Greensand Way 8 : Yalding to Sutton Valence walk

Greensand Way Stage 8 - fine views from a gentle ridge and excellent pubs en-route

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 # Weather
Wed, 06-Oct-21 Wednesday Walk Yalding to Sutton Vallance - along the ridge of the Greensand Way and through apple orchards 11 lovely golden sun
Sat, 24-Apr-21 Along the Greensand Way from Yalding to points East **Updated Train Time*** 9 beautiful clear blue skies
Sat, 05-Oct-19 Saturday walk - Yalding to Sutton Valence or Harrietsham - Apples, views and churches 24 cloudy but not cold
Sat, 27-Apr-19 Saturday Walk: Yalding to Harrietsham
Sun, 22-Apr-18 Sunday Walk: Sunday Spring Saunter through Orchards from Yalding to Harrietsham 26 gloriously sunny day
Wed, 21-Sep-16 Wednesday Walk: SWC 150 - Yalding to Sutton Vallance 10 classic Indian Summer day
Sat, 14-May-16 Saturday Second Walk - Apple blossom special 14 cold and overcast
Sat, 06-Feb-16 Saturday Third Walk 19 strong wind but no rain
Sat, 25-Apr-15 Yalding to Sutton Valence [Headcorn] 17
Sun, 22-Sep-13 Yalding to Sutton Valence [Headcorn] 4
Sat, 25-May-13 Yalding to Sutton Valence [Headcorn] 18
Sat, 09-Jun-12 Yalding to Sutton Valence [Headcorn]
Wed, 06-Oct-21
Wednesday Walk Yalding to Sutton Vallance - along the ridge of the Greensand Way and through apple orchards
SWC 150 - Yalding to Sutton Vallance

Length: 15.3 km (9.5 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10 Some gentle ascents in the morning
London Charing Cross: 10-10 hrs Southeastern service to Ashford International, Waterloo East 10-13, London Bridge 10-19, Sevenoaks 10-43 hrs
Arrive Tonbridge: 10-51 hrs Change trains
Leave Tonbridge: 11-04 hrs Southeastern service from Tonbridge to Strood
Arrive Yalding: 11-18 hrs
Arriva Bus 12 from Maidstone to Tenterden : Board at Sutton Vallance (outside Kings Head pub) and alight at Headcorn railway station: at Kings Head circa 15-54, 16-17, 16-42, 17-29, 18-37 and 18-57 hrs. Journey length 10 to 13 minutes.
Return train: Headcorn to Charing Cross: 15 and 45 mins past the hour
Rail ticket: a day return to Headcorn might suffice - but to be 100 % legit, buy a day return to Yalding, and a single from Headcorn to Paddock Wood. You choose !
Bus ticket: Those with Freedom Passes should be able to use their passes on the bus. Otherwise, it is a single fare of about £ 3-50
My apologies to those expecting to see posted today our Staplehurst to Headcorn walk via Sissinghurst, but a regular mid-week walker has requested a walk through apple orchards (she may - or may not - have in mind foraging for windfalls ! ).
So instead of the Staplehurst walk please try this nearby walk through lovely Kent countryside, which passes through or alongside a number of apple orchards where harvesting of this year's crop is probably nearing completion.
Lunch today is at the Bull Inn, Linton - popular with SWC walkers, particularly if it is warm enough to sit outside on the pub's large terrace with fine views over the Medway Valley.
The walk ends in the village of Sutton Vallance, where you take the bus outside the Kings Head pub (an acceptable walk-end refreshment stop). The journey to Headcorn railway station takes from 10 to 13 minutes.
T=swc.150
Walk Directions are here: L=swc.150
  • 05-Oct-21

    No need to change at Tonbridge. Stay on the 10.10 train from Charing Cross to Paddock Wood, arrive 10.58. The Yalding train then leaves from the same platform at 11.11

  • 06-Oct-21

    Ten assembled on the platform at Yalding, three or four having done the same platform change at Paddock Wood, the rest the footbridge hike at Tonbridge. Those of us at Paddock Wood experienced a somewhat chilly breeze, but this soon faded away and the day was essentially sunny; lovely golden sun .

    After the village of Yalding this walk climbs up onto the escarpment and the lovely views from this were with us much of the day. Apart from some sloes there were no plums to be had, but the branches in the commercial orchards were groaning with plump red apples. One walker boldly picked one in full view of a house; the rest of us sampled more discreetly from an escapee hedgerow tree nearby. Cores were thrown into the hedgerow further on to create more escapee trees.

    When this walk was done in similar weather in April, I was cruelly disappointed that no one wanted to stop for lunch at the Bull in Linton, with its terrace perched over a gorgeous valley view. But today I finally got my wish. Seven of us had a leisurely, sun-drenched lunch with very creditable food. Four presumably had sandwiches somewhere and were lost to history.

    In the afternoon we made a stop to see the view from Boughton Monchelsea churchyard and were rewarded with a grandstand view of the fallow deer rut going on in the park below. The males with their implausibly large antlers, strutted and roared and occasionally bullied a hapless younger male. The females chewed the grass in apparent indifference.

    Later, at the goat sanctuary, the entire flock came over to inspect us, suggesting the “Do not feed the goats” signs on the fence are often ignored.

    On we went in the slanting sunshine, the ancient churches ticking by like mileposts. We got to Sutton Valence at 4.45pm, conveniently missing the bus, which gave us time to fluster the staff in the King’s Arms by ordering one tea…no, two…or in fact five, plus beer and wine, before getting the 17.29 bus and 17.45 train from Headcorn.

    You think I have forgotten to provide an official tally for this walk, but I have not. One walker arrived at the pub having missed the train and started an hour later. She makes it 11 .

  • Anonymous
    06-Oct-21

    You can usually buy special food within the sanctuary to feed the goats, so I guess they are used to being fed by unfamiliar hands.

Sat, 24-Apr-21
Along the Greensand Way from Yalding to points East **Updated Train Time***

SWC Walk 150: Greensand Way – Yalding to Sutton Valence, Harriethsam or Pluckley along the Greensand Way ***Updated train time***t=swc.150

Distance: Something for everyone:

To Sutton Valence: 9.5 miles or 15.3 km for those more metrically minded, with bus to Headcorn

To Harrietsham: 15.1 miles or 24.3 km for those more metrically minded

To Pluckley: 20.5 miles or 33 km for those more metrically minded


Difficulty: 3 out of 10


Train: Take the 9:10 AM Ramsgate train from London Charing Cross (stopping at Waterloo East at 9:13 and London Bridge at 9:19), arriving at Yalding at 10:18 (with a change at Paddock Wood – arriving 9:58 and departing 10:11). If you just miss this train -- the 9:15 AM Hastings train will also work with a tight change at Tonbridge (arriving 10:00; departing 10:04). For those only planning to walk to Sutton Valence, you could start from the 10:10 AM train…It would also be possible to start the walk in Sutton Valence in the afternoon, by taking a train to Headcorn and bus number 12 (towards Maidstone) to Sutton Valence. I would guess people starting from Yalding would arrive in Sutton Valence around 2:30 or 3:00pm.


Return trains from Headcorn are at 15 and 45 past the hour; return trains from Harrietsham are at 38 (direct to Victoria) and 51 (via Ashford to St. P) past the hour; and from Pluckley are at 08 and 38 (to Charing Cross) and 20 and 50 (to St P) past the hour.


If planning on the shorter version to Sutton Valence, you will need to take an Arriva bus 12 towards Tenterden (9 minutes) from Sutton Valence to Headcorn (buses seem to be roughly hourly around 45 minutes past the hour – though sometimes earlier or later – so check the time when you know your timing). Buy a day return to Yalding if walking to Harrietsham (you should then buy a single from Harrietsham to Maidstone), a day return to Headcorn if walking to Sutton Valence or a day return to Pluckley if doing the long-haul.


This walk largely follows the Greensand Ridge with fine views to the south. Additionally, the route passes through many orchards, so, with any luck, the warmer weather this past weekend and week will draw out some of the blossom (but it may still be a bit early)……You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here and for those continuing onto Pluckley here.


It might be possible to eat on the terrace of The Bull in Linton (01622 743 612) about 5.5 miles into the walk. However, people doing one of the longer versions may wish to eat later.


Sutton Valence has some pubs with gardens from which to choose for afternoon or post walk refreshies (depending on your choice of walk length). In Headcorn, the George and Dragon is always a pleasant place for a drink and/or a bite to eat before the train. Not sure about pub status in Harrietsham. There is a pub next to Pluckley Station (which is a bit upmarket) and another just off route outside of Pluckely (the Rose and Crown in Mundy Bois).


It is expected to walk in groups of no more than six and provide contact details. To facilitate the collection of contact details, please pre-register for this walk on the "events" page at https://www.lwug.co.uk/. You will need to first sign-on and possibly register if you have not previously registered on the site.

If you test positive for COVID within a week of attending this walk, please contact me by emailing {

Enjoy the walk!

  • Great walking options. Cheers. Only one pub (at best) will be open in SV, with basic food. Last time I was there dogs had left deposits in the small garden some time before. No pub these days in Harrietsham.

  • Anonymous
    20-Apr-21

    The Pepper Box, it seems, will be open, but shuts between 3 and 6. Good food.

  • 20-Apr-21

    The Pepper Box is indeed a lovely pub, and it has a generous amount of outside tables. But starting from Yalding it is 12.8 miles into the walk... However, if you started from Harrietsham (for which directions/GPX are provided in the Sutton Valence to Pluckley walk document), you could maybe have a late lunch there and then join the others for the second half of the walk.

    I concur that there is nothing to be hoped for on the refreshment front if finishing in Harrietsham. Definitely a member of the "Aylesbury Club" of places with pretty names which are actually more than a bit disappointing... Time your arrival there carefully so as not to be waiting around a long time for the hourly train.

  • 20-Apr-21

    Those for whom "stepping lively" is a bit of a strain early in the morning, might care to get the 9.10 train from Charing Cross (9.13 Waterloo East, 9.19 London Bridge) to Paddock Wood, arriving 9.58, where you have a languid 13 minutes to wait on the same platform for the Yalding train, which departs at 10.11. In fact, I personally see no reason to get the 9.15 (etc) train at all, unless you arrive at the station at the very last minute...

  • Anonymous
    20-Apr-21

    Plenty of good places in Aylesbury...

  • Anonymous
    21-Apr-21

    As the weather should be good and the Harrietsham walk was recently offered I assume most will be doing the full 20 miles?

  • 22-Apr-21

    I have to travel into London to catch trains. I should like to catch the 10.15 Hastings train boarding at 10.18 at Waterloo East changing quickly at Tonbridge to Platform 1 which was the listed train last week for the Yalding to Borough green and allows plenty of time. Would anyone like to join me on the short walk? Am happy to read the instructions but anyone with a good battery for GPS would be most welcome.

  • 22-Apr-21

    I have deviated from the recommendation of National Rail and updated the train times to allow for a longer connection time at Paddock Wood....but if you miss the 9:10 -- the 9:15 should also work, if you move quickly....

  • 24-Apr-21

    Sorry can’t make any trains this weekend due to engineering works

  • 25-Apr-21

    9 assembled on the platform in Yalding from the specified train under beautiful clear blue skies . The day could not have been better for a long walk. The apple blossom was just starting to come out - some trees had a few flowers others were covered with red buds and some further behind....After an initial climb the route spends the day high on a ridge with fine views....For a first, no one ate at lovely Bull Inn....but picnicked instead at various places en route. Two of us felt duty bound to sample the offerings at a new microbrewery a very short distance from the route....Everyone reconnected in the lovely garden of the Queens Head in Sutton Valence for a drink after which 3 caught the bus to Headcorn and six set off onwards...Given the perfect conditions 2 opted for the long haul to Pluckley, arriving at 8pm with time for a drink at the Derring Arms where we met one of the Harrietsham finishers before catching the 8:38. A mighty fine day out!

  • 25-Apr-21

    Nine....of which one was left behind by the others, greyhounds all, who sped off into the distance (To be fair, one later waited for me, but I had stopped to buy an extra sandwich in Yalding, which held me up a bit...)....

    Sigh... I had looked forward to happy chat in glorious scenery at a wonderful time of year, but I suppose two out of three ain't bad. As it was, I reflected that no lover of nature is alone in the countryside in April. I enjoyed the company of butterflies and stitchwort and dandelions. I listened to the birdsong. I looked at the different ways the leaves come out on every tree. I found a quite rare little parasitic plant called toothwort. I discovered some nice bluebell woods just off the route that I did not know existed (and I wrote the walk): some good showings of the flowers in these. Only a very chilly Easterly breeze dampened my spirits, though out of it, it was as warm as toast.

    The painful part of the walk was passing the Bull in Linton. Reader (does anyone in fact read these things?), never was there such a day for having lunch at the Bull!! It has a huge outside terrace with a mouthwatering view and was sheltered from the wind. I had anticipated a lingering lunch there, putting the world to rights with a group of eclectic SWC-ers under the implacable sun. But there was no great attraction in sitting there alone, and possibly having to wait a while for meal. So I grudgingly, regretfully, trudged on.

    On this next section, two of the fast walkers overtook me. I still have not worked out the logistics of this. We talked for a while, but I had an appointment with the rather dry cheese sandwich I had bought in Yalding, and I stopped at Boughton Monchelsea churchyard (where an SWC walk poster's ancestors are buried) to eat it.

    Later, in Sutton Valence, I caught up with the group in the much improved garden of the Queen's Head. They were just setting off for their various adventures, however, so I was again alone for the extension to Harrietsham. I had a second tea in the churchyard with the immense carpet of primroses (fading now, but still good) and a little later am 90% sure I heard a bullfinch (it was singing for quite a long time).

    Enticing cooking smells were wafting out of the Pepper Pot, one of my favourite pubs as I passed it, but the sun was by now getting a bit low and the temperature dropping. I crossed the coppiced woodland, which looked as if a meteor had hit it due to recent logging, but which had a good display of wooden M's. In Harrietsham, I had to chose between a lovely oilseed rape field, fully out, in the contemplation of which I could have happily whiled away the 50 minutes to the next train very happily, or popping into Ashford on the train and out again to Pluckley hook up with the long walkers. I did the latter. We had wine on the train.

  • Anonymous
    25-Apr-21

    Hi. Where is the microbrewery, and the mystery bluebell wood? Great reports - thank you.

  • 25-Apr-21

    Many thanks Walker for the walk report feedback. I will be doing this walk independently on Friday and will try the outside space at the recommended pub for lunch.

Sat, 05-Oct-19
Saturday walk - Yalding to Sutton Valence or Harrietsham - Apples, views and churches
Length: 15.3km (9.5 miles) to Sutton Valence, 24.3km (15.1 miles) to Harrietsham
Toughness 3 out of 10. T=3.150

10.00 (Hastings-bound) train from Charing Cross (10.03 Waterloo East, 10.09 London Bridge, 10.40 Orpington) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.58, changing there for the 11.04 (Strood-bound) service to Yalding, arriving 11.18

OR

10.02 (Ramsgate-bound) train from Victoria (10.23 Bromley South, 10.32 Orpington) to Paddock Wood, arriving 10.58, and connecting to the Yalding train on the same platform, departing 11.11.

Train notes: Paddock Wood is an easier place to change than Tonbridge, since at Paddock Wood the two trains leave from the same platform, whereas at Tonbridge you have just six minutes to cross the footbridge from platform 1 to 3: get on at the front of the train at Charing Cross or London Bridge to be nearest to the footbridge. Normally one can get round this by taking a train five minutes earlier from Charing Cross which goes direct to Paddock Wood, but today there is minor engineering work of some kind and a more limited service to Tonbridge. The direct train to Paddock Wood is instead starting from Victoria, hence the alternative train option. Both trains call at Orpington. The Charing Cross train will do a diversionary route to Orpington, adding 15 minutes to the usual journey time.

Best ticket:
- if ending at Sutton Valence, get a day return to Headcorn. This is not technically valid between Paddock Wood and Yalding but you would be unlucky to encounter a ticket inspector that makes an issue of this.
- if ending at Harrietsham: get a day return to Yalding and then a single for the three stops from Harrietsham to Maidstone East.

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.

Here at Walker Walk Posting Enterprises your sternest command is our slightest wish, and since there was a request for this walk today, I am happy to oblige. It was posted back in April but everyone who did it then was apparently abducted by aliens, as there was no walk report.

The requester seems to be anticipating plentiful supplies of ripe apples. I should point out that the many orchards on this walk are commercial enterprises who might not take kindly to you stealing their crop. But there is no law against looking.

Aside from apple orchards, you get lots of fine escarpment views, including a mouthwatering one from the capacious lunch pub, the Bull in Linton, 5.6 miles into the walk, which commands a fabulous panorama from its extensive garden, if it is nice enough to sit outside in it. There are also a series of interesting old churches and one goat sanctuary, which has a tea kiosk open until 4pm.

You can end the walk in Sutton Valence after 9.5 miles - a pretty village, worth exploring, though you might not think so from the rather humdrum bit of it you see from the main road. Number 12 buses go from here to Headcorn station at 15.42, 16.57, 17.54, 18.54 or 20.15, taking 12 minutes and connecting well (if they are on time) with the trains from Headcorn to Victoria, which are at 15 and 45 past the hour. If you do this option, you can either have tea at the Kings Head in Sutton Valence, or get off in the centre of Headcorn (one stop before the station) where the George & Dragon is a very pleasant tea stop which in the past has even served cakes, and also a good place for dinner: from there it is 5-8 minutes walk to Headcorn station.

Alternatively you can continue the walk from Sutton Valence to Harrietsham, another 5.6 miles, so making 15.1 miles in all. This is another fine stretch of escarpment, with more views and churches. After 3.3 miles you come to the very charming Pepper Box pub, but it only opens at 6pm, half an hour before sunset, so you will probably want to be on your way down to Harrietsham before that. Harrietsham itself is humdrum, but there is a perfectly serviceable pub to while away your time in before the trains, which leave at 50 minutes past the hour and go to Victoria.


  • Anonymous
    30-Sep-19

    Cracking walk. Fine lunchtime pub.

  • 06-Oct-19

    YALDING TO SUTTON VALANCE OR HARRIETSHAM

    24 on this walk (someone correct me if I’m wrong)and cloudy but not cold .

    I’ve forgotton what a pretty walk this is with fantastic views throughout. Walked past ever so many apple orchards (as advertised) with trees laden with claret coloured apples, and the ground littered with fallen ones. Another orchard which had been harvested, smelled of cider (due to fallen and decaying apples) and a plum orchard just before the lunchtime pub. Also passed by a huge pumpkin field. One walker mentally calculated that there were 90,000 pumpkins in that field.

    I think nearly everyone had either lunch or post picnic drinks in the The Bull in Linton sitting on their patio with more lovely views. A walker dropped their walking pole down from the patio, but luckily it was rescued from a patch of brambles and nettles by another walker and helpful member of staff.

    Most of us got the bus from Sutton Valence to Headcorn, where the majority stopped for tea and bear in the George and Dragon, and then onto catch the train. I’m not sure if anyone did the extension to Harrietsham.

    This is a really lovely spring and autumn walk.

  • Anonymous
    06-Oct-19

    At least two went on to Harrietsham. The highlights were:a strawberry plantation, two epic yews outside another ancient church, a chat with a spry 91 year old lady, and coffee at the Pepper Box. The barely functional Roebuck in Harrietsham (oddly,neat red napkins on the tables though they don't do food anymore)is soon to cease functioning, to be replaced by an Indian restaurant. If you stop to dine at the Pepper Box (opens at 6),leave an hour to get to Harrietsham train station, unless you're a fast walker. Thanks to Walker for posting.

Sat, 27-Apr-19
Saturday Walk: Yalding to Harrietsham
full walk: 15.1 miles / 24.3 km
shorter version: 9.5 miles / 15.3 km

A spring walk along the Greensand Way in Kent.

Trains: 9:10 from London Charing Cross (London Bridge 9:19), change at Paddock Wood (arr 9:58) for the 10:11 to Yalding, arriving at 10:18. If you just miss the 9:10, take the 9:15 and change at Tonbridge (you have 6 minutes to make it across to platform 1).
Return trains from Harrietsham go to London Victoria at xx:50.
Yalding and Harrietsham are on different lines, a return to Maidstone or Yalding with single from Harrietsham to Maidstone seems to be the best advice.
Shorter version: The walk can be shortened to 9.5 miles / 15.3 km by ending in Sutton Valence and taking a no 12 bus to Headcorn or Maidstone (hourly service). The journey to Headcorn is quicker and drops you off at the very nice George & Dragon or the station - you will need a return to Headcorn if travelling this way.

Lunch: An early lunch 5.5 miles into the walk at The Bull, Linton (01622 743612). Great views from the terrace.

Sutton Valence has several pubs for a mid afternoon stop - The Kings Head serves food all day so also a possible late lunch stop. The Pepper Box Inn at Ulcombe would be another great stop further on, but shut from 3-6pm.

Full details and directions here
T=swc.150
  • 23-Apr-19

    It is worth mentioning, I think, that this is an excellent apple blossom walk, passing through a number of commercial apple orchards, which should be in full bloom. It also passes a series of ancient churches in the afternoon.

  • Anonymous
    24-Apr-19

    Perhaps the apple blossom will make a difference, but the Sutton Valence to Harrietsham stretch is largely dull, aside from one yew.

  • 24-Apr-19

    I have to disagree with the last comment. You may have done the walk before when it took another route to Harrietsham. I changed it last year to follow the very pretty Greensand Way route to the Pepper Box Inn (a lovely pub if you get to it after 6pm). Only after that is the route slightly less charming - a big area of coppiced woodland and then some arable fields. Harrietsham itself is a bit dull, though the pub there is pleasant enough.

  • Anonymous
    29-Apr-19

    Did anyone do this walk on Saturday?

Sun, 22-Apr-18
Sunday Walk: Sunday Spring Saunter through Orchards from Yalding to Harrietsham
SWC Walk 150: Greensand Way – Yalding to Harrietsham along the Greensand Way T=SWC.150

Distance: 15.1 miles or 24.3 km for those more metrically minded (with option to shorten to 9.5 miles/15.3 km by ending in Sutton Valence and catching a bus to Headcorn)

Difficulty: 3 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:40 AM Paddock Wood train from London Charing Cross (stopping at Waterloo East at 9:43 and London Bridge at 9:50), arriving at Yalding at 10:49 (with a change at Paddock Wood – arriving 10:33 and departing 10:41). Return trains from Harrietsham are at 03 (direct to Victoria) and 52 (via Ashford to St. P) past the hour until 22:03 and 21:52 (respectively). If planning on the shorter version to Sutton Valence, you will need to take an Arriva bus 12 towards Tenterden (9 minutes) from Sutton Valence to Headcorn (buses at 31 past the hour until 17:31). Trains depart Headcorn at 35 and 55 past the hour until 21:35. Please note that there is a bus replacement service for the first part of the journey with a change onto a train either at Paddock Wood or Ashford. Buy a day return to Yalding if walking to Harrietsham (you should then buy a single from Harrietsham to Maidstone) or a day return to Headcorn if walking to Sutton Valence.

This walk largely follows the Greensand Ridge with fine views to the south and has recently been extended to offer an ending in Harrietsham. I recall doing the original version once in February and it did not involve significant mud at that time – so, hopefully, notwithstanding the dire conditions this spring, footing should be pretty firm…. Additionally, the route passes through many orchards, so, with any luck, given the warmer temperatures this week, perhaps there may be some blossom on display……You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is The Bull in Linton (01622 743 612) about 5.5 miles into the walk. They serve food all afternoon and have great views from the terrace (weather permitting).

Sutton Valence has several pubs from which to choose for afternoon or post walk refreshies (depending on your choice of walk length). In Harrietsham, the Roebuck Inn is apparently 4 minutes from the train station. In Headcorn, the George and Dragon is always a pleasant place for a drink and/or a bite to eat before the train (or bus in this case).

Enjoy the walk!
  • Anonymous
    18-Apr-18

    Hi. Could you clarify, please, if there is a rail replacement bus on the way to Yalding? Thanks for scheduling this walk.

  • 19-Apr-18

    No. The bus replacement is only for the return from Headcorn, if you should chose not to walk to Harrietsham. There is no bus replacement on the way to Yalding

  • Anonymous
    19-Apr-18

    Thank you very much, Walker.

  • 22-Apr-18

    On another gloriously sunny day , a glorious turnout of at least 26 on this walk (“at least” because we had some “pop-ups” joining us after we left the station: I have only counted those I definitely know about). To put this tally in context, this has only twice been exceeded on a Sunday walk since I started keeping records in September 2011. So well done to Stargazer for a stellar performance.

    Well done too to Mr Greensand for giving us a wonderful walk along his Way. This is a beautiful slice of Kent at any time with its regular “villages perchés” and ancient churches, with its fine escarpment views and apple orchards, but add in a whole treescape of fresh green leaves, lots of verge flowers and butterflies, fields of yellow oilseed and shy patches of bluebells, plus, yes, quite a bit of apple blossom even if it was not yet full out, and this was a constant delight for the senses.

    The same might be said about lunch in the garden of the Bull pub, with its jaw-dropping view of the plains below (the herds of wildebeest, the elegant giraffes...). Not being a Sunday regular, I was entranced by the carvery and the all-you-can-load-onto-your-plate veg. A man could get used to this.....

    After a garden tea in the King’s Arms in Sutton Valence, a clear majority of the group, I think, went on to do the extension. Scenically more of the same, with more fine views and an encounter with a truly mountainous yew. Alas, the Pepper Box pub is closed on Sunday evenings but some of us sampled the Rutland in Harrietsham. A smart place with nice seating areas and efficient service, and if we were rather different from their usual clientele, they concealed their surprise at that very well.

  • 22-Apr-18

    Ps:

    One minor correction, it was the Roebuck Inn in Harrietsham...

  • Anonymous
    30-Apr-18

    How about some consistency? Last Thursday's walk report called it 5 walkers on that walk when in fact there were 7, but the reporter doesn't count the ones that only did small parts of the route. In total contrast, this walk report counts the 20 people on the platform (the number as told by several usually reliable people that were there), adds all of the 3-4 walkers that had driven to the lunch pub, some of whom are said to have then walked parts of the route near the lunch pub, and pumps it up to "at least 26"...

  • 30-Apr-18

    Scuse me, but I COUNTED the number of people on the platform at Yalding TWICE and WROTE THE NUMBER DOWN and there were 23. The "several usually reliable people" were chatting to their friends when I did this.

    I can only speak for the walks I am on, but on those I am the only person who deliberately and specifically counts those present and as anyone who knows me can attest I usually repeat the count two or three times to be sure. Then I put pen to paper and record it.

    I said "at least" 26 because I did NOT count those who drove to the lunch pub, only three people who joined us fairly early on during the walk and who I definitely knew went on to walk the rest of it, or at least a significant bit of it.

    I take the latter part of the count quite seriously. Joining the walk party for lunch is not enough, but doing the morning walk and then taking a short cut or a bus back to London for an evening event or somesuch is. The question is, did the person turn up with the intention of doing a reasonable portion of the walk. Fyi, back in January we had a long discussion on the way back from the Portsmouth to Hayling Island walk about whether a walker who we recognised at the station but who walked off without joining the group was on the walk or had just happened to be at the station on the same day as us doing his own thing. I argued the latter case but was overruled by everyone else in the group and so added him, reluctantly, to the count.

    Whoever you are, I look forward on some future walk to you joining me in the count at the start of the walk and discussing any additions with you. The more data the better. But on this walk there were "at least 26" and I would happily swear to the same in court (where, incidentally notes taken at the time have strong weight in evidence over hearsay).

Wed, 21-Sep-16
Wednesday Walk: SWC 150 - Yalding to Sutton Vallance
An easy ridge walk in the Kent apple orchards, with fine views throughout

SWC 150: Yalding to Sutton Vallance

Length: 15.1 km (9,4 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

London Charing Cross: 10-10 am (Ramsgate train). (Waterloo East 10-13; London Bridge 10-19)
Arrive Paddock Wood 11-00 am
Change to Strood train (same platform)
Leave Paddock Wood 11-11 am
Arrive Yalding: 11-19 am

OR
Charing Cross: 10-00 am (Royal Tunbridge Wells service) Change at Tonbridge, over bridge and onto Strood train. Plenty of connection time.

AVOID
Charing Cross: 10-15 am (Hastings service) as the connection at Tonbridge is only 5 minutes.

Return

No 12 Bus from Sutton Vallance to Headcorn: 16-16; 16-39; 17-16; 18-16. Journey time 10 to 11. mins.

OR
Club together for a taxi to Headcorn (see Directions for cab number)

Headcorn railway station; to Charing Cross: 16-45; 17-18; 17-45; 18-16

Railway ticket: buy a day return to Yalding, plus a single from Headcorn to Paddock Wood.

This is one of the few walks in the SWC repertoir that I haven't tried yet, so I will keep this next bit to a minimum - as you can do what I'm currently doing - reading the Directions.

The walk is entirely on the Greensand Way as you pass through a number of apple orchards and up onto the Greensand Ridge.

Lunch pub, the Bull Inn, some 5.5 miles into the walk, in the village of Linton, is sited on the edge of an escarpment and has a garden and terrace with fine views.

Tea can be taken at one of three pubs in Sutton Vallance, including the Clothworkers Arms, or at a pub in Headcorn - all detailed in the Directions.

There's a bit of faffing about with buses (or taxis) at walk end to get to the return journey railway station, but I am assured it is worth it for what should be an enjoyable walk which is not too demanding. Let's hope for nice weather.

Walk Directions here
T=swc.150

Next Week: Wednesday 28 September: SWC 216: Kelvedon Circular. An adventure in Essex.

  • Anonymous
    18-Sep-16

    On the walk comments page there's mention of an alternative to finish at Maidstone. You'll need a map though.

  • Anonymous
    19-Sep-16

    Would anyone be interested in finishing at Maidstone?

  • 22-Sep-16

    10 on this classic Indian Summer day . The walk is primarily along the Greensand (glauconite) Way just to the south of it's big brother the North Downs Way. Walkers were treated to great views of the Weald/Medway Valley to the south and endless orchards of ripened apples nestling on the southern slopes. A huge field of pumpkins provided an interlude, ripened and ready for Halloween I guess. Lunch was at the Bull at Linton with more stunning views from the rear garden and (I think) very reasonable food. Onward to Boughton Monchelsea church and Buttercups Goat Sanctuary after lunch, passing workers picking apples in the later orchards. Some ventured on to do the Harrietsham extension whilst the less intrepid caught buses to Headcorn Station. A great pre-equinox outing on a Golden (dare I say) Autumn day

Sat, 14-May-16
Saturday Second Walk - Apple blossom special
SWC Walk 150 - Yalding to Sutton Valence
Length: 15.1km (9.4 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

10.10 train from Charing Cross (10.13 Waterloo East) to Paddock Wood, arriving 10.58, changing there (same platform) for the 11.11 to Yalding, arriving 11.19.

If you just miss the above train you can catch the 10.10 from Charing Cross (10.18 Waterloo East) to Tonbridge, arriving 10.57, crossing from platform 6 to platform 1 for the 11.04 train to Yalding, arriving 11.19 as above.

Buy a day return to Headcorn.

For walk directions click here.

This walk had an outing in early February in a howling gale, but it is at this time of year that it is at its best. In particular it passes through a whole series of commercial apple orchards, which should hopefully be in full blossom at present. (Last Sunday the ones near Borough Green were about two thirds out).

Otherwise you get a gentle ridge walk (a bit of climbing in the morning, but otherwise largely flat) with fine views throughout. There is one lunch pub, The Bull in Linton, but it has always accommodated us without trouble before. It serves food all afternoon and has a large outside terrace with a magnificent escarpment view. Whether it is a good idea to give them a courtesy call in advance I do not know: we did this in February and the result was that they put us alltogether and insisted on taking orders at the table, which slowed things down quite a bit. Arriving in dribs and drabs and ordering at the bar would probably be quicker.

In the afternoon you pass several ancient churches before ending in the pretty village of Sutton Valence, though its prettiest bit is not obvious from the main road (see walk directions). Of the three pubs here, we found the King's Arms the most amenable in February, while the Clothworkers' Arms was a 1970s timewarp (I am told it has a fine terrace view, however). The Queen's Arms has a well-hidden garden (ask the bar staff). If a bus is imminent (see next paragraph) another idea is to go to Headcorn, where the George & Dragon in the village centre is a wonderful pub, which sometimes does cakes. It is also a great place for dinner, if you can get a table.

To get home from Sutton Valence, catch the no 12 bus from outside the King's Arms at 15.41, 16.58, 18.05, 18.53, 20.16 or 21.46. This goes all the way to Headcorn station (the stop after the George and Dragon in the centre of Headcorn), taking 9-10 minutes.

Trains back from Headcorn are at 18 and 48 past till 22.48

  • 15-May-16

    Just to report back on the route from Sutton Valence into Maidstone, this was much nicer than I expected and mainly along footpaths and into Maidstone Park. The route took me past the impressive building of SV School, through bluebells and pine woods, orchards and strawberry feilds, through to Otham and past Stone Acre national trust then along a footpath to Mote Park in Maidstone. I think this leg would make a nice addition to this walk. I forgot to record the route on my GPS but I think it was about 7KM.

  • 15-May-16

    The long walkers must all have been in West Sussex as of the 14 starters only Daisy Roots was tempted to extend this walk (with what sounds like a nice route into Maidstone). The main walk is a scenic stretch of the Greensand Way with more variety than you might expect: not just apple, pear and plum orchards but wildflower meadows, a deer park, goat sanctuary and interesting churches. A cold and overcast morning had brightened up enough by 1.30pm for the pub lunchers to enjoy the views from the Bull Inn's terrace, with efficient bar service and good food. Some of the picnickers who carried on almost made the 3.40 bus and shared a taxi, but most caught the 5pm after refreshment in the King's Head: an unprepossessing exterior but another friendly welcome and tea served in pots.

  • 15-May-16

    I'll do a GPX/KML file of the route that I took and put it on the website.

  • Anonymous
    16-May-16

    I managed to make this walk an hour after everyone else.It is a lovely walk once you climb up beyond Yalding. However at the time I was passing the orchards the farmer was spraying insecticides. Something to bear in mind.

    jfk

Sat, 06-Feb-16
Saturday Third Walk
SWC Walk 150: Greensand Way – Yalding to Sutton Valence along the Greensand Ridge

Distance: 9.4 miles (with option to extend by 5.2 miles by walking on to Harrietsham)
Difficulty: 3 out of 10
Train: Take the 10:15 AM Hastings train from London Charing Cross (stopping at Waterloo East at 10:18 and Orpington at 10:39), arriving at Yalding at 11:19 (with a change at Tonbridge – arriving 10:57 and departing 11:04). If not planning on doing the extension, you will need to take a bus (9 minutes) from Sutton Valence to Headcorn (buses at 16:58; 18:05; 18:53; 20:16; and 21:46). Trains depart Headcorn at 18 and 48 past the hour until 22:48. If carrying on to Harrietsham, the trains are at 55 past the hour until 20:55; then at 21:49. Buy a day return to Headcorn for the standard walk and to Yalding if walking to Harrietsham (you will then need to buy a single from Harrietsham to Maidstone).
This walk largely follows the Greensand Ridge with nice views to the south. Sadly, the weather forecast continues to be a bit suspect for a nice long outing along the South Downs – so, the thought was that this stretch of the Greensand Ridge may provide a pleasant alternative which is not too muddy once up on the ridge. In the afternoon, the route passes a number of pretty old churches – which may well have nice displays of Snowdrops at this time of year. Sutton Valence is a charming hilltop village which is well worth exploring. If you decide to carry on to Harrietsham, please bring a print out of the OS map, as it does not appear there are any written instructions – the route is drawn on the map and looks fairly straight forward. You can find more information about the walk and the instructions here.
The recommended lunch spot is The Bull in Linton (01622 743 612) about 5.5 miles into the walk. They serve food all afternoon. Sutton Valence has several pubs from which to choose for post walk refreshies and the George and Dragon in Headcorn is a pleasant place for a drink and/or a bite to eat before the train. Harrietsham also apparently has a pub near the train station.
Enjoy the walk!

  • Anonymous
    03-Feb-16

    With train arriving to Yalding at 11.19 am, do you think it is doable to walk the extended version, so circa 15 miles before the sunset? I would be interested in completing longer walk as long as I don’t have to use torches… Thanks, Bozena

  • 03-Feb-16

    Sunset is at 16:56 so you'd have about 6 hours of daylight before you'd need to use a torch. If you have a one hour lunch stop you'd need to keep up a fairly brisk pace of around 3mph for the whole walk, including hill climbs, stopping to work out the directions, etc. Not impossible, but too much for me!

  • 03-Feb-16

    As the walk instructions advise, I would strongly counsel getting the 10.10 train from Charing Cross, (10.13 Waterloo East) and changing at Paddock Wood (arrive 10.58, depart 11.11 - both trains from the same platform). This saves you having to hare across the footbridge to make the connection at Tonbridge.

    Only if you miss the 10.10 is it worth getting the 10.15.

  • Anonymous
    06-Feb-16

    Wonderful walk with almost no mud

    Judas Slip

  • 07-Feb-16

    19 on this walk. I confess that I had wondered whether it was a good idea to do a walk along an escarpment on a day of strong wind but no rain but in fact the wind never proved particularly troubling, and for considerable sections there were lines of trees to give us shelter. Otherwise, lovely views to the south and dry paths underfoot - a very pleasant winter walk. Several walkers suggested we do it again in autumn when we could scrump apples from the copious orchards (criminal activity that of course I could not possibly endorse).

    Lunch was once again slow in coming. Having been warned of our coming, the Bull in Linton wrapped itself in knots, insisting on taking orders at the table not the bar - which added about 20 minutes to the proceedings - and then taking a long time to produce the food for some of the diners. On the plus side they were friendly and the food was worth waiting for, and we still finished the walk in daylight, so what the hey?

    A comprehensive tour of the three pubs in Sutton Valence found that the Kings Arms was the best of the bunch. One senses that tea orders are not something they are used to, but they produced nice pots of the stuff. Some of us also tried the Clothworkers Arms and found possibly the last traditional boozer in the south east - sport on the TV, a pool table and darts board occupying most of the floor space, and no hot drinks. The outside terrace looked like it would be nice in summer, though, with a magnificent view. The Queen's Arm was full of sports fans, though has done tea in the past.

    Four of us eventually decamped to the much more congenial George and Dragon in Headcorn for a lovely dinner.

  • 07-Feb-16

    PS As far as I know, no one carried on to Harrietsham, but if anyone did, please post a report.