21 km (13 miles)
Landranger 188, Explorer 147 & 148
4 out of 10. Undulating throughout, with mainly gentle hill climbs.
This walk follows the Greensand Way all the way from Yalding to Sevenoaks. The route is fairly well waymarked, and so you may find that for whole sections you can dispense with these directions altogether. Note that some signposts can get overgrown by vegetation in summer, however, and at whatever time of year, the waymarking disappears for crucial sections.
In late April and early May the walk passes a series of bluebell woods, and also a couple of commercial apple orchards near Hill Hoath which blossom around the same time. Otherwise for the first half of the walk you follow the Greensand Way across undulating Kent farmland. There are no less than three lunch pubs on this section.
Later the way becomes hillier and the Greensand Way climbs up to the lovely moated manor house of Ightham Mote (pronounced “Eye-tam”), a National Trust property whose tea room can be accessed without paying the entrance fee. From there you embark on a particularly lovely section of the Greensand Way, which climbs slowly up the escarpment. The final stretch is across the grounds of Knole House, another fine National Trust property with a tea room.
Greensand, incidentally, is a type of sandstone, that runs in a ridge south of the North Downs and north of the Weald. Some of the greensand rocks actually do have a greenish tinge, though others are a more predictable brownish red. The soil produced is particularly suitable for growing fruit, which is why this part of Kent was a traditional area for growing apples and hops (for making beer), though none of the latter are in evidence now.
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Take the train nearest to 8.55am from Charing Cross Station to get to the Kentish Rifleman in time for lunch. If aiming for the Swan, a train an hour later would be fine, but then you would have most of the walk (15.6 km or 9.6 miles) to do after lunch. A day return to Yalding will cover your return travel from Sevenoaks.
There are three pubs on this walk - the Swan in West Peckkham, the Kentish Rifleman in Dunk's Green and the Chaser in Shipbourne. See the walk document for details
National Trust tea rooms at Ightham Mote and Knole House (the latter currently under refurbishment) offer the best tea options: otherwise there are cafes and pubs in Sevenoaks: see the walk document for details.
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)
Back: (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