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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.

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Saturday, 25 July 2020

Saturday walk - Penshurst Circular - historic villages in Kent

Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles), with shorter options of 18km (11.2 miles)15.5km (9.6 miles) and 14.8km (9.2 miles)

Catch the 10.12 train from Victoria (not the usual Charing Cross/London Bridge due to engineering works) (10.29 Bromley South, 10.36 Orpington) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.53, and change there (depart 11.01) for the Redhill-bound train, arriving Penshurst at 11.09. T=3.300

On arrival at Penshurst we will do a socially-distanced meet-up and split into groups of six. Be prepared to share contact details with those in your group for contact tracing purposes.

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

Since it was created in 2017, this walk has had two spring outings (one in the snow in 2018), but has never been done in the summer. It seems to have lots of potential for this time of year, taking in the Bough Beech Reservoir, with its nature reserve, the pretty ancient villages of Chiddingstone and Penshurst, and plenty of relatively gentle Kentish countryside.

There are a number of ways to short cut the main route, so those wanting a shorter walk have various options: see the walk directions for details.

There are three potential lunch pubs, with the Castle Inn in Chiddingstone currently offering a stripped-down menu of "sandwiches, fish/scampi and chips, cakes and nuts", but having a nice garden to sit in. The Leicester Arms in Penshurst has an outside seating area, but is not specific about whether you can have food there. (To eat inside you have to book, limited capacity, yada yada).

Chiddingstone also has the Tulip Tree tea room, which does seem to be open as normal (and which has outside seating and also does takeaways). The Fir Tree House tea room in Penshurst may be open (since it is in a garden anyway). A little off the main route the Porcupine Pantry cafe at Penshurst Place would also be a possible tea stop, if you can get there by 4.30pm.

At the end of the walk, the Little Brown Jug (across the road from Penshurst station) has a big garden: it says even those buying a drink have to "check in" (give contact details?)

Trains back are at 09 past via Redhill (across the footbridge) or 22 past via Tonbridge (the platform this side of the tracks), changing at those stations in both cases. Journey times either way is just over an hour. In both cases you end up at Victoria, but the Redhill trains go via East Croydon.


Walker said...

10.12 train cancelled!! Get the 10.09 or 10.15 train to Redhill and change there - Penshurst train departs Redhill at 11.00

Walker said...

10.15 to East Croydon and change there for Redhill.

Walker said...

The forecast of w=rain-in-the-afternoon did not help, and nor did the last minute cancellation of the 10.12 train from Victoria. Five enterprising souls nevertheless managed to work out that the 12.09 to Redhill would work just as well (no thanks to the Network Rail app, which did not show this option) and get us to Penshurst only thirteen minutes late at 11.22. There we met two others who had got to the same place at the same time by different means. That made seven of us. Put me up against the wall and shoot me, but we all walked as one group. Except really it was 2+2+3 with wide gaps in between.

It was grey in the morning with spots of rain, occasionally a bit wetter. During one shower we sheltered in the lean-to of the closed Bough Beech Reserve visitor centre. When we got to Bough Beech village five of us opted to eat at an outside table at the not at all busy pub - this was my first SWC walk pub lunch since 14 March!! - and two had sandwiches nearby and drinks at the pub. An eighth person, who had arrived on the specified train from Tonbridge and seen no other walkers on it, joined us. We sat at three different tables.

The eighth man went on ahead before we had finished eating. Two - one having forgotten to bring waterproofs - took one look at the weather radar and decided to walk the 2km down the road to Penshurst station. Two others were still finishing lunch. That left three of us to carry on in now steady (though not torrential) rain through damp woods and across golden wheat fields. We stopped at the Tulip Tree in Chiddingstone for tea (and to dry off a bit) and then headed on via Penshurst village to the station.

Two had a drink in the garden of the Little Brown Jug, my companion having navigated the complexity of their customer rules so that I didn’t have to. The rain had now stopped and swifts were flying overhead on their way back to Africa. During this drink I learned, by text, that three other walkers had lunched in Chiddingstone. Where did they come? What train did they get? What route did they take? Perhaps they will file a separate report. Meanwhile, I have the honour to announce n=11 on this walk in total.

Walker said...

Seems the mystery three were waiting for the specified train at Bromley South, as is their ancient right. When it was cancelled, they got the train an hour later. They took the short cut to the Chiddingstone pub, doubtless hoping to catch up with the rest of us. But we, as you have read, had lunched at the earlier pub in Bough Beech. After lunch the three took a short route back to Penshurst.