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, 14 March 2020

Saturday walk - Hollingbourne Circular via Hucking - the North Downs and an optional castle

Length: 12.5km (7.8 miles) or 18km (11.2 miles) T=3.253
Toughness: 5 out of 10

Catch the 9.25 train from Victoria (9.42 Bromley South) to Hollingbourne, arriving 10.31.

Buy a day return to Hollingbourne.

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

This walk has not had an SWC outing for nearly two years. It takes you up onto the North Downs escarpment into the Hucking Estate - "an unexpected oasis of grassland and woodland in a landscape dominated by arable farming". I don't know what the mud quotient is, but these are chalk soils, so in theory better drained than lowland ones.

The first lunch option is after 3.7 miles at the Hook & Hatchet Inn in the hamlet of Hucking, though faster walkers could wait until the more upmarket Dirty Habit after 6.2 miles, which serves food all afternoon. You can end the walk 2.5km (1.5 miles) after the Dirty Habit (the 7.8 mile version of the walk) by taking the "Curtailed walk" described in the walk directions, which brings you to Eyhorne Street - with two more pubs, the tea options on this walk - and then Hollingbourne station.

Otherwise, the last part of the walk is a loop through the grounds of Leeds Castle, the self-described "loveliest castle in the world". Unfortunately its loveliness is somewhat curtailed by the M20, A20 and the Channel Tunnel rail link running past it, and while doing the castle loop you will get motorway noise at some point. But the castle grounds are very striking.

The castle loop is on public footpaths which you are strictly enjoined not to stray off, even though  some tempting refreshment options lie just beyond them. Assuming you obey these injunctions, your tea options are the pubs in Eyhorne Street mentioned above. Another 600 metres or so brings you to Hollingbourne station.

Trains back from Hollingbourne are at 54 past the hour.


Anonymous said...

Very nervous of an overcrowded statiom
But seems a pity not to go on a walk

Anonymous said...

Let's find the Blitz spirit.

Bill S said...

Prefer beer or wine myself, but you could try looking in the drinks section in your local supermarket, or with the meths and white spirit in B&Q.

Anonymous said...

Is this walk going ahead? I hope so

Anonymous said...

Is it going ahead? This is not the Ramblers:the SWC is a force of nature.

Walker said...

Our walks are self-organising, with no leader. If people turn up for the walk, it will go ahead. I suspect people will, for what it is worth.

Are you at risk of catching the coronavirus on a walk? Yes, in the sense that you are at risk of this whenever you interact with people at this time. Neither the SWC or the walk poster have any view on whether it is "safe" to go walking or not.

But for what it is worth, current official advice from the UK government - as I interpret it, and I may be wrong - is that when associating with people outdoors you are much less likely to catch a virus than when you are with them indoors. Talking to them at close quarters in a pub is another matter. The UK government says that the risk is mostly if you are within one metre of someone for 15 minutes. How they know this or how much it is guesswork, Lord knows. But it would obviously apply when having lunch in a pub. But on a Saturday on a main line station I would say it is moderately easy to keep more than one metre away from people most of the time, and this is also true on the train sometime, depending on how busy it is: but trains are often not THAT busy on Saturdays. Of course, if you sit with the other walkers on the train chatting, you are within a metre for more than 15 minutes. And you only have to be unlucky once....

All the above is just what I have understood from the official advice I have read: as I say, my understanding may be incorrect or imperfect. The BBC News app has a number of useful articles about coronavirus risk, and I am sure that the NHS Direct website does too, so look at those if you want more information on which to make up your mind

Walker said...

One thing to add is that please obey the current government advice: DON'T come on this walk if you have any kind of fever or a newly-started cough, or if you think you may have had contact with someone with the virus during the past two weeks.

Anonymous said...

If you are scared of catching COVID-19, Why not do a local walk on your own that does not involves public transportation or social interaction.

JohnL said...

Intend going J and J

Mr M Tiger said...

N=15 including one late starter. W=Light-rain-at-start-but-mostly-dry Forgot my waterproofs didn’t I, so just as well. Lost my place in the directions, trying to keep up with the others, and shot off down the wrong path. Never saw them again. Got back on track eventually but opted for the short walk. Short walk extremely muddy in places – such as the path skirting Edens Hole. Quick pint in the Dirty Habit, then off round Leeds castle. Golf ball landed at my feet just before crossing the golf course so I dinged the bell. It’s probably worth mentioning the bell. Went slightly adrift at the top end of the estate, where you “bear left and go downhill”(is it the path just BEFORE the brow of the hill rather than ON the brow of the hill?) but I managed to get out again without getting shot or anything.