Length: 18¼ km (11.3 miles). Toughness: 3/10
10:26 Tonbridge train from Cannon Street (London Bridge 10:30, Orpington 10:51, etc), arriving Hildenborough at 11:07. Buy a return to Tonbridge.
Return trains from Tonbridge are every half hour, at xx:20 & xx:50. For the benefit of car drivers returning to Hildenborough, the xx:50 trains stop there; there's also a 401 bus going this way at 15:30 & 17:30.
You might have done the main version of this walk (from Tonbridge to Penshurst station) but it was always my intention to include the option of a route back to Tonbridge; this eventually materialised when a dodgy footbridge over the A21 was replaced. In a misguided fit of enthusiasm an alternative start from Hildenborough got added too, so this variation is arguably a ‘New’ walk even though the central loop between Leigh and Penshurst will be familiar to most of you.
If you want a shorter walk the directions mention a short cut bypassing Penshurst village (but missing out the main lunch places). You could even cut out the whole of the central loop and watch the cricket on Leigh's village green instead, for a total walk of less than 10 km. However, don't be tempted to head for Leigh (or Penshurst) station: there's a replacement bus on this branch line.
Last month a large contingent of Saturday walkers got a friendly welcome and enjoyed a pub lunch in the beer garden of the Leicester Arms Hotel in Penshurst, but if this doesn't appeal you could visit the Porcupine Pantry outside Penshurst Place or have a picnic in the churchyard. There are plenty of options for post-walk refreshment in Tonbridge, with the Finch House Café suggested if you get there before it closes at 5pm.
NB. A recent scouting expedition on the outward leg returned with positive vibes but warned of several wobbly stiles. There's also an awkward 200m or so of road walking between Leigh and Tonbridge, so it's not all plain sailing.
You'll need to bring the directions from the L=swc.235.c (if you click c in the Walk Options list it will show this route on the Walk Map as well as skipping the directions for other variations when you print).