Time Out Country Walks Free walk 81 Hayes to Knockholt

06-Feb-11 • msganching on Flickr

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Down House

This is Charles Darwin's house and is now a museum. Time Out Country Walks - free walks 82 Hayes to Knockholt

06-Feb-11 • msganching on Flickr

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Pratt's Bottom

Time Out Country Walks Freewalks 82 Hayes to Knockholt

06-Feb-11 • msganching on Flickr

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train from London

29-Jan-12 • megkruszewska on Flickr

walk 82 swc

Large oaks

29-Jan-12 • megkruszewska on Flickr

walk 82 swc

Greyhound Pub - Keston

29-Jan-12 • megkruszewska on Flickr

walk 82 swc

horse rider

29-Jan-12 • megkruszewska on Flickr

walk 82 swc

Hayes to Knockholt walk


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Thu, 28-Jan-21

Date # Post
Sat, 30-Nov-19 15

Saturday walk - Hayes to Knockholt - Rural Kent within zone 6

Length: 16km (10 miles) T=3.82
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.57 train from Cannon Street (10.01 London Bridge, 10.13 Lewisham - lots of other stops in SE London) to Hayes, arriving 10.38

Your journey today is entirely within zone 6, so use Oyster or contactless.

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

Despite starting in suburbia, this walk very quickly gets out into proper countryside - woods and fields and valleys: you know the kind of thing. It has an excellent tea stop - the very lovely self-service coffee shop at Coolings Nursery, which has wonderful cakes and is worth pushing through all the acres of pot plants and garden implements to get to. The coffee shop shuts at 4.30pm, but it will be dark by then anyway, so you should hopefully reach it somewhat before that.

The Nursery is 4km/2.4 miles beyond the Blacksmiths Arms in Cudham, the lunch stop recommended by the walk author, 9.5km/5.9 miles into the walk, but if you can't hold out that long one of the two pubs in Downe after 7km/4.3 miles is also possible.

Trains back from Knockholt are at 13 and 43 past. ** Don't forget to tap in *** It is 2.5km/1.6 miles from the nursery to the end of the walk, or about 40 minutes walking time. The route crosses a golf course which earlier this year seemed to be fenced off for re-development, but I seem to recall that the right of way route was still maintained. There are no refreshments and precious little shelter at Knockholt station, so try not to just miss a train there.
An alternative "tea stop" for those who prefer stronger fare might be the Rose & Crown in Halstead.

It's not far from Coolings, a little way off the route on Otford Lane, TN14 7EA. Tel: 01959 533120

https://website 605991373686031826491 pub.business.site/

15 on this walk: 10 at the start, 2 on a later train and 3 on an earlier train apparently. I say “apparently” because I never saw this mystery three. But they were attested by credible witnesses who even spoke to them, so they make the count.

We left London Bridge in sparkling sunlight, the first sunny Saturday since I don’t know when. So it was a bit disappointing to emerge at Hayes into fog. This kept being on the verge of burning off, the disk of the sun appearing through the gloom from time to time, but not till after Downe did it clear completely. Crossing the valley to Cudham was lovely wisps of mist drifting up into the blue sky. It was then sunny while we were having lunch but the sun was obscured by “envious cloud” to the west once we emerged, though with reasonably clear skies above. So fog then sun then bright.

Six of us lunched at the not overly busy pub in Cudham, where we discussed the decline of restaurants in rural France. The other diners nicely waited for me, a late orderer, to get my food and we then also waited for a late arrival to get hers. In the afternoon a few of us went astray through over attention to our conversation and inattention to our gismos, but we still arrived at Coolings Nursery at 3.45 or so. There we met some others emerging from tea and heading for the pub in Halstead.

A mere five to ten minutes walk through the vast garden centre got us to tea where we waited in a fairly long queue while all the remaining chocolate cake was sold to other customers. But hey, the pistachio and whatsit sponge was an interesting experience. We then set off at about 4.20 to walk in the dark to Knockholt station, where we met the pubbers for the 5.13 (?) train home.
Sun, 28-Oct-18

Sunday walk - A Kentish ramble near London

Knockholt to Hayes

Length: 16km (9.9 miles) Toughness: 4 out of 10

09:58 Sevenoaks train from Victoria, calling at several stops in south-east London including Bromley South (10:26), to arrive at Knockholt at 10:45.
If you just miss that train, or if you don’t mind taking a chance, you could catch the 10:13 Ramsgate train from Victoria, changing at Orpington (arr 10:36, dep 10:40) on to the slower service above.

Return trains from Hayes to Cannon Street are at xx:02 and xx:32 (journey time 41 minutes). Change at Lewisham for Waterloo East and Charing Cross.

Both stations are within London Travelcard Zone 6

This is a fine rural walk through fields, woods and valleys in London’s ‘Green Belt’, with an opportunity to visit Charles Darwin’s home, Down House (English Heritage) in the afternoon. If you choose to do this, you will probably run out of daylight to complete the walk but could catch a 146 bus from Downe Church to Bromley South station, leaving at 20 minutes past each hour (journey time 18 minutes).

Today’s walk reverses the familiar Hayes to Knockholt walk for several reasons:
a) Instead of finishing with the same 4km as the Knockholt Circular ending, this walk reverses that stretch to give a new feel to it.
b) There are no tea places near Knockholt station, whereas Hayes offers several options.
c) The recommended lunchtime pub in Cudham comes slightly earlier in the walk.
d) Those wishing to visit Down House can do the bulk of the walk before breaking off and then have an easy onward bus journey available.

The recommended lunchtime stop is the Blacksmith’s Arms in Cudham (01959 572678), though you could carry on for another 30 minutes to the Queen’s Head or the George and Dragon in Downe.

For the moment, the link to the Walk Directions takes you to the original Hayes to Knockholt version of the walk. It is hoped to get the reversed directions up here by Sunday, but even if that isn’t possible, the walk’s author will be there to ensure that no-one goes wrong while following the existing directions backwards.
Anyone doing this walk?
Don't worry, you won't be alone. You'll meet others on the train or at Knockholt station. It's not customary for people to post here that they're planning to do the walk, since we don't find it necessary to do so.
Sat, 18-Nov-17 34

Saturday walk - Hayes to Knockholt - Lots of little woods on the outskirts of London

Hayes to Knockholt (SWC Walk 82)
Length: 16km (10 miles)

9.47 train from Charing Cross (9.50 Waterloo East, 9.55 London Bridge) to Hayes, arriving 10.33

Your journey today is entirely within zone 6, so use Oyster.

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here.

You get straight out into the woods on this walk, and throughout the walk there are lots of different woody bits. So you should get exposed to lots of different species of trees, some of which will hopefully be showing their maximum tint by now.

Lunch is either at one of two pubs in Downe after 7km (4.3 miles) or at Cudham after 9.5km (5.9 miles).

(If you are minded to visit Down House, home of Charles Darwin after lunch, it is open until 4pm today, costs £11.80 (free to English Heritage members) and there is a handy 146 bus at 20 past the hour till late from Downe Church to Hayes and Bromley South)

It is worth doing as much as possible of the walk before lunch so as to get to the tea stop in time - the very lovely self-service coffee shop at Coolings Nursery, which has wonderful cakes and is worth pushing through all the acres of pot plants and garden implements to get to. It is 4km (2.4 miles) beyond Cudham and shuts at 4.45pm today, but useable daylight will have run out by that time, so you will want to be on your way well before that anyway.

Time your arrival at Knockholt station carefully, as it is a charmless place to wait, with little shelter and no refreshments. It is 2.5km from the nursery to the end of the walk, or about 40 minutes walk, and trains go at 12 and 42 past (the 4.42 will be the last one in anything resembling daylight).

Don't forget to tap in for the return journey. T=3.82

Sigh. For third week in a row rain was forecast on Saturday. On the previous two it barely materialised: today we had light rain all afternoon. Still, 34 turned out for this walk which made a super autumn outing: a big hit of colourful woods to start with and then plenty more smaller woods during the day. Glorious golds on beeches and oak, yellow on hazel and field maple. A pity that there was not enough light to take good photos, but my “mind camera” took many great pictures.

For lunch we split between the non Farage pub in Down and the Blacksmith’s Arms in Cudham. The latter had barely any customers apart from us but did creditable food. ‘Twas a bit before we arrived there that the rain started. After lunch, damp, drizzle, more leaf colour plus a fine tea at the Coolings Garden Centre tea room. I am guessing the advance party got the 4.12. The less advanced aimed for the 4.12 but were on the 4.42. We dawdlers also got the 4.42 some after sprinting to reach it despite finding the directions confusing on the golf course. Nice to (just about) finish in the dark: makes one nostalgic for the good old days.
Sun, 22-Jan-17 12

London's Green Belt in Kent, and Charles Darwin

SWC Walk 82 – Hayes to Knockholt

Length: 16km (9.9 miles) Toughness: 4 out of 10

10:15 Hayes train from Charing Cross arriving Hayes at 10:59.

Return trains from Knockholt to Charing Cross, changing at Orpington, are at xx:28 and xx:58 (journey time 51 minutes).

Both stations are within London Travelcard Zone 6

This is a fine rural walk through fields, woods and valleys in London’s ‘Green Belt’, with an opportunity to visit Charles Darwin’s home.

The recommended lunchtime stop is the Blacksmith’s Arms in Cudham (01959 572678), though an earlier stop at the Queen’s Head or the George and Dragon in Downe is also possible. The suggested tea place is Arthur’s Coffee Shop in Coolings Nurseries, 2.5 km from the end of the walk.

You will need to download the Walk Directions.
I see there are two walks planned for Sunday 22nd Jan. I would like to know if anyone is going on either walk so I'm not alone.

Hi Jo,
Two of us hope to do the Hayes to Knockholt walk.
Joanna, since the weather forecast is good, you can expect to find up to a dozen walkers on each of the walks. You definitely won't be alone, whichever walk you choose. We gather on the platform at the destination station for introductions before setting off.
Good morning see you at Hayes at 10:59.
Good morning see you at Hayes at 10:59.
12 walkers, including 3 newcomers, on a beautiful cold crisp sunny day, with not a breath of wind. The ground and bushes were coated with frost and the ice in the Keston ponds was thick enough to skate on, though no one was brave enough to give it a try. The Blacksmith's Arms being fully booked, the Queen's Head in Downe gave us a table for 10 in a separate room and provided quick and efficient service and ample food. Three non diners pressed ahead and were caught during the afternoon by the main group who took the shortcut from Downe though the Downe Bank Nature Reserve. Apart from two who stopped at Coolings for tea, everyone finished the walk together and caught the 16:28 train from Knockholt.
Sat, 05-Mar-16 10

Saturday Third Walk - Real countryside, close to London

SWC walk 82 - Hayes to Knockholt
Length: 16km (10 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.47 train from Charing Cross (9.50 Waterloo East) to Hayes (Kent), arriving 10.26

Tickets: Hayes is in London Transport zone 5 and Knockholt in zone 6, so use Oyster.

For walk directions click here.

It seems to be my week* for picking walks with different train lines out and back (see First Walk above), but in this case it is no hassle as both trains are within the LT travelcard/Oyster boundary.

As with the First Walk, multiplicity of lunch pubs was also a draw, just in case there is a spillover effect from Mother's Day tomorrow. On this walk Downe has two while Cudham has another. If you see someone that looks like Nigel Farage in the Queen's Head in Downe, don't get him talking about Europe, because it probably will be Nigel Farage. (See photos)

These factors apart, this is a proper little country walk on the southern fringes of London (or the northern fringes of the North Downs, if you prefer), with a nice mix of scenery. I offer no opinions on the mud quotient, but isn't the underlying soil here chalk?

If you can get to it in time (it closes at 4.45pm), it is worth making the effort to divert into Coolings Garden Centre towards the end of the walk to sample their wonderful self-service cafe, which has excellent cakes. If not the Rose and Crown pub usually puts up with our strange walkery ways. Note that it is 2km - 40 minutes walk or so - from here to Knockholt station, in whose environs there is no comfort, refreshment or relief of any kind. But it is light these days till 6.15pm or so.

Trains back from Knockholt are at 14 and 44 past. ***DON'T FORGET to TAP IN **** (easy to do, as there are no barriers)

* Stargazer is away.
There's also a cafe in Down House, Darwin's former home. When I was last there, visitors were allowed to the cafe without needing to pay the English Heritage entrance fee for the house and gardens.
Sorry to dent hopes re mud on this walk but my note on the previous time I did this walk at exactly the same time of year is that a lot of it was muddy or waterlogged.
What year was that? I only ask because in 2014 at this time the ground was particularly soaked due to a very wet February. But it has not been so wet this year.
I'm intending to do this walk. I've done it in January before and the ground was fine. It really depends on the conditions year by year.
It was in fact 2014. February may not have been particularly wet this year but the previous months certainly have been. The overall impact remains to be seen.
10 or so a bit of drizzle initially but then dry and cold

There was a lot of slippery mud, probably about 70% of the paths. Nonetheless, It's a very nice walk this one. I'd say it's best done during a dry summer or autumn, or on frozen winter ground.
Wed, 15-Apr-15 Hayes to Knockholt
Sat, 17-Jan-15 26 Hayes to Knockholt
Sat, 01-Mar-14 12 Hayes to Knockholt
Sat, 19-Jan-13 18 Hayes to Knockholt
Sun, 29-Jan-12 Hayes to Knockholt
Sun, 27-Jun-10 Hayes to Knockholt
Sat, 13-Mar-10 Hayes to Knockholt
Wed, 03-Feb-10 Hayes to Knockholt