SWC Walk 80a - Staplehurst to Sissinghurst or Cranbrook
Length: - to Sissinghurst
: 12.6km (7.8 miles)
- to Cranbrook
: 15.2km (9.4 miles)
- map-led extension to Goudhurst
: + 5.6km (3.5 miles): see end of walk post
Toughness: 2 out of 10 (4 out of 10 to Goudhurst) 9.40
train from Charing Cross
(9.49 London Bridge
) to Staplehurst, arriving 10.39
Buy a day return to Staplehurst
For walk directions
, click here
. A new version of this document, dated 29 March 2017, was uploaded on Wednesday morning: it has a (hopefully) easier to use layout than the old version.
This variation on the Staplehurst to Headcorn walk has only ever had one little midweek walk outing a year ago, which is a pity, as it is pretty and interesting. It also makes an ideal spring walk, with plenty of flowers en route.
The morning is the same as the Staplehurst to Headcorn walk - a gentle walk through pleasant Kentish countryside. The grand bluebell wood mid morning will not alas be out yet, but a compensation is several nice displays of wood anemones (see photo)
, including one shortly after Staplehurst church and another just after Sissinghurst. There are also lots of other spring flowers
on this walk - cuckoo flowers, primroses, wood sorrel, etc.
Lunch is at the Bell and Jorrocks
pub in Frittenden
, a small and quirky place, which can be thrown by large groups of walkers turning up: but if you treat it nicely it does nice food and has accommodated us well in the past.
Alternatively, it is only 1.8 miles further to Sissinghurst
, whose tea room does (somewhat small-portioned) hot meals until 3pm. Also not entirely impossible, though late in the walk, is the Milk House
in Sissinghurst Village, after 7.4 miles: fast walkers aiming for Goudhurst (see below) might find this very convenient.
In the afternoon you pass Sissinghurst Castle Gardens
, the National Trust property, and can visit it if you wish. It is a short walk (through a wood anemone wood) from the property to Sissinghurst Village, where you can get the number 5 bus
back to Staplehurst station (full details of bus stop location given in the walk directions)
at 59 past
the hour until 17.59
and then 19.01
Alternatively it is only 1.6 miles more to carry on to the very charming and picturesque town of Cranbrook
, where there are various tea options, a windmill, and where the same bus leaves at 53 past
and then 18.56
The buses take you all the way to Staplehurst station
(don't get off a mile earlier in the village centre), from where trains leave at 20
past. (The bus is timetabled to arrive at 12 past, so hope it is on time and be quick about crossing the large car park to the train station platform.) *** MAP-LED EXTENSION TO GOUDHURST
: This is just a "serving suggestion": three of us did this last year and it worked well: using a map, you can follow the High Weald Landscape Trail
westwards from Cranbrook to Goudhurst, a very pleasant undulating walk of 5.6km (3.5 miles)
that is mostly on easy-to-navigate tracks. Goudhurst is a very pretty hilltop village and the Star and Eagle
pub (the HWLT leads to its back door) serves tea in pots.
Buses back from Goudhurst are limited
, however: the best one would be the 17.15
, which takes you to Marden
station (the stop before Staplehurst, so your train ticket is valid from there) in just ten minutes. The only other option is the 297
- a 45 minute ride into Tunbridge Wells, where you will probably have to buy a single rail ticket to Tonbridge for your return home.
Both buses are reached by emerging from the FRONT door of the Star and Eagle, turning left downhill on the main road to a major crossroads in the village centre and then taking the road sharp right: the bus stop is at the start of this road on the left.