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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, 5 October 2019

Saturday walk - Yalding to Sutton Valence or Harrietsham - Apples, views and churches

Length: 15.3km (9.5 miles) to Sutton Valence, 24.3km (15.1 miles) to Harrietsham
Toughness 3 out of 10. T=3.150

10.00 (Hastings-bound) train from Charing Cross (10.03 Waterloo East, 10.09 London Bridge, 10.40 Orpington) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.58, changing there for the 11.04 (Strood-bound) service to Yalding, arriving 11.18


10.02 (Ramsgate-bound) train from Victoria (10.23 Bromley South, 10.32 Orpington) to Paddock Wood, arriving 10.58, and connecting to the Yalding train on the same platform, departing 11.11.

Train notes: Paddock Wood is an easier place to change than Tonbridge, since at Paddock Wood the two trains leave from the same platform, whereas at Tonbridge you have just six minutes to cross the footbridge from platform 1 to 3: get on at the front of the train at Charing Cross or London Bridge to be nearest to the footbridge. Normally one can get round this by taking a train five minutes earlier from Charing Cross which goes direct to Paddock Wood, but today there is minor engineering work of some kind and a more limited service to Tonbridge. The direct train to Paddock Wood is instead starting from Victoria, hence the alternative train option. Both trains call at Orpington. The Charing Cross train will do a diversionary route to Orpington, adding 15 minutes to the usual journey time.

Best ticket:
- if ending at Sutton Valence, get a day return to Headcorn. This is not technically valid between Paddock Wood and Yalding but you would be unlucky to encounter a ticket inspector that makes an issue of this.
- if ending at Harrietsham: get a day return to Yalding and then a single for the three stops from Harrietsham to Maidstone East.

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

Here at Walker Walk Posting Enterprises your sternest command is our slightest wish, and since there was a request for this walk today, I am happy to oblige. It was posted back in April but everyone who did it then was apparently abducted by aliens, as there was no walk report.

The requester seems to be anticipating plentiful supplies of ripe apples. I should point out that the many orchards on this walk are commercial enterprises who might not take kindly to you stealing their crop. But there is no law against looking.

Aside from apple orchards, you get lots of fine escarpment views, including a mouthwatering one from the capacious lunch pub, the Bull in Linton, 5.6 miles into the walk, which commands a fabulous panorama from its extensive garden, if it is nice enough to sit outside in it. There are also a series of interesting old churches and one goat sanctuary, which has a tea kiosk open until 4pm.

You can end the walk in Sutton Valence after 9.5 miles - a pretty village, worth exploring, though you might not think so from the rather humdrum bit of it you see from the main road. Number 12 buses go from here to Headcorn station at 15.42, 16.57, 17.54, 18.54 or 20.15, taking 12 minutes and connecting well (if they are on time) with the trains from Headcorn to Victoria, which are at 15 and 45 past the hour. If you do this option, you can either have tea at the Kings Head in Sutton Valence, or get off in the centre of Headcorn (one stop before the station) where the George & Dragon is a very pleasant tea stop which in the past has even served cakes, and also a good place for dinner: from there it is 5-8 minutes walk to Headcorn station.

Alternatively you can continue the walk from Sutton Valence to Harrietsham, another 5.6 miles, so making 15.1 miles in all. This is another fine stretch of escarpment, with more views and churches. After 3.3 miles you come to the very charming Pepper Box pub, but it only opens at 6pm, half an hour before sunset, so you will probably want to be on your way down to Harrietsham before that. Harrietsham itself is humdrum, but there is a perfectly serviceable pub to while away your time in before the trains, which leave at 50 minutes past the hour and go to Victoria.


Anonymous said...

Cracking walk. Fine lunchtime pub.

branchline said...

n=24 on this walk (someone correct me if I’m wrong)and w=cloudy-but-not-cold.
I’ve forgotton what a pretty walk this is with fantastic views throughout. Walked past ever so many apple orchards (as advertised) with trees laden with claret coloured apples, and the ground littered with fallen ones. Another orchard which had been harvested, smelled of cider (due to fallen and decaying apples) and a plum orchard just before the lunchtime pub. Also passed by a huge pumpkin field. One walker mentally calculated that there were 90,000 pumpkins in that field.
I think nearly everyone had either lunch or post picnic drinks in the The Bull in Linton sitting on their patio with more lovely views. A walker dropped their walking pole down from the patio, but luckily it was rescued from a patch of brambles and nettles by another walker and helpful member of staff.
Most of us got the bus from Sutton Valence to Headcorn, where the majority stopped for tea and bear in the George and Dragon, and then onto catch the train. I’m not sure if anyone did the extension to Harrietsham.
This is a really lovely spring and autumn walk.

Anonymous said...

At least two went on to Harrietsham. The highlights were:a strawberry plantation, two epic yews outside another ancient church, a chat with a spry 91 year old lady, and coffee at the Pepper Box. The barely functional Roebuck in Harrietsham (oddly,neat red napkins on the tables though they don't do food anymore)is soon to cease functioning, to be replaced by an Indian restaurant. If you stop to dine at the Pepper Box (opens at 6),leave an hour to get to Harrietsham train station, unless you're a fast walker. Thanks to Walker for posting.