Xmas Hike & Dinner! Oystercard Special,10m of Countryside & Charles Darwins Hse!

  • January 3 · 9:45 AM
  • As stated in Event Text

Want to do something festive? Have fun? get some exercise and have Christmas dinner with a great bunch of people ???!!!! Time for the Rugged Tracks Christmas Dinner, lets have some fun on the last Saturday of the Christmas holidays !

This is an easy 10 mile hike straight out into the Kent countryside, accessible on oystercards! This area is one of the South East's most beautiful spots, this hike starts in the furthest reach of travel card zone 6 and proceeds deep into the beautiful Kent countryside. Cuckoo wood which we pass through is known for it's ancient woodland and gemlike wildflowers, In summer months Orchids, Violets and Primroses spot the earth like natural gemstones. We've also seen it with pristine white snow like an arctic wilderness.  








We visit the outside of the house of Charles Darwin's House (Downe House) and take lunch at the Queens Head - a historic pub, and Darwin's local where he perused his theory's after returning from the Voyage of the Beagle in 1836!

It's in this village Darwin developed his (then scandalous!) theory of natural selection, and furthered his theory after five years sailing, he continued studying the huge range of species in this local area. In particular he looked at the orchids and their pollinators, the area is now being proposed as a world heritage site.

We pass then through ancient woodland, the villages of Downe and Cudham back through Foxberry Wood, and as always to a lovely pub to finish for a well earned beer stop and on this occasion a giant Christmas Feast YUMMMMMMM!

This pub does THE most AMAZING FOOD and seeing as we've just done a nice big hike it is the most guilt free festive feast you will get this side of the north pole! It's an amazing gastropub with a log fire, proper christmas indulgence!!!

You can see the photos and reviews of the last time we did this Christmas hike here: http://www.meetup.com/RuggedTracks/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=12327402 and here http://www.meetup.com/RuggedTracks/events/88505662/

Cost: The hike costs just £5.00

Meeting Point 1: Charring Cross Overland Station, at the Cornish Pasty Stall (of course). Have with you an Oystercard with enough money on it to get to zone 6 and back. 9.50am

Meeting point 2: Outside Orpington Station, (no waiting for latecomers at meeting point 2). 10.40 am.

Meeting Point 3: Outside The Queens Head Pub, 73 High Street, Green Street Green, Orpington, BR6 6BQ. (No waiting for latecomers at meeting point 3). 11.00am.

Distance: 10 miles

Walking Time: 3.25 hrs (excluding lunch break)

Difficulty: 7/10 Moderate, some hills. If it has been raining, expect mud!

NB: If the ground is really wet the mud can be quite bad on this route in which case the hike can be bad.If I find the ground is to wet nearer the time I will change this route to an Epping Forest route, with equally good pubs!

Travel card zone: Cheslfield, Zone 6.

Note 1: Darwins House is a modest sized Victorian villa, we will stop to have a look at the outside, we will not be going inside. If you want to visit it by yourself you can do this during the one hour lunchbreak, (there is an entry charge google English Heritage Downe House Entry).

Note 2: Whilst this is a Christmas dinner it is non exclusive, there will be no religion involved, just lot's of food. All faiths and beliefs are welcome, (except maybe satanists and climate sceptics, those I'd have a problem with.)

Note 3: I very much encourage the wearing of reindeer antlers on this hike.


Things to bring:

Water! - At least 1 litre


Money for pub

Sandwiches for lunch/munchies.


Wear layers and walking shoes/boots or the nearest thing you have



Worried about coming on your own? More on walking pace, and questions about distance, footwear, weather, return train times or safety? Refer to our frequently asked questions here:


If I can do anything to make this walk more accessible please get in touch by sending me a text message or voicemail.


Train Travel: On our walks we ask people to group into as many group 3 groups as possible, you will have to travel back with the group. Read more here: http://www.meetup.com/RuggedTracks/messages/boards/thread/17073472


There are tube closures in London every weekend. Plan your journey here:



N.B: You will be required to fill in a next of kin form, if you don't want to do this I am unable to take you on the event. Please bring next of kin contact details.


You must be able to at least run 100 meters for a bus to join one of our hikes.

Always check the group website for live updates to meeting point and directions before leaving for an event!

We are  always looking for new organisers!

Get in touch!

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  • Eileen M.

    Hi - Thank you so much for a brilliant hike. It was wet but very good

    1 · January 4

  • Kerri

    Another great hike! Thanks Cath. Glad I came- weather reports always exaggerated. And love the fact that there are always backup ideas in case the weather men are ever right.

    1 · January 4

  • Nicole

    Gosh! You guys were brave going out in that weather. Where I live it did not stop raining all day. Well done!

    January 4

  • Nori

    Despite of the weather, we enjoyed our new year challenge very much. Good guide, nice pubs, and interesting company. Well organised. We look forward to the next one.

    2 · January 3

  • Lucinda

    Great walk, Catherine! Mud, dogs, open fires and interesting people.

    1 · January 3

  • Nicole

    Oh Super! Got it. See you at meeting point 1!! Laters..

    January 2

  • Catherine B.

    Meeting Point 1: Charring Cross Overland Station, at the Cornish Pasty Stall (of course). Have with you an Oystercard with enough money on it to get to zone 6 and back. 9.50am

    Meeting point 2: Outside Orpington Station, (no waiting for latecomers at meeting point 2). 10.40 am.

    Meeting Point 3: Outside The Queens Head Pub, 73 High Street, Green Street Green, Orpington, BR6 6BQ. (No waiting for latecomers at meeting point 3). 11.00am.


    January 2

  • Catherine B.

    Nicole! Can't wait to see you...

    January 2

  • Nicole

    Hi Katherine, long time no see! I can't seem to find what time and where we are to meet tomorrow. Can you help me out here? Looking forward! Nicole

    2 · January 2

  • Catherine B.

    Kerri's other +1 is Gary...:)

    December 30

  • Catherine B.

    Forecast is also clear in the afternoon and improving by the hour....

    January 2

  • Catherine B.

    Hi All just to let you know there is 1mm ph rain forecast for saturday. That in the great scheme of things is "not much" also the forecasts are notoriously pessimistic so it might not even actually rain. Additionally this route is covered almost all the way round, we've done it in hammering rain and hardly got wet at all.

    So like TV, the sun always shines on RT! If you're scared of a few drops of rain please just change your RSVP but pease don't complain on the message board as they're are still alot of people that are up for a good time!


    January 2

  • Catherine B.

    Keri.. soup + tart, Jim, prawn cocktail and beef Wellington. Gary prawn cocktail and Turkey. Catherine + Andre 2 x Tart +Christmas pudding

    December 31

    • Diane L.

      Hi I'd like the beef and chocolate brownie please ... Diane L

      1 · January 1

  • Paul H.

    probably be driving starting from windsor Staines anticlockwise on the M25 . there are 2 seats free if anybody wants a lift.

    December 31

  • Catherine B.

    Hi All, the pub is kindly extending the Christmas menu for us for this dinner (yey!) It would be really helpfull if as many as possible of you could make your menu choices and let me know in the comments here that would be great. The menu is here... cut and paste the link......thanks! Christmas menu 2014.pdf

    1 · December 30

    • Nori

      I'm not a big fan of Xmas meal. Will it be alright to order something else?

      December 31

    • Catherine B.

      Yes no problem, they will do normal pub menu too, but the Christnas menu is Yum! :)

      December 31

  • Catherine B.

    Hi Robert, we should finish walking about[masked] then it normally is just a matter of getting everybody fed and watered for a couple of hours so i guess we get back about 8-9ish.

    If you prefer you can come just for the hike and skip the meal. It's all in the oyster card zones anyway so you don't have to wrap worry about a group 3 ticket. Do that and you'll probably be back more like 6-7.

    Look forward to seeing you!

    oh and everyone remember to bring sandwiches or a snack for the way round because you might not want a big lunch when we having a big dinner! Also the lunch time pub will struggle to feed us all at once!

    December 31

  • Robert

    Hi Cath, when do you estimate we will be back in London?

    December 30

  • Catherine B.

    Standard sausage was my first ever dog! waggy tails!

    1 · December 29

  • Nori

    Do you have reindeer antlers small enough to fit on mini sausages? If so, welcome to try. They are quite wild doggies so they may feel embarrassed to be dressed. But we can try!

    1 · December 28

  • Catherine B.

    Oh yeh!!! We lurve doggies! Only condition is they need to go on the lead near the road. Can we put reindeer antlers on them? Can we can we????!!!!

    1 · December 28

  • Nori

    My plus one is Siti. Can I bring my two small dogs too, I wonder...

    December 28

  • Catherine B.

    My +1 is Andrej Liso, Kerri's +1 on my RSVP is Jim Woodley.... that's cheap drinks for us then!

    December 27

  • Catherine B.

    Hello Saqib! What a great question!!

    I have to admit the mileage on this route has varied a bit over the years but we actually got someone to Map my Walk it last time and I was assured it was 10 miles. It's a fairly easy 10miles though I would say :)

    December 26

    • Saqib

      Thanks for the update 7 miles was like a starter of 2 course meal ;-) I am sure after Christmas and new years calories everyone would like a bit of stretch :)

      December 26

    • Catherine B.

      yes exactly, we shall overlook the second Christmas dinner taht comes after the hike!!

      1 · December 26

  • Saqib

    Hi Catherine, is this 7 miles or 10 miles as both are mentioned in your description, please confirm ?

    December 23

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