9.4 miles (15.1 km) with 775 ft (240 m) of ascent.
The extension to Harrietsham adds 5.2 miles (8.4 km) and 300 ft (100 m) of ascent.
|Toughness||3 out of 10|
|OS Maps||Explorer Map 148 covers most of the route. A tiny bit near the end and beginning is only on Explorer 136, and the very end only on 137|
This stage of the Greensand Way passes through gentle Kent arable and apple orchards land with views to the south for much of the way. After starting on the flat in the Medway Valley and passing through the pretty village of Yalding, the route climbs in very gentle stages up onto the Greensand Ridge, and follows it for the rest of the walk, with fine views to the south almost the whole day.
This is classic ‘Garden of England’ Kent, with many commercial apple orchards (particularly pretty when the blossom is out in late April or early May). In the afternoon it passes no fewer than four ancient churches, the most striking, perhaps, being Boughton Monchelsea, perched on the very edge of escarpment, with a graveyard which in spring and summer is a riot of oxeye daisies and other wildflowers.
The lunch pub in Linton is also dramatically perched on the edge of the escarpment, and has a garden and terrace with fine views. At the end of the walk Sutton Valence is an ancient village which is worth exploring, not least because of its three pubs.
To extend the walk to a train station, continue to Harrietsham (see the OS map: directions not provided), which has both a pub and a train station, but adds 5.2 miles to the walk.
Yalding is reached by train from Charing Cross and London Bridge, changing at Tonbridge or Paddock Wood. Journey time is about one hour. Take the 10.10 train from Charing Cross to get to the pub in good time for lunch, though on Sunday a train an hour earlier might be a better option due to the bus schedule at the end of the walk (see below).
Note that the online rail timetable sometimes suggests the 10.15 train from Charing Cross, but this requires a very tight change at Tonbridge where you have to cross from one side of the station to the other; the 10.10 allows you to change at Paddock Wood, where the Yalding train leaves from the same platform.
Best train ticket is probably a day return to Headcorn, though an over-zealous ticket inspector might then charge you for the short journey from Paddock Wood to Yalding. If you want to be absolutely sure, get a day return to Yalding, and then buy a single from Headcorn to Paddock Wood on the return leg.
At the end of the walk, you need to get the Arriva Kent & Sussex bus number 12 from Sutton Valence to Headcorn railway station, journey time 10 minutes. From Headcorn you can get trains every half hour back to London. The buses (whose ultimate destination is usually Tenterden) run roughly hourly until 6pm Monday to Saturday, and then at 8.16pm and 9.46pm, but on Sunday the last bus is at 5.30pm. These details are correct at time of writing, but check the latest on www.arrivabus.co.uk or call 0871 200 2233.
The bus fare is £3.40 per person, so for four or five walkers a taxi would not necessarily be that much more expensive. The taxi firm at Headcorn station is MTC Cars on 01622 890 003.
If you extend the walk to Harrietsham, buy a return to Yalding, and a single from Harrietsham to Maidstone. A return to Ashford would be valid for both journeys, but may be more expensive.
The Bull in Linton (01622 743 612), 8.8km (5.5 miles) into the walk, a Shepherd Neame pub which serves food 12-9pm. It has a garden and terrace with a fine escarpment view, and inside is cosy and traditional.
Sutton Valence has three pubs - Of these, the Kings Head on the main road is probably the best choice for tea (serving hot drinks and puddings).
However, it is also worth taking the side road just below it to see the attractive village centre. Here the Queens Head has an attractive old interior, serves tea, and has a hidden garden at the back (not the smoker's patio - ask bar staff for directions) with a view over the rooftops.
An even better view is to be had from the Clothmaker's Arms on the lower road: it has an extensive terrace at the back. But this is otherwise quite a traditional pub, with dart board and pool table and not serving hot drinks.
Headcorn: If you get the bus here at the finish of your walk, you can get off one stop before the station in the village centre and there visit the very pleasant George & Dragon pub which does cream teas as well as very nice meals.
This walk is one of 11 stages of the Greensand Way - a regional long distance path in the Southeast of England
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Out: (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk