CIMG5014

Ockhams pond

11-Dec-12 • Sean O'Neill

banner, swcwalk175, swcwalks, walkicon

CIMG6381

Heathersome's Wood

08-May-13 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk175, swcwalks, walkicon

CIMG5684

Looking back towards Ashdown Forest

16-Jul-16 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk175, swcwalks, walkicon

CIMG5783

Crippenden Manor

03-Aug-16 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk175, swcwalks, walkicon

CIMG6180

St Mary Magdalene church, Cowden

24-Aug-16 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk175, swcwalks, walkicon

CIMG5006

Mistletoe at Christmas Place

11-Dec-12 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk175, swcwalks

CIMG5008

Christmas Mill pond

11-Dec-12 • Sean O'Neill

swcwalk175, swcwalks

Hever to Ashurst walk

A surprisingly remote part of the High Weald on the Kent/East Sussex border

Hever to Ashurst
Length

Main Walk: 16¼ km (10.1 miles). Four hours 5 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 8 hours.

Short Walk 1, starting from Cowden: 12½ km (7.8 miles). Three hours 5 minutes walking time.

Short Walk 2, finishing at Cowden: 11½ km (7.1 miles). Two hours 45 minutes walking time.

OS Maps

Explorers 147 & 135. Hever station, map reference TQ465445, is in Kent, 3 km SE of Edenbridge.

Toughness

4 out of 10 (3 and 2 for the Short Walks).

Features

This walk takes in a quiet part of the High Weald on the border of Kent and East Sussex. At its centre is the sleepy village of Cowden, whose surprisingly industrial past is preserved in some evocative local names: The Old Forge, Furnace Pond, etc. The village did indeed have a blast furnace from 1573 and the region's plentiful supplies of iron ore supported a thriving industry until the 18thC, when coke from the northern coalfields replaced charcoal from local trees as the preferred fuel.

The walk route passes several attractive old manor houses but the area's well-known historic houses which are open to the public (Hever Castle, Penshurst Place, etc) are all on the other side of the railway. Away from the tourist coaches, this is a surprisingly remote area of low hills and wooded valleys with some fine bluebell woods, notably Heathersome's Wood and Coomb Wood.

As with any walk in the High Weald, you will need to be prepared for muddy or waterlogged paths at almost any time of the year. Some of the little-used footpaths on the walk route are not easy to follow, especially when overgrown in summer.

Walk Options

Two link routes are described between Cowden village and its station (2 km away by road) which in effect split the walk into two Short Walks. The first would be worth considering if you missed the train out: you could start from Cowden station an hour later and get to the village at about the same time as the main group.

For a longer walk you could combine the Cowden finish with one of the variations of the Cowden to Hever walk (#78), creating a long Hever or Cowden Circular walk.

You will need to print those directions from the other walk document.

Additional Notes

An alternative afternoon route was dropped when the White Horse at Holtye closed in 2014. Without the option of a second lunch pub there was little point in retaining this slightly longer route.

A rather artificial extension (out and back along the valley between Cowden and Moat Farm) has also been dropped. However, these sections are part of the Short Walk routes to and from Cowden station and could be inserted into the Main Walk.

Transport

Hever, Cowden and Ashurst are adjacent stations on the Oxted–Uckfield line, which has an hourly service from London Bridge, taking 40 minutes to Hever (longer on Sundays, when you have to change at East Croydon and/or Oxted). Buy a return to Ashurst (Kent) (or Cowden if you will be finishing there).

If driving, there is a large privately-owned parking area next to Hever station which costs £2.50 at all times. Cowden station has a small free car park “for Railway users only”; the one at Ashurst costs £2.90 Mon–Fri, free at weekends (2020).

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 10:00 from London Bridge to Hever. If you are doing Short Walk 1 from Cowden and want a pub lunch in the village, leave an hour later.

Train Times
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
Lunch

The only pub on the walk route is The Fountain (01342-850528) in Cowden village, 7¾ km from Hever (4 km from Cowden station). This is an attractive village pub with a new conservatory and a secluded beer garden. It serves good home-made food up to 2.30pm (later on Sundays), but is closed Monday lunchtimes (except Bank Holidays). At weekends it is popular with walking and cycling groups, so call ahead to book a table.

Tea

There are few refreshment places in this remote countryside, but the routes to Ashurst pass the Perryhill Orchard Farm Shop & Tea Rooms (01892-770595) in mid-afternoon. The Farm Shop is open daily to 5pm and sells a tempting range of local ciders (which you can taste beforehand); the tearoom closes at 4.30pm. Allow at least an hour to reach Ashurst station, 4 km away.

There are no other refreshment places before Ashurst station, and none at all on the link route to Cowden station. However, you could break your return journey at Oxted, which has several cafés and coffee shops plus a conveniently placed JD Wetherspoon's pub right next to the station, the Oxted Inn (01883-723440).

Profile
Help Us!

After the walk, we would love to get your feedback

You can upload photos to the SWC Group on Flickr (upload your photos) and videos to Youtube. This walk's tags are:

swcwalks
swcwalk175
By Train

Out (not a train station)

Back (not a train station)

By Car

Start TN8 7ER Map Directions Return to the start:

Finish TN3 9TL Map Directions Travel to the start:

Amazon
Help

National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Aug-20

Copyright © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml

Walk Directions  

The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.

Hever to Ashurst

Click the heading below to show/hide the walk route for the selected option(s).

Walk Map: Hever to Ashurst Walk Map

©

Walk Options

Click on any option to show only the sections making up that route, or the heading above to show all sections.

  1. Main Walk (16¼ km)
  1. Short Walk 1, starting from Cowden (12½ km)
  2. Short Walk 2, finishing at Cowden (11½ km)

Walk Directions

Click on any section heading to switch between detailed directions and an outline, or the heading above to switch all sections.

If you are doing a Short Walk from Cowden station, start at §E.

  1. Hever Station to Christmas Mill (2½ km)
    • From the station, follow the Eden Valley Walk north-west as far as Lydens Farm. Turn left onto Lydens Lane and go along it to the B2026. Cross the road and continue on a footpath heading south-west to the large pond at Christmas Mill.
    1. Arriving from London, do not exit through the station car park but cross the footbridge and take a fenced path sloping up the bank. At the top turn sharp right at a path junction, joining the Eden Valley Walk? (EVW). Go through a metal kissing gate into a large field and continue along its right-hand edge for a short distance, where it opens out.

      You will be leaving this irregularly-shaped field away to the left, but the right of way takes an indirect route which perhaps reflects older field boundaries.

    2. Start by aiming for the left-hand end of a copse 150m ahead. There is a waymarker post there indicating that you turn left to head for the left-hand end of another group of trees, also 150m away. Continue alongside this second group of trees (which you will find are concealing a large pond), keeping them on your right.
    3. Follow the field edge round to the right, going over a stile next to the trees along the way. Just before reaching a fieldgate in the corner go through a metal side gate in the wire fence and bear left onto a farm track, passing a barn and then a house on your right. Before the track turns right, veer left at a footpath marker post onto a grassy path, continuing through a wooden gate into a private garden.
    4. Follow the gravel path round to the right of Lydens Barn and continue along its driveway past a restored oast house to Lydens Lane. Turn left (leaving the EVW) and go along this quiet lane for 700m to a T-junction with the B2026.
    5. Cross the main road carefully and go over a stile to continue on a grassy track between hedges. At the end go over another stile and turn half-right to go along the bottom of a large field, maintaining direction where the hedge bends right after 200m. Continue on a fenced track along the bottom of the next field.
    6. At the end go over an unobtrusive stile to the right of a metal fieldgate, cross a lane and go through a small metal gate to continue along the right-hand edge of three more fields. In the third field follow a grassy path round to the left to the top corner (ignoring an exit in the bottom corner and a gate into a private garden). Go past an oak tree and over a stile to come out onto a lane at a bend.
  2. Christmas Mill to Crippenden Manor (2 km)
    • Head south alongside the large pond, up a slope and down the driveway to Ockhams. Turn left by a pair of smaller ponds onto a footpath heading south-east, up through fields and then just inside the edge of a wood. Continue southwards between Shernden Wood and Cobhambury Wood, then down through a field to reach the driveway to Crippenden Manor.
    1. Turn left onto the lane to go uphill, with glimpses of a large old mill pond behind the trees on your right. Where the lane curves round to the left keep ahead on the driveway to “Ockhams”, signposted as a footpath and going gently downhill. At the bottom of the slope, where the drive goes between two ponds, turn left over a stile beside a large oak tree to go alongside the smaller pond, heading SE.
    2. At the end of the pond continue in the same direction, going gently uphill across a field. On the far side go over a stile, across a concrete driveway and over another stile into the next field, with two faint grassy paths ahead.
      • At the time of writing the right of way was the right-hand path, which goes through a makeshift gate in a new wire fence up to the field corner and continues along the right-hand side of a new private garden. The owner might be attempting to divert the footpath as he is encouraging walkers to take the less intrusive alternative path from the driveway: up to and alongside the new fence, then turning right at the top to come to the same place.
    3. Either way, just outside the exit from the top corner of the garden go through a gap in a wire fence into a wood and follow a path along its left-hand edge, still climbing gently. At the end go over a stile and across a plank bridge into a field and turn sharp right to go along its edge. Go over a stile in the fence ahead and continue along the right-hand side of a long narrow field between two woods, still climbing and gradually curving round to the left.
    4. At the brow of the hill go over some more stiles and keep ahead down a field, with a new wire fence on your left and later a copse. Ignore a gate on the left into these trees but go through a metal fieldgate ahead onto a short track, then out through another fieldgate onto the driveway to Crippenden Manor.
  3. Crippenden Manor to Leighton Manor (1¼ km)
    • Turn right and follow the drive uphill to the Equestrian Centre. Turn left in front of the house onto a footpath going downhill and turn right onto a bridleway in a wooded valley.
      • Alternatively, turn left onto the drive and bear right onto this bridleway, bypassing the Equestrian Centre.
      Follow the bridleway through the valley, then take a footpath heading east over a hill and down to the driveway to Leighton Manor.
    1. Unless you want to take a short cut which bypasses the attractive manor house, turn right onto the driveway and follow it round to the left, ignoring a bridleway off to the right at the bend.
      • For a short cut (which avoids a potentially muddy exit from the Equestrian Centre) you can turn left onto the driveway instead, then in 50m bear right onto a bridleway alongside a wooden fence into a wooded valley; the main route rejoins from the right after 200m. If you take this short cut (saving 250m), resume the directions at [?].
    2. The suggested route goes up to and past some riding stables in the large Equestrian Centre. Go through a wooden gate across the driveway into a small landscaped area, with a pond on the right and Crippenden Manor? directly ahead. Veer left in front of the house to head E, passing a footpath signpost and some more stables to reach a metal fieldgate.
    3. Go through the gate and follow a faint grassy path down the slope towards the right-hand field edge (with a good view of the manor house over your right shoulder). Continue down the field edge to the bottom corner. Ignore a fieldgate off to the right and go over a concealed stile onto a short path which crosses a stream on a wooden footbridge. At a T-junction turn right onto a bridleway, the short cut mentioned above.
    4. Take the bridleway through the wooded valley for 200m, eventually veering left at a marker post to cross a stream on a wide brick bridge. On the other side do not follow the bridleway round to the left but keep ahead through a small metal gate on a footpath which climbs steeply uphill, heading E. At the top of the hill pass to the right of an oak tree and go through another gate into a second field.
    5. Go straight across this field and through a gate in the middle of the far side. Turn half-right as indicated to find a gate near the bottom right-hand corner. Follow a path down and across a stream on a wooden footbridge. On the other side veer right up a short slope and go across the driveway to Leighton Manor.
  4. Leighton Manor to Cowden (village) (2 km)
    • Turn right onto a footpath going over another low hill and through a wooded valley. At the end turn left onto the Sussex Border Path, passing Waystrode Manor. Continue along Spode Lane and North Street into Cowden village. Turn right onto the High Street for the Fountain pub.
    1. Go through a metal gate and continue up the right-hand side of a large field, with a fence and trees on your right almost completely screening the landscaped grounds of Leighton Manor? in the valley below. At the top of the slope, where the fence turns half-right, bear left and follow a faint grassy path across the field, passing an isolated tree in the middle.
    2. On the far side go through a small metal gate, 10m to the left of a more obvious high metal gate. Follow a path down to the right, through a wood. At the bottom of the slope it crosses a stream on a plank footbridge and continues along the valley floor, where you may have to pick your way around some waterlogged sections.
    3. Eventually the woodland path climbs gently and comes to a three-way junction with a marker post where you turn left, joining the Sussex Border Path? (SBP). The path soon veers right up a short flight of steps and leaves the wood through a wooden gate.
    4. Keep ahead along a tarmac driveway, passing ponds on your left and the entrance to the picturesque Waystrode Manor? on your right. At the end go through a gate and continue in the same direction along a road (Spode Lane), taking care as there is no pavement.
    5. In 300m the road turns right and becomes North Street as it enters the village of Cowden. In a further 200m you come to a T-junction with the High Street, with the parish church just off to the left. For the village pub turn right onto the attractive High Street, away from the church and leaving the SBP. Follow the road round a left-hand bend and downhill to find The Fountain on the right.
      • If you are not visiting the lunchtime pub you can head straight for the churchyard, which is the route out of the village.
    6. Continue the directions at §G.

  5. Cowden Station to The Moat (2 km)
    • From the station, take the minor road up Blowers Hill and turn right into Wickens Lane. At the end continue on the footpath along the hillside and down to Sandfields Farm. Turn right onto Moat Lane.

      The first 500m are the same as Walk #78.

    1. From the single platform (where a plaque commemorates the victims of the Cowden rail crash?) go out through a gap to the left of the booking hall, turn right and take the left-hand of two ways out to a minor road. Go uphill on this road for 100m, then turn right into Wickens Lane, signposted as a public footpath. Go all the way along this lane, ignoring several driveways off to the left including (after 400m) the one signposted as a footpath taken by Walk #78.
    2. At the end of the lane keep ahead past a few buildings and a yard on a farm track, climbing gently. Just before this goes into a wood veer right onto a short grassy track leading to a double metal fieldgate. Go over a stile to its left and continue along the top edge of a large field, curving round to the left and with fine Wealden views off to the right.
    3. On the far side go over an awkward stile in the hedge and bear slightly left across the next field, climbing gently towards the far left-hand corner. Go through a gap and follow the field edge round to the left, passing a sandstone rock outcrop and with more fine views. You will be leaving the field past farm buildings down to the right, so stay in the main part of the field and turn right in the corner to go downhill towards them.
    4. At the bottom go through a gate and down past the buildings of Sandfields Farm to a minor road (Moat Lane). Turn right onto this road, crossing the railway line on a high bridge. In 300m ignore a bridleway on the left and a footpath on the right to continue past “The Moat” and a few other large properties.
  6. The Moat to Cowden (village) (2 km)
    • Continue along the lane past Moat Farm, then bear left onto a footpath heading west across fields to the B2026. Cross the road and continue on the footpath to Cowden village. Go through the churchyard and along the High Street for the Fountain pub.
    1. Continue along Moat Lane for a further 300m. After passing a converted oast house the road swings right and left, passes Moat Cottages and curves right. At this bend bear left onto a signposted footpath, going over a stile in the hedge to the right of a metal fieldgate. Go across a patch of grassland and over another stile into the first of three large fields.
    2. If there is no clear path head W towards the left-hand edge of a copse in the middle of the field and continue alongside it. At the far end of the trees turn half-left to go across the rest of this first field. As you go over a slight rise you should be able to see a couple of houses ahead, 500m away.

      You will be coming out onto a road by the house on the right (and there might be a grassy path heading directly towards it across the next two fields), but the right of way takes an indirect route which perhaps reflects older field boundaries.

    3. As indicated by a yellow waymarker by a metal gate at the end of the first field, bear left to aim for the left-end end of the boundary between the second and third fields. Go through a gap here and turn half-right to head back towards the house. At the left-hand end of its garden fence go out through a metal kissing gate onto the B2026.
    4. Cross the road carefully and take the signposted footpath just off to the right, a narrow enclosed path which goes past the grounds of a house set back from the road. At the end go through a metal gate and continue in the same direction across a field. Go through another gate on the far side and down a flight of steps in a wooded bank. Cross a stream on a new wooden footbridge and go back out through a gate into another field.
    5. Go along the right-hand field edge to a stile in the corner. Go over this and follow a path down through some trees into a narrow valley. Go along its left-hand side for 100m, then veer left through a gap in the trees to cross a stream on a footbridge. Continue up the right-hand side of a field, climbing steadily.
    6. At the top go over a stile and along an enclosed path beside a small cemetery, Cowden's New Burial Ground. At the end there is a junction of paths, with the path ahead leading into the churchyard.
      • The bridleway on the left is the route out of the village, so if you are not visiting the lunchtime pub you could resume the directions at [?] in §G.
    7. For the village pub, follow the churchyard path past the south door of St Mary Magdalene? (which is worth visiting) to an exit on the far side. Bear right onto a side street, then turn left to go along the attractive High Street.
  7. Cowden (village) to Kent Water (¾ km)
    • Cowden Leave the village on the path through the churchyard and take the bridleway heading south-east down to a path junction in front of Kent Water.

    1. Cowden From the pub you need to retrace your steps up the High Street and go past the junction with North Street into the churchyard. Follow the path past the south door of St Mary Magdalene? (which is worth visiting) to an exit in the far corner, where there are paths on either side of a wooden gate into the New Burial Ground.
    2. Take the bridleway to the right of the cemetery, a broad grassy path between a wooden fence and a brick wall. At the end go through a gate and keep ahead down the grassy border of a large field, heading SE.
    3. At the bottom go over a stile beside a wooden fieldgate and cross a ditch on a wide concrete bridge. Keep ahead across a meadow for 60m, where there is a bridge on the right across Kent Water?.
    4. If you are doing a Short Walk to Cowden station, go to §L.

  8. Kent Water to the A264 (1¾ km)
    • Turn right to cross Kent Water, and turn right again to follow the Sussex Border Path across a couple of fields and onto Sweetwoods Park Golf Course. At a path junction turn left onto a footpath heading south and then south-east as it climbs through Heathersome's Wood. At the top of the hill go across a large field to the A264.
    1. Cross the bridge into East Sussex, briefly (re)joining the Sussex Border Path? (SBP). On the other side immediately turn right again onto a grassy path across a meadow, with the picturesque Sussex House Farm? away to your left.
    2. After passing to the right of a large ornamental pond go over a stile next to a wooden fieldgate into another meadow. Keep ahead on a grassy path across it, passing to the right of an isolated tree. On the far side go over a stile in the hedge onto Sweetwoods Park Golf Course.

      Although a notice asks walkers to “keep to public footpath” the right of way across this golf course is poorly waymarked and difficult to follow.

    3. Keep ahead on the left-hand side of a grassy strip between two fairways, dotted with trees. At the end of a patch of rough grassland go through a narrow gap in the hedge ahead and immediately turn left, leaving the SBP (with the path junction indicated by a low footpath marker post). Go alongside the hedge and then bear slightly right as you go up and across a sloping fairway, watching out for golfers playing from left to right.
    4. The continuation of the right of a way is a well-concealed path through the undergrowth on the far side, with only the hint of a gap in the trees to help you find it. In 100m the footpath emerges into a more open area, with a green and two lakes down to the right. Go past an elevated tee on the left and keep ahead on a very faint path into the trees ahead.
    5. In 25m you cross a ditch and the path – such as it is – bends slightly right to go past some holly trees. In a further 25m you come to a T-junction with a well-defined woodland path and turn left (with a yellow waymarker on a tree pointing back the way you came to confirm that this was the right of way).
      • If you miss the faint path into the trees and stay on the edge of the golf course you will come to this well-defined path; turn sharp left onto it to rejoin the public footpath inside the wood.
    6. The next stretch is easier as you simply follow a clear path through Heathersome's Wood for about 400m, climbing steadily and heading roughly SE. Shortly after the path levels out at the top of the wood fork left at a Y-junction (where the right fork leads back onto the golf course). Go out through a wooden gate with a yellow waymarker into the corner of a large field.
    7. Go along the right-hand field edge, heading S. The exit is over a stile in the hedge about 100m in from the far corner, a little way to the right of a metal fieldgate. Just before the corner you can follow a grassy path curving round to the left. Go over the stile onto the grass verge beside the A264.
  9. The A264 to Perryhill Orchard (2 km)
    • Cross the main road and take the footpath heading south-east to the corner of Broomland Wood, then south across fields. Continue on the footpath through Coomb Wood, later merging with a bridleway from Chantler's Farm. Follow this as it heads south-east along a track to Bolebroke Castle, then out along its driveway to the Orchard Tea Rooms by the B2026.
    1. Cross this busy main road carefully and take the signposted footpath to the left of the driveway to Chantler's Farm. This grassy woodland path curves left and later veers right in front of a wooden fence surrounding a large pond. Follow the path alongside the fence, then go over a stile into the corner of a field.
    2. Turn half-right as indicated, heading roughly S and aiming for a metal fieldgate in the tree boundary on the far side. Go through a wooden kissing gate to its left and continue alongside a wire fence on the right-hand edge of the next field. Towards the end ignore a gate on the right and go all the way to the field corner, where a new metal kissing gate takes you into Coomb Wood.
    3. Inside the wood the path bends left but then peters out, and the right of way is not clear for the next 50m. You need to pick up a well-defined path heading roughly SW, to the left of some fainter paths apparently used by a scout group. This well-defined path descends and later swings left to head S, following the course of a stream in a gully down to the right.
      • If you do find yourself on one of the alternative paths you can turn left onto another faint path above the gully, which merges with the public footpath further on.
    4. After going through the wood for 400m the footpath merges with a bridleway coming in from a field on the right and the route becomes much clearer. Follow this broad track for 400m, ignoring exits on both sides and heading SE. Where the track swings round to the right keep ahead through a wooden gate with a blue waymarker, staying on the public bridleway.
    5. Continue along a driveway, passing some large buildings behind the high brick wall on your left. After passing the Gatehouse (with cupolas) you come to a T-junction and turn left. At the next (right-hand) bend there is a clear view of Bolebroke Castle? and the other buildings in the grounds on your left.
    6. Go along the driveway for a further 500m, past the landscaped grounds of the manor house and later with a large orchard behind a screen of poplars on the left. Shortly before reaching the B2026 you come to the modern Orchard Tea Rooms and Farm Shop on your left, the last refreshment place before Ashurst station.
  10. Perryhill Orchard to Beech Green Park (1¾ km)
    • Turn left briefly onto the B2026, then turn right into Perryhill Lane. At Perryhill Farm turn left onto a footpath going past Millwood Farm and along the top of a valley. Continue along a field edge to Beech Green Lane. Turn left and head north on the road for 400m, then turn right into Beech Green Park.
    1. Go out to the B2026 and turn left onto the road, crossing over carefully at some point. In 75m turn right into a lane with a concrete bridleway marker. After passing some cottages the lane curves right and drops downhill. Fork left at a three-way junction and follow the lane over a stream, round to the left and uphill to the buildings of Perryhill Farm.
    2. At the top go past a wooden fieldgate by Perryhill Oast and fork left in front of the large farmhouse onto a wide driveway leading up to Millwood Farm. Take the grassy track to the right of its entrance and go through an old metal fieldgate into a large field. Keep ahead briefly along its left-hand side, then turn left through a new metal gate.
    3. Continue on a path between wire fences, soon with a line of closely-spaced poplars inside the right-hand fence. At the end go through another gate, across a patch of grassland and through another gate. Continue along the top of a steeply-sloping field to the far corner, where there is a bench from which to take in the view back towards Ashdown Forest.
    4. Go through a gate in this corner onto a short path through a belt of trees. At the end go over another stile (or squeeze past a metal gate) into a field and bear right to head E along its edge. In the next corner go over a stile to the left of a metal fieldgate to come out onto a minor road (Beech Green Lane).
    5. Turn left and go along Beech Green Lane for 400m. Shortly before reaching a large house on the left (Beech Green Park) turn right off the lane, going over a stile to the right of a double metal fieldgate into a large area of (private) parkland.
  11. Beech Green Park to Ashurst Station (2¼ km)
    • Head east across parkland and fields to Lodgefield Farm. Go across a bridleway and follow the footpath down to the A264, turning right onto the main road. After passing under the railway turn right into the approach road to Ashurst station.
    1. Bear left across a yard towards the corner of a wire fence, to the left of another double metal fieldgate. Go through (or around) a wooden swing gate to continue alongside the fence, heading away from the road. At the end go through another gate and turn half-left across the parkland.
    2. There is no clear path, but pass just to the right of the second tree from the left in a line of trees (which you will find has another tree directly behind it) and continue in this direction. On the far side go over an inconspicuous stile in a wire fence onto a path through a belt of trees, then out over another stile into more parkland. Keep ahead alongside a wood, with a prominent house (Highfields Park) away to the left.
    3. At the corner of the wood turn half-right to go up a slope. In the top corner go over a double stile and keep ahead across a field, still climbing and with increasingly fine views across the Medway Valley as you go over the brow of the hill. On the far side go over a stile between two metal fieldgates onto a tree-lined grassy track, gently descending towards Lodgefield Farm.
    4. At the bottom go through a wooden gate and turn left briefly onto a concrete driveway, then almost immediately veer right down a flight of steps cut into the bank. Keep ahead on a wide concrete track past some farm buildings. Go over a stile and follow a grassy path down across a meadow, curving round to the left where it opens out.
    5. In the bottom corner do not go through a gap into another meadow but go over a stile on the left onto a fenced path down its left-hand side. About 50m before the bottom corner turn left at a waymarker post, crossing a plank bridge over a ditch onto a path through a neglected orchard. At the end go over a stile next to a metal fieldgate into a lay-by on the A264.
    6. Turn right to walk carefully along the grass verge of this busy main road. Shortly before going under a railway bridge you cross the River Medway, returning to Kent. Ignore a footpath and a cul-de-sac on the right, then turn right into the access road to Ashurst station. Cross the footbridge to Platform 1 for trains to London.
  12. Kent Water to Cowden Station (3 km)
    • Head east on the Sussex Border Path for 1½ km, following the course of Kent Water and crossing the B2026 along the way. Turn left onto a bridleway going past Moat Farm and across Moat Lane. Continue on a footpath going up to and then alongside the railway embankment to Cowden station.
    1. Ignore the bridge and carry on across the meadow, rejoining the Sussex Border Path? (SBP). In the far left-hand corner go over a stile next to a metal fieldgate and continue along the right-hand margin of another meadow. At the far end go through a gate and turn right onto the B2026, briefly crossing Kent Water into East Sussex.
    2. Cross the road carefully and immediately turn left over a stile in the hedge, to the left of a driveway. Go across a yard and through a small metal gate with a footpath waymarker into a horse training area. In the far left-hand corner go through a wooden fieldgate and back across Kent Water on a footbridge. You now simply follow an enclosed path beside large farm fields for nearly 1 km, never far from the tree-lined stream on your right.
    3. The path eventually comes to a metal footbridge where you cross Kent Water again. Turn left at a bridleway T-junction to immediately recross the stream, leaving the SBP. Keep ahead on a wide grassy strip between a hedge and a fence, later passing a cluster of farm buildings off to your left. The bridleway turns half-left and you go through a metal gate onto a minor road (Moat Lane).
    4. Cross Moat Lane and take the signposted footpath opposite, going over a stile next to an old fieldgate. The simplest route is to follow a faint grassy path slightly to the right, skirting around the low hill ahead. This goes up to the tree boundary and continues along the field edge to the far corner.
      • The OS map shows the right of way as going straight over the low hill to this corner, so you would be entitled to take this direct route from the road if you wished.
    5. In the field corner go over a stile in a wooden fence to continue across a smaller field. In the next corner follow the path into the trees and round to the right. Go through a metal gate, across a stream on a footbridge and under a high railway bridge. Go through another gate and turn left as indicated onto a short path, where you go across a potentially muddy area on planks and over a stile into the corner of a large field.
    6. Continue along the bottom edge of this field, parallel to the railway. At the far end go through a new metal kissing gate, taking care as you come out directly onto a road. The station access road is just off to the right. If the booking hall is locked you can go past it to get onto the single platform (where a plaque commemorates the victims of the Cowden rail crash?).

      The platform is used by trains in both directions, so be careful not to take an Uckfield-bound train by mistake. These are scheduled to go through seven minutes before the London train, which is going from left to right.

        Walk Notes
      • The Eden Valley Walk runs for 24 km, linking the Wealdway and the Medway Valley Walk in Tonbridge to the Vanguard Way west of Edenbridge.
      • Crippenden Manor was built in 1607 by Richard Tichbourne, a local ironmaster. It is now part of a large Equestrian Centre.
      • Leighton Manor was originally a late medieval farmhouse but the property has been extensively modernised, with some attractive landscaped grounds and lakes.
      • The Sussex Border Path runs for 240 km along the length of West & East Sussex, from Thorney Island on the Hampshire border to Rye.
      • Waystrode Manor is a restored 15thC farmhouse, with later additions. The gardens of this private house are occasionally open to the public.
      • The Cowden rail crash was a fatal accident in October 1994. Five people died when a northbound train passed a red signal in thick fog and collided head-on with another train on the single-track section to the south-east of the station.
      • St Mary Magdalene, Cowden dates from the 13thC. A traditional couplet (reputedly about a dispute with another parish) refers to its slightly skewed spire: Cowden church, crooked steeple / Lying priest, deceitful people. A modern stained glass window celebrates “the remarkable preservation of this village during the years 1939-45”.
      • Kent Water is a tributary of the River Medway which at this point is the county boundary between Kent (to the north) and East Sussex.
      • Sussex House Farm was originally a timber-framed house dating from 1580 but was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the 21stC.
      • The 15thC Bolebroke Castle was one of the earliest brick buildings in Sussex. Conveniently close to Hever Castle, it was used as a hunting lodge by HenryⅧ during his pursuit of Anne Boleyn (and featured in the 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl). It has been extensively restored in the 21stC.

    » Last updated: August 6, 2020

    Return to Top | Walk Map | Walk Options | Walk Directions.

    © Saturday Walkers Club. All Rights Reserved. No commercial use. No copying. No derivatives. Free with attribution for one time non-commercial use only. www.walkingclub.org.uk/site/license.shtml