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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, 27 April 2019

Saturday walk - Knockholt Circular - first ever outing in bluebell time

Length: 18.5km (11.5 miles) T=3.7
Toughness: 5 out of 10

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

If you miss the above train, get the 10.15 Charing Cross train (10.18 Waterloo East, 10.24 London Bridge) and change at Orpington (arrive 10.39, depart 10.43).

Knockholt is in zone 6, so you can use Oyster, contactless, etc: but don't forget to tap out and tap in at Knockholt - easy to do as it is a rural station with no ticket barriers.

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

This walk has not had a Saturday outing since 2012, and as far as I can see has never been done in bluebell time despite being listed on the Where to find Flowers page as having "several attractive small bluebell woods". This is also fertile territory for other kinds of floral and spring delights, since this is essentially the chalk downland of the North Downs. Just after lunch it passes Downe House, home of Charles Darwin, which can be visited.

For lunch you have a choice of two pubs in Downe - the George & Dragon or the Queen's Head, both 4.8 miles into the walk. Somewhat mysteriously the walk directions do not mention a further choice 1.6 miles further on, which is the Blacksmith's Arms in Cudham, which is only very slightly off the route and seems to do food all afternoon.

If this walk has one weakness, it is that its tea stop, the self-service Arthur's Restaurant in Coolings Garden Centre, shuts at the cruelly early hour of 4.30pm. It is 1.6 miles from the end of the walk, so 5.1 miles from Downe or 3.5 miles from Cudham. Otherwise one is reliant on one of two "locals" pubs nearby (don't ask if they do Earl Grey...).

There is a report that a section across the golf course at the start and end of the walk is being prepared for housing development, with the path across the site fenced.

Trains back from Knockholt go at 13 and 43 past. Don't forget to tap in!


Anonymous said...

Hi Guys I did this walk back in January and yes the golf course has been sold for housing development. The lovely chest nut trees are gone. Fences everywhere but there is a path but rather restricted path. It was extremely muddy in winter due to the extensive digging etc. Still a very good walk for Boundary 6 with fair bit of hills to challenge you. Should have some good bluebell patches as I recall about 5 years when I did it in blue bell season. Did the Holmwood to Gomshall with Leith rhododenrous extension. Flowers still got a week to go before full bloom. Sorry Marcus I skip your Tring walk. Enjoy the Knockholt walk as I did.
P/S Walker saw 2 types of violet common dog violet and wood violet.

Walker said...

I belatedly realised that the best ticket for this walk would have been a six zone travelcard purchased with a Network Card - £8.60 or so: a big discount on the £12.80 daily cap for zone 1 to 6 on Oyster. Oh well...

14 assembled on the platform for this walk and one late starter caught us at lunch, so N=15 in all. Odd spots of rain early on and a teensy bit of brightness in the early afternoon apart, the weather was w=cool-grey-cloud. A bit disappointing. Only one inert butterfly seen and birdsong was very muted: a big contrast to last weekend.

The fenced bit across the now abandoned (yippee!) golf course was just a line of fence posts, which helpfully indicated the path. If there are indeed plans to build housing here, there is no sign of any progress being made. In truth more housing might cheer the rather nothing-y area around the station up. Any chance that the development could include a cafe open to 7pm, do you think?

In Downe the George & Dragon had five frowning locals: the Queen’s Head was much more inviting and served nice food cheerfully. Its most famous regular (a former leader of UKIP) has not been seen for a while, apparently.

Thus far we had had some nice-ish patches of bluebells and an encounter with three cheerful goats, plus two dogs who had a trick of throwing their toy over the fence for passers-by to throw back. But as the walk poster I worried that we might not get any big-hitting bluebell woods. But mid afternoon we came upon a stunner - just by Let’s Green. Two walkers did a short cut at this point.

For the rest of us - well, OK, mainly for me - the big anxiety after this was whether we would get to tea in time, but we did, arriving at 4pm and managing to penetrate the vast and extravagantly well- stocked labyrinth that is Coolings Garden Centre to find its lovely self-service tea room. Nice cakes, big pots of tea. Then down to the station to get whatever train we got. Perhaps they could also add a pub to that housing development so the walking day does not have to end so abruptly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the ticket advice, will be useful for future walks.