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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, 4 May 2019

Saturday Walk - Ashurst to Eridge - Last chance for bluebells

Length: 15.8km (9.8 miles) to 21km (13 miles)  T=3.236

10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Ashurst (Kent), arriving 10.57.

Buy a day return to Eridge

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here. For a map click here.

I confess I had hoped to do the Tring Circular today with its best in class bluebells....but alas, engineering works rule it out utterly. So instead another walk supposed to have good bluebells (“one good wood late morning, three after lunch”), which has never yet had a bluebell season outing.

Bluebells apart, it is a fine Wealden walk, with the usual mix of hilly bits, views, fields and woods. The walk ends by passing the picturesque Harrison Rocks.

Lunch is at the George & Dragon in Speldhurst after a 4.3 miles, a popular pub but one with a fairly large area of outside tables. Roughly three miles further on another option, reached by a short detour, is the Hare in Langton Green, which serves food all afternoon.

For tea you have a choice. The main walk (21km/13 miles) takes you to the Burrswood Tea Room is a cafe in what was once a hospital but now seems to be more of a retreat centre: it can run out of cakes towards its closing time (which is 4.30pm) but it has outside tables with a lovely view of manicured lawns and grounds.

Or you can cut out Burrswood and go straight to Groombridge, reducing the walk to 18km/11.2 miles. In that case either the Crown or Junction Inn (the former with nice outside tables on the village green) is your tea stop, or just possibly the Spa Valley Railway tea kiosk on the platform of Groombridge station if you get there before the last train at 4.50pm.

Alternatively a shorter circular walk (the 15.8km/9.8 mile version) takes you from Burrswood to nearby Ashurst station, from where trains go at 56 minutes past the hour (time it carefully as there is nothing much to do in the vicinity of Ashurst station).

Those not taking this shorter circular ending continue past Harrison Rocks to Eridge station, where the Huntsman pub is your end of walk refreshment stop

Trains back from Eridge are at 50 past the hour.


Tony said...

Arriving Ashurst at 10:57 (according to National Rail website)?

Walker said...


Walker said...

Dire warnings on the weather forecast about winds from the Arctic and “feels like” temperatures of 6 degrees put me in a rather grim mood as I set off for this walk. But in fact it was not a bad day at all. Sunny for the most part, with a cool breeze when exposed to it, but warm enough in shelter, of which there seemed to be a lot. Then after lunch a series of showers when the temperature seemed to drop by ten degrees, but these never lasted long. So w=sunshine-with-some-chilly-showers-later

20 were on the specified train, with one early starter revealing herself later, so n=21 in all. The countryside was full of the joys of spring, with lots of wildflowers, and there were several bluebell woods, all fading but some - especially towards Eridge - still producing decent amounts of blue. One big surprise was a profusion of bluebells on verges, all of which were still in full flower.

Arriving at the pub in Speldhurst I was a bit nonplussed to find the group all sat inside: I had decided it was warm enough to dine al fresco. But the showers started as we ate, so inside turned out to be best after all.

Attempts to order food at the bar were repulsed, so we had to endure the unhurried rituals of the bringing of menus, the taking of drink orders and the delivery of drinks before we could be admitted to the privilege of choosing our food. Two of our party who arrived late and went direct to the bar, posing as private individuals, had ordered and received their food by this time. But when, over an hour after arriving, our food emerged from the kitchen it proved delicious and generously portioned.

Mid afternoon we got a text saying Burrswood, the intended tea place, had gone into administration. This was a surprise to me, as I had tea there only two or three weeks ago. Warned, we took the short cut to Groombridge and several who had planned to do the shorter circular walk to Ashurst did the now shortened main walk to Eridge instead, which was nice because it meant we all stayed together. The Crown Inn in Groombridge did tea in pots but only I got a pudding, because I had the clever idea of asking before the bar staff realised there was a big group of us.

The walk down to Eridge past Harrison Rocks was very idyllic, far more idyllic than I would have dared to hope when looking at the forecast: except, that is, when it rained, which it did once or twice, with sun swiftly returning.

Several got the 5.50 train, but five of us stayed to have a sunny outside drink at the Huntsman, then dinner inside, before getting the 6.50.

Walker said...

There was apparently another walker on the early train, so n=22 in all