Hever to Ashurst walk

A surprisingly remote part of the High Weald on the Kent/East Sussex border.


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 # Weather
Sun, 01-Aug-21 Sunday walk Hever to Ashurst 5 warm cloudy conditions giving way to sunny spells and one heavy shower
Sun, 19-Jan-20 Sunday walk: Quiet countryside in the High Weald 13 bright sunshine but cold in the shade
Sat, 20-Oct-18 Saturday Walk: Hever to Ashurst 26 warm and sunny
Sun, 30-Apr-17 Sunday Walk – Bluebell woods in the High Weald 9 cloudy dry
Wed, 03-Feb-16 Midweek day walk - Hever to Ashurst 14 mild and mostly sunny
Wed, 16-Sep-15 Hever to Ashurst 5
Sat, 04-Oct-14 Hever to Ashurst 26
Sat, 05-Oct-13 Hever to Ashurst 26
Wed, 08-May-13 Hever to Ashurst
Sun, 01-Aug-21
Sunday walk Hever to Ashurst

Hever to Ashurst

Length: Main Walk: 16¼ km (10.1 miles).

Short Walk 1, starting from Cowden: 12½ km (7.8 miles).

Short Walk 2, finishing at Cowden: 11½ km (7.1 miles).

Difficulty: 4 out of 10 for the main walk, 2 and 3 out of 10 for the shorter options.

Trains: Take the 9.51 East Grinstead train from London Victoria (CJ 9:57, East Croydon 10:09) Change at Hurst Green 10:37 to catch the 10:41 Uckfield train to Hever, arriving 10:53.

If you plan to start the walk in Cowden, it is one stop beyond Hever. A later train could be taken.

Return trains from Ashurst are at xx:00 every hour, journey time 1 hour 11 minutes to London Victoria, changing at Hurst Green.

Buy a return ticket to Ashurst (or Cowden if you are finishing there).

This walk takes in a quiet part of the High Weald on the border of Kent and East Sussex. The route passes several attractive old manor houses. This is a surprisingly remote area of low hills and wooded valleys.

Lunch: The only pub on the walk route is The Fountain (01342-850528) in Cowden village, 7¾ km from Hever (4 km from Cowden station). This is an attractive village pub with a new conservatory and a secluded beer garden. It serves good home-made food up to 2.30pm (later on Sundays).

Tea: There are few refreshment places in this remote countryside, but the routes to Ashurst pass the Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop & Tea Rooms (01892-770595) in mid-afternoon. The Farm Shop is open daily to 5pm and sells a tempting range of local ciders (which you can taste beforehand); the tearoom closes at 4.30pm. Allow at least an hour to reach Ashurst station, 4 km away. from the station. There are no refreshment options after this.

For walk directions, map and GPS click here


  • 02-Aug-21

    5 set off from Hever in warm cloudy conditions giving way to sunny spells and one heavy shower near the end of the walk. Paths were overgrown in places but luckily one of our number had brought secateurs and cut back some of the thorny brambles. We walked through several fields of long grass and it was so peaceful that grasshoppers could be heard chirruping in some of them. A bit of confusion on the golf course. The path leading off it through the woods was not visible and only the intrepid Mr T found it. We had sandwiches in the churchyard in Cowden before visiting the Fountain for a drink. Their garden was pleasant and their chips were very good. One person took the train from Cowden, the other four continued with the main walk and collaborated in finding the way. Paths were not obvious in many of the fields. It's not a well trodden route and might benefit from more frequent posting. There were some lovely views and We passed several manor houses. We didn't stop at Perryhill tea shop but decided to aim for the 5pm train which we caught by the skin of our teeth. Our connecting train from Hurst Green was cancelled. We spent half an hour in Oxted, two in th pub and two in search of tea and cake. The coffee shops had all shut but there was a burger place that also had ice cream including vegan options. They also did tea and coffee so may be a useful tea stop on future walks ending in Oxted. It's near Costa on the High Street. A very pleasant leisurely day.

  • 02-Aug-21

    Just to add....

    If the Olympic Committee ever decide to introduce a Stile-crossing event, I know just the place for it. There are hundreds of the little devils on this walk. Big ones, small ones, high-step ones, two-close-together ones. Even the much-feared fertiliser-bag-over-barbed-wire-with-shaky-step. Just to make things more interesting, every so often someone's actually put a kissing gate. Not enough to make the route easier but enough to keep you guessing. All that pirouette training with the Royal Ballet really paid off today. If team GB were to pick me I'm sure I would bag a bronze at least.

    I'm still crying inside that we didn't visit the Perryhill Orchard Cider-tasting Emporium in the afternoon. But, lets face it, I couldn’t have lugged more than a gallon over the remaining stiles anyway. And the others didn’t look like they were about to help.

    Near the end we did indeed get caught in a downpour. As I was hurrying for the train (by hurrying, I mean ambling less slowly), I didn’t stop to put a waterproof on. This turned out to be lucky. During the enforced stop in Oxted (which required a visit to the Oxted Inn), I accidentally entered myself into their Wet T shirt competition and won a pint of cider.

Sun, 19-Jan-20
Sunday walk: Quiet countryside in the High Weald
Hever to Ashurst
Length: 16.3km (10.1 miles) Toughness: 4/10

09:51 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 09:58, East Croydon 10:09), changing at Oxted or Hurst Green (5 minute wait) on to an Uckfield train that arriving at Hever at 10:51.

Return trains from Ashurst to Victoria, changing at Hurst Green or Oxted, are at xx:58 (journey time 71 minutes). Buy an off-peak day return to Ashurst.

This walk takes in a quiet part of the High Weald on the border of Kent and East Sussex, a surprisingly remote area of low hills and wooded valleys. No crowds, and some footpaths are little used and require close attention. And you may encounter some of the famous Wealden mud.

The recommended lunchtime pub is The Fountain (01342 850528) in Cowden, a Harvey’s pub that stocks their glorious Old Ale (you must try it!). Please let them know how many diners to expect as you set out from Hever.

You can download a PDF of the walk directions, or print them from the walk’s introduction page, clicking ‘Main Walk’ under the map to suppress the sections you won’t need.

  • 19-Jan-20

    Had a pint of Harvey's Old last night in the Harp, Covent Garden. Very good.

  • David Colver

    13 in bright sunshine but cold in the shade .

    One of the tricks that Mr Tiger is often able to pull off is to be seen by many walking purposefully at the back of the group, and yet be the first to reach pub. I managed exactly this feat, being last to leave the station as a result of fiddling with my phone, but was first to order at the Fountain in Cowden. I did not resort to any knavish shortcuts. The trick is to be the only one wearing wellingtons, on a walk that was beyond ankle deep in goo over large fractions of the route. I was able to catch up and cruise past the crowd in two fields particularly, indifferent to where I might splosh, as others' pace slowed to a handful of balance-imperilling staggers and squelches a minute.

    Said hostelry was fractionally exasperated by our desire to order and pay separately. It obliged, but the food turned up together anyway, respectable of quantity and quality. We were given a nice table in the conservatory.

    Quite a number of the sandwich brigade took tea in the Perry Hill Orchard Farmer's Shop. The timing resulted in them reaching Ashurst station just a few minutes after the 1552 train, and left them gently freezing for most of an hour on the isolated platform. Those who had taken the more time consuming pub lunch, but not the tea, drifted in later and had less time to chill before the 1652.

Sat, 20-Oct-18
Saturday Walk: Hever to Ashurst
10.1 miles / 16.25 km

A walk in a more remote part of the High Weald, with lunch at the village of Cowden.

Trains: Take the 10:07 train from London Bridge, arriving at Hever at 10:49. Return trains from Ashurst are at xx:56. Buy a day return to Ashurst (Kent).

Lunch: The Fountain, Cowden (01342 850528). Food served until 2:30pm.

There are no refreshments near Ashurst station, but in mid-afternoon the route passes the Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop and Tea Rooms. Some walkers may remember the Farm Shop for its range of local ciders. The Tea Rooms are open until 4:30pm. Allow at least an hour to cover the 4km from here to Ashurst station.

  • 20-Oct-18

    26 on an unexpectedly warm and sunny late October day.

    Lunch at The Fountain, Cowden was reported as good but service was slow-and before you ask, she's from Telford. A number of people had a packed lunch in the church yard; the food was reported as limited but reasonable but the service was excellent.

    The Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop and Tea Rooms were swamped by our sudden arrival, but handled the orders and service with elan, a joke, and a smile. The range of teas and cakes was impressive!

    We all made it to the station in good time for the train.

  • 20-Oct-18

    This was an unexpectedly wonderful day, with everyone commenting on how beautiful both the weather and countryside were.

    We walked across sunlit fields and through dappled woods, tramping across rustling leaves and chestnuts, with far-reaching views in all directions.

    Cowden is a very pretty village, and its church well worth a visit - a postwar stained-glass window, with airmen, soldiers, nurse, evacuees, all celebrating their relief from the war, not to be missed.

    The walk down to Ashurst, in the afternoon sun, was an experience which, I suspect, will stay with us always.

Sun, 30-Apr-17
Sunday Walk – Bluebell woods in the High Weald
Extra Walk 175 – Hever to Ashurst
Length: 16¼ or 19½ km (10.1 or 12.1 miles). Toughness: 4 or 5/10

09:55 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:01), changing at Oxted (arr 10:38, dep 10:43; same platform) for the Uckfield train, arriving Hever at 10:55.

If you're travelling to East Croydon the Uckfield train starts from there at 10:21, but changing there from the East Grinstead train this Sunday is not recommended as you'd have to change platforms with only 3-4 minutes to do so. If something goes wrong and you end up taking the train an hour late, you could do the walk's shorter start from Cowden and get to the lunch pub at about the same time as the main group.

Trains back from Ashurst are hourly at 01 minute past and go to Oxted, where you change for Victoria.

There are some nice bluebell woods in this quiet part of the High Weald, away from the tourist coaches cluttering up the roads around Hever Castle and Penshurst Place on the other side of the railway line. After two hours of walking through remote hills and wooded valleys you'll come to the Fountain in Cowden, an attractive village pub deservedly popular with other walking and cycling groups. It's got a new conservatory and a large back garden, but call ahead if you want to be sure of a table inside.

The lunch and tea places are not far apart but you can extend the afternoon section with an extra two miles along a river valley if you wish. Your reward is a proper tearoom at the Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop, which incidentally sells a tempting range of local ciders (which you can taste beforehand). Note that it's a fairly hilly 4 km onwards to Ashurst station – at least an hour – so time your departure carefully as there's nothing to entertain you there if you're faced with a long wait for its hourly trains.

You'll need to print the directions from the Hever to Ashurst Walk page. T=swc.175
  • Anonymous

    Barbara, I lost your email I am afraid! I will be doing this walk on Sunday the 30th so hopefully can get it again! Jodi

  • 29-Apr-17

    I may join you tomorrow, driving to Hever station.

  • Ian T

    9 walkers on a cloudy dry day. There was plenty bluebells. And wild garlic. And celandine.And a few orchids that were early, purple and spotted so must have been early purple spotted. Little lambs skipped about. The Fountain was OK. Some had tea at Perryland at least one bought cider. Some got the 16:01(just!) - others the 17:01

  • Liz

    Beautiful walk as Ian said. Loads of wildlife and stunning bluebells.

    Re Fountain Pub: Beware of publican. One member of our group needed pub lunch so when we purchased drinks we asked at the bar if we could eat our sandwiches in the (deserted) garden to keep her company and were told 'no problem' by a very pleasant member of the bar staff only for the publican to come out later and attempt to tell us off. Unfortunately, she was incredibly rude, so watch out for mixed messages from bar!

    However, this did not spoil an amazing walk.

  • 01-May-17

    Sorry Liz, but I've got some sympathy for the publican. I know you were trying to be considerate when only one of you wanted a pub lunch, but I expect the publican flipped when she saw 8 out of 9 walkers eating sandwiches in her garden on a quiet Sunday when she probably had masses of unsold lunches in her kitchen. Of course she shouldn't have been rude (and the kindly bar staff will have been told off in no uncertain terms) but many pubs are being squeezed by rapacious pubco's and they need food sales to survive. If rural pubs like The Fountain close then this walk - and many others in the SWC repertoire - will become much less satisfying and might be dropped altogether. The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on our site says:

    "The walk instructions assume that you will be stopping for lunch at a pub and one or more will be suggested. You can of course bring your own food, but please do not try to eat this on the pub's premises: find a quiet place nearby and then rejoin the others in the pub for a drink if you wish."

    If publicans form a bad impression of walkers then other groups might be refused bookings or even turned away. Let's be discreet about eating our own food and try not to antagonise them.

  • Anonymous

    Lots of room for sandwichers in the church porch or the covered bus stop outside it. Best to eat one's sandwiches first, then join one's companions for a drink afterwards.

Wed, 03-Feb-16
Midweek day walk - Hever to Ashurst

Hever to Ashurst

A surprisingly remote part of the High Weald on the Kent/East Sussex border

Book 3* Walk 175 * online only

Length : 15½ km or 9½ miles
Toughness : 4 out of 10
Getting there : Catch the 10:08 am train from London Bridge to Hever or
Catch the 9:54 am train from London Victoria (10:00 am Clapham Junction) and change at East Croydon, boarding the 10:23 train to Hever (advertised on platform 6 at the time of writing)
Meeting point : Hever Station at 10:49 am
Tickets : Buy a cheap day return to Ashurst

Brief Description

I'm proposing that Walkers do the Main Walk described in the walk details, However if the weather is inclement you could shorten the walk after lunch and end it at Cowden station.
You may find full details of this walk here

Suggested Lunch stop

The Fountain at Cowden t: 01342 850528

Suggested Tea stop

Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop & Tea Rooms t: 01892 770595 (Allow at least an hour to reach Ashurst station from here)


OS Explorer : 147 and 135

Return train times

Trains return from Ashurst at 55 minutes past the hour and travel to London Bridge. As usual, change at East Croydon to travel to Clapham Junction and Victoria.
  • Anonymous

    lOVE this wakk but maybe muddy in places.

    Wonderful inexpensive omelettes available a lunchtime pub.


  • 28-Jan-16

    Hoping to join you on Wednesday. Mud? Definitely.

  • 31-Jan-16

    What's the Pub Restaurant like inside?

  • 31-Jan-16


    It's very pleasant with a couple of bars in the original building and a new conservatory section with a glass roof used as an extra eating area. Good beer and good food. Bit too cold for the garden just yet!

    Photo's on the Pub's website here


  • Katrien

    We did the Cowden to Ashurst version last Saturday (30 January). It was one of the most beautiful SWC walks we've done. But, it was very muddy, almost all of it. Furthermore, just before we arrived at Ashurst station, close to the Medway, we had to wade through water 15cm deep. We didn't have time to look for an alternative because we wanted to catch the train.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the warning Catrien jfk

  • 04-Feb-16

    14 mild and mostly sunny

    A very good turn out for this mud-fest on a day when the sun shone and the temperature was mild for a winter's day, once out of the morning wind. The mud, of slubadub variety, was relentless, particularly in the morning fields and when it was safe to look up from submerged boots one noticed the route was pleasant, with some good views through lovely countryside. But progress through the wretched mud was darn hard work and it was with some relief when we reached the lunchtime pub, the Fountain in Cowden. Having forewarned the hostelry of our numbers and pending arrival we were not expecting the kitchen to be so disorganised: meals, when they arrived, were mostly excellent, but some of us waited for fifty minutes, which resulted in our group splintering, with 5 picnickers setting off in advance.

    Post prandial, 3 headed for Cowden station, leaving 6 of us to venture forth on the afternoon leg, now in lovely winter sunshine, taking the direct route to Coomb Wood. We by-passed the tea stop at Moat Farm and pressed on. Reaching the hill-top above the Medway Valley we came across a prone ewe, injured and in severe distress, which was upsetting for us. 2 in our group made for the farm on the horizon to notify the farmer, and having done so they re-joined us on the platform at Ashurst Station, in good time to catch the 16-55 back to London, with the train info notice stating "service on time".

    The train never arrived.

    It had broken down in Crowborough - a dodgy door, or was it mud on the line, or both. A lady waiting on the platform very kindly gave lifts in her car to 3 in our group - to East Grinstead, I believe - leaving 3 of us to wait for the next train. Southern Rail came to our rescue by putting on an intermediate service to Oxted where we connected with the East Grinstead service to Victoria - and home to brush off the mud.

    An eventful day.

  • 04-Feb-16

    Hint to walk posters: Thinking this walk might be muddy, I instead went out to check and update my Maidenhead to Marlow walk (SWC 56) on Tuesday. Lovely day, beautiful walk, MINIMAL MUD.

    Otherwise, bear in mind the two great maxims: "Never invade Russia" and "Weald walks are very muddy in winter".

  • 04-Feb-16

    Great turnout for a notoriously muddy walk. My tolerance of mud never high at the best of times and the fact I had other commitments on Wednesday meant I went out on Tuesday for a bracing 12 mile Thanet coast walk from Margate to Herne Bay. Beautiful day and for those wanting a respite from muddy fields this part of the coast is recommended.

Wed, 16-Sep-15
Hever to Ashurst

Hever to Ashurst

The High Weald on the Kent/East Sussex border

Book 3* Walk 175

* Online only

Length : 16 km or 10 miles

Toughness : 4 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:08 am train from London Bridge to Hever

Meeting point : Hever Station at 10:50 am

Tickets : Buy a cheap day return to Ashurst

Brief Description

This walk takes in a quiet part of the High Weald near the borders of three counties: Kent, East Sussex and Surrey and you may find full details here

Suggested Lunch stops

The Fountain t:01342 850528 at Cowden

May I ask you to note that The White Horse Inn at Holtye is permanently closed

Suggested Tea stops

Perryhill Orchards (about an hour before the end of the walk to Ashurst)
As well as the Tea Room, there is a farm shop, traditional farm butcher and a fireplace centre which manufactures hand-made fireplaces.
Not the kind of article that will fit easily into one's rucksack, but nevertheless an interesting place to visit if you're looking for ideas.


OS Explorer : 147 and 135

Return train times

Trains return from Ashurst to London Bridge at the following times ...
15:55 | 16:55 | 17:53 | 18:54 - Victorians and Clapham Junctioneers may change at East Croydon
  • Anonymous

    looks like horrible downpour on Wednesday unless it changes.. anyone going on this ?

  • Anonymous

    If the weather forecast improves I hope to do it.

  • Anonymous

    I am planning to do the walk whatever the weather.

  • Anonymous

    If you look at the weather for Ashurst, it's not as bad as it initially seems; things brighten up by 10am and there are just a few showers late afternoon.

  • 15-Sep-15

    I'm planning on checking out my new waterproof on this walk.

  • Anonymous

    get urself well covered then Arthur! accordin to bbc its going to pour all day..

  • Anonymous

    For anyone wanting to travel from Clapham Junction in their goloshes and macs and wellington boots there is a train from clapham at 10 08 to East Croydon. there you need to change and get the 10 23 to Hever . Only 6 minutes changeover time jfk

  • Marion

    Sorry guys but I won't be joining you today. Ive been twice recently with other groups and its very pretty. Last time however on a SWC walk it rained quite gently and no-one kept dry because their jackets were inadequate and several walkers had to drop out at lunchtime. Heavy rain, gusting winds and thunder storms will require the best of waterproofs so don't chance it unless you're fully equipped! Good luck

  • 18-Sep-15

    5 hardy souls on this walk (some might say daft b***ars). The rain arrived as advertised, but was generally light with little wind.

    The Fountain at Cowden was homely with excellent food and the only serious rain of the day came and went as folks ate under the glass roof of the conservatory.

    As we left Cowden, an untended allotment provided foragers with an abundance of wild raspberries. There was a little excitement walking through a field of bulls and calves, but no one came to any harm despite the frisky nature of the bovines.

    Peryhill Orchards provided a for a welcome tea and cake stop and rumour has it that one walker purchased a fireplace in the adjoining fireplace centre, whilst others purchased cider in the farm shop.

    The rain cleared as the group approached Ashurst to catch the train back to London Bridge