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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, 14 December 2019

Saturday walk - Tonbridge to Penshurst - A quiet slice of Kent

Length: 15.3km (9.5 miles) or 18.0km (11.2 miles). T=3.235
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.40 train from Charing Cross (9.43 Waterloo East, 9.49 London Bridge) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.21. If you just miss this, there is a train doing the same stops five minutes later...

Buy a day return to Penshurst.

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

In the early part of this walk there are considerable sections on gravel tracks, though don't let that gull you into thinking that it won't be muddy - probably very muddy - in places. But hey, it is the winter.

The morning is a pleasant walk out of Tonbridge through parks and along wooded rivers. You then go over a hill (on a track) and descend into Penshurst with its Elizabethan stately home: this is closed at this time of year, but its cafe, the Porcupine Pantry, is open for light lunches. Otherwise lunch is at the Leicester Arms in Penshurst, 5 miles into the walk, which serves food till 3pm.

After this you have a choice:

- The shorter walk (15.3km/9.5 miles) has the advantages of following another nice length of track and getting you to Chiddingstone village in 4km (2.5 miles), where - as far as I can tell - the Tulip Tree tea room is open till 5pm. Those with more dissolute lifestyles can repair to the adjacent Castle Inn, which serves food till 4pm, in case you are minded to use it as a late lunch stop. It is then 3km (1.8 miles) across fields (definitely muddy!) to Penshurst station, where the Little Brown Jug is a wonderful pub to finish at.

- The main walk (18.0km/11.2 miles) strikes out from Penshurst village to reach Hoath Corner in another 3.8km (2.4 miles) where the diminutive Rock Inn might be a late lunch stop: but I would phone to check they are open/have space before relying on it. It then cuts north to get to Chiddingstone and the tea options outlined in the paragraph above in another 3.3km (2 miles)

Trains back from Penshurst (the station being conveniently just across the road from the Little Brown Jug) are 22 past the hour to Tonbridge (the platform on the same side of the tracks as the pub), or 09 past the hour to Redhill (the platform over the footbridge), in both cases requiring a change for trains to London. The Tonbridge route is slightly quicker but leaves slightly later, so both arrive in London at the same time. The Redhill route offers connections via East Croydon, which may suit some of you.

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=19 on this walk, including 3 late starters (I am told). The weather was w=mainly-sunny apart from one heavy shower late morning which was accompanied by the most savage squally wind I have ever experienced out walking: I really thought branches were going to come down, and indeed one fair-sized stick did hit one of the party.

The early part of the walk, as promised, had plenty of firm gravel paths, though not all of the lakes we passed are usually there. We got to Penshurst at 12.30, where after a bit of hemming and hawing by the management we were admitted to the dining room at two separate tables. Seven sandwichistas ate in Leicester Square and soon set off to do the main walk, but found their way blocked by floods around a footbridge and (we later learned) retreated to Penshurst to do the short walk.

Otherwise five of the pub lunchers set off to do the short walk, passing more pop-up lakes and enjoying fine views and more gravel tracks. Only towards Chiddingstone were things more gloopy. Arriving at Chiddingstone at 2.40pm, we briefly intersected with the sandwichistas, and then went for a leisurely tea at the Tulip Tree, with its monster-sized cakes. Crossing the swollen River Eden after tea we had one flooded field to contend with before a reasonably dry last stretch to Penshurst. Three caught the 16.09 to Redhill while two of us went to the Little Brown Jug to find the seven sandwichistas leaving for the 16.22 to Penshurst.

We there waited for the rest of the party - six pub lunchers who had decided to do the main walk. They navigated the flooded bridge by creating a causeway of sticks and then took off boots and socks to wade through the flooded path beyond. (It makes you proud to be British.) After more mud snorkelling adventures they got to the Little Brown Jug just before 5pm. All but one then had drinks and (in three cases) puddings (one of the puddings, a vegan one proving inedibly dry, alas), before getting the 6.22 to Tonbridge