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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, 1 June 2019

Saturday Walk - Sandling to Wye (yes, again!) - glorious buttercups, glorious views

Length: 20.5km (12.8 miles)
Toughness: 6 out of 10 (a couple of big climbs, basically) T=3.24

10.09 (Margate-bound) train from St Pancras International to Ashford International, changing there (arrive 10.47, depart 11.02) for Sandling, arriving 11.13.


9.40 (Dover Priory-bound) train from Charing Cross (9.43 Waterloo East, 9.49 London Bridge) to Sandling direct, arriving 11.13.

Buy a day return to Sandling (valid for High Speed if going from St Pancras, otherwise not).

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the walk and some brief notes on the route click here and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Once you are up on the downs you are basically following the North Downs Way, with one or two minor "improvements".

I know this walk was posted on Sunday just two weeks back, but for whatever reason only six turned up. Saturday walkers are made of sterner stuff.

This is, in my humble opinion, a near perfect downland walk, with mouthwatering escarpment views for most of the way, except for an "inland section" just after lunch. Fear not, though: glorious downland views return towards the end. In past years it has also been a eye-aching yellow carpet of buttercups at this time of year - see the photo page for this walk.

Lunch is usually at the Tiger Inn 5.8 miles into the walk. This is a deservedly popular pub, whose capacity is doubled if the weather is fine by outside seating. It serves food all afternoon so it may not be a bad idea to get there a bit after the main lunchtime rush. The back-up option is the Five Bells Inn in Brabourne, another wonderful pub that also does food all afternoon but which requires an extra tranche of road walking and a 800 metre addition to the walk to get to it.

For tea the Wye Coffee Shop and Kitchen is now open till 5pm, not 4pm as stated in the walk notes, but for most a more practical and desirable destination is the Tickled Trout pub, idyllically and conveniently situated by the river just across the bridge from the station. It has a garden from which you can paddle in the stream, if that takes your fancy. It does tea, even cakes sometimes. Nice food too.

Trains back from Wye are at 20 and 54 past till late. The 54 past train takes 1hr 28 minutes to Charing Cross, while the 20 past is a bit of a dawdler, going to Victoria in 1hr 46 minutes: but with a five minute change at Ashford (from one side of the station to the other, so be quick) you can get to Charing Cross in 1hr 32

Both trains have a 16 minute connection at Ashford to the high speed trains to St Pancras, giving a Wye to St Pancras journey time of 1 hour.


PeteB said...

I was one of the "Sunday 6" and can confirm the glorious carpets of buttercups and the overall brilliance of this walk. Just before you descend into Wye there is a seat overlooking superb views and I can remember many tears ago when quite a large SWC group had a rest and a snooze here before descending to Wye and drinks at the Tickled Trou which also has delicious (but not home made) cakes. Hope the weather is good and clear for you as this really enhances the views.

Walker said...

N=34 on this walk - 32 at the start and (at least) two late starters - with most, I think, getting the normal train rather than the high speed one. Weather: w=sunny-and-hot, though with the heat a bit mitigated by high cloud in the afternoon. Perhaps a walk with more shade might have been nice, but who was complaining? Glorious weather, glorious scenery, a glorious time of year. The countryside an eye-aching green with not a trace of brown or seediness or decay - excepting perhaps some ash trees that looked to be affected by die-back. Lots of buttercups everywhere. Common blue and small heath butterflies throughout. Swifts screaming over Wye at the end. Remember, oh remember, days like this.

The group got very split up very early on. Some went off at warp speed, leaving three of us trailing far behind. On we walked across the lonely hills with not a soul in sight ahead nor behind. But later it transpired we were in the middle not at the back. A refugee group apparently got to the lunch pub even later than we did and took a taxi from there at 4pm.

The Tiger Inn was as lovely as ever: pleasantly busy but not overcrowded; cheerful and friendly. No sucking of teeth or warnings about how long food would take to come. A convivial meal in the cool shade on a hot patio. In my mind’s eye it is always a sunny day in early June at this pub.

A tea stop before the end of the walk would have been nice, but it was not to be. Some of us had a sit instead on the lip of the Devil’s Kneading Trough, or whatever it is called. Then down to Wye and the Tickled Trout and beer, tea, ice cream and a paddle for three of us in the cool stream. Some took the 18.54 train, which was delayed; the rest took the 19.20, which wasn’t.

Brian said...

"Remember, oh remember, days like this."
Couldn't put it better - and I think we all will. (One of the three trailing far behind.)