Big Oak

Hayes to Knockholt

29-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

View with stump

Hayes to Knockholt

29-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

The graveyard shift

Sheep, Cudham churchyard. Hayes to Knockholt

29-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

Lost gloves, Knockholt station

Hayes to Knockholt

29-Jan-12 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

Big Oak

Hayes to Knockholt

17-Jan-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

Black and white oak, green field

Hayes to Knockholt

17-Jan-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

Sunlit Path

Hayes to Knockholt

17-Jan-15 • moontiger on Flickr

book3 swcwalks walk82

Hayes to Knockholt walk

Close to London, this walk in north-west Kent is entirely rural, traversing fields, woods and valleys in London's 'Green Belt'. It passes Charles Darwin's home, Down House (EH)

History

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.

Date # Post
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.

Jo
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