Leeds Castle

04-Jun-15 • Sean O'Neill

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"The Wild Boar Family" sculpture

04-Jun-15 • Sean O'Neill

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St Margaret's church, Hucking

11-Jun-15 • Sean O'Neill

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Wildflower meadow, Hollingbourne Meadows

20-Jun-15 • Sean O'Neill

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"The Shepherd" sculpture

31-Jul-16 • Sean O'Neill

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Hollingbourne Meadows

16-Jul-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Crop fields near Hollingbourne

22-Jul-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Hollingbourne Circular via Hucking walk

An attractive woodland estate at the top of the North Downs and a circuit through the grounds of Leeds Castle to finish


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: Mon, 04-Mar-19

Date # Post
Sat, 14-Apr-18 24

Saturday Walk – The Hucking Estate and Leeds Castle

Extra Walk 253 – Hollingbourne Circular, via Hucking
Length: 17 km (10.6 miles), with shorter options. Toughness: 5/10

10:22 Canterbury West train from Victoria (Bromley South 10:39), arriving Hollingbourne at 11:28.

Trains back are hourly at xx:59. You could also take an outbound train at 28 minutes past and change at Ashford for a High Speed train to St Pancras, but you'd have to pay a hefty supplement for this.

This walk features a climb onto the North Downs ridge and a meander through the Woodland Trust's Hucking Estate, followed by a circuit on public footpaths of the scenic grounds of Leeds Castle. The views of the castle are spectacular but you have to endure some noisy main roads and railways to get there, so if you're prepared to give it a miss a short stretch through Hollingbourne Meadows is offered as a more peaceful alternative.

I've started the walk later than usual because its early lunch pub (the Hook & Hatchet Inn: a disappointment in the past) has been revived and is well worth a try. However, it's less than a third of the way through the full walk and you might prefer to carry on to the up-market Dirty Habit down in the village, perhaps after taking one of the suggested morning short cuts. T=swc.253
I plan to attend
me too
Dirty Habit looks good for lunch with VEGAN options
Seeing as the previous commentator didn't mention it, in the interests of fairness and equality I have just checked and it seems that Hook and Hatchet also have Vegan options
From the menu
Gluten free, vegan and vegetarian menu available
love the later start ! thanks Sean
24 on the walk Weather was lovely sunny all day. Thanks for writing and posting Sean. Most of us got the 17.59 train back to Victoria
After the short report by Bridie I thought that I would add a bit of detail.
21 got off on the train which only had two bogs in the four carriages but none of them were working. Nothing to do with me said the guard.
1 chap arrived by car though by all accounts we were lucky by him walking with us instead of meeting us at the pub. Someone said that as there were 2 lunch pubs 4k apart he couldn't tell which we would use so had to walk with us.
According to one walker ewes and their lambs identify each other by the number written on them in spray paint (seriously?). He seemed convinced
One got a late train and walked straight to the pub say 500 metres but she got lost so did a longer walk than any of us so she says.
Muddy walk those in shorts regretted there choice of clothing.

There was a very very jet black helicopter parked outside the first pub where some of us had stopped for a short drink and a few of us were like excited school kids when we heard the engine start and ran up the field to have a look. What a lovely powerful sight though not very green.
Story goes it was a Russian oligarch who had popped to the pub for a drink.

One walker got left behind in the conveniences at this pub so ran of to catch them up but failed so came back to join us at the Hook and Hatchett pub until we walked out so it goes.

16 stopped for tea at the kiosk by the castle in Leeds (?) and then caught the 17.59 with working toilets

To add to the previous comment: those in shorts were delighted by their choice with the sunny weather burning down on us. A few in long trousers were overheard sighing about a missed opportunity.
The pub Dirty Habit which served gourmet lunch for at least 10 walkers really deserves a mention. (I see it has be omitted from previous 3 walk comments). Two walkers even broke the ‘bad habit’ and had dessert here. Some had suggested we could just come here for a three course lunch followed by a stroll in the ground of Leeds Castle on a lazy Sunday...... I am keenly waiting for that post!
24 walkers plus one well behaved dog! he deserves a mention.
play nicely :)
Sun, 15-Jan-17

Sunday walk 1: A Short Circular in Kent

Hollingbourne Short Walk, SWC walk 253 (omitting Hucking Estate )
(13¼ km) 8.25 miles
Difficulty, 4/10

A section of the North Downs Way, the edge of the Hucking estate and a circuit of Leeds Castle grounds before heading back back to Hollingbourne.
The Dirty Habit (01622-880880) in Upper Street after 5¼ km It has a quiet patio area at the back and serves excellent though rather pricey food all day at weekends.
There are two pubs in Eyhorne Street. The Windmill (01622-889000) is an up-market pub/restaurant, while the Sugar Loaves (01622-880220) is a more traditional village pub, serving food all day.
On the way back from the castle grounds a short detour down the A20 would take you to the Park Gate Inn (01622-880985), a Vintage Inns pub.
Trains: 09:36 Canterbury West train from London Victoria arriving Hollingbourne at 10:49
Trains return at xx:07
Directions: here - choose option (a)
Sounds lovely. Hope to attend jfk
Sun, 31-Jul-16

Sunday Walk 1 Hollingbourne Circular via Hucking,

Hollingbourne Circular via Hucking, SWC Walk 253
17 km (10.6 miles) (with 8.2 and 7.3 mile options)
Toughness 5/10

Across fields to the North Downs ridge. A fairly steep little climb into the Woodland Trust's Hucking Estate, then on to the tiny hamlet of Hucking before looping back along woodland paths and rides. After leaving the estate, the North Downs Way slants down the hillside to lunch in Upper Street. Afterwards, Hollingbourne Meadows, a stretch alongside the busy A20, and stunning views of Leeds Castle as you cross its grounds on public rights of way.
Get the 9:36 from Victoria to Canterbury West, arriving Hollingbourne at 10:49
Return trains to Victoria at xx:07. Get a return to Hollingbourne.
The Dirty Habit in Upper Street (01622-880880). Phoning recommended
Tea There are two pubs in Eyhorne Street
The upmarket Windmill 01622 889000
The more traditional Sugar Loaves 01622 880220
You also have the Park Gate Inn (01622-880985) a slight detour near Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle
Describes itself as "the loveliest castle in the world". Built by someone very old called Norman. Keep to the public footpath through the grounds. If you want to visit properly, it costs £24.50.
Walk Directions here
Print the whole document to keep your options open. Click the option you prefer if you've decided on one route.
Main walk (M) all the way round including through Leeds castle grounds.
Short walk (a) misses out the Hucking Estate.
Curtailed walk (b) heads straight for the station from Hollingbourne Meadows, cutting out Leeds Castle.

You were going to get the companion 13 mile walk via Thurnham today (SWC 221) but, apparently, it has an overgrown scratchy-stingy section and kindness prevailed. If anyone wants to give it a go, same train, same times, different lunch stop. Just don't come crying to us with your scratched knees.
This sounds lovely. I enjoyed the other Hollingburne walk last summer.
Am interested to do this walk too jfk
am going to do this walk.
Sun, 26-Jul-15 4

Sunday Second Walk – The Hucking Estate & Leeds Castle

Extra Walk 253 – L=swc.253
Length: 17 km (10.6 miles). Toughness: 5/10

09:36 Canterbury West train from Victoria, arriving Hollingbourne at 10:49.

Trains back are hourly at 07 minutes past. You could also take an outbound train at 49 minutes past and change at Ashford for a High Speed train to St Pancras, but you'd have to pay a supplement for this.

This newish walk (a spin-off from Extra Walk 221) features a climb onto the North Downs ridge and a circuit of the Woodland Trust's Hucking Estate, returning to an up-market pub on the outskirts of Hollingbourne for lunch. The afternoon section – if you can put up with a noisy link route past motorways and high-speed trains – is a circuit on public footpaths through the scenic grounds of Leeds Castle. Those who'd prefer a quieter Sunday afternoon can simply snooze in the nearby Hollingbourne Meadows before heading for the station.

Late Start option: If a 9:36 train on a Sunday is too much of a struggle, take the train an hour later and do one of the morning short cuts to catch up.
4 very wet and windy and cool 2 off the train, 2 drove. Armed with walk instructions, map, gps etc we nevertheless struggled with mud, wet fields and knee high crops. It was not so easy pathfinding in places especially going through the large field of cereal towards Broad Street although we could clearly see 'the way ahead' in the macro sense towards the Pilgrims Way and The North Downs Way.
Precise, or indeed ANY compass bearings would have helped as we struggled uphill with wet pages and poor visability having initially veered off in the wrong direction. By the time we reached the NDW a joint decision to miss out the Hucking loop was arrived at. We still paid homage to the Shepherd at his viewpoint before the gradual descent to Hollingbourne where two enjoyed a sandwich at the village church before a gentle climb to the pub to join the other two for a drink as they equally enjoyed a sumptuous roast (insisting on sharing a dessert with the arrivistes).
Perhaps full, 2 shortcut to the station presumably NOT stopping for a 'loiter'(Mr Author) or a 'snooze' (Mr Walk poster) in the Meadows whilst 2 braved the southern circular bit around the impressive Leeds Castle. This section, by the lakes would delight birdwatchers; SWIFTLY circling small black & white avians dining on the wing.
Slightly damp we opted for coffee in the pretentious restaurant part of the low ceilinged, timbered Windmill in Eyhorne Street surrounded by animal skin rugs and horned skulls on shelves before a brisk tarmaced route to the station and the 1707.
Despite it being a foul day this would obviously be a great walk (full version) on a fine day.