Penshurst Circular via Bough Beech walk

A popular bird-watching site in the Eden Valley and attractive Kent villages.


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 Option Post # Weather
Wed, 12-Jun-24 Wednesday walk - Penshurst circular via Bough Beech 18 warm cloudy sometimes sunny
Sun, 02-Jul-23 Sunday walk - Penshurst circular via Bough Beech 11 cloudy first turning sunny
Sun, 10-Apr-22 b Sunday Walk – Penshurst Circular, via Bough Beech 7
Sat, 25-Jul-20 Saturday walk - Penshurst Circular - historic villages in Kent 11 rain in the afternoon
Sat, 20-Apr-19 Saturday Walk - Penshurst via Bough Beech Circular - small bluebell woods, gentle Kentish countryside 30 the most perfect sunny day ever
Sat, 17-Mar-18 Saturday Walk St. Patrick’s Day on a Penshurst Circular 13 Snow and east winds
Sun, 15-Oct-17 Sunday Walk – [New: Penshurst Circular] Around Bough Beech reservoir 20 warm sunny dry and still
A popular bird-watching site in the Eden Valley and attractive Kent villages. T=swc.300
Length: 15½ km (9.6 miles). Toughness: 3 out of 10
Trains: Charing Cross 10.04, London Bridge 10.13, to Tonbridge (10.46) where you change to catch the 11.01 from platform 1 to Penshurst, arriving 11.09.
Trains back from Penshurst run hourly at xx.22 until 15.22, then with greater frequency -roughly half hourly - with some going via Redhill and some via Tonbridge. Buy a return that is valid via all routes.
Lunch: The suggested place on the Main Walk (after 9½ km, or 6 km with the short cut) is the Wheatsheaf (01732-700100) pub/restaurant in Bough Beech village.
Tea: In Chiddingstone, the Tulip Tree (01892-870326) is open daily to 5pm. Chiddingstone Castle has an equally good Tea Room (01892-870347) with a good range of cakes. It is in a courtyard around the back of the castle through the shop.
At the end of the walk, the Little Brown Jug (01892-870318) in Chiddingstone Causeway is just across the road from Penshurst station; it is usually open all day and serves tea and coffee as well as normal pub fare.
For more details about the walk, click L=swc.300
  • 13-Jun-24

    18 set off from Penshurst station in warm cloudy sometimes sunny weather. Walking conditions were good with mainly firm ground and only short patches of manageable mud on some paths. As we reached Bough Beech reservoir, the walk author pulled up in his car and walked with us to the lunch stop where he and a few others had drinks in the garden of the Wheatsheaf while picnickers sat in a very pleasant field behind the pub garden to consume their vittles. It was a short distance from there to Chiddingfold where some went to the Tulip Tree and 3 visited the Castle tea rooms. From there, an even shorter stretch to Penshurst station. A few people visited the Little Brown Jug for further refreshment before crossing the road to catch trains via Redhill and Tonbridge back to London.


Length: Main Walk, via Four Elms: 19½ km (12.1 miles). Short Walk 1, via Bough Beech village: 15½ km (9.6 miles). Short Walk 2, with alternative afternoon: 14¾ km (9.2 miles).

Difficulty: 4 out of 10

Trains: From London Bridge, you can take the 9.25 train to Redhill (East Croydon 9.42) arriving Redhill 10am with 9 minutes to spare before the 10.09 Penshurst train departs.

From London Victoria the 9.35 train to Redhill (Clapham Junction 9:42, East Croydon 9.53) arrives Redhill 10.04 with just five minutes to catch the 10.09 to Penshurst, which gets you there at 10.31.

Alternatively, from Charing Cross take the 9:29 train to Tonbridge, (Waterloo East 9.32, London Bridge 9.38) arriving Tonbridge 10.10 where you take the 10.26 train to Penshurst arriving 10.34. The Redhill travellers can wait for the Tonbrige arrivals.

Return trains from Penshurst are at xx:31 via Tonbridge changing to the xx.51 to Charing Cross or xx.34 via Redhill for the xx.11 to Victoria or the xx.15 to Londn Bridge.

This walk starts through low-lying farmland interspersed with patches of woodland. At Bore Place it makes use of the farm's permissive trails to reach one of the few viewpoints over Bough Beech Reservoir. The walk continues across the causeway at the northern end of the reservoir where there are good opportunities for bird-watching,

Lunch: The suggested pub on the Main Walk (after 8¾ km) is the Four Elms Inn (01732-700460), a traditional pub with a beer garden serving good-value pub food to 2.30pm.

For those doing the shorter options, The Wheatsheaf (01732-700100) pub/restaurant in Bough Beech is reached (after 9½ km).

Tea: In Chiddingstone the options are the Tulip Tree (01892-870326)

Chiddingstone Castle Tea Room (01892-870347) is in a quiet courtyard with comfortable seating. It is hidden next to the shop at the back of the castle and is open from 11am - 4.15pm.

At the end of the walk, the Little Brown Jug (01892-870318) in Chiddingstone Causeway is just across the road from Penshurst station; it is usually open all day and serves tea and coffee as well as normal pub fare.


  • 02-Jul-23

    6 missed the connecting train at Redhill so we’re an hour later.

  • 02-Jul-23

    3 arrived at the appointed time. Another 6 from Clapham Jct missed the connection at Redhill thanks to their train arriving late. That makes 9. Redhill station’s a lovely place to wait for an hour. Such decor, such ambience. :( We did names.

    After an eternity, the train came and we got to Penshurst. Two at the back were left behind. The other 4 were never seen again, although our spies tell us they visited the Tulip Tree in Chiddingstone. If you think of the walk as being bear shaped, the front 4 s plan was to circumnavigate its ear and then come back round its nose. The back 2 decided on an alternative route that took them under the bear’s chin, which they tickled. This allowed them to meet up with 2 of the early 3 at the Wheatsheaf. After drinkies, it was on to Chiddingstone Castle for tea and cakes. Here we were joined by another two, making a grand total of 11

    Then back to Penshurst, passing a field of little goats - or were they sheep?

    We got to the station just in time for a train, so, sadly, no enforced pub stop “sigh”.

    Much as we enjoyed our first stay in Redhill, we decided not to risk another, the service to London still being rubbish. We played safe and returned seamlessly via Tonbridge.

    A very pleasant walk plenty of butterflies, dragonflies and some flowers. Weather cloudy first turning sunny

  • 03-Jul-23

    On behalf of the later 6 delayed at Redhill 4 of us did the walk as listed enjoying the Bough Beech reservoir views stopping to talk to some bird twitchers. We then lunched at the Oast House visitor centre enjoying their benches and toilet facilities including a drinking tap to refill water bottles. Sadly it still seems closed but not locked and we had the place to ourselves. On then to the Wheatsheaf where we had drinks in the garden but what a shame to have missed the opportunity for a pub lunch in the atmospheric beamed interior. Must make an appointment for a future visit. Did anyone from the early arrivals including the cheating 2 who short cutted the morning route enjoy food here just for the record?

    On then to Chiddingstone and an enormous delicious Courgette and orange cake with delicious cream cheese frosting ( not too sweet) at the Tulip café. I had to take part of the cake home as it was so large. We caught the train an hour later than the group who enjoyed the Castle cafe but met John and Joanna getting into their car at Chiddingstone.

    I decided to take the home bound train via Tonbridge and had a swift journey to Waterloo east and then a fast train to Twickenham where I just missed my not so frequent 267 bus for the last leg. But low and behold a luxury white and gold liveried replacement bus service stopped and took me home via Brentford station where engineering work had already disrupted my morning journey even before Redhill.

    I normally avoid this treacherously muddy part of the low Weald world and you could see the ground riddled with crevasses in the clay but thankfully my sturdy 40 year old leather summer boots kept me upright and relaxed apart from the overgrown brambles where we had to don our jackets to avoid being ripped to shreds. Thankfully the company made up for missing the train connection but a shame we missed the earlier group.

  • 03-Jul-23

    The little goats were sheep perhaps that rare breed Mouton?

  • 03-Jul-23

    @Marion: The Wheatsheaf is indeed an excellent pub. Although no-one wanted to stop for a pub lunch this time (as is becoming the norm on Sundays) the staff told me that they try to serve walk-ins if at all possible. Perhaps someone will post this walk midweek - but not in the muddy season - when there'd be no problem getting a pub lunch.

    It's ridiculous that Southern didn't delay the Redhill-Tonbridge train by a few minutes to meet their connecting service from Victoria. Sadly one doesn't expect much from these non-customer-focused train companies any more. I hope you can be bothered to claim Delay Repay compensation, despite the hassle.

    Tea'n'cake at Chiddingstone Castle was as nice as ever, with speedy and cheerful service. We enjoyed snatches of Kent Opera performing a gala concert in the grounds too (Papageno's song from The Magic Flute).

    I reckon the sheep at Vexour might have been Soay, but that's just based on pictures on Wikipedia.

  • 03-Jul-23

    Yes Soay sheep Sean just recently broadcast on Country file. Margaret had recommended the cakes at the castle courtyard cafe and it’s a shame we missed the Kent opera extract but the texts received from Wanderer were received too late. Another time.

  • 04-Jul-23

    Also I accidentally swallowed several flies on my way round the bear’s neck. Didn’t really need anything else to eat

Extra Walk 300b – Penshurst Circular, via Bough Beech (Short Walk 2)

Length: 14¾ km (9.2 miles), with longer afternoon options. Toughness: 3/10

09:33 Portsmouth Harbour service from London Bridge (East Croydon 09:50), changing at Redhill (arr 10:04, dep 10:20) for the Tonbridge train and arriving Penshurst at 10:42.

If it's more convenient you can travel out from Charing Cross on the 09:14 Robertsbridge service, changing at Tonbridge (arr 10:11, dep 10:26) for the Reigate train and arriving Penshurst at 10:34. Cross the footbridge and wait a few minutes for the train from the other direction.

If you have any "Any Permitted" route ticket you can travel back from Penshurst on the hourly trains in either direction, although both leave at about the same time: westbound via Redhill at xx:34 and eastbound via Tonbridge at xx:42. If you've travelled out on a cheaper "via Redhill" ticket you'll need to return the same way.

This walk takes in the area around Bough Beech Reservoir, a large body of water tucked away in the Wealden countryside which is surprisingly well-hidden until you get close. The suggested lunch stop is in the hamlet of Bough Beech which you should reach at around 1pm; you'll need to call the up-market Wheatsheaf if you want an indoor table for Sunday lunch.

From Bough Beech I suggest taking the shortest (and least familiar) of the three possible afternoon routes, but tearoom aficionados will probably choose to head for Chiddingstone and perhaps on to Penshurst village as well. All routes return to Penshurst station (nowhere near its village) where the Little Brown Jug provides a useful watering-hole while waiting for a homeward-bound train.

You'll need to bring the directions from the L=swc.300.b page. If you're printing the directions and know which afternoon route you'll be taking, you can save paper by clicking that option.

  • 12-Apr-22

    7 walkers set off in sunny, mild weather. This walk rarely disappoints and today was no exception, especially with the dry conditions underfoot. I hadn't done Option B before and I thought it had a more remote feel compared to the well trodden Chiddingstone route. There was plenty of birdsong throughout and a couple of us spotted a Cormorant at Bough Beech Nature reserve and a single out-of-place snakes-head-fritillary tucked in some woodlands.

Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles), with shorter options of 18km (11.2 miles), 15.5km (9.6 miles) and 14.8km (9.2 miles)

Catch the 10.12 train from Victoria (not the usual Charing Cross/London Bridge due to engineering works) (10.29 Bromley South, 10.36 Orpington) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.53, and change there (depart 11.01) for the Redhill-bound train, arriving Penshurst at 11.09. T=3.300

On arrival at Penshurst we will do a socially-distanced meet-up and split into groups of six. Be prepared to share contact details with those in your group for contact tracing purposes.

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here and for a map of the walk click here.

Since it was created in 2017, this walk has had two spring outings (one in the snow in 2018), but has never been done in the summer. It seems to have lots of potential for this time of year, taking in the Bough Beech Reservoir, with its nature reserve, the pretty ancient villages of Chiddingstone and Penshurst, and plenty of relatively gentle Kentish countryside.

There are a number of ways to short cut the main route, so those wanting a shorter walk have various options: see the walk directions for details.

There are three potential lunch pubs, with the Castle Inn in Chiddingstone currently offering a stripped-down menu of "sandwiches, fish/scampi and chips, cakes and nuts", but having a nice garden to sit in. The Leicester Arms in Penshurst has an outside seating area, but is not specific about whether you can have food there. (To eat inside you have to book, limited capacity, yada yada).

Chiddingstone also has the Tulip Tree tea room, which does seem to be open as normal (and which has outside seating and also does takeaways). The Fir Tree House tea room in Penshurst may be open (since it is in a garden anyway). A little off the main route the Porcupine Pantry cafe at Penshurst Place would also be a possible tea stop, if you can get there by 4.30pm.

At the end of the walk, the Little Brown Jug (across the road from Penshurst station) has a big garden: it says even those buying a drink have to "check in" (give contact details?)

Trains back are at 09 past via Redhill (across the footbridge) or 22 past via Tonbridge (the platform this side of the tracks), changing at those stations in both cases. Journey times either way is just over an hour. In both cases you end up at Victoria, but the Redhill trains go via East Croydon.
  • 25-Jul-20

    10.12 train cancelled!! Get the 10.09 or 10.15 train to Redhill and change there - Penshurst train departs Redhill at 11.00

  • 25-Jul-20

    10.15 to East Croydon and change there for Redhill.

  • 25-Jul-20

    The forecast of rain in the afternoon did not help, and nor did the last minute cancellation of the 10.12 train from Victoria. Five enterprising souls nevertheless managed to work out that the 12.09 to Redhill would work just as well (no thanks to the Network Rail app, which did not show this option) and get us to Penshurst only thirteen minutes late at 11.22. There we met two others who had got to the same place at the same time by different means. That made seven of us. Put me up against the wall and shoot me, but we all walked as one group. Except really it was 2+2+3 with wide gaps in between.

    It was grey in the morning with spots of rain, occasionally a bit wetter. During one shower we sheltered in the lean-to of the closed Bough Beech Reserve visitor centre. When we got to Bough Beech village five of us opted to eat at an outside table at the not at all busy pub - this was my first SWC walk pub lunch since 14 March!! - and two had sandwiches nearby and drinks at the pub. An eighth person, who had arrived on the specified train from Tonbridge and seen no other walkers on it, joined us. We sat at three different tables.

    The eighth man went on ahead before we had finished eating. Two - one having forgotten to bring waterproofs - took one look at the weather radar and decided to walk the 2km down the road to Penshurst station. Two others were still finishing lunch. That left three of us to carry on in now steady (though not torrential) rain through damp woods and across golden wheat fields. We stopped at the Tulip Tree in Chiddingstone for tea (and to dry off a bit) and then headed on via Penshurst village to the station.

    Two had a drink in the garden of the Little Brown Jug, my companion having navigated the complexity of their customer rules so that I didn’t have to. The rain had now stopped and swifts were flying overhead on their way back to Africa. During this drink I learned, by text, that three other walkers had lunched in Chiddingstone. Where did they come? What train did they get? What route did they take? Perhaps they will file a separate report. Meanwhile, I have the honour to announce 11 on this walk in total.

  • 26-Jul-20

    Seems the mystery three were waiting for the specified train at Bromley South, as is their ancient right. When it was cancelled, they got the train an hour later. They took the short cut to the Chiddingstone pub, doubtless hoping to catch up with the rest of us. But we, as you have read, had lunched at the earlier pub in Bough Beech. After lunch the three took a short route back to Penshurst.

Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles)...or 18km (11.2 miles) with a morning short cut, 15.5km (9.6 miles) with an afternoon short cut, 12km (7.4 miles) with both short cuts. T=3.300

Toughness: 5 out of 10

10.10 train from Charing Cross (10.13 Waterloo East, 10.19 London Bridge), to Tonbridge, changing there (arriving 10.51, departing 11.01) for the (Redhill-bound) train to Penshurst, arriving 11.09.

(If you want to give yourself five minutes extra to make the change, you could also get the 10.00 train from Charing Cross, 10.03 Waterloo East, 10.09 London Bridge, which arrives at Tonbridge at 10.46.)

Buy a day return to Penshurst.

For walk directions click here. For a GPX file click here. For a map of the walk click here.

This walk was last done in Arctic conditions during the “Mini-Beast from the East” in March 2018. But even then I noticed it had several small bluebell woods. Let us see what they look like under (hopefully...) more clement conditions.

The route has lots more charms besides, skirting round the top of the Bough Beech Reservoir and passing its visitor centre and nature reserve (will we see the first swallows of the year swooping low over it?) and then in the afternoon looping through those perennial SWC favourites Chiddingstone and Penshurst - two villages packed with charm and historical interest (though annoyingly Chiddingstone Castle is not open on Saturdays). I am also hoping this will be fine territory for flowers, butterflies and other signs of spring.

For lunch, the Wheatsheaf after 5.9 miles is described as "likely to be fully booked at weekends" (we were the only customers during the Mini-Beast!!) but it does have a non-bookable garden and does food till 4pm (according to its website), so it might be worth dawdling a bit to reach it after the main rush. Alternatively, don't dawdle but scooch on another 2 miles to Chiddingstone to the Castle Inn: it also has a garden and serves food till 3pm.

All the above distances can be cut by 3.5km (2.2 miles) if you take a morning short cut and you can save 6km (3.7 miles) if you take an afternoon short cut that goes direct from Chiddingstone to Penshurst station (missing out Penshurst village): see the walk directions for details and for an interactive map you can play with and try out the various options.

Tea can be in the Tulip Tree tea room in Chiddingstone or Fir Tree House in Penshurst village: there are also pubs in both places, as well as the popular Little Brown Jug right opposite Penshurst station.

Trains back from Penshurst are at 22 past (from the same side of the station as the Little Brown Jug: no need to cross the footbridge), changing at Tonbridge.

There are also trains at 09 past in the other direction (across the footbridge), changing at Redhill, but these involve a 23 minute change at Redhill for a Thameslink train to London Bridge (etc) via East Croydon: they are no quicker than those at 22 past if you are heading back to central London but may be more convenient for some South Londoners.
  • 19-Apr-19

    London Bridge was BUSY on Good Friday morning, possibly due to services diverted from other stations due to engineering works. Ticket queues were LONG. If you need to buy a ticket on the day, ideally get today’s train at Charing Cross. If you must get on at London Bridge, go to the back (southern) end of the station, exit and turn left for 80 metres or so to find a little-known commuter entrance. There are two ticket machines no one knows about there... (Don’t tell anyone else: they will be our little secret)

  • 20-Apr-19

    30 on this walk on the most perfect sunny day ever : the sky a deep blue. Was there ever such a beautiful day at such a beautiful time of year? I am the wrong person to write this report because fifteen minutes after starting the walk I was lost. Not geographically but in rapture at the beauties of nature: little bluebell woods, a great yellow sea of oilseed rape, chirruping chaffinches, orange tip butterflies, verge and woodland flowers, fields of dandelions, tall green grass, fresh green foliage. I and a similarly nature-loving companion soon fell behind.

    Down by Bough Beech Reservoir I asked the birders if they had seen any swallows. “Loads, mate. Stopping a day and flying on north.” Any staying here, though? “Go to the oast: there are lots there.” But at the oast (the Visitor Centre) no swallows were to be seen. Nothing but more butterflies and the flitting of insects. Only at lunch did I hear about the cuckoos. “Surely you heard the cuckoos? There were several of them. They were singing for ages.” But no, to my great regret, I did not hear any cuckoos there or all day.

    By the time we got to lunch, some walkers were already leaving. The pub was busy but not complaining about it - bravo! - and the garden was an idyllic place to linger. Three of us stragglers ordered and waited. One meal came, two did not. Shadows lengthened. Finally we enquired and it became clear our orders had been forgot. They were hastily cooked. We finally left about 4pm.

    There were now four of us and two did a bit of a shortcut to get to the surprisingly empty Tulip Tea Room in Chiddingstone by 4.40pm, a wise precaution as they stopped serving cake at 4.45pm. Another of our party had to be content with takeaway tea. On we four then ploughed as the sun sank lower and the world got ever more beautiful. We had a rest and a drink at the Leicester Arms in Penshurst, commented on flowers and trees, heard a willow warbler, and said goodbye to the setting sun several times only to have it peek over the horizon again. We finally got to Penshurst station in time to get the 8.20pm train, but we let it go to have dinner in the Little Brown Jug (fabulous vegan burger!), getting the 9.20pm. And so home, having made good use of the day, I venture to suggest.

    Would love to hear how any of the others got on.

  • 21-Apr-19

    Can't fault Walker's description - a perfect walk on a perfect day. Carpets of bluebells in woods, hay-cutting producing the intoxicating aroma of new-cut grass, excellent company and a nicely-judged lunch stop - even if we sandwich eaters had to use a bus shelter, Bough Beech being that rarety, a village with a pub but no church. Three of us walked on to Chiddingstone, arriving about 3pm by an unintended shortcut, saw the Chiding Stone and then a different two strolled to Penshurst, enjoyed tea and cake at the Fir Tree tea room(kindly provided by my companion, as I'd conveniently left my wallet in the car)before walking across parkland to Penshurst station in beautiful late afternoon sunshine, arriving about 6pm. A great day.

SWC Walk 300 – Penshurst Circular via Bough Beech t=swc.300

Distance: 13.4 Miles or 21.5 km for those more metrically minded (shorter options available roughly 9 miles or 15 km)

Difficulty: 5 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:39 AM Tonbridge train from London Victoria (stopping at Clapham Junction at 9:45 and East Croydon at 9:56), arriving at Penshurst at 10:33. Return trains from Penshurst are at 27 and 33 minutes past the hour until 18:33; then 19:33, 20:27, 20:31, 21:21, 21:31, 22:21 (some requiring a change at Tonbridge). Buy a day return to Penshurst.

This is a relatively new walk (having only had one Sunday outing last autumn) combining both some new and familiar territory. It makes an anti-clockwise circuit from Penshurst Station (AKA Chiddingstone Causeway) around Bough Beech Reservoir before passing through the charming villages of Chiddingstone and Penshurst en route back to Penshurst Station. Along the way, you encounter several country pubs where you can honor St. Patrick (and a popular bird watching site). There are a couple of short cuts available for those preferring a shorter route.

As a little twist for the day, for anyone interested in honing their navigational skills in advance of the upcoming hill walking trips, I would suggest we do the route in reverse relying on the old map and compass (not a line on a device) to navigate between the various refreshment points. With any luck, we will encounter the main group at one of the pubs along the way and of course at the end at the Little Brown Jug. If interested in this option, please bring a compass and a print out of the route using the OS Map tab on the introduction page for the walk.

Whichever option you choose, you can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is either the Wheatsheaf (01732 700 100) at Bough Beech (6 miles/9.5 km into the main walk) or the Castle Inn (01892 870 371) in Chiddingstone (8.5 miles/12.5 km into the main walk).

Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Fir Tree House in Penshurst (on the main walk) or at the Little Brown Jug, a stone’s throw from Penshurst Station.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
  • Anonymous

    Looking forward to the reverse walk. Thanks Stargazer!

  • Anonymous

    Given that this is the first Saturday outing of this walk and that the walk creator has gone to a lot of time and trouble to create the directions, might I suggest that it would be courteous to try the walk in the direction it’s author intended, rather than merely using it as the jumping off point for a map-led navigation exercise?

  • Anonymous


    (damned spellcheckers)

  • 14-Mar-18

    As the walk author, I've got no problem with Stargazer's proposal. The people doing the walk normally will invariably end up following someone with a gizmo, which will defeat the object of a map-reading exercise (or a check of the directions, come to that).

    The various lunch pubs come at suitable times in either direction. The only thing about doing it in reverse is that several chunks will seem familiar because they duplicate existing SWC walks, which is less of an issue if you do the walk as intended.

  • 14-Mar-18

    I certainly hope that plenty of people do come and enjoy the walk as originally planned by the author. I am a great supporter of the written fact, quite recently on Sunday I pointed out some of the interesting features of the walk to some of the "line readers" who most likely would have passed by without noticing as these details are not part of the line....However, as it is a circular walk with a number of possible stops and some short seemed like good route for some nav practice for those interested...because the different groups can meet along the way and again at the end...

  • 16-Mar-18

    Hi everyone,

    I'm totally new to this club and don't know anyone here yet....One of my friend has recommended me this website recently.

    Just wanted to check if anyone is planning to do Penshurst circular tomorrow? I will be taking OS map with me. I love hiking but it's more enjoyable to admire countryside with like -minded people than alone... :)


  • 16-Mar-18

    Hi Kasia,

    Yes, there will certainly be a few regulars at least. Look forward to meeting you.

  • 17-Mar-18

    Snow and east winds - ha! Defiant of such trivialities, with British (and multinational) pluck, 13 assembled on Penshurst station. Four set off to do the walk backwards as a map-reading exercise and were never seen again....but no, I jest: we met them in a lane half way round and they all got to the end safely. Nine of us did the walk the right way round and set off into the teeth of driving snow (or with driving snow in our teeth). This first few hundred metres was really rather unpleasant but luckily the route soon turned more westerly, putting the wind at our backs.

    It sort-of snow-drizzled all day, sometimes abating, never heavy. There was a good covering, but the ground was sadly not frozen and there were a LOT of slippery arable fields. But the woodland sections were more pleasing, with every twig coated with snow (something you only see when the snow is fresh). My botanist’s eye also noted many of these were bluebell woods: this would be an excellent bluebell walk.

    At one point I saw a lapwing doing its display flight over a field - a sight about as rare these days as snow on March. I was momentarily confused when the directions promised a view of the reservoir and all I could see was snowy fields. Then I realised one snowy field was in fact water (see photos on our Facebook site).

    The Wheatsheaf - always booked at weekends according to the directions - was empty but for us and two other diners. This meant we got attentive service. The map-followers ate at the pub in Chiddingstone which apparently has the same owners and menu.

    In Chiddingstone most went to the pub for pudding but two of us went to the tea room. A portly robin and two dunnocks enjoyed the cinammon and raisin bagel crumbs I put out for them. We all then decided honour was satisfied and took the short cut to Penshurst, passing several fields of lambs not in the least nonplussed to find their fields covered in snow (“what is the world usually like, then?”). I am guessing many got the 4.27 train: three others got the 5.27. Myself and three mappers enjoyed the fire a bit longer and got the 6.27.

  • 17-Mar-18

    Oh, I forgot. Six also did the morning short cut.

New Walk – Penshurst Circular
Length: 15½ km (9.6 miles), with longer option possible. Toughness: 3/10

09:40 Dover train from Charing Cross (Waterloo East 09:43, London Bridge 09:50, Orpington 10:07), changing at Tonbridge (arr 10:25, dep 10:36) for the Redhill train from Platform 1, arriving Penshurst at 10:44.

A return ticket from London to Penshurst is valid for travel back via Tonbridge (hourly trains at xx:07) or Redhill (at xx:44), but there are confusing messages about engineering works in the Redhill area so the Tonbridge route looks a better bet.

You might have seen Bough Beech Reservoir from a vantage point on the Greensand Hills but it is tucked away in the undulating countryside and surprisingly well-hidden as you get closer. This new walk takes in the few places where you can get a good view, principally the causeway across the Nature Reserve at its northern end. There's the added attraction from noon today of a Festival of Apples in its Visitor Centre, advertising a “merry folk band” and freshly-cooked apple fritters (but sadly not unlimited cider tastings).

On the walk route there are two up-market lunch pubs serving very good food but both have the air of establishments where you need to book days in advance for Sunday lunch, particularly the Wheatsheaf in Bough Beech. You might have more luck 45 minutes later at the Castle Inn in Chiddingstone, but if not there are a couple of tearooms nearby where you should be able to get a light lunch (or a large tea).

My suggestion is to do the Short Walk 1 option and head directly back to Penshurst station from Chiddingstone, but sunset is still after 6pm so there'll be plenty of daylight for anyone attempting the 21½ km Main Walk.

You'll need to print the directions from this temporary New Walk page. T=swc.300
  • Anonymous

    Might do this one..anyone else?

  • Anonymous

    hi, is anyone doing the main walk?

  • Anonymous

    Two more doing main walk. Should be fine weather.

  • Anonymous

    15 warm sunny dry and still . What a lovely walk. It takes in some very pleasant and unexplored (by SWC) areas around Penshurst. The Wheatsheaf in Bough Beech was busy but staff were accommodating and one walker said it was the best meal they ever had. Some stopped for tea in Chiddingstone Castle and others later at the Little Brown Jug. Feeling very content and relaxed. Just wish I could it all again tomorrow!

  • 16-Oct-17

    I think it was more than 15 on the walk as there were 14 of us at Penshurst off the specified train and at least another 5 or 6 who had caught a later train and who we met up with at the lunch pub so probably 20 in all.

    All walks are improved by a perfect warm and sunny autumn day but this one was superb. Those of us who did the longer walk enjoyed excellent tea and cakes in Penshurst village before the final leg to the station in the shimmering light of "the dimming of the day" with the leaves glittering like gold coins. A final drink and the 18.07 train home. A day to remember and to see us through "the great darkness" (Walker)

  • 16-Oct-17

    Yea, the Great Darkness. For verily the Great Darkness cometh, and none shall escape it, neither the Righteous Man nor the Sinner......