Backup Only

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, 30 November 2019

Saturday walk - Hayes to Knockholt - Rural Kent within zone 6

Length: 16km (10 miles) T=3.82
Toughness: 4 out of 10

 9.57 train from Cannon Street (10.01 London Bridge, 10.13 Lewisham - lots of other stops in SE London) to Hayes, arriving 10.38

Your journey today is entirely within zone 6, so use Oyster or contactless.

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

Despite starting in suburbia, this walk very quickly gets out into proper countryside - woods and fields and valleys: you know the kind of thing. It has an excellent tea stop - the very lovely self-service coffee shop at Coolings Nursery, which has wonderful cakes and is worth pushing through all the acres of pot plants and garden implements to get to. The coffee shop shuts at 4.30pm, but it will be dark by then anyway, so you should hopefully reach it somewhat before that.

The Nursery is 4km/2.4 miles beyond the Blacksmiths Arms in Cudham, the lunch stop recommended by the walk author, 9.5km/5.9 miles into the walk, but if you can't hold out that long one of the two pubs in Downe after 7km/4.3 miles is also possible.

Trains back from Knockholt are at 13 and 43 past. ** Don't forget to tap in *** It is 2.5km/1.6 miles from the nursery to the end of the walk, or about 40 minutes walking time. The route crosses a golf course which earlier this year seemed to be fenced off for re-development, but I seem to recall that the right of way route was still maintained. There are no refreshments and precious little shelter at Knockholt station, so try not to just miss a train there.


Anonymous said...

An alternative "tea stop" for those who prefer stronger fare might be the Rose & Crown in Halstead.

It's not far from Coolings, a little way off the route on Otford Lane, TN14 7EA. Tel: 01959 533120

Walker said...

N=15 on this walk: 10 at the start, 2 on a later train and 3 on an earlier train apparently. I say “apparently” because I never saw this mystery three. But they were attested by credible witnesses who even spoke to them, so they make the count.

We left London Bridge in sparkling sunlight, the first sunny Saturday since I don’t know when. So it was a bit disappointing to emerge at Hayes into fog. This kept being on the verge of burning off, the disk of the sun appearing through the gloom from time to time, but not till after Downe did it clear completely. Crossing the valley to Cudham was lovely - wisps of mist drifting up into the blue sky. It was then sunny while we were having lunch but the sun was obscured by “envious cloud” to the west once we emerged, though with reasonably clear skies above. So w=fog-then-sun-then-bright.

Six of us lunched at the not overly busy pub in Cudham, where we discussed the decline of restaurants in rural France. The other diners nicely waited for me, a late-orderer, to get my food and we then also waited for a late arrival to get hers. In the afternoon a few of us went astray through over-attention to our conversation and inattention to our gismos, but we still arrived at Coolings Nursery at 3.45 or so. There we met some others emerging from tea and heading for the pub in Halstead.

A mere five to ten minutes walk through the vast garden centre got us to tea where we waited in a fairly long queue while all the remaining chocolate cake was sold to other customers. But hey, the pistachio and whatsit sponge was an interesting experience. We then set off at about 4.20 to walk in the dark to Knockholt station, where we met the pubbers for the 5.13 (?) train home.