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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.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Saturday Walk - Penshurst via Bough Beech Circular - small bluebell woods, gentle Kentish countryside

Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles)...or 18km (11.2 miles) with a morning short cut, 15.5km (9.6 miles) with an afternoon short cut, 12km (7.4 miles) with both short cuts. T=3.300

Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.10 train from Charing Cross (10.13 Waterloo East, 10.19 London Bridge), to Tonbridge, changing there (arriving 10.51, departing 11.01) for the (Redhill-bound) train to Penshurst, arriving 11.09.

(If you want to give yourself five minutes extra to make the change, you could also get the 10.00 train from Charing Cross, 10.03 Waterloo East, 10.09 London Bridge, which arrives at Tonbridge at 10.46.)

Buy a day return to Penshurst.

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

This walk was last done in Arctic conditions during the “Mini-Beast from the East” in March 2018. But even then I noticed it had several small bluebell woods. Let us see what they look like under (hopefully...) more clement conditions.

The route has lots more charms besides, skirting round the top of the Bough Beech Reservoir and passing its visitor centre and nature reserve (will we see the first swallows of the year swooping low over it?) and then in the afternoon looping through those perennial SWC favourites Chiddingstone and Penshurst - two villages packed with charm and historical interest (though annoyingly Chiddingstone Castle is not open on Saturdays). I am also hoping this will be fine territory for flowers, butterflies and other signs of spring.

For lunch, the Wheatsheaf after 5.9 miles is described as "likely to be fully booked at weekends" (we were the only customers during the Mini-Beast!!) but it does have a non-bookable garden and does food till 4pm (according to its website), so it might be worth dawdling a bit to reach it after the main rush. Alternatively, don't dawdle but scooch on another 2 miles to Chiddingstone to the Castle Inn: it also has a garden and serves food till 3pm.

All the above distances can be cut by 3.5km (2.2 miles) if you take a morning short cut and you can save 6km (3.7 miles) if you take an afternoon short cut that goes direct from Chiddingstone to Penshurst station (missing out Penshurst village): see the walk directions for details and for an interactive map you can play with and try out the various options.

Tea can be in the Tulip Tree tea room in Chiddingstone or Fir Tree House in Penshurst village: there are also pubs in both places, as well as the popular Little Brown Jug right opposite Penshurst station.

Trains back from Penshurst are at 22 past (from the same side of the station as the Little Brown Jug: no need to cross the footbridge), changing at Tonbridge.

There are also trains at 09 past in the other direction (across the footbridge), changing at Redhill, but these involve a 23 minute change at Redhill for a Thameslink train to London Bridge (etc) via East Croydon: they are no quicker than those at 22 past if you are heading back to central London but may be more convenient for some South Londoners.

1 comment:

Walker said...

London Bridge was BUSY on Good Friday morning, possibly due to services diverted from other stations due to engineering works. Ticket queues were LONG. If you need to buy a ticket on the day, ideally get today’s train at Charing Cross. If you must get on at London Bridge, go to the back (southern) end of the station, exit and turn left for 80 metres or so to find a little-known commuter entrance. There are two ticket machines no one knows about there... (Don’t tell anyone else: they will be our little secret)