Hever to Leigh walk

2 castles, a stately home, rivers, ponds, woods, undulating hills and three lovely villages

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 # Weather
Wed, 16-Feb-22 Wednesday Walk Hever to Leigh - a Kent Castles walk, plus Penshurst Place and the River Medway 10 sunny spells clouding over later
Sat, 13-Nov-21 Saturday Walk: Hever to Leigh 25 fine overcast without rain
Sat, 06-Apr-19 Hever to Leigh 24 grey but fresh
Wed, 05-Dec-18 Wednesday walk Hever to Leigh - Kent castles and the River Medway 6 mild
Sat, 23-Jun-18 Saturday walk - Hever to Leigh - a short, leisurely walk for (nearly) the longest day 23 sun and high cloud
Tue, 04-Apr-17 Tuesday Walk - Two Castles, a Stately Home and the Medway Valley 2
Sat, 31-Oct-15 Saturday Walk 1 Hever to Leigh 40 sunny still calm day
Sat, 06-Dec-14 Hever to Leigh 0
Sat, 24-May-14 Hever to Leigh 12
Sat, 15-Mar-14 Hever to Leigh 40
Sat, 07-Dec-13 Hever to Leigh 23
Sat, 07-Sep-13 Hever to Leigh 17
Sat, 17-Nov-12 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 07-Jan-12 Hever to Leigh
Sun, 26-Jun-11 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 26-Feb-11 Hever to Leigh
Mon, 27-Dec-10 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 10-Apr-10 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 19-Dec-09 Hever to Leigh
Sun, 31-May-09 Hever to Leigh
Mon, 29-Dec-08 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 09-Aug-08 Hever to Leigh
Sun, 18-May-08 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 22-Dec-07 Hever to Leigh
Sun, 24-Jun-07 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 12-May-07 Hever to Leigh
Sun, 03-Dec-06 Hever to Leigh
Sat, 11-Nov-06 Hever to Leigh
Wed, 16-Feb-22
Wednesday Walk Hever to Leigh - a Kent Castles walk, plus Penshurst Place and the River Medway
Book 1, Walk 19 - Hever to Leigh

Length: 14.2 km (8.8 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10
Thameslink service from Peterborough to Horsham, with stops at:
St Pancras: 09-45 hrs
Blackfriars: 09-53 hrs
London Bridge: 10-00 hrs
Arrive East Croydon: 10-15 hrs Change trains
Leave East Croydon: 10-22 hrs Southern service from East Croydon to Uckfield
Arrive Hever: 10-49 hrs
Return

Leigh to London Bridge: fast services, changing at Tonbridge, at 35 mins past the hour PLUS 16-00 hrs
Stopping services, changing at Redhill, at 05 mins past the hour
Rail ticket: buy a day return to Leigh (Kent) Any Route Permitted


Although this walk has had several Saturday and Sunday outings in the past year, it is many-a-moon since SWC mid-week walkers had a similar pleasure, so let's rectify that today.
Along the interesting route through Kent's lovely countryside we pass two castles, one stately home and three villages, with the Rivers Eden and Medway providing you with today's water feature.
Lunch is best taken in the village of Chiddingstone at the historic Castle Inn, or nearby at the Tulip Tree Tearooms. If you can keep hunger pangs at bay for a further hour, then the lunch stop for you is the pleasant Leicester Arms in Penshurst.
After lunch the walk continues past Penshurst Place then onto the Eden Valley Walk, in places beside the River Medway, and on into Leigh. The pub near the railway station may not have re-opened by the time you reach it but you should find the village stores open for walk-end snacks and a drink.
T=1.19
Walk Directions are here: L=1.19
  • 11-Feb-22

    This walk is one of the most treacherous for mud due to the cattle hooves churning up the ground. I’ve only managed to keep my balance by using trekking poles and have had enough of this terrain so won’t be coming this week.

  • 11-Feb-22

    Recent reports on walks in this area - Leigh to Sevenoaks (5/2) and Hever to Tonbridge (22/1) - did not suggest ghastly levels of mud similar to our Otford Round walk last month. With very little (if any) rain in Kent for some weeks now I'm hoping conditions will be manageable underfoot today. The post walk report on this Saturday's walk Hever to Dormans (12/2) might give us a further clue on what we might expect on Wednesday 16/2.

  • 14-Feb-22

    The Hever to Dormans walk report is now in, and there is no mention of excessive mud.

    However, since the walk on Saturday there has been an afternoon and night of very heavy rain in Kent, with more rain to come later this afternoon, so might I suggest we play safe this Wednesday and wear gaiters and bring along a trecking pole or pair of poles.

  • 16-Feb-22

    Nine walkers alighted from the train at Hever, and one more joined us outside Chiddingstone Castle, so that made 10 for today's adventure.

    The sun shone as we left Hever in very mild conditions, unseasonably so. Later it clouded over, and the wind increased as Storm Dudley swept into Scotland and Northern England, with lesser impact on the south, so I will report sunny spells clouding over later . Infact, after lunch it briefly tried to rain but it passed over us. During the morning we had the company of a walk leader - first name John - a Scotsman from Ramblers, Westminster & Chelsea Group, and good company, too. He left us at Chiddingstone, where we found the Castle Inn closed, so on we continued to Penshurst.

    Conditions under foot could be described, in horse racing parlance, as soft going. After seventy two hours of steady rain in this part of Kent, paths were muddy and waterlogged. The mud was slippery at times, but never as bad as we encountered last month in Otford. But muddy it was today.

    Arriving in Penshurst we made for the Leicester Arms, where six of us enjoyed a good lunch, served efficiently and with a smile. The sandwiches were particularly good. The others all popped in for a drink. After settling up the bill I called in to the downstairs gents and on my return upstairs, to put my walking boots back on, I found the others had all buggered off, leaving me behind. All I will say is I would never be so inconsiderate on a SWC walk and I would never, ever dream of setting off without a full complement - but I'm afraid this is rather typical of the SWC - one of the unattractive sides to it. Fortunately, as the walk updater, I knew the route and all was well, but I'm not sure what would have happened if my companions had set off leaving a new walker behind.

    Leaving the pub the wind increased and rain threatened for a while as I made my way to Leigh. Some of my erstwhile companions stopped for refreshments in the Fleur de Lis pub, under new management and open afternoons now for drinks - which is good news. I met up with some of them at the railway station and I believe I was remarkably polite to them, all considered. We only had a few minutes to wait before our trains arrived to take us back to town, some via Redhill and others via Tonbridge.

    Today's walk is an excellent one, for its variety and interesting sites and sights and although it was muddy in places I believe we all enjoyed it.

    But a shame about my companions behaviour.

Sat, 13-Nov-21
Saturday Walk: Hever to Leigh
8.8 miles / 14.2 km
A country walk in Kent past a couple of castles (Hever Castle, Chiddingstone Castle), a very grand stately home (Penshurst Place) and through some attractive villages.
Hever Castle is open for business. Chiddingstone Castle is closed, but the grounds are open (£3 honesty box donation). Penshurst Place is shut, however the cafe is open.

Trains
London Bridge 10:07, East Croydon 10:22, Hever 10:49. Return trains from Leigh at xx:26, change at Tonbridge. A day return to Leigh (Kent) seems like the best choice of ticket.
Lunch/Tea
Chiddingstone: Castle Inn (01892 870371) - currently serving a limited menu from 12 to 3. Tulip Tree Tea Rooms - sandwiches, salads, all day breakfast.
Penshurst: Leicester Arms, (01892 871617). Porcupine Pantry at Penshurst Place. The Fir Tree House Tea Rooms are shut.
Leigh: Fleur-de-Lis pub near the station. There's also a village shop.
T=1.19

  • 15-Nov-21

    25 or so walkers set out on this well known but still lovely walk

    fine overcast without rain was the weather for the day.

    Lunch was taken at The Castle or the Leicester Arms or picnic or cafe.

    Someone recently mentioned that too many walk reports were too long if they weren't funny

    I trust that this is not too long

Sat, 06-Apr-19
Hever to Leigh
This weeks shortie meanders through the "Garden of England" passing castles, a stately home and a small lake. Get all the gen here


Getting there

Catch the 10:07 Uckfield train from London Bridge (10:22 East Croydon) to Hever arriving there at 10:49.
Buy a return ticket to Leigh (Kent) pronounced Lie

Length: 14 km

Maps

OS Explorer 147 1:25,000 and OS Landranger 188 1:50,000

Toughness 2/10

Getting Back

Catch a train at 26 minutes past the hour from Platform 2 at Leigh station changing at Tonbridge (8 minutes wait) . This service calls at Sevenoaks, London Bridge and Waterloo East arriving at Charing Cross at 22 minutes past the following hour.
I don't advise catching trains back via Redhill (Platform 1) as there are engineering works on the London to Brighton Line which may affect journey times.

More Information

Walkers may take lunch at Chiddingstone where the Castle Inn and the Tulip Tree tearooms offer sustenance and drinks. Those with a packed lunch may eat in the Church grounds opposite, but bear in mind this is quite a popular venue for spring weddings.
Further on there is the Leicester Arms and the Porcupine Cafe at Penshurst.At Leigh there's a village shop. There is also the Fleur De Lis pub which used to close in the afternoon. Feedback on it's current opening hours appreciated!

T=1.19

  • Marion
    05-Apr-19

    Intend going and will travel from Clapham Junction to meet the Uckfield train at East Croydon

  • 06-Apr-19

    Will be going on this walk from London Bridge Marian

  • 07-Apr-19

    Hever to Leigh

    6th April 2019

    24 grey but fresh .

    Hever to Leigh

    6th April 2019

    24 on this walk. The day was grey but fresh. This is a lovely walk and I think most of us did the traditional version. Lots of wild garlic which is not yet in flower, some wood anemonies towards the end, and even a faint scattering of bluebells.

    We noticed that the chickens and pig had gone, but there were 5 alpacas in the adjoining field. We spoke to the owner who gave us information about benefits of keeping alpacas.

    There is a slight change to the route – para 11 states ‘In 150 metres you cross a lane on a wooden bridge’ the wooden bridge has disappeared, and there is a slight diversion – we actually walk on the lane for a bit rather than crossing it but stay parallel to the original path.

    Lunch at the Castle Inn (very nice) was had by 13 of us, and the others I believe had packed lunch in the Church grounds opposite. The group broke up somewhat after lunch. About 6 of us stopped at Leicester Arms for teas and coffees and then completed the walk back to Leigh.

    A lovely walk as usual.

  • Anonymous
    07-Apr-19

    You mentioned the benefits of keeping alpacas. Please tell us more. Is one lamb protection? Thanks.

  • 08-Apr-19

    The owner said that Alpacas are very good at guarding chickens from foxes - they surround the intruder or chase it away. Also, if anyone is harrassing one of the alpacas, the rest of the alpacas will gang up on that person.

    Alpacas are good for 'mowing'the grass; only cost about £150 a year in special diet, and their wool is better and more expensive than sheep's wool. However, you need more than 5 alpacas to make selling the woolen financially worthwhile.

Wed, 05-Dec-18
Wednesday walk Hever to Leigh - Kent castles and the River Medway
Book 1, Walk 19 - Hever to Leigh

Length: 14.2 km (8.8 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

London Bridge: 10-07 hrs Uckfield service. East Croydon: 10-22 hrs
Arrive Hever: 10-49 hrs

Return
Leigh to London Bridge (changing trains at Tonbridge): 26 and 56 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Leigh (Kent)


You should be back at London Bridge in good time to don the glad rags and hit the SWC Xmas party with a swagger

The introduction to this walk in the TO Book claims this walk is both fascinating and very beautiful through the Garden of England: I agree - but you can judge for yourself by coming along !

The walk may be short in length but you are spoilt for choice for sights along the way: two castles, a stately home, a proper water feature !, woods, farmland and undulating hills. I leave it to you to read the comprehensive notes in the Directions which contain opening times of the castles. Ditto, information on your lunch and tea options.
Recommended !
T=1.19
Your walk directions are here L=1.19
  • 26-Nov-18

    Hello MARCUS I HOPE YOU ARE BACK WALKING BY NOW .tHIS IS NOT the right place I know but Itried to do Walk 41 last week having missed the train by 2 minutes. I found that some of the identifying signs seemed to have been covered up and the path which led to the A5 had been completely blocked by brushwood.Of course you had probably already done an update but just in case anyone else ventures out with an old version of the walk

    Best,

    Jane

  • 27-Nov-18

    Hi Jane

    Reference Book 1, Walk 41 - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard, please e-mail through to me the paras.in the Directions where you had difficulty following the route, due to missing signs, waymarks etc.and I will check the Directions, updating them where necessary.

    Many thanks

    marcusDOTperryATbtinternetDOTcom

    Marcus

  • 07-Dec-18

    Six off the train in Hever 6 dressed for a walk in the rain. As it turned out the rain held off until we got back to London so the muddy fields weren’t as bad as they might have been. Only one slipped in the mud but managed not to break a wrist or a leg or dislocate a shoulder or end up in A&E with a black eye – have I missed anyone ?

    We reached the first pub, the Castle Inn in Chiddingstone, at 12.00 but, however enticing the interior, it was just too early for all but one to stop for lunch.

    The mild weather conditions mild and- overcast caused one to top up her water supplies in the oldest shop in the country (fact check needed) and then we pressed on to Penshurst. Three had an excellent leisurely lunch in the Leicester Arms and failed to catch up with the two picnickers but not because we found the one hill on the walk too challenging.

    Back in Leigh everywhere was shut apart from a shop which sold hot drinks to take away.

    A short but pretty walk which curiously failed to entice those who prefer short walks.

Sat, 23-Jun-18
Saturday walk - Hever to Leigh - a short, leisurely walk for (nearly) the longest day
Length: 14.2km (8.8 miles)
Toughness: None (all right, 2 out of 10)

10.07 train from London Bridge (10.22 East Croydon) to Hever, arriving 10.49

Buy a day return to Leigh ("Lie"), Kent. Our train ticket boffins tell us that this is valid to Edenbridge Town, the stop before Hever, because Edenbridge station (nearby but on a different line) is a possible route to Leigh and tickets to Edenbridge are valid to either Edenbridge station. Hever is one stop beyond Edenbridge Town, but Leigh is several stops beyond Edenbridge, so going one extra stop to Hever should be OK.....Alternatively, you might reverse this logic and buy a day return to Hever: this by definition is valid via Edenbridge Town, and so also via Edenbridge station. A valid route from Edenbridge station to London is via Leigh and Tonbridge, so a Hever return should one theory work on that route too. (Good luck explaining any of this to a bolshie train manager, however...)

For directions click here. For GPX click here.

Oh, how fashions change!! Once this walk was posted so often we could have changed our names to "The Hever to Leigh Walking Club". Its popularity was undoubted and unassailable. But now like a child that becomes a teenager, the SWC has moved on to longer, more adventurous walks. Would you believe that dear old "H2L" has not had a Saturday posting for two and a half years, nor a spring or summer one for four?

My other reason for picking it is that I hear the mutterings from the "Left Behinds", from the ones who do the short option, take the bus from the lunch pub, watch sadly as the group races off into the distance. "Why do we never have any walks under ten miles anymore?" they cry. So here is my response.

Also not incidentally, today is the longest Saturday of the year. No doubt other posters will wish to celebrate that fact by posting long expeditions to far-flung places. Well, this is a short expedition to a near-flung place and one well worth dawdling over. You might decide to visit Hever Castle or Penshurst Place (not, alas, Chiddingstone Castle, which perversely does not open on Saturdays) You might want to linger over tea in the Fir House Tearoom (if it still exists or deigns to open) or stop in one of the four pubs en route for a summery drink. This is a walk to savour, not to gulp. It is light till 10pm: take your time.

Trains back from Leigh are at 26 past (until 22.26, if you want to make the most of the daylight...) changing at Tonbridge for a train back to London Bridge or Charing Cross. T=1.19


  • Anonymous
    19-Jun-18

    Anyone wanting to do a longer option could of course continue on to Tonbridge. As for me, I can feel an afternoon snooze on a hillside coming on :-)

  • Anonymous
    20-Jun-18

    This walk is perfect, good for both a day out in the countryside and a night out in town. Thanks for posting this.

  • 21-Jun-18

    You can indeed extend this walk to Tonbridge using the morning of the Tonbridge to Penshurst walk in reverse: a pleasant evening stroll

  • 23-Jun-18

    23 on this walk on a day of sun and high cloud .

    I was asked to call this report “Three Weddings and No Funeral” but I personally only saw two weddings, one in Chiddingstone and the other in Penshurst. The former almost put us off going to the pub as they were all drinking outside it. But in fact the pub itself was empty and positively begged for our custom. The fact that they only had four mains - they were working up a new menu, apparently - might have been one reason. We nearly all had fish and chips. It was grand sitting out in the very picturesque garden with the church spire behind.

    In the afternoon the countryside looked parched: it will be time to break out the desert kit soon. Coming into Penshurst we passed wedding number two (or three) and found a small queue outside the Fir Tree tea room waiting for it to open at 2.30pm. We turned this into a big queue and I was all ready for grumbles from the proprietress as it became clear we wanted a table for fifteen or so. But in fact she could not have been nicer. Tables were moved, chairs were moved and we all sat in the delightful shade of a willow tree in the garden and were royally served. The tea - in pots so big they were heavy to lift - seemed inexhaustible. The cakes were gorgeous and all was dished up on proper china. There was even soy milk. We all agreed that this was the best SWC tea ever.

    Passing the happy couple being photographed drinking a freshly opened bottle of champagne in the back of their chauffeured Aston Martin (I wonder how much all that cost) we carried on. Always nice to have a walk with a good stretch after tea to work the cake off. Most finished at Leigh but four of us went on to Tonbridge (one more having started with us but then changed her mind), adding 2.5 miles or so to the walk. In Tonbridge we rehydrated in Weatherspoons and went to a nice Nepalese curry house. There are worse ways to spend a day.

Tue, 04-Apr-17
Tuesday Walk - Two Castles, a Stately Home and the Medway Valley
Book 1, Walk 19: Hever to Leigh

Length: 14.2 km (8.8 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

London Bridge: 10-08 hrs Uckfield service. East Croydon 10-23 hrs
Arrive Hever: 10-49 hrs

Leigh (Kent) to London Victoria: direct - 16-23, 16-44 and 17-25 hrs. Changing at Redhill - 17-53 and 18-27 hrs.
Leigh to Charing Cross: 16-35 and 17-28 hrs changing at Tonbridge

Rail ticket: suggest a day return to Leigh (Kent). This is usually accepted on your outward journey although tehnically you might have to pay a small supplement from Edenbridge Town.

This lovely walk through Kent's Garden of England packs a punch way above its weight for a short(ish) walk, as it fits in lots of places to visit along the route whilst you progress through Kent's lovely countryside. Depending on how much time you wish to set aside for sightseeing, you are spoilt for choice: in order along the route, you have Hever Castle, St Peter's Church, Chiddingstone Castle, St Mary's Church, Penshurst Place and John the Baptist Church. Add in the Medway River as your water feature for the day, and you have the ingredients for more than a half decent walk.

Your lunch stop depends on whether you wish to stop in Chiddingstone or press on to Penshurst. Your only option today in Chiddingstone (as the Castle Inn has yet to re-open) is the Tulip Tree Tea Rooms - perfectly pleasant for light fare. If you think you can make Penshurst by 2-30 pm, then your option here is the Leicester Arms , an atmospheric hotel-pub-restaurant, serving good food. This pub also acts as a tea stop if you luncheoned in Chiddingstone. Your alternative tea stop in Penshurst is the cafe within Penshurst Place - the Porcupine Pantry. On arriving in Leigh you will find the Fleur-de-Lis pub closed for the afternoon, not re-opening until 6 pm. Just up the road is the Village Stores, which sells cold drinks, cakes and provisions.
If the weather is nice today you should enjoy this walk, with Spring flowers in abundance along the way, new-born lambs in the fields early on in the walk and in Penshurst Place, plus all the sights and places to visit.
T=1.19
Newly updated Walk Directions here: L=1.19


  • Anonymous
    06-Apr-17

    2 dry

Sat, 31-Oct-15
Saturday Walk 1 Hever to Leigh
Length 14.2km (8.8 miles)
Toughness 2 out of 10
This is a beautiful walk through the Garden of England. It includes two castles, a stately home, rivers, ponds, woods, undulating hills and three lovely villages: the National Trust village of Chiddingstone; Penshurst, with its half-timbered houses; and Leigh , with its large cricket green, dominated by the Church of St Mary. The Medway Valley is prone to flooding, and it is possible that parts of this walk may not be passable in extreme conditions, but hopefully that won't be a problem this weekend. If you want to visit Penshurst Place, last admission is 4pm, closing at 5pm
Travel
Get the 1008 London Bridge Uckfield train (East Croydon 1023) arrives Hever 1050.
Return from Leigh 1723, 1823 (platform 1) are direct to London Bridge (change East Croydon for Victoria). 1643, 1743, 1843 (platform 2) are via Tonbridge to London Bridge & Cannon Street. There are later trains back.
Buy a return to Leigh (pronounced 'lie') "This is valid for both return routes, but on the way out it is only valid as far as Edenbridge Town (on a different line, but tickets via the two Edenbridge stations are interchangeable). In practice a Leigh ticket is usually accepted to Hever, the next stop, but you might be asked to pay a small supplement.
Lunch
The Castle Inn (tel 01892 870 247) in Chiddingstone, after just over a third of the walk.
Further on (two thirds?), The Leicester Arms Hotel (12-3pm) in Penshurst (tel 01892-871617), is up-market and "serving excellent food".

Tea
There are tea shops in Penshurst closing at 5pm, or the Fleurs-deLis pub in Leigh near the station.

L=1.19

  • Anonymous
    31-Oct-15

    40

    sunny still calm day

    I'm not sure if anyone actually counted how many but I'd say we were around 40. A lovely, pleasant walk in fabulous weather. Some lunched in the Castle pub or The Tulip Tree cafe in Chiddingstone, others went on the Leicester Arms or Porcupine Pantry in Penshurst and a few stopped to watch the rugby at the Fleur de Lys in Leigh.