SWC Walk 113 - Tenterden to Rye
Length: 21.5km (13.4 miles), with shorter options **
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
from the forecourt, to Tenterden, arriving 11.19. OR 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
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. ** SHORTER OPTIONS
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
, see the National Trust property and catch the group as they went past an hour later
- Otherwise a 13.24
number 312 bus goes from Smallhythe
(11.29, 13.29) or Rye
- The 312 also goes at 15.29
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
. For three or four walkers, a taxi from the supermarket to Rye might also not be too taxing.