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Hadlow Tower

15-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Chagall window #8 (memorial window), All Saints church

23-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Hadlow Tower

Tonbridge Circular walk

28-Apr-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Mill stream near the Medway

15-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Oast house conversion outside Hadlow

15-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Tonbridge Castle

23-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Orchard, Postern Park

23-May-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Tonbridge to Hadlow walk

Gentle walk in the Medway Valley with a unique church and one of the tallest follies in Britain.

History

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 # Post
Wed, 20-Jun-18 7

Wednesday Walk - The Medway Valley and Chagall's Windows: Tonbridge Circular or to Hadlow

Length: 24.2 km (15.1 mi) [or 17.0 km/10.6 mi to Hadlow]
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¾ hours [or 4 hours to Hadlow]
Toughness: 3 out of 10 [or 2 out of 10 to Hadlow]
10.00 Tunbridge Wells train from Charing Cross (W’loo East 10.03, LBG 10.09), arrives Tonbridge 10.46.
Return trains: plenty.

This walk takes in both sides of the River Medway to the east of Tonbridge (pronounced Tunbridge: see Walk Notes), a low-lying area of meadows, farm fields, orchards and hop gardens. The scenery is pleasant rather than dramatic and features two highly unusual features: a unique church and a striking folly.
There is nothing remarkable about the exterior of All Saints, Tudeley: an old guidebook described it as “obscure and unfrequented”. Nowadays the reverse is true, because its twelve stained glass windows were all designed by the great 20thC Russian artist, Marc Chagall. Initially commissioned by Sir Henry and Lady d'Avigdor-Goldsmid to create a single memorial window after the death of their daughter Sarah in 1963, Chagall was inspired to create windows for the entire church (as he had previously done for a synagogue in Jerusalem and a chapel in France). The final group of windows were dedicated in 1985, a few months after his death at the age of 98.
Tudeley's sister church is also on the walk route. For understandable reasons St Thomas à Becket tends to be overlooked but it has a series of 13thC wall paintings. The church is no longer used for regular services but is normally open 10.00-16.00.
Throughout the walk there are occasional glimpses of its other main feature, rising high above the landscape. There can be few stranger sights on a Home Counties walk than this multi-tiered Gothic folly, taller than Nelson's Column.Hadlow Tower was built in 1838 by William Barton May as an embellishment to his equally eccentric father's extravagant house in Strawberry Hill Gothic style (“the most singular looking thing I ever saw” according to William Cobbett). Much of Hadlow Castle was demolished in 1951 but fortunately the Tower was saved; after a local campaign it has now been beautifully restored.
The walk passes Hadlow's other attraction, Broadview Gardens (free entry). This is a collection of small landscaped gardens designed by successive generations of horticultural students at Hadlow College.
Walk Options: You can bypass the recommended lunch stop, the Dovecote Inn, by taking a shortcut which saves 2¼ km, or you can finish the walk in Hadlow and take a bus to Tonbridge (frequent service).
Lunch: The Dovecote Inn in Capel (8.7 km/5.4 mi, food to 14.00). Plus other options, see the webpage or the pdf for details.
Tea in Tonbridge: Finch House Café and Bakery or The Humphrey Bean (Wetherspoon’s).
For walk directions, summary, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.220.a
Hi. Walk sounds great. New to group and U.K. Any advice on how to buy cheapest train ticket? Have Net Card. Thank you.
Just use your network rail card and get a return when you buy all midweek walk trains start after 10am so you can get the network railcard discount.

Rich
7 An enjoyable sunny little outing, with a pleasant pub where we met a granddad & grandchild on a day out. Two lingered over lunch. After tea in the garden centre cafe (lovely setting if you are outside), 2 went off to walk to Tonbridge, 3 went round the gardens & then got the bus.
Sun, 17-Sep-17 9

Sunday Walk – An unusual church and a tall folly

Extra Walk 220 – Tonbridge to Hadlow (or back to Tonbridge)
Length: 17 km (10.6 miles) to Hadlow, or 24¼ km (15.1 miles) back to Tonbridge. Toughness: 2 or 3/10

09:40 Dover train from Charing Cross (Waterloo East 09:43, London Bridge 09:50, Orpington 10:07), arriving Tonbridge at 10:25. Buy a return to Tonbridge.

If you finish the walk in Hadlow you'll need to catch the hourly no.7 bus back to Tonbridge, at 15:09, 16:11 or 17:11 (last bus). There are four fast trains an hour from Tonbridge to London Bridge and Charing Cross, at 08, 21, 38 & 49 minutes past (three an hour after 8pm).

This is an undemanding walk in the Medway valley east of Tonbridge, with the apple orchards you would expect to find in the ‘Garden of England’ but also some unusual features: a church with world-famous windows to visit in the morning, a striking folly and some (free) landscaped gardens at the end of the walk. There's a nice lunch pub but the tearoom in Hadlow closes at 4pm on Sundays, so you might prefer to get the first available bus and look for somewhere in Tonbridge.

You'll need to print the directions from the Tonbridge to Hadlow Walk page. If you're not planning on doing the extended walk you can click the word 'Main' on the Walk Options heading to save a sheet or two of paper. T=swc.220
Other pubs on or near the walk route are the Queen's Head (01892 832073) in Five Oak Green (but closed Mon–Wed lunchtimes), the Bell Inn (01732 851748) in Golden Green, and the Two Brewers (01732 850267) in Hadlow.
9 or 10 dry and mild. A very pleasant walk and dry underfoot so it was easy going, even though some of the fields had recently been ploughed. The windows in Tudeley church are wonderful. Those having a pub lunch stopped in Capel and a few of us had tea in Hadlow, some catching the bus from there while others strolled on into late afternoon sunshine.
Sat, 12-Dec-15 10

Saturday Second Walk - Marc Chagall windows and a multi-tiered Gothic Folly: Tonbridge Circular


SWC Walk 220a – Tonbridge Circular (via Hadlow)
Length: 24.3 km (15.1 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 150 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ¼ hours
Toughness: 4 out of 10
or
Tonbridge to Hadlow
Length: 17.0 km (10.6 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 125 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 3 ¾ hours
Toughness: 2 out of 10
Take the 09.10 Ramsgate train from Charing Cross (09.13 Waterloo East, 09.42 Sevenoaks), arriving Tonbridge at 09.50;
or the 09.03 Tunbridge Wells train from Cannon Street (09.07 London Bridge, 09.26 Orpington, 09.36 Sevenoaks), arriving Tonbridge at 09.46. (Fast) return trains are 6 per hour.
If finishing in Hadlow, you will need to take a bus (Arriva 7/77/147) to Tonbridge (every 20 minutes or so up to 18.00 hours, then less frequently up to 19.43).

This walk takes in both sides of the River Medway to the east of Tonbridge, a low-lying area of meadows, farm fields, orchards and hop gardens. The scenery is pleasant rather than dramatic but the walk benefits from two highly unusual features: a unique church and a striking folly. All Saints, Tudeley’s twelve stained glass windows were all designed by the Russian artist, Marc Chagall. The final group of windows were only dedicated in 1985, a few months after his death at the age of 98. Tudeley's sister church, St. Thomas a Becket, is also on the walk route, it has a series of 13 wall paintings.
Throughout the walk there are occasional glimpses of its other main feature, rising high above the landscape, a multi-tiered Gothic folly, taller than Nelson's Column: Hadlow Tower, built by William Barton May as an embellishment to his equally eccentric father's extravagant house in Strawberry Hill Gothic style. Much of Hadlow Castle was demolished in 1951 but the Tower was saved. Hadlow's other attraction, Broadview Gardens, is passed as well (free entry).
The suggested lunch stop is the Two Brewers in Hadlow (16.0 km/10.0 mi).
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. There will be mud, there may be flood: bring your gaiters.
T=swc.220.a
L=swc.220
You can also shorten this walk by leaving out Hadlow and following the route of walk 3 219 from just after Golden Green to Tonbridge. If you do this, you'll still get good views of the Hadlow Tower over your shoulder as you head back to Tonbridge.
10
overcast with bright and damp spells

Plenty of mud as promised, but not enough to cause distress!

10 off the train at Tonbridge. Lovely morning wandering through paths at fields. The stunning stained glass windows at All Saints Tudeley were admired, as were the wall paintings at St Thomas a Becket.

We attempted lunch at the Bell Inn at Golden Green, but the lovely new landlady informed us the chef doesn't start until January. We had a few light refreshments anyway.

The main group caught up with the short cutters at the lunch pub in Hadlow having done a brief detour to admire Hadlow Tower.

The remainder of the walk followed the river Medway, leading us back to a very nice tea room on the high street in Tonbridge just before sunset.

Another lovely day out.


Finch House Cafe and Bakery (and healthy salads and sandwiches etc.) that was. On the High Street. Really nice place. Also in Orpington, apparently: http://www.finchhouse.co.uk/
Sat, 20-Jun-15 21

Midsummer meanders in the Medway Valley

SWC Walk 220 - Tonbridge to Hadlow
Length: 17km (10.6 miles) with longer option of 24.3km (15.1 miles)
Toughness: 2 out of 10

9.33 train from Cannon Street (9.37 London Bridge), arriving Tonbridge at 10.16

OR

9.40 train from Charing Cross (9.43 Waterloo East) arriving Tonbridge at 10.20

If you miss the above, get the 9.45 from Charing Cross, arriving Tonbridge 10.27

Buy a day return to Tonbridge.

For walk directions click here.

New walks appear on our website regularly these days and it is a little hard to keep up with them all. This one had an outing last July and appears not to have been given an airing since. (Note that this is not the same walk as SWC 219 Hildenborough to Hadlow and Tonbridge, done last October, though it obviously is in similar territory).

The map shows few contours on the route, so I am guessing it is not demanding in terms of gradients. It apparently boasts lots of meadows which can be rather dreamy at this time of year, and seems to have a fair quota of pubs for those who want to fill up the (nearly) longest day of the year with some pleasant rural drink and chat.

Lunch is a little over 8km/5 miles in, though there seem to be other possible options before and after. Tea, if you can get there before 5pm, at the tea room of Broadview Gardens in Hadlow. The village also has a large tower, built as an aristocratic folly, which you see rising above the fields as you approach, and the walk has two interesting churches, one decorated by Mark Chagall.

The standard version of the walk takes a no 7 or 77 bus from Hadlow back to Tonbridge. These run at 02, 24 and 42 past until 17.42, then 18.35, 18.47, 18.55, 19.43, 20.46, 21.46 and 22.56.

Alternatively if you really want to make the best of the (nearly) longest day, an optional 7.3km (4.5 mile) extension to the walk takes you back to Tonbridge. This is the 24.3km (15.1 mile) version of the walk.

Trains back from Tonbridge are too frequent to enumerate - every 10 minutes or so.


anyone participating? I am thinking of joining in from Waterloo
I know several who are going on this walk, don't worry.
Saturday 20 June 2015: 21 on this walk, cloudy but warm with only occasional spots of rain. This lowland walk more than once wandered into Essex like big flat arable fields territory (though with no electricity pylons) but overall had enough charming corners and points of interest to sustain interest.

In particular we were all enthused about the church with the Marc Chagal stained glass windows, which is definitely worth seeing. I also reflected that the lush meadows and verges on this walk would have looked wonderful a couple of weeks back when the spring flowers were full out.

The lunch pub, the Dovecote, was excellent too, and coped calmly with us all arriving unexpectedly. The Hadlow Tower kept out of sight till the last minute, but there was a fine view of it as one walked away from the village, for those of us who did the full circular walk.

After tea in Broadview Gardens I would estimate that at least a dozen opted to make the most of the (nearly) longest day by finishing the walk back to Tonbridge. Glimmers of light in the western skies suggested we might get rewarded with a fine summer's evening. Alas, the reverse was true, and it started to rain lustily from around 6.30pm onwards. But still it was satisfying to see the slightly parched ground getting a good solid drink.
Sat, 12-Jul-14 10 Tonbridge to Hadlow
Sat, 12-Jul-14 Tonbridge Circular