Country walks outside London
Updated: Mon Jul 28 2008
Henley via Stonor circular, OxfordshireBest for valleys and woodlandLength 21.9km (13.7 miles). Duration Seven hours.Start and finish Henley Station.Getting there Trains run hourly between Paddington and Henley, changing at Twyford (journey time: about one hour). If driving, the railway station has a substantial car park that charges £2.20 per day. Otherwise, you can try to park anywhere near Henley town centre.Walk notes Henley is normally thought of as a riverside town but, as this walk demonstrates, it is also on the southern edge of the Chiltern Hills, a charming area of hidden valleys, mixed woodland and farmland and largely gentle slopes. The walk takes you up one side and down the other of the long valley leading up to Stonor, with plenty of charming views en route. Lunch is at the pretty and quiet Crown Inn (01491 638 364) in the village of Pishill, and the return is past hidden farms and through ancient woods into Henley, with its excellent tearooms, such as Crispins (52 Hart Street/01491 574 232) and Henley Tea Rooms (Thames Side/01491 411 412). If you fancy a later start, you can take a shorter, though equally pleasant, walk along country lanes from the Rainbow Inn (01491 574 879) in Middle Assendon. This lets you shorten the route to 14km (8.8 miles). The best spot on both walks is the hill before Middle Assendon, which has a superb panorama up the valley towards Stonor.OS Landranger Map 175.OS Explorer Map 171.
Seaford to Eastbourne, East SussexBest for sea viewsLength 21km (13.1 miles). Duration 12 hours (seven hours walking).Start Seaford Station.Finish Eastbourne Station.Getting there Two trains an hour (one an hour on Sunday) go from London Victoria to Seaford, changing at Lewes (journey time: one hour 27-34 minutes). There are two direct trains hourly (only one is direct on Sunday; change at Brighton for the other) back from Eastbourne to Victoria (journey time: one hour 29 minutes – 10-25 minutes longer on Sunday). It is best to park at Seaford or Exceat, and catch the bus back there from Eastbourne. You could also park at Lewes, and catch trains to Seaford and back from Eastbourne.Walk notes This classic cliff-top walk – one of the finest coastal walks in England – affords stunning (and very famous) views of the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, before ending in the seaside town of Eastbourne. En route, you can swim in the sea at Cuckmere Haven or Birling Gap (provided that the tide is in – and watch out for underwater rocks at Birling Gap). Note, however, that this is a very strenuous walk. Apart from the start, finish and a short section around Cuckmere Haven, almost none of it is flat, and there are several steep climbs. The very scenic section between Cuckmere Haven and Birling Gap, in particular, is a series of steep ascents and descents, and it is a long, though relatively gradual, climb up to Beachy Head.Exceat Farmhouse Restaurant & Tea Room (01323 870 218) at Seven Sisters has a charming open-air courtyard and serves a varied homemade hot lunch menu, and after that sandwiches, ploughman’s lunches and teas until around 5pm (or 4pm if custom is light).If you want to break up the route, a useful bus, the 12, runs from Seaford to Eastbourne via Exceat four times an hour from Monday to Saturday. On Sunday and bank holidays, it is the 13 and also calls twice an hour at Beachy Head and Birling Gap. For more details telephone 01273 886200 or see www.buses.co.uk.OS Landranger Map 199.OS Explorer Map 123.
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