Smallhythe Place

23-Mar-11 • Sean O'Neill

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Orchard at Wittersham

20-Apr-11 • Sean O'Neill

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Ss Peter & Paul Church, Peasmarsh

21-Apr-12 • Sean O'Neill

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Distant view of Rye

03-Aug-13 • Sean O'Neill

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The River Tillingham

31-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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A tricky stretch in the Tillingham valley before...

05-Mar-11 • Sean O'Neill

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St Mildred's Church, Tenterden

23-Mar-11 • Sean O'Neill

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Tenterden to Rye walk

A varied landscape between two interesting Cinque Port towns, from the low hills of the eastern High Weald almost to the coast


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: Tue, 29-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 04-Mar-17 15

Saturday Walk -- An Exploration of Ancient Cinque Port Towns

SWC Walk 113: Tenterden to Rye – Varied Landscape between Two Cinque Port Towns ending in Picturesque Rye T=SWC.113

Distance: 13.4 Miles or 21.5 km for those more metrically minded (with options to shorten by catching a bus en route)
Difficulty: 5 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:40 AM Southeastern Dover bound train from London Charing Cross (9:43 Waterloo East; 9:49 London Bridge) to Headcorn, arriving 10:45; then take bus route number 12, leaving from the forecourt at Headcorn Station at 10:53, arriving at Tenterden at 11:19. Return trains from Rye are at 56 minutes past the hour until 21:56. Buy a day return to Rye.
This walk covers varied ground from the low hills in the eastern High Weald to almost the sea, largely following the High Weald Landscape Trail. Starting in Tenterden, known as the “Jewel of the Weald”, the walk heads through a wooded valley and then onto the Isle of Oxney, an area of high ground which was once surrounded by the sea and rivers, before heading on into Rye perched up on a hill. On the way, you pass by Smallhythe Place, originally the harbormaster’s house when Small Hythe was a major port town before the River Rother changed course. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is the Oxney Gourmet Pie and Burger Bar (formerly known as the Swan Inn) (01797 270 913) in Wittersham. Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Cock Inn in Peasmarsh. Rye also offers a variety of refreshment spots.

Enjoy the walk!
The cafe in Jempsons supermarket is the best place for tea
I am thinking of doing this work arriving on the no 2 bus from Hastings getting to Tenterden at 1110.
15 on this walk. The weather started cloudy and at the very end turned rainy but late morning and for a chunk of the afternoon was fairly sunny, which made a nice change.

The train bus connection at Headcorn was very smooth: the kind of joined up public transport this country does not usually have. But the £4.50 fare was a bit steep. Tenterden was a lovely place to start the walk and the wild garlic wood in the early stages was coming on nicely. There was some cherry plum blossom and just before Wittersham the excitement of seeing a few wood anemones in flower. A few stopped at the vineyard in Smallhythe for what the French call a "degustation libre".

The dowdy Swan is now a trendy gourmet and pie place. Super friendly staff and the food was certainly pleasant, though personally I think "gourmet" is overstating it. In the afternoon after crossing another former seabed two of us were surprised to be the only ones going to Jempsons in Peasmarsh for tea. I understand other would be tea ers were shanghaied by other walkers keen to get to Rye earlier. Some also went to the pub in Peasmarsh.

Sadly after we left Peasmarsh the weather went downhill: it was a bit wet and rather gloomy for the otherwise lovely descent to Rye. Eight of us had a quick drink in the Wipers Castle and got an 18.56 train.
Sat, 02-May-15

Bluebells, wild garlic and a dramatic finish in Rye

SWC Walk 113 - Tenterden to Rye
Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles), with shorter options ** by bus
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.31 train from Victoria (note NOT Charing Cross due to engineering works), calling 9.54 at Bromley South and 10.02 at Orpington, to Headcorn, arriving 10.43. There catch the number 12 bus at 10.53 from the forecourt, to Tenterden, arriving 11.19.


9.34 Southeastern high speed train from St Pancras International to Ashford International, arriving 10.11. There catch the number 2 bus (direction Hastings) at 10.30 from the station forecourt (main entrance, domestic side, to the left when you get down into the underpass) to Tenterden, arriving 11.12.

Via Ashford types please wait for the other bus before starting the walk.

Buy a day return to Rye. As you will see the high speed train does not get you there significantly quicker on the outward journey, but having a high speed ticket saves you 45 minutes on the return leg: see below.

For walk directions click here.

As you can see, getting to the start of this walk takes a little extra effort, but it is worth it, I promise you, and hey, it is a bank holiday weekend, so don't you want to do something a bit special?

The walk starts and finishes in two beautiful old towns and in between traverses terrain unlike any other on the walks. Chief reason for doing it today is that it has a large wild garlic (ramsons) wood - see photo (not of this wood, but of wild garlic in flower) - that should now be in full bloom. There are also two good bluebell woods, one before Wittersham and the other before Peasmarsh.

Otherwise the walk makes a pretty descent to Smallhythe, where there is a small National Trust property and which astonishingly was once a port. It is way inland now, and your onward route heads out across big open country which was once a seabed, but with an ascent midway up onto the Isle of Oxney for lunch at Wittersham. The pub here is the only refreshment option apart from a cafe at Smallhythe Place (accessible to paying visitors only?) so it might be worth calling them from Tenterden to check they are still there.

Halfway through the afternoon you can stop for tea in a supermarket… Go with me on this one, because this is actually a very nice tea stop, as nice as any rural tea room. The walk then has one final surprise - you crest a hill and there below you is Rye, to which you descend, with panoramic views.

Trains back from Rye are at 56 past, direction Ashford. Don't get the train to Hastings in the opposite direction which goes at the same time. You get to Ashford at 18 past, and there Victoria customers have to wait 20 minutes for a 38 past train, while high speed train passengers have to wait 25 minutes for a 43 past. Despite this wait, journey times from Rye to London are nevertheless just 1hr 25 to St Pancras compared to 2hrs 11 to Victoria.

Last practical trains home, if you want to linger in Rye, are the 20.56 for Victorians and the 21.56 for St Pancrasites.


This route is served by a limited bus service:

- If you got the Ashford bus and were quick, you could get bus 312 to Smallhythe at 11.18, see the National Trust property and catch the group as they went past an hour later

- Otherwise a 13.24 or 15.24 number 312 bus goes from Smallhythe to Wittersham (11.29, 13.29) or Rye

- The 312 also goes at 15.29 from Wittersham war memorial to Rye, if you have lingered over lunch and don't fancy walking any further

- Lastly Peasmarsh, the place with the supermarket tea shop, has bus number 313 at 16.38 to Rye. For three or four walkers, a taxi from the supermarket to Rye might also not be too taxing.

The walk notes say that on this walk you tend to be walking towards the sun throughout most of the day. For this reason I suggest packing a pair of sunglasses. However, this might not be necessary as the forecast isn't too promising.
Sat, 31-May-14 17 Tenterden [Headcorn] to Rye
Sat, 03-Aug-13 10 Tenterden [Headcorn] to Rye
Sat, 21-Apr-12 Tenterden [Headcorn] to Rye
Sat, 02-Jul-11 Tenterden [Headcorn] to Rye