Whyteleafe to Hayes walk

Field, woods, quiet valleys, a gem of a pub, and close to London.


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 Option Post # Weather
Sat, 06-Apr-24 Saturday Walk - Whyteleafe to Hayes 16 cloudy morning turning sunnier later
Sat, 21-Jan-23 Whytleafe to Hayes - Quiet valleys just beyond the southern edge of London 32 glorious sunshine
Sat, 19-Feb-22 Saturday Walk - Upper Warlingham to Hayes - Travel Update! 15 heavy rain clearing mid afternoon
Sat, 19-Oct-19 Saturday Walk: Upper Warlingham/Whyteleafe to Hayes 19 glorious autumn sunshine
Sat, 10-Nov-18 Saturday Short - Whyteleafe to New Addington or Hayes 11 mild and occasional sun but with the continual threat of rain
Sun, 19-Aug-18 Sunday Walk – The Biggin Hill Air Show (Whyteleafe to Hayes) 10 dry and mild
Sun, 24-Dec-17 Christmas Eve walk: Whyteleafe to Hayes 12 cloudy but dry and mild
Sat, 18-Feb-17 Saturday Walk - The North Downs from Zone 6 32 misty at first then warm and sunny later
Sat, 30-Jul-16 Saturday Walk 1 - Whyteleafe to Hayes 17 cloud clearing to a little sunshine and then reverting to cloudy humid all day
Sat, 07-Nov-15 Whyteleafe to Hayes 7 wet windy muddy
Sat, 01-Nov-14 Whyteleafe [Upper Warlingham] to Hayes 32
Sun, 24-Feb-13 Whyteleafe [Upper Warlingham] to Hayes 14
Wed, 28-Dec-11 Whyteleafe [Upper Warlingham] to Hayes
Sun, 20-Nov-11 a New Addington to Hayes
Sun, 02-Jan-11 Whyteleafe [Upper Warlingham] to Hayes
Sat, 31-Oct-09 Whyteleafe to Hayes
Sat, 05-Apr-08 Whyteleafe to Hayes
Wed, 21-Nov-07 Whyteleafe to Hayes
Length: 16.6km (10.4 miles), 5 out of 10
A walk in zone 6. "Despite its proximity to London, this walk is surprisingly rural in character, passing through fields, woods and quiet valleys, often along shady bridleways. The second half of the walk is entirely within a London borough, though it does not feel like it. Although there are few noteworthy features, the gently rolling countryside provides some fine vistas, and the lunchtime pub is a real gem. T=swc.38
Trains: Get the 0950 Southern service to Upper Warlingham (East Croydon 1010) arriving 1022. There is a 0940 from London Bridge to Whyteleafe arriving 1017 with a short walk to Upper Warlingham.
Return trains from Hayes into Charing Cross at xx00, xx13, xx30 and xx43. All stations in Zone 6.
Lunch: The White Bear, Fickleshole, (01883 779384) is 7.8km (4.9 miles) into the walk, is a very attractive oak-timbered 16th century pub, formed from a small terrace of cottages. Food is served all day.
Tea: various options near the station
  • 04-Apr-24


    Can you tell me if the 60+ Oyster card covers this route.

  • 05-Apr-24

    Yes, it does,all travel to stationsin zone 6 on tube and rail.

  • 07-Apr-24

    5 at Whyteleafe, 8 at Upper Warlingham makes er um 13 Another was waiting in the car park, which made 14 A cloudy morning turning sunnier later The walk started with a killer climb. Later on, a waterlogged path ensured no socks stayed dry. But, at least the farmer had lined the path with barbed wire, which gave us something to hang onto.

    There was mud too, especially in the morning. My trousers won’t be gracing any posh dinner parties for a while.

    An advance party was sent ahead to secure provender for Mr Tiger and, on arrival at the White Bear, kindly benefactors had gathered up a selection of pommes frittes. All was well. 2 more had joined us there. Suspiciously clean boots, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, so 16

    The afternoon wasn’t as muddy and much of the route was festooned with flowers, celandine, wood anemone, and the occasional early bluebell. Someone saw some toothwort. What’s more the sun was edging its way through the cloud.

    A sizeable number rounded off the day at the Real Ale Way Tavern near the station. A gem, with a wonderful selection of ciders, porters, beers. When the time came to leave, Mr Tiger had almost cheered up.

    An enjoyable day.

Length: 16.6km (10.4 miles) T=swc.38
9.52 train from London Bridge (10.10 East Croydon), to Upper Warlingham, arriving 10.22.
Both outward and return travel are within zone six, so use Oyster, passes etc
For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.
I confess to some head-scratching when choosing a walk this week. I had several ideas but they fell foul of too much proximity to rivers (potential flooding), too low-lying (ditto), potential muddiness, too long for this time of year, someone else having had a similar idea recently, or I fancied doing them later in the year when the countryside is looking nicer...
Hence this walk: an old reliable that has been done as a winter walk many a time before and provides a perfectly nice outing just beyond the southern edges of London. My brain is saying "North Downs = chalk soils = not too muddy???" but don't sue me if I am wrong.
The lunch pub is the White Bear in Fickleshole, which usually seems to fit us in (famous last words...). It says it is visited by many walkers on its website, so that is a start. Hayes has a range of tea options.
Trains back from Hayes are at 00, 13, 30 and 43 past.

  • 21-Jan-23

    30 gathered at the station for this walk, despite my somewhat downbeat walk post. Yet another day of glorious sunshine doubtless helped, but there was also plenty of praise during the day for the walk itself, which many pronounced as very pleasant. At least two walkers joined us en route, so 32 for the record.

    There was very little mud, the ground being mostly frozen. Paths were easy underfoot and only a couple of stiles presented minor difficulties. I was a little niggled after lunch by long stretches between high hedges (they blocked the sun and might be tedious in summer) but mostly this made an ideal winter walk.

    We phoned the lunch pub to warn them of 14 possible lunchers. They said they had no space till 1.30pm. But when we actually arrived at 12.15 and they had no problems accommodating us, particularly when they learned we were happy to order at the bar. In the end there were 15 of us eating, plus two only having drinks, and we had a whole section of the pub to ourselves.

    Reaching Hayes a little after 4pm we found two of the supposed tea places closed and no evidence of the third, the Java and Chai cafe. Seven or eight of us went to Costa instead. (It is open till 6.30pm). Some went to a real ale pub. Then, with some light still in the sky even at 4.45pm, we got the train home.


Length: 17km (10m)
Toughness: 5 / 10
Transport: Take the 9:50 train from London Victoria arriving in Upper Warlingham at 10:22. Return trains from Hayes every 15min starting on the hour. All stations are within Zone 5 or 6 so you can use your Oyster card.

Travel update: The train has just been cancelled. Alternative: 10:24 East Croydon to Whyteleafe, 10:40 East Croydon to Upper Warlingham Walk starts at 10:52 from Upper Warlingham

A pleasant walk through woodlands near London finishing via Hayes common. The lunch pub is the Grade II listed White Bear in Fickleshole. I'm not sure if the quaint Java Chai Tea Room in Hayes is still open. If not there is the New Inn pub and a Costa Cafe for refreshments.

  • 19-Feb-22

    The 9.50 was cancelled but lots of us on the 10.20, which we hope will move soon…..

  • 19-Feb-22

    I wasn’t expecting to write the walk report for this one (being a refugee from the cancelled Meopham walk…) so I did not count, but at least 15 on this walk, possibly one or two more.

    Victoria was a mass of train cancellations. The 9.50 to Upper Warlingham looked to be an exception. It was marked as late, got a bit later, then succumbed. The 10.20 did depart but proceeded to stop at every signal, so it seemed, including one just outside Upper Warlingham station, where it sat for about five minutes. We finally disembarked at around 11.20.

    Our walk poster had very patiently waited for us. Two car drivers had gone on ahead, and two or three others materialised in the lunch pub, having apparently got earlier trains or come from New Addington.

    So off we set. Our later start meant the rain hit us fairly soon after starting, and very wretched it was, driven on by a keen wind. The ground underfoot was as soggy as you might expect in places, though not in others. The White Bear was a welcome refuge when we got there.

    Finishing lunch at about 2pm, we emerged into lashing rain. A whole gaggle of walkers responded to this by setting off for the shorter ending to New Addington. At least two carried on to Hayes. Four of us went back inside the pub to have another drink. This proved a good move, because when we emerged the rain was stopping, and there was even a bit of blue sky later. So heavy rain clearing mid afternoon .

    We had a pleasant, if often squelchy, walk into Hayes. There were little signs of spring - cherry plum blossom starting, some daffodils, a lark singing. We got to Hayes at 4.45pm, having met the two aforementioned Hayes walkers on the way, and, cute little independent tea shops being in short supply, had a cosy tea in Costa Coffee before getting the (?) 17.30 train back to Covidland.

10 miles/16km
(or 7.3 miles with alternate start from New Addington)
This is a walk through some fine countryside close to London, with a great lunchtime pub.

Trains: Take the 09:50 from London Victoria (East Croydon 10:10), arriving at Upper Warlingham at 10:22. (It is also possible to start from Whyteleafe station which is just a few minutes away from Upper Warlingham station).
Return from Hayes, xx00/30 to Charing Cross, xx15/45 to Cannon Street.
All stations are within Zone 6 and covered by Oystercard.

Lunch: The White Bear, Fickleshole (01959 573166), 4.9 miles/7.8km into the walk. Attractive 16th century pub, good food served all day.
Tea: Java and Chai Tea Room, 17 Station Approach. The New Inn, large Harvester pub/restaurant opposite the station.

Click here for full details and walk directions
  • Anonymous

    18 assembled at Upper Warlingham station, welcome newcomers! The forerunner suffered a minor giro failure but we were soon all on track to the local recreation ground bathed in glorious autumn sunshine and up through Roundburrow Shaw through to Farleigh and the lunch stop at Fickleshole.

    As ever, the White Bear proved to be an excellent "olde world" pub with open fires and attentive staff. Some hardier types even sat out for lunch. Most set of for Hayes and the standard afternoon leg, but rumour has it that two headed off to Addington and were whisked back to East Croydon on the tram.

    Many thanks to CH for posting this delightful walk so near to London

  • 20-Oct-19

    Three of us who took tea in Hayes were joined on the train home by a late started, making 19 .

  • Llama Pyjama

    I was part of a group of 6 who were last to leave the lunch pub, we didn't have GPX etc. and so were reliant on the written instructions. We got lost around Point 28: 'Head for a hidden stile recessed on the right-hand side of the next field (direction 20 degrees), passing to the right of 2 large oak trees'. We had a compass and we passed to the right of the oak trees, but couldn't find the stile. Could you please re-write this section with greater clarity for walkers using only the written instrustions.

  • 22-Oct-19

    Sorry to those who got lost. I don't understand how you missed the stile, which hasn't previously proved so elusive, but I will look again to see if the directions can be made clearer.

We're going to trial a system to make sure there is at least one Saturday walk that is both 10 miles or less and toughness 4/10 or less every week.
During this trial period, if the normal three posts are all over ten miles we'll either post an extra walk or look at sharing one of the three posts, clearly identifying the shortened version of that post.

This is the first week of the trial and as the normal posts are all over 10 miles I've posted this Whyteleafe to Hayes with the shorter afternoon option.

Length: 7.3 miles (11.7km) to New Addington with a longer option of 10.4 miles (16.6km) to Hayes
Toughness: 3/10 or 5/10 for the longer option

Catch the 10:17 train from London Bridge (10:32 East Croydon) to Caterham, arriving at Whyteleafe 10:51

Tickets: Stations on this walk are all within zone 5 or 6, so use/buy an appropriate Oyster Card to cover your starting zone and zones 5/6.

The suggested lunch stop is at The White Bear, Fickleshole, (01959 573166) (www.the-whitebear.com) about two hours into the walk.

Full walk directions are here.

Download a GPX file here.

Trains back from Hayes are every 15 minutes with a final destination of Charing Cross or Cannon Street, journey time 40 minutes.

Trams back from New Addington to East Croydon Station are every 8 minute or so with a journey time of 24 minutes. There are many fast trains from East Croydon Station to London Bridge and London Victoria Stations

I hope those of you who have expressed a desire to see a shortish Saturday Walk find these new posts useful!
  • 07-Nov-18

    It's worth pointing out that the shorter afternoon option you've chosen finishes in New Addington, not Hayes. So today's walk should be called Whyteleafe to New Addington, not Whyteleafe to Hayes. Trams leave New Addington for East Croydon and West Croydon every 7 or 8 minutes.

  • Anonymous

    11 on this walk with the mild and occasional sun but with the continual threat of rain

    Lovely walk though slightly more inclines than expected.

    Lunch at the White Bear was very good with waitress service and no fluster and good food and two great blazing fires - I could have stayed there all day.

    With the sun shining after lunch and all of us having got our breath back and being refuelled we all ended up doing the 10 mile option, ( much to the chagrin of one walker who wanted to take the short cut but carried on with us )

    Little to report except that there were horses in the afternoon with extremely thick necks which made a few of us wonder, Why?

    The Well Wood in the afternoon is a wood of chestnut trees left over from the days of charcoal making so that should be excellent for chestnuts next year.

    Tea in Hayes was at the regular cafe but they now have a back room with easy chairs and lots of room which was valuable as 9 of us made it and it was a nice finish to the day.

    Puffing William

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this brilliant ideas. I fully support posting a proper country walk up to 10miles every week.

Extra Walk 38 – Whyteleafe (Upper Warlingham) to Hayes
Length: 16.6 km (10.3 miles). Toughness: 4/10

10:21 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Jct 10:28, East Croydon 10:39), arriving Upper Warlingham at 10:51. If it's more convenient the Caterham section of the stopping 09:54 service from London Bridge crawls into Whyteleafe at 10:44. Starting from this station is covered in the directions, but it would be more sociable to meet the others at Upper Warlingham (a four-minute walk, signposted). Buy a Zones 1-6 Travelcard or use your Oyster card.

This year is the centenary of the RAF and this is being celebrated at events like the Biggin Hill Air Show with flypasts by Spitfires and other historic aircraft, as well as the usual displays by the Red Arrows, etc. There would be better views of all this from the Hayes-Knockholt walk but Network Rail have thoughtfully scheduled engineering works on both these lines, so that's a non-starter. It still means that you won't have a simple return journey by train but there are many other possibilities from Hayes, including:
  • A rail replacement bus to Lewisham at xx:05 & xx:35
  • A 10-minute bus ride to Bromley South (138, 2/hr & 246, 1/hr)
  • A 25-minute bus ride to East Croydon (119, 4/hr)
  • Divert to New Addington for a shorter walk and Tram to Croydon
I hope this doesn't put anyone off: it's no worse than the standard one or two trains per hour on most of our Sunday walks. This is a much more rural walk than you might expect for something well inside the M25. It hardly gets any summer postings but I seem to remember a fair amount of shady woodland sections. Lunch is at a very attractive 16thC country pub, the popular White Bear in Fickleshole; it has a large garden but it might still be advisable to call ahead. For tea, there's a large Harvester pub and several small cafés near Hayes station. There's more information about the walk (and a link to download the directions) on the Whyteleafe to Hayes walk page. T=swc.38
  • Anonymous

    10 I think. dry and mild . Pleasant walk, mostly along bridleways, and it was nice to do this one on dry ground. A tip for anyone wanting more open stretches who doesn't mind adding about 700m to the walk, is to detour on the afternoon at the sign for Leaves Green, up through open countryside then back down the valley to re-join the footpath further on.

    This walk proved a very good choice for the Biggin Hill Centenary. We had fantastic views of the aircraft in the afternoon, with some of them swooping so close that we could read the markings. The Red Arrows came over, as did Spitfires a Lancaster and a bomber escorted by two smaller planes.

Chris L
Chris L
Whyteleafe to Hayes

Length: 16.0km (9.9 miles) or 10.9km (6.8 miles) Toughness: 5/10 or 3/10

Only one walk is posted for today, since many SWC regulars will be away or engaged in Christmas preparations.

If you can’t spare the full day for walking, you could use one of the short options in the walk directions to do a half-day walk, finishing in New Addington after a morning walk or starting there for an afternoon walk. Frequent trams run between New Addington and East Croydon.

If doing either of the short options and not wanting to visit the lunchtime pub, you could shorten these options by:
A) to finish at New Addington, leave the main walk at point [2] and follow Short Walk Option 1 in reverse; or
B) to start at New Addington, follow Short Walk Option 2 in reverse and join the main walk at point [3].

09:53 East Grinstead train from Victoria (Clapham Junction 09:59, East Croydon 10:10), arriving at Upper Warlingham at 10:21.

There are no trains to Whyteleafe station today due to engineering works

Return trains from Hayes run to Victoria today via Catford and Lewisham at xx:04 and xx:34 (journey time 42 mins).

The stations at both ends of the walk, and New Addington too, are in Zones 5 & 6, so a one-day off-peak Travelcard covers your journeys.

Despite its proximity to London, this walk is surprisingly rural in character, passing through woods, fields and quiet valleys, often along shady bridleways. The second half of the walk is entirely within a London borough, though it does not feel like it.

The recommended lunch pub is the very popular 16th century White Bear (01959 573166) at Fickleshole. You can expect to get there by 12:00 or 12:15pm, in plenty of time to beat all the lunch parties who have booked tables today. But do ring the pub as you set off to let them know how many walkers are wanting to eat there.

Walk directions are here: L=swc.38
  • 25-Dec-17

    12 , cloudy but dry and mild . Despite being fully booked, the White Bear squeezed in the six walkers who wanted a pub lunch. Later, three tried out a new diversion across fields that cut out a section of a long bridleway but lengthened the walk a bit. Since Java & Chai was closed, some finished the day with a drink at the New Inn.

SWC Walk 38 - Upper Warlingham to Hayes
Length: 16km (10 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.53 train from Victoria (9.59 Clapham Junction, 10.10 East Croydon) to Upper Warlingham, arriving 10.22.

Both the outward and return stations are in London Transport zone 6, so you can use Oyster or contactless payment

For walk directions click here.

This is one of those walks between zone six stations that are "surprisingly rural" - fields, woods, quiet bridleways (and almost certainly some mud: but hey, it is February: not long to spring now). It can be started from either Upper Warlingham or Whyteleafe stations and I have chosen the former simply because the trains to it are nicer.

There is one pub for lunch - "a real gem" - whose log fires may be more of an attraction at this time of the year than its outside tables. I am advised that it is actually just over 4 miles into the walk rather than the 5 miles stated. Fast walkers should note that it opens for drinks from 11am but does not start doing food until midday: for more moderate-paced walkers, the specified train should get you to the pub fairly shortly after it starts food service. If it is a big group, try not to arrive all at once.....

You then have six miles or so to do in the afternoon, ending up in Hayes, which has a pub and a cafe, apparently, and trains up to London at 02, 15, 32 and 45 past.
  • Anonymous

    Pub is larger than it looks. Very busy, but with a big staff of lovely Australians boys and girls. Food is excellent and service rapid.

  • Anonymous

    32 or thereabouts. Weather was misty at first then warm and sunny later . A good lunch at The White Bear. The cafe in Hayes had a large room at the back to cater for us and served good cakes. This is a nice walk through gentle countryside.

SWC Walk 38 - Whyteleafe to Hayes
10 miles/16km

By request - this is a walk through some fine countryside close to London, with a great lunchtime pub.

Trains: Take the 10:23 East Grinstead train from London Victoria (East Croydon 10:41), arriving at Upper Warlingham at 10:52. (It is also possible to start from Whyteleafe station which is very close to Upper Warlingham). Return from Hayes, xx08/38 to Charing Cross, xx20/50 to Cannon Street. All stations are within Zone 6 and so covered by Oystercard.

Lunch: The White Bear, Fickleshole (01959 573166), 4.9 miles/7.8km into the walk. Attractive 16th century pub, good food served all day.

Tea: Sponge Kitchens, 38 Station Approach. Hayes Cafe, 48 Station Approach. The New Inn, large Harvester pub/restaurant opposite the station.

  • Anonymous

    Java and Chai Tea room, 17 Station Approach Hayes has good reviews and stays open late


  • 28-Jul-16

    I'm in!!!

  • 28-Jul-16

    Because I'm gonna go alone, can you please specify where we have to meet, in Victoria platform station or in Upper Warlingham platform station?

    I will print the pdf anyway ;)

    Looking forward to it

  • 28-Jul-16

    Meet on the platform at Upper Warlingham platform. The group should be obvious.

  • Anonymous

    I guess 17 including one who missede the train and caught up with us at the lunch pub in Ficleshole (what a terrible name) where food came so quickly for the first few orders that we were a bit suspicious but my salad Nicoise was excellent with a large piece of seared tuna.

    The weather was cloud clearing to a little sunshine and then reverting to cloudy humid all day .

    Some 'old fashioned looking' fields with long grasses gone to seed with very occasional wild flowers - as though it was a field for cattle or sheep but the animals had all been gone for a long time, even the tree in the middle for shade seem to have recovered and grown branches down.

    A lot of the walk is through narrow 'alleys' with quite a bit of bramble growth so thank you to the one person who brought a pair of secateurs to trim the buggers back - one day maybe we will all carry some form of cutting tool, someone suggested a scythe.

    More slopes than I expected for a 4 out of 10

    About 100 metres beyond the Station at Hayes on the other side of the road is the Java and Chai Tea room which coped wonderfully with the 14 of us who called in for tea and cake - we were all seated at two large tables in the middle and we went up and paid separately and they didn't bat an eyelid. Good selection of teas and homemade cake - I know that it was home made because it wasn't perfect but certainly very nice.

    Thsi walk would be good in autumn apparently someone said but I can't remember why

    AND some of the blackberies were ripe - that is getting on for 6 weeks earlier than 20 years ago


Sat, 07-Nov-15 : Whyteleafe to Hayes 7
Length: 16km / 10 miles (Shortcut 12km / 7 miles)
Toughness: 4/10

Transport: Take either the 9:15 from London Bridge arriving in Whyteleafe at 9:50 or the 9:23 from London Victoria arriving in Upper Warlingham at 9:53. The Warlinghamers should wait for the Whyteleafers to meet at Whyteleafe station and start the walk together from there.
If you prefer to have a shorter walking morning and start later, take the 10:07 from London Victoria changing in East Croydon to the Tram to New Addington and start the walk from there. The Tram is paid for as you would pay for buses, i.e. free with a Travelcard and £1.45 with Oyster pay-as-you go (only touch in, not out !). £2.40 for a paper ticket. Those who take the shortcut should arrive at about the same time as the full-length walkers at the lunch pub the White Bear. Speaking of which, the White Bear is a really cosy 16th century pub and sometimes it is difficult to leave if you can snap a spot at the fireplace. Not that I would recommend it (the afternoon walk is nice, too) but you can call a taxi back to New Addington from the pub ....

Return from Hayes are at xx:08, xx:20, xx:38 and xx:50. There are also buses. Hayes is in Zone 5.

For those who wish to see a Guy Fawkes fireworks display after the walk Blackheath (free, starting 8pm) would be a good option since the return trains at xx:20 and xx:50 stop in Lewisham from where you can walk to Blackheath Common.

From the walk notes:

Despite its proximity to London, this walk is surprisingly rural in character, passing through fields, woods and quiet valleys, often along shady bridleways. The second half of the walk is entirely within a London borough, though it does not feel like it. Although there are few noteworthy features, the gently rolling countryside provides some fine vistas, and the lunchtime pub is a real gem.

  • 03-Nov-15

    Meeting at Whyteleafe station would require those arriving at Upper Warlingham to head off in the opposite direction to the normal route. Better for the two groups to meet at the entrance to Whyteleafe Recreation Ground where the routes from both stations converge.

  • 03-Nov-15

    Always a good option for those short autumnal days - especially for us South Londoners but don't let the proximity to London lull you into a false sense of security! ''There will be mud!'' as Daniel Day Lewis might have said in one of his films. May well do this.

  • denise

    I intend going. This will be my first walk.

  • 08-Nov-15

    7 wet windy muddy . Horses galore. Lovely creatures but by the cringe they really churn up the bridleways! 4 started (3 at Warl, 1 at Whyteleafe); 3 joined at various intervals at lunch. Food & drink & service at White Bear was exceptional. 2 of us had tea at Hayes Java&Chai Tea room. Excellent in all respects; please go!x See photos!