This walk starts from a lonely station and wends its way through remote valleys, woods and tiny settlements in the undulating landscape of the High Weald. It descends into the Eden Valley for refreshment stops in the beautiful villages of Penshurst and Chiddingstone, before ending in Hever. Each of these three villages has an interesting church which is worth visiting, as well as a popular historic house open to the public.
Penshurst Place is a well-preserved medieval manor house with an attractive formal garden, the home of the Sidney family since the 16thC. It is open weekends from mid-February to March, and daily from April to October; admission is £12.50, or £10.50 for the gardens only (2020).
Chiddingstone Castle is a castellated manor house rebuilt in the 19thC, containing an unusual collection of art and curiosities left behind by its late owner, Denys Eyre Bower. The grounds are usually open but currently the house is only open Sundays and a few weekdays from August to October; admission is £9.50 (2020).
Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, was restored in the early 20thC by William Waldorf Astor and features some spectacular gardens. It is open daily from April to October and on some dates in November and December; full-price admission is £18.80, or £15.55 for the gardens only (2020).
The second half of the Main Walk will be familiar to anyone who knows the Hever to Leigh walk (1–19), but the recommended lunch and tea stops are in different villages and the only significant overlap is the section from Chiddingstone to Hever (done here in the reverse direction).
The Wealden soil does not drain well and parts of the walk can be muddy even after moderate amounts of rain.