The Greensand Way, The High Chart & Ide Hill
Standard walk: 21km (13miles), 6 hours 30 minutes. For the whole outing including trains, sights and meals allow 10 hours.
Short walk: 9km (5.6 miles), 2 hours 45 minutes.
OS LandRanger Map Nos. 187 and 188. OS Explorer Map Nos. 147 and 146 (for part of the short walk). Hurst Green, map reference TQ 400514 is in Surrey, 12km east of Redhill.
6 out of 10
This is a long but rewarding walk along the hills of northern Kent, much of it passing through woodland, along the Greensand Way, a popular route with walkers. In the afternoon you can enjoy views over the countryside to the south. A walk particularly recommended in late April and early May when it offers a whole series of bluebell woods and also in the autumn with the beautiful show of colours as the leaves change. The walk also passes Chartwell, (former home of Winston Churchill) and through the secluded upland village of Ide Hill, a possible tea stop.
You may reduce the length of the standard walk by 12km to 9km (5.6 miles) by following the main route directions as given until , then follow the Shortened route directions to finish at Oxted.
Alternatively, you can trim a 1km (0.6 mile) descent and ascent section off the standard and short walks by using the short cut at  indicated in the walk directions text.
16b Edenbridge start / 16c Sevenoaks finish. (Hurst Green to Chiddingstone Causeway Options - download PDF above.)
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You can also use the Hurst Green start of SWC Walk 79 Edenbridge to Westerham as an alternative start to this walk, replacing some woodland sections with more open country, with fine views. To to do this follow Alternative Route B of that walk (SWC 79) as far as Crookham Hill, and then switch to the walk's (SWC 79) main directions. You can then switch to the directions for this walk (TOCW2 16) at either Chartwell, the Fox & Hounds pub in Toys Hill, or at Ide Hill (described in the Edenbridge to Westerham walk (SWC 79) as “Ending at Penshurst station”
Chartwell (tel 01732 868381, www.nationaltrust.org.uk) the former home of Winston Churchill, is now owned by the National Trust. Churchill lived at Chartwell from 1924 until just before his death in 1965. The house is open from Wednesday to Sunday from late March until early November 11am - 5pm.
Ide Hill was noted for its fine hunting. During the 16th century the old Hunting Lodge became a secret rendezvous for Henry VIII and his future queen, Anne Boleyn of Hever. In times of unrest, a beacon on the hill, transmitted alarm signals from the South Downs to Shooters Hill, Eltham (on the outskirts of London). To the south-east of the village is Hanging Bank, a one time gallows site.
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Take the train nearest to 9.10am (before or after) from London Victoria station to Hurst Green. Two trains an hour (one on Sunday) run from London Victoria to Hurst Green (journey time: 39 minutes/49 minutes on Sunday). Trains run back from Penshurst to London hourly, most requiring a change at Redhill or Tonbridge (journey time: 57 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes). For the short walk take the train nearest to 10.30am.
The standard walk is probably the most car unfriendly walk in book 2, as it is tricky to get back from Penshurst to Hurst Green (you can do so via Edenbridge/Edenbridge Town stations). A better option is the short walk: you can park your car at Hurst Green, one stop down the line from Oxted.
Standard walk The suggested lunchtime stop is The Fox & Hounds (tel 01732 750328), Toys Hill, 11km from the start of the walk, which serves good enough food from 12 to 2pm Monday to Thursday and 12 to 2.30pm Friday to Sunday. An earlier possible lunch stop is the NT restaurant at Chartwell (tel 01732 863087), 7.5km from the start of the walk, which is open more or less the same dates as Chartwell House (see above) and serves good food from 11 noon to 4 pm.
A late lunch stop is The Cock Inn, Ide Hill (tel 01732 750310) 13km from the start of the walk. However the food here is just sandwiches and rolls. Short walk / Standard walk alternate The Carpenters Arms (tel 01883 722209), Limpsfield Chart, 4km from the start of the walk, which serves good food from 12 to 2pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 12pm to 3pm on Sunday.
Picnic Although you might consider virtually anywhere along the route, there are a couple of recommended spots highlighted in the text. The first is between Toy's Hill and Ide Hill and the second is after Ide Hill looking south towards Bough Beech water.
Standard walk The suggested tea stop is The Little Brown Jug Chiddingstone Causeway, Tonbridge, TN11 8JJ (01892 870318). Open noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-3pm, 7-9pm Tue-Sat; noon-5pm Sun. This pub offers tea and coffee. It is for the main walk.
Short walk - The suggested tea stop is at Robertson's, 42 Station Road West, Oxted (tel:01883 712777), which provides coffee, light meals, teas and is open Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 5pm. The alternate tea stop is the Oxted Inn, 1-4 Station Road West, Hoskins Walk, Oxted (tel:01883 723440).
An earlier version of this walk was published in Time Out Country Walks near London volume 2. We now recommend using this online version as the book is now dated.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
Back (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk