17.3 km (10.7 miles)
Landranger 187,188, Explorer 147
8 out of 10.
When you see a view from a ridge, you do not usually know much about the countryside you are looking at. But on this walk, you start in the Eden valley and climb slowly and gently across fields up towards the Greensand Ridge, with increasingly pretty views. By the time you climb up onto the escarpment, in a series of delightful stages, the view has become a familiar friend.
In the Second World War, Winston Churchill is supposed to have looked at this very view and said: "This is what we are fighting for." Certainly, Chartwell, his house, which is passed on this walk and which is now owned by the National Trust, was his refuge and great love, though he had little enough opportunity to visit it during his time as wartime Prime Minister. This walk, with its short afternoon, is ideal if you want to visit this property.
The walk also takes in Emmetts Garden, another National Trust attraction, and offers a shortcut to this in the afternoon if you want to spend more time there. Emmetts also has a wonderful display of bluebells in late April and early May, but even better wild ones – some of the loveliest ones in southern England - are to be seen throughout the walk, particularly in the afternoon around Ide Hill, at the start of the optional Hurst Green start, and just beyond Mariner’s Hill on the Shorter Ending to Westerham.
If that is not enough, the pretty town of Westerham at the end of the walk also has its points of interest in the shape of Squerryes Court and Quebec House (National Trust), two historic houses are associated with Wolfe, the youthful general who conquered the Canadian city for the British Empire. Both are open to the public in the summer months
|Shortening the walk||A shorter walk - 11.4km (7.1 miles) - and alternative starts from Hurst Green and Edenbridge are available. This walk can also be combined with Time Out Country Walks Volume 2 walk 16. For details of all these options, see the document under "Download Walk" above.|
|Saturday Walkers Club||The first direct train from Charing Cross before 10am to Edenbridge will get you to Chartwell comfortably for lunch: if planning to eat in the pub in Crockham Hill, the first train after 10 am would be fine.|
|Lunch and Tea||
The Royal Oak in Crockham Hill 01732 866 335 (4.8km/3 miles into the walk) is a small pub that does food from 12-3pm Monday to Saturday and 12-4pm on Sundays. Booking is advisable on Sundays, when the pub does "amazing roasts" according to its proprietress.
Chartwell (6.9km/4.3 miles into the walk) has a National Trust-run self-service tea room and restaurant, which can be reached without going into the house. It does two or three hot food options every lunchtime from 12 to 3pm. It is open for tea until 5pm. Unlike most National Trust properties, it is open year around, apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
The Fox & Hounds in Toy’s Hill is a possible later lunch stop reached by a short diversion 9.5km/5.9 miles into the walk. It serves food 12-2pm, to 2.30 pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday, and has a garden.
Emmetts Garden (13.1km/8.1 miles into the walk, or 9.9km/6.1 miles via the short cut) has a National Trust tea room. It is open till 4.30pm from mid March to the end of October, but only from Saturday to Wednesday (ie NOT Thursday and Friday).
As well as the fine pubs in Westerham (see walk directions for details), the village also has several tea rooms. The most obvious at the end of the walk are the Tudor Tea Rooms on the north side of the green (closing time unknown, but shuts early at 2.30pm on Wednesdays). Nearby, at the far eastern end of the green, Food for Thought advertises cream teas and is open till 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 10pm Friday, and 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
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Out: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk