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
. 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