The Saturday Walkers' Club
The Saturday Walkers Club (SWC) is a London and Southeast England based walking and hiking club. The club:
- Organises train friendly walks in Southeast England. The walks are free to join - new members welcome, especially visitors to London
- Publishes 140+ free-to-print-and-use walks, mainly in the Southeast, but a few in the Southwest, South Wales East Anglia and France.
- Writes and maintains the 2 Time Out Books of Country Walks - besides photos, updates and feedback for the walks, there are many new options
Southeast England is criss-crossed by public footpaths, it includes the chalk cliffs of the South Coast, the gentle hills of the North, South and Wessex Downs, the bluebell woodlands of Kent and Surrey, the Chiltern beechwoods, the Thames, the secluded valleys of the Weald, ancient forests, remote heathlands, fields full of wildflowers, and Purbeck's dramatic coast.
There is also plenty of historical interest - from towns (Oxford, Cambridge, Canterbury, Rye, Chichester) to castles and palaces in landscaped parks (Arundel, Windsor, Blenheim, Knole), from gardens (Nymans, Wakehurst, Kew) to more intimate pleasures such as unspoiled country villages, cosy pubs, medieval churches, and ancient hill forts.
All of this countryside is an hour or 2 from London via an excellent rail network.
The club organises several walks each week in South East England, about an hour by train from central London. The walks are public transport friendly (but you are welcome to drive), and stop at a pub for lunch (but you are welcome to bring a picnic).
All club walks are free, and everybody is welcome, especially visitors to London. Just turn up!
As there walks have no leader, we do ask however, that you bring a copy of the route - either the appropriate Time Out book or a printout.
Free to use Walks in Southeast England Within Easy Reach of London
The club is creating new walks, over 130 so far, which you can print
- are public transport friendly - they start and finish at train stations about an hour from London
- pass through glorious countryside, with historic sites and fine views.
- stop at country pubs for lunch and finish at places for tea or a drink afterwards.
Most of the walks contain very detailed walking instructions (no OS Map required!).However, all the walks have OS Explorer (1:25,000) mapping which you can print for free, and many have GPS files for your smart-phone or sat-nav
The walks have photos (and a few videos as well) to give you an idea of what the walks are like. All have comments and a feedback form - read what others have said, or if something has changed, please let us know
Time Out Country Walks near London, volumes 1 and 2
The club wrote and maintains the 2 Time Out Books of Country Walks near London - fully revised editions of both books were published in March 2011.
- Volume 1 contains 53 walks (1 for each week of the year, and 1 to spare) from 7 to 14 miles in length.
- Volume 2 is more car friendly, and contains 30 walks, most of which have shorter options for new walkers.
Fully revised directions (but not maps) for volume 1 walks are online, but for volume 2 walks, you'll need to buy the book. The website also has:
- New walk options : These are alternative routes or endings to the book walks.
- Updates : These are changes since the books were published - before doing a book walk, we recommend you check its updates page (especially for pre-2011 editions of book 1)
The royalties from the 2 books go to the Natural Death Centre, a registered charity, set up by the club's founder.
Planning a Walk in Southeast England
Walking in the southeast is safe and easy, and doesn't need too much expensive equipment. Besides an introduction to walking, and using 'detailed walking instructions' rather than maps, there are features on the many long distance paths in the southeast.
In the summer, many of the coastal walks are great for swimming - the Southeast Coastline stretches from Essex, via the Thames and London, via Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire (not forgetting the Isle of White) to Dorset
There are over 6,000 British and Irish hills and mountains. There are lists, and an OS map of each one.
Besides Munros (Scottish hills over 3,000 feet - about 1000 metres) and Wainwrights (Lake District hills) are 'Marilyns' and Humps. These are relatively high hills, of which there are many, even in the Southeast.
- Nature - a monthly almanac of the seasons
- A map of Historic Houses, Gardens and Ancient Sites. A map of all English Heritage and National Trust properties, and many independent (HHA) ones as well.
Last Updated: Mar-09