the walk) so you may wish to book a table for 1:30 - 2:00 pm there

The route:
Leave the station following signage to the O2, but keep straight and slightly to the right towards Wagamama. Turn right here and continue alongside some parkland on your right for about 160 metres until you reach Edmund Halley Way. Turn left here and pass the Emirates Airline on the right until you reach Olympian Way. Turn left here keeping the river on your right. In about 150 metres the Quantum Cloud Sculpture can be seen on the right.
Generally, you now "keep the river on the right"  as you walk towards the City of London.
However there are sections where you need to divert inland  and these are detailed in the GPX route. There are also many Thames Path signs to assist too.  Bear in mind this is an ever changing landscape so be on the lookout for recent alterations to the route.

TFL's Thames Path Booklet may be downloaded Here

The GPX route (helpful) may be downloaded  Here

Hayes Circular


Length: 9.5 km (6 m)
Toughness: 1 / 10
Transport: Take the 10:07 from London Charing Cross to arrive at Hayes at 10:55. Hayes is in Zone 5, so Oyster card can be used. Return trains are at xx:08 and xx:38. Buses can take you to New Addington and the tram or to Bromley.

A short walk through 3 commons.

Saturday Walk - Newbury Racecourse to Woolhampton (Midgham station) or to Thatcham

Length: 19.8 km (12.3 mi) [or 24.3 km to Thatcham]
Ascent/Descent: 198/207m; Net Walking Time: 4 hours
Toughness: 3/10

Take the 9.25 Bristol Temple Meads train from Paddington (change Reading 9.54/10.06 onto the Newbury train), arrives Newbury Racecourse at 10.23. 
Return trains are 16.19, 17.27, 18.27 etc. (change Reading) but also 16.27 (change Newbury and Reading). [From Thatcham: 16.03, 16.15, 17.07, 17.23, 18.03…]. 
Buy a Newbury Racecourse return.

This is a fairly easy walk with some gentle climbs en route. The morning section of the walk crosses Greenham Common, a former World War II and NATO airfield. In 1953 it was made available to the United States Air Force by the Ministry of Defence as a Strategic Air Command base and in the early 1980s cruise missiles were deployed here. Subsequently the last cruise missiles were removed in 1991, and the facility was closed and put up for sale in 1993. The Greenham Common Trust purchased the land in 1997 and the majority of the land has been returned to something approaching its former natural state. (The cruise missile storage silos have been fenced off. - the cost of demolishing them being prohibitive.)
For the rest it’s fields, woods and waterways...

Lunch: The Travellers Friend in Crookham Common (10.0 km/6.2 mi, food to 15.00) or The Ship Inn in Ashford Hill (13.6 km/8.5 mi, food to 14.00).
Tea: The Rowbarge  in Woolhampton.

For summary, map, height profile, some photos, walk directions and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.34

Friday, 28 December 2018

Oxford Circular - Port Meadow, Rivers Isis and Cherwell, Oxford Canal then Oxford's Colleges

Book 1, Walk 13 - Oxford Circular

Length: 15.2 km (9.4 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10  [a bit more if the towpaths are flooded and / or the route is muddy]

London Marylebone: 10-06 hrs   Oxford service
Arrive Oxford: 11-09 hrs

[Allow plenty of time at Marylebone station ticket office as shoppers for Bicester Village might be out in vast numbers]

Return: 15-41, 16-11, 16-38, 16-56 and later

In recent years during the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day I have arranged a family meet-up at the homely Plough pub in Wolvercote Common - and always very nice, too. My horde travels by car - and I fit in this easy, flat walk.  We have other plans for this year - but that is no reason for my abandoning my customary visit to Oxford for a short winter's walk and a good lunch. You are all welcome to join me !

Leaving Oxford station we head for the River Isis, and soon the fun can begin. If it has been raining heavily for a week or so, sections of the tow path are likely to be flooded - to top of walking boot level, sometimes a bit above. With some careful walking on top of path-edge wooden battens you can often by-pass the worst bits. But if the water is too deep you can resort to returning to the junction with the Oxford Canal and reversing an afternoon leg of the walk. But hopefully we will make it along the tow path to come out beside Port Meadow, to follow meadows beside the river all the way to Godstow Lock and then the ruins of Godstow Abbey. Then its over a road bridge and over Wolvercote Common into the village of Wolvercote for lunch at the Plough.

After lunch we walk for a while along the Oxford canal. As I have visited Oxford on many an occasion  I will probably head straight for the railway station by staying beside the canal. If you wish  to follow all or part of the Walk Directions and do all or part of the tour of the colleges (it's safe to do so in failing daylight) you are welcome to do so.
Your Walk Directions are here: L=1.13

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Sevenoaks Circular - an easy post-Christmas walk

Length: 16.3km (10.1 miles) - or 18.5km (11.5 miles) with a pub lunch
Toughness: 3 out of 10

10.15 train from Charing Cross (10.18 Waterloo East, 10.24 London Bridge) to Sevenoaks, arriving 10.49.

Remember today is a working day (even if it doesn't feel like one), so buy your ticket - a day return to Sevenoaks - after 10am or from the ticket office to get Network Card discounts.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

Ease yourself back into an upright position with this gentle walk in the Greensand Hills. A firm SWC favourite, it includes the deer park of Knole House, the pretty moated National Trust-owned Ightham Mote and fine views from the Greensand Ridge.

The easiest refreshment stops are the National Trust tea rooms at Ightham Mote and Knole House (towards the end of the walk), both open until 4pm. Ightham Mote does hot food of a sort, but if you want more substantial meal the walk directions include an extra diversionary loop to the Chaser Inn in Shipbourne (devised last year but not yet done by the SWC). This is a lovely large pub but also popular, so you might be advised to phone to check they have a table before doing this option. Sevenoaks has later tea possibilities.

Trains back from Sevenoaks are very frequent - every ten minutes or so. T=3.21

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Boxing Day Walk - Amersham Circular

Boxing Day Walk - Amersham Circular T=swc.36

There are no trains today, and I thought that as the walks in London tend to go through various parks, the best bits would be busy on Boxing Day.

"A pleasant and undemanding Chilterns walk goes out along one side of the Misbourne valley and back along the other". Amersham is at the end of the Metropolitan Line , so this walk can be done with an Oyster Card / Zone 1-9 Travelcard.

Length: 8.4 miles  (13.5km)  3 out of 10

Travel: Get the 1005 Metropolitan Line train from Baker Street that arrives Amersham 1054. The trains are every 30 minutes on Boxing Day. Return trains are xx47 & xx17

Lunch: Merlins Cave in Chalfont St Giles. There is also the Fox & Hounds, but the landlord is apparently averse to Muddy Boots inside his front door.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Mills on the River Test

Overton to Whitchurch, omitting Tufton
Length: 12.8km (7.9 miles) or 17km (10.6 miles) Toughness: 2/10

This is an easy walk along the upper reaches of the River Test that passes many interesting mills, old and new. Today’s walk omits.the afternoon loop out to the hamlet of Tufton, though you could incorporate this if you walk briskly and don’t spend too long over lunch. Another afternoon alternative (14.5km total length) takes you to Fulling Mill.

Whitchurch Silk Mill, which has been closed this year for major refurbishment, is now open again (£7 or £6, last admission 4:00pm) and has a tearoom (open till 5:00pm) that can be visited without paying the admission charge.

The suggested lunchtime pub is the Watership Down Inn (01256 892254) in the village of Freefolk, after 7¼ km. A former regular patron was the author Richard Adams. Do ring to reserve a table before leaving Overton. If it is fully booked, you will need to continue into Whitchurch for a late lunch unless you are carrying a packed lunch.

09:43 Poole train from Waterloo (Clapham Junction 09:52), changing at Basingstoke (arr 10:42, dep 10:51) to arrive at Overton at 11:00.

Return trains direct from Whitchurch to Waterloo are at 15:21 and 17:23. Other services at 16:15, 18:14 and 19:16 involve a change at Basingstoke. Buy a Super Off-Peak Day Return to Whitchurch.

You can find further information and the walk directions


Sunday Walk: Cromwellian country and the Great Ouse

Huntingdon Circular – omitting Houghton Meadows

Length: 15km (9.3 miles) Toughness: 1 out of 10

10:11 Peterborough train from Kings Cross (Finsbury Park 10:17) arriving Huntingdon at 11:12.

Return trains are on the hour (journey time 63 minutes) Buy a Super Off-Peak Day Return.

This is an easy walk along the great Ouse river to the attractive village of Houghton and its restored water mill, returning through water meadows and a nature reserve.

TheCromwell Museum, in Huntingdon (free entry) is well worth a visit but closes at 3:00pm so you’ll need to visit it before starting the walk. Omitting the loop around Houghton Meadows today should allow time for this, but if you find the light is failing towards the end, you can complete the last stretch along lit roads rather than unlit footpaths. It might seem tempting to arrive in Huntingdon earlier to allow time for the museum, but it doesn’t open until 11:00am so banish that thought from your mind.

The suggested lunch stop is the Three Jolly Butchers (01480 463228) in Wyton after 6.5km. The Three Horseshoes Inn (01480 462470) in Houghton is an alternative.

More information, including the walk directions, can be found here .


Saturday, 22 December 2018

A Chesham Christmas Circular

With the Central Line likely to be strikebound, we have decided to postpone the Greenford to Osterly walk originally offered this weekend.
In it's place, here is an alternative walk accessible from the Metropolitan Line.

Getting there:

Catch the 10:20 am Metropolitan Line train from Baker street to Chesham arriving there at 11:15 am

What tickets to buy:

Chesham is in TFL's zone 9, so you may used a pay-as-you-go Oyster or a travelcard covering your start zone and zone 9.

About the walk:

This is a 7.3 mile (12 km) walk based on the original Chesham to Great Missenden walk. You may download the Directions Here  The GPX and KLM files which cover the original linear walk and this Chesham circular can be Downloaded Here

Lunch is at The Bell in Chartridge t: 01494 782878 half way through the walk.
There's plenty of tea shops in Chesham which you may find on the walks details which may be found Here

Getting Back:

TFL are advertising trains at 27 and 57 minutes past the hour from Chesham.

Walk not long enough? This walk shares it's initial leg with  the Chesham to Great Missenden walk which is just under 10 miles/16 km long. You may find details of this option Here . I'd suggest posting a comment if you are intending to do this longer walk. (Bear in mind you'll also need to buy a single ticket from Great Missenden to Amersham if your using an Oyster)

Finally ...

Seasons greetings to one and all who have enjoyed walking with us during 2018 !




Saturday walk - Knockholt to Otford - a short but vigorous walk in the North Downs

Length: 12.9km (8 miles)
Toughness: 7 out of 10 - two steep hill climbs

10.05 train from Charing Cross (10.08 Waterloo East, 10.14 London Bridge) to Knockholt, arriving 10.49.

If you miss the above, get the 10.15 from Charing Cross (10.18 Waterloo East, 10.24 London Bridge) to Orpington and change there for the above train, but this is a tight connection - arriving 10.39, departing 10.43.)

Buy a day return to Sevenoaks which is the same price as a day return to Otford and valid for both outward and return legs of the journey. Since Knockholt is in LT zone six, you could instead use Oyster to it (don't forget to tap out, though - easy to do at this rural station), but on the way back you need to buy a single from Otford. You could buy this just as far as Swanley, get out there, tap in using Oyster and get the next train into London, but this seems a bit of a faff....

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This is a brisk short walk in the North Downs, with two good hill climbs to help make room for some mince pies, but not too long so you can get back to town early if you wish to do your last minute Christmas shopping.

Lunch in in Shoreham, Kent, where most walkers seem to rush to the Kings Head and its fairly basic food: but more upmarket options are available in the shape of the Two Brewers and the Crown. It is possible if you are feeling ultra lazy to get the train back from Shoreham, but then you will only have walked 5.3km (3.3 miles).

After lunch it is over the hills to Otford, dreaming as you pass through Magpie Bottom of summer butterflies and downland flowers. The Hospices of Hope is a nice place for tea in Otford.

Trains back are at 26 and 56 to Victoria, taking 42 minutes, or 29 and 59 to Blackfriars, taking an hour. (All these services stop at Swanley. The Blackfriars trains also stop at Shoreham at 02 and 32 past.) You can also get 18 and 48 trains in the other direction from Otford to Sevenoaks and get fast trains from there to London Bridge and Charing Cross (46 minutes in all). T=3.37

Saturday Walk - Wendover to Great Missenden

Length:  21.6 km (13.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  360 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness:  6 out of 10 
Length:  16.4 km (10.2 mi)
Ascent/Descent:  290 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours
Toughness:  4 out of 10 
Take the 09.27 train from Marylebone to Aylesbury (Harrow-on-the-Hill 09.39, Rickmansworth 09.49 etc.),  arrives Wendover 10.15, for the full walk.
Or the 09.57 Aylesbury Vale Parkway service, if walking the short version.
Return trains: xx.02 and xx.32 hours (48 minutes journey time). Buy a Wendover return ticket.

This fairly energetic walk combines some of the finest elements of the Chiltern Hills, while having very little overlap with other walks in the area. After leaving Wendover in a south easterly direction on the Ridgeway the walk rises into woods. It then passes along fields to get to the picturesque green in The Lee, a conservation area village. From there it continues through woodland and the beautiful Lee Common to a 16th century lunch pub at Swan Bottom. The afternoon offers constantly changing scenery. It completely avoids settlements and roads, mostly following grassy fields, while still passing through a variety of varied and characterful woods. Several beautiful valleys are crossed in between and the finish is a scenic descent into Great Missenden.

Lunch: Cock and Rabbit Inn with its  reassuringly (or frighteningly, depending on your perspective) traditional Graziemille Restaurant (7.3 km/4.6 mi) or The Old Swan  in Swan Bottom (10.0 km/6.2 mi, food to 14.30). It is advisable to book ahead for the latter.

For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. t=swc.140.a

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Wednesday Walk Garston to St Albans - River Ver, Moor Mill, St Albans Abbey and Verulamium

Book 1, Walk 7 - Garston to St Albans

Length: 14 km (8.7 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

London Euston: 10-24 hrs    Milton Keynes service
Arrive Watford Junction: 10-39 hrs  Change trains. Have a coffee
Leave Watford Junction: 11-09 hrs    St Albans Abbey service
Arrive Garston: 11-14 hrs

[ The 10-49 hrs   Birmingham New Street service out of Euston allows a 6 minute change time at Watford Junction, which is a bit tight if the London train is not spot on time.]

Return: Either  St Albans Abbey to Euston, changing at Watford Junction:  16-07, 16-54 and 17-45 hrs
St Albans City to St Pancras: Thamselink fast services at 01, 13, 18 and 27 mins past the hour, and stopping service at 35 mins past the hour.

Rail ticket: buy a day return to St Albans Abbey. If returning from the City station you will probably  have to buy an additional ticket.

Not too ghastly a walk, with a Christmas Market in the Abbey's precincts, and you might catch a carol service in the Abbey

This usually makes for a pleasant and easy pre-Christmas walk. Shortly after the start you are likely to encounter a good dollop of mud in Bricket Wood Common but with care and some slopping around you should make it safely through and out the other side. Then it is along the drive of Mundon House and through its grounds to come out onto a bridleway which you follow for a mile or so  before you  head along field edges and cross a vast field to the lunch pub - the Moor Mill. At this time of year this popular pub-restaurant gets booked up, so I have made a booking for SWC walkers. For a pub chain the food is usually much better than the pre-digested fare often encountered at similar establishments.
After lunch you head along the Ver Valley walk through light woodland on a hilly section (the only hilly bit today) as you make for the village of Park Street. Then you have to negotiate some water meadows and walk along a field edge beside the River Ver to come out onto a residential street which you follow gently uphill  for a while - with  a fine view of the Abbey directly ahead of you - before you return to the river to follow it all the way to St Albans.  A short walk uphill brings you to the Abbey cum Cathedral. In its precincts you should find a Christmas Fair in full swing.  Inside the Abbey its cafe serves as your tea stop today. After exploring the Abbey (recommended) your final journey of the day depends on which of St Albans' railway stations you wish to return home from. Personally I prefer the walk back downhill from the Abbey to Ye Olde Flying Cocks pub (recommended for its choice of fine ales). Then through Verulamium Park to St Albans Abbey  station. Allow at least 20 mins from the Abbey to this diddy railway station. Allow slightly longer if you walk through the town and make for St Albans City station for trains to St Pancras.
Your walk Directons are here: L=1.7

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sunday Walk: Riddlesdown to Coulsdon South

Book 2, walk 15
16.8 km. 10.4 miles or, with shortcut, 7.8 miles 12.5km.
Difficulty 4/10
This walk, all within travelcard zone 6, goes through some of the finest preserved commons in the green belt, including Happy Valley and Farthing Down. You also get to marvel at one of England's oldest - and biggest - wall paintings in Chaldon Church .
Get the 10:22 East Grinstead train from London Bridge (E Croydon 10:39) arr. Riddlesdown 10:47. (No service from Victoria today). Get a Zones 1-6 travelcard.
Returning from Coulsdon South at xx:04 involves 10 minutes on a replacement bus to Purley where you pick up the xx:28 train to London Bridge. Total journey time 51min.
Returning at xx:34 (also via bus to Purley) involves a further change at East Croydon. Total journey time 55 min.
The Fox, Coulsdon Common 01883 330 401- Busy, efficient and "oozing rustic charm and rural character" according to their website. There's a possible earlier stop at Wattenden - the Wattenden Arms, open from 12.
There is a Caffe Nero, 5 mins north of the station at 132 Brighton Road, open until 5pm.
The Poppy Cafe in the Memorial Gardens (across the road from Reddown Rd) is open till 4.
There's also a drinks machine in the station's cab office.
Additionally, the walk's intro page gives directions to a pub, the Pembroke, 12-16 Chipstead Valley Road, CR5 2RA.
(The Pembroke and Caffe Nero are not that far from Coulsdon Town station where trains run to Purley at xx:11 or East Croydon at xx:41 - directions not in text, continue north along Brighton Rd and turn right into Leaden Hill).
Walk Directions:  here.
Bearing in mind it gets dark early, consider the shortcut (option a), soon after the Fox.

Sunday Walk: Sole Street Circular

13.5km 8.4m
Difficulty: 5/10
Book 2, walk 17 (variant)
Woods, hills, and views in the Kent North Downs.
Trains: get the 10:10 from Victoria to Canterbury East, arriving at Sole Street at 10:59
Trains return from Sole Street at xx:57.
Lunch: the Amazon and Tiger, Harvel (01474 814 705) Phone to book.
The Golden Lion, Lower Luddesdown, (01474 814 369) is an earlier option.
Tea the Cock Inn, or, nearer the station, the Railway Inn.
Directions:  here This is a variant of the Snodland to Sole Street walk.  Use the alternative start on Page 5.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Saturday Walk: Yalding to Borough Green

10.4 miles / 16.8 km
The Greensand Way and Mereworth Woods.

A variation on the original route takes you to West Peckham for lunch at the Swan on the Green.

Trains: Take the 10:10 train from Charing Cross (10:19 London Bridge) to Tonbridge, arriving 10:51, change for the 11:04 to Yalding, arriving 11:18.  If you miss the first train or have faith in the punctuality of Southeastern trains, you can also take the 10:15 from Charing Cross, giving 6 minutes to change trains at Tonbridge.
Return trains at xx:18 and xx:46 to London Victoria.
A return to Yalding always seems to have worked for return from Borough Green.

Lunch: The Swan on the Green, West Peckham, (01622 812271), good food and has its own micro-brewery, best to phone ahead.  The lunch pub on the original route has long since closed down, but a small detour will take you to the Moody Mare, Mereworth (01622 813038) - follow the Beeches route in the instructions.

Borough Green does not have a lot to offer at the end of the walk.  Besides the places listed in the directions, there's a a Costa Coffee on the main road and a Co op supermarket by the station.

Click here for full walk details and directions

Vanguard Way: East Croydon to Beech Plantation

Vanguard Way: East Croydon to Beech Plantation
Length: 19km (11.8 miles)* t=ldp.22

Catch the 9:46 from Victoria arrives at East Croydon at 10:02.

Suggest meeting outside Costa coffee in the ticket hall area and setting off at 10:10am prompt. This walk makes use of the online Vanguard way walk directions by Colin Saunders. From East Croydon, it's not too long before you reach the open space of Lloyd Park. The suggested lunch stop is at The Bull Inn, Chelsham Common , Chelsham, (T:01883 627735), 11km into the walk.

After lunch the terrain is more undulating. This chosen 16.7km first stage consists of Section 1: East Croydon to Chelsham Common and part of Section 2: Chelsham to Limpsfield Chart.  In the section 2 text, at the end of paragraph 2.8, take the Eastern Link to Oxted station (2.3km).

The Vanguard Way directions are comprehensive and include commentary on points of interest along the way.

The remaining stages of the Vanguard Way will be scheduled in 2019 about every 2 months over 4 Saturdays.
 *Option to shorten the walk by 4km by taking the Link to Woldingham station after lunch.

Saturday walk - Crowthorne to Sandhurst - Berkshire heaths and woods

Length: 15.3km (9.5 miles) - with options to extend after lunch to 17.3km (10.4 miles) or 20.5km (12.7 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10 T=3.83

9.30 (Bristol Temple Meads-bound) train** from Paddington to Reading, arriving 9.55 and changing to the 10.04 to Crowthorne, arriving 10.18.

** If you get to Paddington a bit earlier you could get the 9.22 Worcester train which gives you four extra minutes to make the connection. The only convenient connection from Ealing Broadway is the 9.05 stopping service to Reading arriving at 9.50.

Buy a day return to Sandhurst - or to Blackwater if you plan to end there

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

I have not done this walk and so rely on the walk notes, which promise mixed woodland, heaths and pastures including the National Trust's Finchampstead Ridges. The afternoon is along the River Blackwater where there can apparently be flooding after heavy rain, but I don't think rain has yet been that heavy this winter....

Lunch is in Finchampstead after 8km (5 miles) where there is a pub - the Queen's Oak - described as "very welcoming to walkers", with another alternative nearby.

After lunch you can do the standard walk to Sandhurst - 13.5km (9.5 miles) or extend the walk in two ways. One possibility (option i) is a slightly longer afternoon, making a walk of 17.3km (10.4 miles) and another is to add a leg from Sandhurst to Blackwater (option ii), making a walk of 18.5km (11.4 miles). Doing BOTH these options would make a walk of 20.5km (12.7 miles).

Tea is in one of two pubs in Sandhurst: there seem to be no tea options at Blackwater, however.

Trains back are at 28 past from Blackwater or 31 past from Sandhurst, changing at Reading

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Wednesday Walk - Hook to Winchfield

Length:  20.0 km (12.4 mi) [shorter or longer walk possible, see below]
Ascent/Descent:  153/154m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 - 4 ½ hours [the last 15 mins are along roads so you should in any case be fine for light]
Toughness:  3 out of 10 
Take the 10.12 Basingstoke train from Waterloo (10.19 CJ, 10.30 Surbiton etc.), arrives Hook 11.18.  
Return trains from Winchfield are on xx.05 and xx.35  (ca. 60 mins journey time). Buy a Hook return.

The start of this walk is affected by Hook's proximity to the noisy M3, but after crossing it on the edge of Bartley Heath nature reserve the motorway is soon out of earshot. The walk then alternates between stretches alongside the River Whitewater and the Basingstoke Canal, with the weather-beaten ruins of Odiham Castle at their intersection. After passing through the attractive village of Greywell with its ancient church and mill the route doubles back to a lunchtime stop in the elegant town of Odiham, with its wide Georgian-fronted High Street.
In the afternoon the walk re-joins the canal at Odiham Wharf and continues along the towpath to Broad Oak Bridge, where there is a choice of routes (see Walk Options below). The Main Walk goes through the extensive Dogmersfield Park  estate (once a royal hunting ground) and past Tundry Pond to re-join the canal at Blacksmith's Bridge. It then heads back along the towpath before going across fields and along country lanes to Winchfield station.

Walk Options:
·        The walk directions include a short cut in the morning (cuts 1¼ km by cutting out the loop to Greywell Mill).
·        After lunch, at Broad Oak Bridge you could remain on the canal towpath, omitting the section through Dogmersfield Park. This Short Walk saves nearly 4 km and has the added attraction of going past a picturesque Hunting Lodge on the edge of Odiham Common.
·        The Long Walk adds 4¼ km by continuing eastwards from Blacksmith's Bridge along a rural stretch of the canal to Crookham Wharf and then returning through the village of Dogmersfield.

Note: Earlier in the year, ”…the morning route was substantially changed as the paths across Hook Common had become increasingly difficult to follow”. This is the first outing of the new version.

Early Lunch: The Mill House  in North Warnborough or The Fox and Goose in Greywell.
Lunch: The Bell, The Bel & The Dragon and The Red Lion, all in Odiham (9.3 km/5.8 mi, food to 14.30).
Tea: The Winchfield Inn, which may or may not be open weekday afternoons…

For walk directions, map, height profile, some photos, a video and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.84