SWC walk 78 - Cowden to Hever
Length: 16.6km (10.3 miles), with possible extension to 19.5km (12.1 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10 10.08
train from London Bridge
(10.23 East Croydon
), to Cowden, arriving 10.53
Buy a day return to Cowden
For walk directions
The High Weald between Hever and Penshurst has always been popular with the SWC, so much so that we probably visited it too much a couple of years back. A reaction then seems to have set in, because none of the walks has had an airing for some time.
In particular, this variant has not had an outing since October 2014, if our resident statistician is to be believed, and so deserves one now. It takes some familiar building blocks - the villages of Penshurst
, the attractive Rock Inn in Hoath Corner
- and assembles them in a different order.
Since we are still (just about) in the long lazy days of summer, you might even have time to visit one of the attractions on the walk - particularly the Elizabethan mansion of Penshurst Place
territory), and perhaps, if you do one or both of the shortcuts, Hever Castle
, childhood home of Anne Boleyn). (Chiddingstone Castle is annoyingly closed on Saturdays.)
As a walk poster one gets lots of moans - too many long walks, not enough long walks, too many confusing options, winter walks posted in winter, swimming walks posted or not posted etc - but this walk is well designed to please all tastes. The main walk
is a reasonable 10.3 miles, and you don't have to decide until near the end of it if you want to do the longer option
(12.1 miles) - a circular route back to Cowden.
Meanwhile there are two sneaky short cuts
on the main walk
which save a mile or two and might enable slower walkers to catch up with their speedier comrades.
For details of the various lunch
and tea options
see the walk document
. Travel is by Southern Railways, so let's hope they behave themselves. The train starts from London Bridge
, whose new underground concourse
is worth a look. Trains back
are at 05
past the hour (until 22.05
): from Cowden
they are 01
past the hour.