We are a London and South East England based hiking club.
We organise day walks an hour or 2 by train from London.
The walks come from the Saturday Walkers Club website. They all have online walk directions, OS maps and GPS data. Some of them feature in the 2 Time Out Country Walks books.
Our walks are "self-led" - i.e. they do not have a leader. Everyone is responsible for leading them self, so everyone is expected to have a copy of the route.
The organisers only posts the meetup - they do not attend the walk (If they did, they would be effectively be walk leaders, and would require third party liability insurance, meaning the walks couldn't be free)
Meetup with everyone else
- in the front carriage of the suggest train (look for people dressed for hiking),
- or on the station platform at the start of the walk (by the station exit)
- Look out for people who came by car at the station exit.
Introduce yourself to each other, and have a great time.
This may sound a little haphazard, but trust us, it actually works very well.
We aim to build up to organising :
- walks 7 days a week, with several walks at the weekend.
- early and late starting walks
- short/easy and longer/harder walks
- walks with themes, e.g. gay, with children, 20's, 30's, visiting National Trust properties, swimming walks in the summer, etc.
We were inspired to start this group when we found out that some other groups were charging you to do our walks, and passing them off as their own work.
Other Meetup groups are welcome to use Saturday Walker's Club walks provided (1) they link to them ("attribution required") and (2) if they are commercial (i.e. that charge to attend the walk) they must contact the SWC first to license use of the walks.
Our walks are free. Eventually we aim to charge £2 per walk - £1 to cover costs and £1 as a royalty to the walk's author (for the TOCW walks, the money will go to a charity).
Please feel free to change your mind at the last minute, especially if its raining, the dog ate your homework, or you overslept. Also feel free to go on a walk you didn't RSVP for. Sorry, no refunds, but then the walks are free anyway :)
- These walks are open to all, everybody welcome.
- Meet in the front carriage of the train, or on the platform at the start of the walk.
- Please note that the club just organises the Meetup posts, not the walks themselves. It has no legal existence or insurance. The rota enables people independently walking the route to walk together. 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 check that the start and finish stations are on the same line!
Train Tickets Advice
Summary for travel on Weekends and Public Holidays
- For 1 or 2 people, buy a Network Rail Card (£28, 1/3 off fares for up to 4 people).
- For 3 or 4 people, ask for a Groupsave ticket (4 people travel for the price of 2).
- If you already have a London Zone season ticket, 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 1-Day Travelcard with a Network card discount (£5.60, 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
- 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 normally costs £25 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)
- 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, e.g. 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: (4 travel for the price of 2) 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
- Southern Train's 1 day off-peak passes : Day Save (£10 for 1 person, or £20 for 4 person - buy a week in advance) and Downlander (£12, includes some buses, buy the day before)
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 a machine 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 (e.g. 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
- Buy an off-peak Zones 1-6 Travelcard (from 9.30am) and then a discounted return ticket from Zone 6 to the destination
- Use an Oyster card for your initial journey and then a discounted return ticket to the destination
Tourists and Visitors to London
- If there are 3 or 4 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 cost £25. It pays for itself after 4 trips or so.
- 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