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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, 29 February 2020

Saturday walk - Otford Circular via Shoreham - No, NOT that Otford Circular: THIS one

SWC walk 290 - Otford Circular via Shoreham T=3.290
Length: 14km (8.7 miles), but lots of ways to extend it
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.55 (Ashford International-bound) train from Victoria (10.12 Bromley South) to Otford, arriving 10.30

Alternatively, you could get the 9.40 from Charing Cross (9.43 Waterloo East, 9.49 London Bridge) to Sevenoaks, and change there (arrive 10.12, depart 10.22) onto a northbound Thameslink train to Otford, arriving 10.29.

There is also a 9.16 from Blackfriars to Otford, arriving 10.18, likely to only be of interest to those living near the many stations in South London - too numerous to list here - where it stops.

Buy a day return to Otford (which is also, as far as I am aware, valid via Sevenoaks)

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

We have many walks in the Otford/Shoreham/Eynsford area, so before you groan "Oh, I have done that one!!", take a closer look. The SWC's dedicated team of archivists tell me that this one has only ever had one Saturday outing, and that in November 2018. It takes the same initial route as the book 1 Otford Circular, but diverges at the top of the downs to go its own way, before re-uniting with the book 1 route or the familiar descent by the steps into Shoreham.

In theory four pubs await you for lunch there, but attempts to eat in the other three usually end in failure and we invariably end up in the Kings Arms, whose food is hearty and good value.

After lunch the walk takes an interesting route through familiar territory, and you should arrive in Otford well in time to sample the various tea options - the tea room in the Hospices of Hope shop, the Pond View Cafe, or the new place in between.

EXTENDING THE WALK: At this point you may be thinking that the day has finished too early. But if so, there are various map or GPX-led ideas for a post-tea stroll. I like the route to Shoreham via Fackenden Down that forms the outward route on the southern loop of the Shoreham Circular walk (SWC 289) - about 2 miles, ending at Shoreham station. You could even walk on from Shoreham to Eynsford on the Darent Valley Path. Or you could try following the Darent Valley Path southwards from Otford (see your OS map) to Sevenoaks, which I calculate at about 3 miles.

Trains back from Otford are at 26 and 56 past to Victoria (40 minutes journey time) or at 18 and 48 in the other direction to Sevenoaks, with very frequent onward connections to London Bridge and Charing Cross (46 minutes journey time)

There are also trains at 29 and 59 past from Otford to Blackfriars (1 hr journey time), which stop at Shoreham 3 minutes and Eynsford 6 minutes after leaving Otford.

1 comment:

Walker said...

Lashing rain early in the morning put off at least one walker I know from turning out today, but n=23 were not so easily dissuaded. Setting out, we encountered one hailstorm about 40 minutes into the walk, but the skies then cleared and it was largely a w=sunny-and-breezy day. After all the overnight rain there was a fair degree of mud, both slithery and gloopy, but not more than on other winter walks. The morning route was an interesting amalgam of bits and pieces from other walks. It would be very pretty in high summer.

I said in the walk post that we always end up at the King’s Head for lunch. Perhaps some did, but 10-12 of us descended on the George instead, whose solitary barman seemed a bit shell-shocked to have so many customers turn up at once. After confused discussions about how we might order and pay, the food came quickly and efficiently, and speaking personally mine was both hearty and substantial.

In the afternoon sunshine the group seemed to fragment, or perhaps I just got left behind. I enjoyed the route up into the ridge, where plentiful bluebells were growing (but not flowering yet, obviously) and the very pretty double-back across the downland was charming as well. Perhaps the sunshine helped, but the little section around Filston Hall also delighted, being not previously known to me despite comprehensive previous explorations of this area.

We got to Otford about 3.30pm, rescuing two walkers with a copy of book 1 (doing its Otford Circular) on the way. A sizeable contingent went to the cosy and friendly Hospices of Hope tea room.

Over tea I canvassed support for a short extension to Shoreham, and was doing quite well until we emerged to find the rain lashing down again. Cue a scurry to the station for the 4.26 train to Victoria. But 20 seconds before it arrived the sun reappeared and I snatched two companions for a lovely sunset walk along Fackenden Down to Shoreham, which we reached just as the sun dipped below the hills. We got the 5.32 Thameslink back to the nervous pleasures of civilisation.