London Day Trips-Hiking and Outdoors

Old Jul 1st, 2011, 05:10 AM
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London Day Trips-Hiking and Outdoors

Good Morning,

I am heading to London the last week of September. I would love to spend a day in the "country". I am big on hiking and exploring local areas. Please note that I am dependent on public transporation. Just wondering if anyone knows of some nice places to explore outside of the city that could possibly offer me some English Countryside feel that is also not too difficult to get to.

Thanks so much!
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 05:17 AM
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The White Cliffs of Dover might not meet your "countryside" criteria, and people say the best way to "see" the cliffs is from boat arriving from a Channel crossing.

BUT, Dover is fairly simple to reach via a train and then the Cliff side walks are stunning, in my opionion. (If arriving by train, it's probably a good idea to get a taxi to the National Trust entrance to the Cliffs--it's a long up and down and not pretty slog from the station.) The Castle is spectacular, too, although not countryside of course.
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 06:43 AM
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There are about 60 places on a direct 60-90 min train journey from central London which allow immediate foot access to our incomparable footpath network.

Details of most, including the two Time Out Country Walks books, at www.walkingclub.org.uk

Personally I disrecommend the White Cliffs. The one thing you don't see is the cliffs, and they're a pain to get to without a car. A proper day out from London requires:

- near instant access from the station to a rural footpath, or a < half mile walk through a pretty village to get to it
- a pub halfway round
- traffic-free paths for the whole of the 8-15 miles walk
- somewhere selling tea at the end
- almost uniformly pretty countryside throughout
- convenient (at least hourly) trains back

The Time Out books feature more or less only such places. Well worth investing in. Only you really know what you want: the books help you define your criteria far better than a stranger telling you "I loved Winchester"
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Old Jul 1st, 2011, 08:11 AM
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Most of the big chain bookshops in London will have a section including books with day out walks based on public transport from London - flanner's example is perhaps the biggest, but not the only one. You can also check out:
http://fancyfreewalks.org/
http://www.ramblers.org.uk/info/regional/london

We've all got favourites. Some I've enjoyed:
- from Manningtree station through "Constable country", to and from Dedham, via Flatford Mill in both directions (National Trust coffee and cake on the way out in the morning, tea and cake on the way back, with a pub lunch in Dedham in between)
- to and from Otford station and taking in Lullingstone Roman villa, and the Darent Valley
- Penshurst and Chiddingstone:
http://autolycus-london.blogspot.com...anderings.html
- Baldock to Ashwell and back:
http://autolycus-london.blogspot.com...and-about.html

There are some perhaps surprisingly rural bits of Surrey on the commuter lines from Waterloo.

You'll be spoilt for choice.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 06:29 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 06:49 AM
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I posted some pictures of the Stour Valley/Flatford Mill area Patrick refers to, so click on my name if you want to see what the countryside in that area is like.....
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 07:10 AM
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The New Forest national park would be a good option that meets the criteria mentioned by Flanner. Brockenhurst is 90 minutes from London Waterloo station, so doable as a day trip.
www.thenewforest.co.uk

A bit closer to London is the newly created South Downs National park: http://www.southdowns.gov.uk/enjoying/ which is accessible from several main line stations out of London (Winchester, Petersfield, Arundel to name but a few)
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 11:16 AM
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The South Downs Park isn't really a National Park as most people understand it.

My experience of it so far is that it's got some outstanding walking territory - but all the great walking I've done there is absolutely inaccessible by public transport, and many stations inside it (like Petersfield!!!!) are the polar opposite of rural idylls like Brockenhurst or Charlbury stations. Even Winchester is very different from Oxford, where a footpath at the station entrance offers you traffic-free walking as far as the middle of Liverpool or London (though admittedly taking a bit more than a day). Great ancient city to spend a day in - but pretty average if you want to see the countryside, as the poster does.

It's so new, and my expertise on it so oddly garnered, I might well have missed a real, train-accessible, gem in the SDNP.

Anyone know of one?
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 11:46 AM
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My Rough Guide book of walks from London lists :
Amberley to Arundel
Goring-by-Sea to Worthing via Findon
And two walks along the South Downs Way out of Lewes station.

No idea what they're like. But it's a pretty reliable guide book.
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Old Jul 4th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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but all the great walking I've done there is absolutely inaccessible by public transport

Then you've sadly yet to hear of the Hangers Way - a remarkable footpath north/south through the Downs between Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Alton, which passes within a few feet of Petersfield railway station. Just as an example of what's available here: a day's walk from Petersfield to Alton on the HW, with lunch at a pub in historic Selborne makes for an excellent and invigorating day out for experienced walkers. Trains to/from London at each end of the walk are a piece of cake.

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/longdistance/hangers-way.htm
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