Forum Header

This Weeks Walks

Forum

Mother of a Suicide: Fighting for the Truth


Joanna Lane, a long time club walker, has written a book about about the death of their son and its wider implications. It is now available on Amazon.

Walk Requests

Please remember, the walk posters are unpaid volunteers. They do their best to arrange with each other a wide mix of walks. Most of them like feedback, suggestions, and to be appreciated (= buy them a drink once in a while).

If you'd like a particular walk posted, you could reach out to you favourite walk poster, or ask for a "Blogger" invite so you can post it yourself (say, if you want to post a regular early-and-long or short-and-late walk).

Or, leave your request in a comment below.

Walk Reports 2015 : April to May

Reports on SWC walks from April to May. Closed to new comments.

Walk Reports have changed. Please see the new Recent Walks page.

Walk reports 2015 : February to March

Reports on SWC walks from February to March

For April reports onwards please use the post above

Walk reports 2014 : December to January

Reports on SWC walks from December to January

Walk reports 2014 : October - November

Reports on SWC walks from October to November

New members - how to join on our club walks

  • These walks are open to all, no need to book, everybody welcome.
  • Meet in the middle carriage of the train, or on the platform at the start of the walk.
  • Please note that the club just organises the rota, not the walks themselves. It has no legal existence or insurance. The rota enables people independently walking the route to walk togther. As such, you should bring the appropriate Time Out book or a printout of the walk directions.
  • The group is self-organising: do not expect to be led, and feel free to take your own pace, or form into smaller groups.
  • The cognoscenti check the return train times.
  • You can also catch a train from your local station, or connect with the walk at an outer London station, eg. Clapham Junction, East Croydon.
  • You can of course drive to a walk, but (especially with Book 1 walks) check that the start and finish stations are on the same line!
  • Walk Rota: The Book 1 (Vigorous, Nature, Relaxed and Creative) and Book 2 (Main, Vigorous, Sunday) walk rotas have been replaced over time. See above for the current walk schedule.
  • To submit a walk or social event of your own, contact one of the 'bloggers', or see the contacts page.

Other Groups who use our walks.

OS Maps for smartphones, tablets and walker's handheld devices

If you have one of these, then you can have the OS map, overlayed with GPS routes from this or other websites, with a 'you are here' marker, which, especially in lowland (where navigation is harder), is amazingly brilliant.

Problems are
  • Digital OS mapping, while much cheaper than it was, is still very expensive
  • Screens are small so only useful for micro navigation (no big picture) - tablets win here.
  • Smartphone/Tablet batteries are getting better, with power saving, they can now last a day with GPS enabled
  • Dedicated Walkers Satnav batteries lasts all day, but hardware is an additional £200 or so, and you are then locked in to that hardware provider, and its an extra device to carry around.
  • The digital OS maps for all these are 'closed', i.e. if you buy the mapping for one application, it will not work with any of the others, you'd have to re-purchase the expensive maps.
Prices for OS 1:25K mapping for GB Mainland:
  • Anquet (PC and smartphone app) : £100 (1:50K) £280 (1:25K)
  • MemoryMap (PC and smartphone app) : £300 (1:25K)
  • Ordnance Survey MapFinder (smartphone app only) : mixed reviews (product not yet mature?), map prices not updated yet
  • Satmap Active 12 (walker's satnav + GB mapping) approx £400 (mapping only if you already have the satnav: £230)
If you have a smartphone, consider:
  • Anquet. Android/iPhone app. Maps 20% off with code SWC20. At around £100 for UK wide OS 1:50K mapping. The OS 1:25K mapping is a nice to have if you can afford it. Its handy having a camera/phone/satnav all in one. Only very serious walkers need consider a dedicated device, e.g. Satmap 12.
  • Free! Orux (app) + OpenStreetMap.. Android only. Not as good as OS mapping, not as detailed, and not every path is shown, but free!

The SWC Website

  • Our DNS registrar is 'Godaddy' at a recurring cost of £7 a year.
  • We are using Cloudflare (free, recommended) as a CDN (Content Delivery Network) which actually serves the pages to you.
  • As of March 2016, the website is hosted on "Google Cloud Compute". We pay for the server, the bandwidth, and disk space used - around £10 a month (about £120/year). We also have a much more powerful development server, but we only pay for it when its actually switched on (a few hours a month). Otherwise, we just pay to store its disk (about £1/month total)
  • Our Walks and Source Code are managed in a Github.com repository (and so backed up) at around US$7 a month (About £50/year)
  • Nature/Weather, Railways, Swimming, and parts of This Week's Walks and the forum are hosted by Google's Blogger (currently free)
  • Mapping is from Bing, Google, and OS Openspace (currently free).
  • The club has an annual income from NDC (from royalties on the TOCW books) of £250 a year. So with an expenditure of ~ £180 per year, the result is still happiness.

If you wish to discuss the website, please do so here.

Forum (to May 08)

Closed to new comments: see new Forum box above to air your views

Train Travel

Summary for travel on Weekends and Public Holidays

  • For 1 or 2 people, buy a Network Rail Card (£30, 1/3 off fares for up to 4 people, children £1).
  • For 3+ people, ask for a Groupsave ticket (1/3 off).
  • If you already have a London Zone season ticket, its straight forward, buy a train ticket from (say) "Boundary Zone 3" to your destination.
  • If you don't, and live near a train station, buy a ticket from your local train station direct to your destination (which includes discounted cross London travel by tube if necessary).
  • If you don't, and live near a tube station, buy a paper 1-Day Travelcard with a Network card discount. Its £7.90 (£8.40 for Zones 1-9 for Chilterns walks), available from the ticket office only, which open later on weekends...). It covers your tube fare into Central London, and by trains out to Zone 6. At a train station buy a second ticket from "Boundary Zone 6" to your destination.
    • Some train station ticket machines (eg. Southern) sell "Boundary Zone x" tickets. If there's a "Buy a ticket from another station" button, select it and type in a station name of BOU to bring up the "Boundary Zone x" options.

Current News / Special Offers

Railcards

  • Don't pay full fare! Check the terms and conditions on the Railcard website and buy whichever card will get you discounted train fares (generally 1/3 off)
  • Network Railcard: All the book walks, and most of the SWC walks are in the area covered by the Network Railcard, so buy this if you are not eligible for any of the other cards; it costs £30 for a year and the discount applies to up to four people travelling together, but…
  • Annual season ticket holders : A Gold Card gets equivalent discounts with fewer restrictions without needing to buy a separate Railcard; they can also buy a Network Railcard for a partner or friend for £1
  • Other railcards are: Senior (60+), Young Persons (under 26 and students), Family (travel with 1+ children)

Ticket Types

  • Buy Off-peak day return tickets wherever possible - this is what you'll usually be offered. See separate advice below for Weekday Walks. If the walk returns from a different station, check the advice in the walk document and/or ask at your local station
  • Super Off Peak day return tickets: Some rail companies offer special fares, eg. at the time of writing there is a 'FCC trains only' fare for travel to stations between Three Bridges and Brighton. The best way to find out about these is to search for the journey (starting from London - all stations) on the Network Rail timetable website, and then click fares
  • Advance tickets: Be wary, as they are inflexible - you have to specify both the outward and return trains when you book, and you may not be permitted to break your journey at an intermediate station

Long term special offers

  • Groupsave tickets: (1/3 off for 3+ people) are worth considering if you are travelling with friends and particularly if none of you has a Railcard, but you have to travel together for both the outward and return journeys
  • "FCC only" (was Thameslink) tickets from St Pancras/London Bridge south towards Brighton are ~ 50% cheaper on weekends than "normal" (any company) tickets.
  • Southern Train's 1-day off-peak passes: DaySave (£14, or £28 for 4 people) and Downlander (includes some buses - online only)

Season Ticket Holders

  • If you have a season ticket covering (say) Zones 1-3, buy a ticket from "Boundary Zone 3" to the destination; these aren't available from most ticket machines but you can buy them from any National Rail station to avoid queueing at a busy London terminus
  • If your season ticket is loaded on an Oyster card and the destination is within the Oyster area, buy an Oyster Extension Permit before you start your journey

If you don't have a Season Ticket...

  • If your route involves a journey across London, consider buying a Zones 1-6 Travelcard plus a ticket from "Boundary Zone 6" to the destination; this is more flexible than a return ticket and can be cheaper
  • If you live near a train station, consider starting your journey from there. It is usually much cheaper to buy a ticket from there (which includes tube travel between London train terminus if necessary) with the railcard discount, rather than than tube tickets to/from the London terminus and the train ticket from there as well.

Weekday Travel (Monday to Friday excluding Public Holidays)

  • Cheaper "off peak day return" tickets (usually half price compared to rush hour prices) are not vaild before 9:30
  • Railcard discounts vary with each type of card, eg. Network Railcards have a minimum discounted fare of £13, and can't be used before 10:00
  • If you need to buy a ticket from your local station to central London or a connecting station (eg. East Croydon) and need to set off before 10am, consider these options:
    • Buy an off-peak day return (valid after 9.30am) from your local National Rail station to the destination
    • Use an Oyster card for your initial journey and then a discounted return ticket to the destination.

Daily Travelcards - the Gory Details

As of 2015, there are 2 types of daily 'travelcard'. Peak travel is cheaper, but off-peak is much more expensive!

Oyster Daily Price Cap

  • Oyster Card daily price cap is valid 1) at any time, and 2) on tubes, trams, buses, 'overground' trains, and and trains from Paddington, Marylebone, Euston and Fenchurch Street.
  • It is not valid on trains from Waterloo, Victoria, London Bridge, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, St Pancras or City Thameslink. See this map
  • Costs vary per zone, e.g. Zone 1-3 is £7.50, Zone 1-6 is £11.70.
  • There is a 1/3 off-peak discount (weekends, after 9:30 weekdays) for Young Persons, Family, and Senior Railcards, i.e. not Network railcards
  • You must 'load' the 'price cap' onto your Oyster card in advance, as you will not be able to "touch out" at the Zone 6 Boundary on your train to the walk.

Paper 1-Day Travelcards

  • A paper only off-peak Zone 1-6 Travelcard is £12 (£7.90 with a Network railcard at weekends and public holidays). It is valid on all services (tubes, trains, trams and buses)
  • Tube stations only also sell a Zone 1-9 Travelcard (for Chilterns walks) for £13 (£8.40 railcard)
  • At tube stations, the discounted ticket is only available from Ticket Offices (which open later at weekends), i.e. not from machines. I can get mine from a newsagent next to the tube station that sells TFL tickets

General

  • Load the 'price cap' (for TFL fare train routes) or buy the Travelcard (for all train routes) at the start of your journey.
  • No travelcards or price capping is valid on the Heathrow Express or St Pancras High Speed Trains

Tourists and Visitors to London

  • If there are 3+ of you, it's easy - use Groupsave
  • Train tickets for these walks cost around £10 to £20, and a Network Card (which gives 1/3 off for up to 4 people) costs £30. It pays for itself after 4 trips or so.

Ticket Splitting

  • Ticket splitting can be useful way to save money if you are travelling a long distance by train. Split your journey into smaller chunks and pay less than an anytime or off peak return fare. There are several ticket splitting calculators on the web e.g. TicketySplit

General Advice

  • For destinations in the Amersham/Chesham area, a Zones 1-9 Travelcard is usually best; you can buy these at Underground stations (with the Network Railcard discount) and other TfL outlets but not at National Rail stations
  • Note the restrictions which apply to premium services like the Gatwick Express and Southeastern's High Speed Train; the fares are higher and "Boundary Zone x" tickets are not valid

Suggestions, Offers, House & Garden Visitor Passes

Suggestions

  • Ian Visits has lots of unusual events around London - e.g. walks, lectures, open days - may of which are free

Offers

  • The Southern Trekking and Mountaineering Club offers Saturday Walkers 3 months free guest membership. For more details, contact Robin (robinATsegulemDOTcom) or the club's membership secretary via their website (mention SWC)

Heritage House and Botanic Garden Membership Schemes (2014 prices)

  • Historic Houses Association (Annual: £45 single /£72 double) : Membership scheme which gives free entrance to many houses passed by the walks.
  • National Trust (First Year: £43.50/£71.62) : Covers several of the more well known attractions (e.g. Nymans Gardens, Wakehurst, Winkworth, Knole House), and free parking at NT car parks.
  • English Heritage (£49/£86) : Has a similar scheme, but only a few of its properties are covered by these walks.
  • The Art Fund (First Year: £42.75/£64.50) : Eclectic mixture of NT, English Heritage, and museums. Not many places on the walks, but maybe of interest as it covers most London museums. Recommended.
  • The National Pinetum, Kew Gardens / Wakehurst, and Heligan have a reciprocal membership scheme.