Near Chiddingstone Causewaynshurst 2

Penshurst via Bough Beech Circular walk

20-Apr-19 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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The Chiding Stone

25-May-17 • Sean O'Neill

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Oast house

Penshurst Circular via Bough Beech

20-Apr-19 • moontiger on Flickr

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Bough Beech Reserve

Penshurst Circular via Bough Beech

20-Apr-19 • moontiger on Flickr

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River Eden outside Penshurst (normal level)

19-Jun-09 • Sean O'Neill

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Chiddingstone Stores

30-Jun-09 • Sean O'Neill

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St Mary's Church, Chiddingstone

05-May-10 • Sean O'Neill

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Penshurst Circular via Bough Beech walk

A popular bird-watching site in the Eden Valley and attractive Kent villages.

Penshurst Circular, via Bough Beech
Length

Main Walk: 21½ km (13.4 miles). Five hours 15 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 9½ hours.

Short Walk 1, omitting Penshurst village: 15½ km (9.6 miles). Three hours 45 minutes walking time.

Short Walk 2, also omitting Chiddingstone: 14¾ km (9.2 miles). Three hours 30 minutes walking time.

OS Map

Explorer 147. Penshurst Station (in Chiddingstone Causeway, TQ519467) is in Kent, 7 km W of Tonbridge.

Toughness

5 out of 10 (3 for the Short Walks).

Features

This walk starts through low-lying farmland interspersed with patches of woodland. At Bore Place it makes use of the farm's permissive trails to reach one of the few viewpoints over Bough Beech Reservoir, a large body of water which is surprisingly well screened from public footpaths in the vicinity. The reservoir was created by damming one of the streams flowing down from the Greensand Hills, but is now mostly replenished with water abstracted from the River Eden. The walk continues across the causeway at the northern end of the reservoir where there are good opportunities for bird-watching, but the site's status as a designated nature reserve is uncertain since Kent Wildlife Trust withdrew from its managment in July 2020.

After a loop around the western side of the reservoir the walk comes to the first of two possible lunch pubs, in the hamlet of Bough Beech. The walk then crosses the River Eden several times as it makes its way to an alternative pub in Chiddingstone. In this picturesque village 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).

A stretch along the Eden Valley Walk leads to another attractive Wealden village, Penshurst. Just outside the village Penshurst Place is an even more impressive manor house, the home of the Sidney family since the 16thC. There is still a fairly lengthy final leg through the mature parkland of its large estate and more farmland before you return to Chiddingstone Causeway, with its welcoming pub next to Penshurst station.

This part of the Eden Valley is a popular walking area and the route overlaps several other SWC walks. After it was tweaked in 2019 to avoid a ploughed-up meadow, the first 3 km reverses the ending of the Hurst Green to Chiddingstone Causeway walk (2–16). Most of the stretch between Chiddingstone and Penshurst is the same as the Leigh Circular walk (#92a). The Hever to Leigh walk (1–19) goes through both of these villages, while part of this walk's final leg follows the route of the Leigh to Tunbridge Wells walk (1–15) 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.

Walk Options

There are several ways of shortening the walk. In the morning you can take a more direct route to the first lunch pub which saves 3½ km; this short cut misses out the Bough Beech Visitor Centre (and indeed all views of the water) but would be worth considering if you missed a train and had to start an hour late.

In the afternoon two possible Short Walks are available. The first (which can be combined with the morning short cut) takes a direct route back from Chiddingstone, saving 6 km by omitting the southern loop through Penshurst village. The second takes a more northerly route back from Bough Beech, reversing part of the morning short cut and also going through an attractive stretch of woodland designated as Chiddingstone Nature Reserve.

Transport

Penshurst station (3 km north of its village, in the hamlet of Chiddingstone Causeway) is on a branch line with an hourly service between Tonbridge and Redhill (through trains from London were withdrawn in 2018). Travelling from Charing Cross and changing at Tonbridge is usually 10–15 minutes quicker than going via Redhill. The most flexible ticket is an “Any Permitted” return to Penshurst, but you can buy a cheaper “Via Redhill” ticket if you will be going out and back on this route.

If you want to finish the walk in Bough Beech or Penshurst village, Metrobus 231 & 233 go to Chiddingstone Causeway (for Penshurst station; Mon–Sat). The buses continue to Edenbridge in one direction and Tunbridge Wells in the other.

If driving, there is a small private car park on the south side of Penshurst station where a sign says the charge is £3 per day.

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 10:00 from Charing Cross to Penshurst (changing at Tonbridge). You could start an hour later if taking the morning short cut.

Train Times
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Timetables
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River Levels
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Lunch

The main choice is between two attractive and relatively up-market lunch pubs, both now run by the same consortium and serving very good food. The first (and only option on Short Walk 2) is the Wheatsheaf (01732-700100) in Bough Beech, after 9½ km (6 km with the short cut). This popular pub/restaurant is likely to be fully booked at weekends but on fine days there should be space in its garden area, set well back from the road.

In a further 3¼ km the equally good Castle Inn (01892-870371) in Chiddingstone reopened in April 2017 after being closed for nearly a year. It is in a quieter location and has a particularly attractive back garden. Another option in this village would be to have a light lunch at the Tulip Tree tearoom.

On the Main Walk, a very late lunch might be possible at the Leicester Arms Hotel (01892-871617) in Penshurst, after a further 4 km.

Tea

At the end of the walk the Little Brown Jug (01892-870318) is usually open all day and serves tea and coffee as well as normal pub fare.

For the walk options which go through Chiddingstone and Penshurst earlier refreshment stops are possible as both have good tearooms. In Chiddingstone the suggested tea place is the Tulip Tree (01892-870326), a popular tearoom which is open daily to 5pm. On the limited days when Chiddingstone Castle is open its equally good Tea Room (01892-870347) is open to non-visitors to 4.15pm.

In Penshurst the Fir Tree House (01892-870382) tearoom has a large garden and is open from 2.30-6pm, but is closed on Mondays (except Bank Holidays, when it is closed the following Tuesday; it might also be closed on other weekdays in winter).

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Oct-20 Sean

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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.

Penshurst Circular, via Bough Beech

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

Walk Map: Penshurst Circular, via Bough Beech Walk Map

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Walk Options ( Main | Short )

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

  1. Main Walk (21½ km)
  1. Main Walk, with morning short cut (18 km)
  2. Short Walk 1, omitting Penshurst village (15½ km)
  3. Short Walk 1, with morning short cut (12 km)
  4. Short Walk 2, also omitting Chiddingstone (14¾ km)

Walk Directions

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

  1. Penshurst Station to Bushy Wood (3 km)
    • Go out to the B2027 and turn right onto it. In 200m turn left onto a footpath heading north across fields. Turn left briefly onto a road (Camp Hill), then take a footpath on the right passing to the west of Charcott Farmhouse and onwards past Brownings Farm. Cross Hale Oak Road and take the left-hand of two footpaths opposite. In the far left-hand corner of a field continue through a belt of trees. Follow the footpath around Bushy Wood Place and down its driveway.

      This section follows the route of Walk 2–16 (in reverse).

    1. If arriving from Tonbridge, cross the footbridge to leave the station from Platform 2. Go down the short approach road to the B2027, with the Little Brown Jug opposite. Cross this main road carefully and turn right to go along the pavement for 200m, passing St Luke's church? and a War Memorial on the other side. Opposite the junction with the B2176 turn left onto a long straight tarmac path between large fields?.
    2. At the end turn left to go along a road (Camp Hill), taking care as there is no pavement. In 125m bear right into the driveway to Camphill Barn, signposted as a footpath. In 50m turn right through a small metal gate at the end of the hedge and follow a grassy path across the middle of a large field, heading NNW.
    3. On the far side go through a metal kissing gate and continue along the right-hand edge of two fields, with some paddocks on your right. Towards the end of the second field bear left onto a faint path across the field, cutting off the corner and aiming for a wide gap in the hedge.
    4. Go through the gap and along a broad grassy field margin, with a wood on your left. In 100m follow the grassy track as it bears left into this small wood, coming out into the corner of another field. Do not continue along the field margin but turn half-right to go diagonally across the field. At the tree boundary turn half-left and cross another field to a lane (Hale Oak Road).
    5. Cross the road and go through a metal side gate just off to the right into the field opposite, with two footpaths signposted (but no trace of the right-hand one). Go directly away from the road to the far side of the field and bear left to go alongside a hedge.
    6. In the field corner follow the path into a long belt of trees. In 250m go past an old wooden gate and keep ahead at a staggered crosspaths. In a further 40m the path comes out of the trees and you continue on a faint grassy path through a narrow field, passing to the left of a tree-lined pond.

      The right of way used to go through the garden of the house on the right (Bushy Wood Place) but has been diverted.

    7. In the right-hand field corner go through a new kissing gate onto a short track, rejoining the original right of way where you bear left onto the house's driveway. About 40m before this comes out onto a lane at a bend, there is a path on the left into Bushy Wood.
    8. If you are doing the morning short cut, go to §G.

  2. Bushy Wood to Bough Beech Visitor Centre (2 km)
    • Head west along the lane for 250m. Take the footpath to the left of “The Old Forge” heading west to Batfold Wood, joining Bore Place Farm's Green Trail. Instead of continuing on the public footpath to the minor road in front of Bough Beech Reservoir, follow the farm trail round to the right and then veer left onto another footpath leading down to the road. Turn right and follow the road across the causeway at the northern end of the reservoir, then turn left onto a footpath past the (closed) Visitor Centre.
    1. Ignore the path, go down to the lane and bear left to head W along it for 250m, where it bends left. Immediately after passing the driveway to Bore Place? (the Book 2 route) and a house “The Old Forge”, join the farm's Green Trail by going over a stile in the hedge ahead into a narrow field.
    2. Go along its right-hand edge to the far end, over a stile and along a short path through some trees. At the end go over another stile and keep ahead on a fenced-off track, with a wood on your right.
    3. At the end of the wood go over a stile and keep ahead across a large field, aiming for a tall wooden post in the hedge a little way to the left of a wide gap. At this waymarker go over a stile in the hedge (also joining the farm's Red Trail) and carry on across the next field, aiming roughly for the centre of the wood ahead, 150m away. As you approach the trees you will see another marker post indicating a path into the wood.
    4. Go over a stile by the post onto a path through Batfold Wood. At the end of the wood continue across the top of a field, with a fine view of Bough Beech Reservoir?. As you approach the field corner veer left down the slope (leaving the farm trails, which turn right) and go through a small metal gate onto a tree-lined public footpath. At the bottom cross a ditch on a new footbridge and turn right onto the pavement beside a minor road, heading N.
    5. In 200m the road starts to bend left and becomes a causeway across the reservoir (a popular bird-watching spot). Continue along the pavement for a further 250m and then turn left into a driveway leading to the (closed) Bough Beech Visitor Centre; you might have to squeeze past a locked metal fieldgate but this is also a public footpath. Go down the drive to the oast house and other buildings.

      The status of this area is uncertain as Kent Wildlife Trust have withdrawn from the management of the Nature Reserve. There is an observation point in front of Rushy Meadow but the bird hide overlooking the Roy Coles Flood behind the barn is likely to remain closed.

  3. The Visitor Centre to Chittenden Wood (2¼ km)
    • Take the footpath behind the Visitor Centre heading south and follow it through woodland around the north-western edge of the reservoir. Head south-west to Ide Hill Road and take a footpath heading west to Chittenden Wood. Continue along its southern edge to a footpath junction.
    1. Go up a short slope and through a wooden gate behind the oast house into the corner of a field. Turn left to head S along its edge. Continue in much the same direction on a path through a lightly wooded area and then across a small field, going through more gates along the way. On the far side of the field go through another gate into a wood (Longbroom Shaw) and turn right to follow the path around its edge, gradually curving down to the left.
    2. After briefly going alongside a high wire fence guarding the reservoir the path comes to a wooden gate in the hedge on your right. Go through this and turn half-left to go up across a field, heading SW (if there is no clear path, aim for the left-hand end of the wood at the top). In the corner turn half-right to go along the top of the next field, with the wood on your right and views of the water off to your left.
    3. At the end of the field turn left onto a lane (Ide Hill Road) and go along it for 175m. Opposite a house turn right through a small metal gate onto a signposted footpath, along the right-hand edge of a field and heading W. At the next corner go through a small gate in the hedge on the right and turn left to continue in your previous direction, with a hedge on your left. In 250m turn left through a small metal gate in the hedge.
    4. Make your way across a field (with no clear path) to the far right-hand corner, 150m away. Follow a short path into a belt of trees, across a stream on an awkward footbridge and out through a gate. Bear right and go along the edge of two very large fields for 600m, soon with Chittenden Wood on your right and climbing gently. At the end of the second field there is a wide gap ahead into a third field.
  4. Chittenden Wood to Bough Beech (village) (2¼ km)
    • Turn left at the corner of the wood to head south on field edges and along a short stretch of Furnace House Lane. Turn left onto a footpath heading east and follow it along the edge of a meadow, through Clinton Wood and along more field edges to Ide Hill Road. Turn right and go along the lane to its junction with the B2027. Cross the railway bridge and Hever Road to the Wheatsheaf pub.
    1. Do not go through the gap but turn left to head S along the field edge, with a hedge on your right. Go through a couple of kissing gates, across a small patch of grass and past a fieldgate onto a lane at a bend. Bear right to head S along the lane for 200m. Just before it turns sharply right, turn left through a squeeze gate and go along the right-hand edge of a large meadow for 300m.
    2. In the corner turn right through a gate into a conservation area, Clinton Wood. Follow the woodland path up a short rise and through the wood, crossing a stream on a narrow footbridge along the way. At the end of the wood continue in much the same direction for 600m: along the right-hand side of a field, through a belt of trees and then along the edge of a much larger field.
    3. In the far corner veer right through a wide gap in the hedge and cross a potentially muddy patch of ground to a lane (Ide Hill Road again), with the trees opposite screening a water treatment plant. Turn right and go along this lane for 450m.
    4. Eventually you pass some houses and come to a junction with the B2027, where you need to go over the narrow bridge ahead (crossing the Redhill–Tonbridge railway line?). Although the traffic is slow moving because of the sharp bends at each end you obviously need to take great care as there is no pavement. Cross the bridge on the right-hand side of the main road and go across a side road to the Wheatsheaf pub.
    5. If you are doing the Main Walk or Short Walk 1, go to §H.

  5. Bough Beech (village) to Hale Oak Road (3 km)
    • Cross the B2027 and take the footpath heading north-east, across the railway and then below the retaining wall of the reservoir. Continue past Bough Beech Sailing Club, across a minor road and another field to reach a lane in front of a house (Hickens). Go along its driveway to a footpath heading east, which has been diverted to the south of the property shown as Polebrook Farm on the OS map. Follow this well-waymarked new path along field edges to Hale Oak Road.
    1. The Short Walk 2 route continues on a footpath on the other side of the B2027 from the pub's car park, just beyond a bus stop off to the right. Cross this main road with great care, looking out in particular for traffic coming over the railway bridge and turning sharp left. Follow this footpath down through a belt of trees towards the railway line. At the bottom cross the tracks carefully and turn right along the edge of a field.
    2. In 150m turn half-left to go across the field. In the tree boundary go over a footbridge and continue in the same direction across the next field, aiming just to the left of the far corner. Go through a narrow gap in the trees onto an enclosed path between hedges and follow this for 700m, climbing gently below the sloping retaining wall of the reservoir.
    3. At the end of this long path go over a stile and keep ahead across a field, now almost level with the dam wall (but with no view of the water from the right of way). On the far side of the field go over another stile and past a pond in a belt of trees. Go straight across the access road to Bough Beech Sailing Club and over another stile.
    4. Continue in the same direction across two more fields separated by another belt of trees, to reach a minor road. Cross this carefully and take the footpath 10m off to the right, a faint path heading E across a triangular field. On the far side go over a stile onto a lane, with an attractive tile-hung house “Hickens” opposite.
    5. Cross the lane and take the footpath opposite, along the house's driveway. At the far end go through a wooden gate, over a stile and along the left-hand edge of a large field. In 100m a “Private” notice indicates that the original footpath (just visible in the trees) has been diverted so you continue along the field edge for a further 200m as it bends to the right, eventually heading S.
    6. Turn left through a new wooden gate, cross a footbridge and a driveway and veer right through another small wooden gate. Continue along the right-hand side of a small field. Go through another new gate in the corner and turn left along the edge of the next field, now heading E.
    7. Keep ahead through a wide gap in the trees to the next field corner. Go through a gate and a belt of trees into another field (rejoining the original right of way) and continue in the same direction, ignoring a footpath off to the right. In the next corner a short path past a pond in the trees leads into another field, with farm buildings visible ahead.
    8. Two rights of way cross in the middle of this field but unless the paths have been marked out it is tempting to turn right and go around the field edge, heading SE towards a lane on the far side. In the right-hand corner go through a black metal gate with a footpath waymarker onto a short path through the corner of a wood to a lane (Hale Oak Road).
  6. Hale Oak Road to Penshurst Station (2¼ km)
    • Cross the road and take the footpath heading south-east and then south through a wood (Chiddingstone Nature Reserve) to the B2027. Cross over and continue on a farm drive going back over the railway line to Beckett's Farm. Turn left in front of the farm buildings onto a footpath and head east along the right-hand edge of a large field, then north-east across some smaller fields to Penshurst station.
    1. Turn right briefly onto the lane, then in 15m turn left across a plank bridge and through a black metal gate in the hedge into a field. Turn half-right and follow a faint grassy path across the field to a similar gate in the tree boundary on the far side. Go through this and follow a clear woodland path for 500m, heading SE and then S, with the central section designated as Chiddingstone Nature Reserve?.
    2. At the end go through a metal kissing gate onto the B2027. Cross this main road carefully and continue on the farm drive to the left of the house opposite, signposted as a footpath. In 200m this takes you back over the railway line (with Penshurst station 800m off to the left) and on towards the buildings of Beckett's Farm. Where the drive splits in front of the farm buildings go over a stile on the left into a large field.
    3. Go alongside the boundary of the farm buildings for 40m, then bear right across a patch of rough ground (with no clear path) to find a stile in the hedge 100m ahead. Go over this stile and continue along the right-hand edge of a large field for 300m, heading E.
    4. In the field corner go over a stile beside a metal fieldgate. Go through the next gate and turn left along the edge of another field. About 100m before the railway embankment ahead, turn right by a footpath marker post to go straight across the field. On the far side go through a gap and continue along a rough track on the left-hand edge of a field. In the corner go through a metal side gate into the parking area for a timber yard.
    5. Go across the parking area onto Platform 1 of Penshurst station. Trains to Redhill leave from this side; cross the footbridge to Platform 2 for a train to Tonbridge and/or the pub.
      • If you want some refreshment before the journey back the Little Brown Jug is on the other side of the B2027, directly opposite the station.
  7. Bushy Wood to Bough Beech (village) direct (3 km)
    • Just before reaching a lane turn left onto a permissive path into Bushy Wood and follow the waymarked Bore Place Field Trail from points #9 to #12. Turn left onto a lane to come to a house (Hickens) in 175m. Take the footpath heading west and then south-west, past Bough Beech Sailing Club and below the retaining wall of Bough Beech Reservoir. At the end cross the railway and go up to the B2027; the Wheatsheaf pub is on the right by the junction with Hever Road.
    1. Turn left off the driveway onto a permissive path through Bushy Wood, joining Bore Place? Farm's Red Trail. Follow the meandering woodland path for 300m to a field, Wood Piece. Keep ahead on a faint grassy path, gradually approaching its right-hand side. Just before the corner the path veers into the trees and you follow it through a small wood, crossing several streams on footbridges. Go out over a stile into Wilson Field.
    2. Bear left along the field edge and turn right in the corner to go gently uphill on a grassy track for 200m. Go over a stile to the right of a metal fieldgate and turn left onto a lane, leaving the farm trail. Follow the lane as it swings right and left and goes gently downhill, in 175m reaching a tile-hung house “Hickens” on the left.
    3. Opposite the house's driveway turn right over a stile in the hedge and follow a faint path heading W across a triangular field (the footpath signpost was slightly awry at the time of writing). On the far side go over another stile in the hedge and out to a minor road. Cross this carefully and take the footpath 10m off to the right, through a belt of trees into a field.
    4. Follow the footpath across the field to the far corner, going through several gates and heading SW. Go over stiles in a belt of trees and straight ahead across another field, passing Bough Beech Sailing Club off to the right. On the far side of the field go straight across the club's access road and past a pond in a belt of trees.
    5. Keep ahead across the next field, with the retaining wall of Bough Beech Reservoir? off to your right (but no view of the water from the right of way). On the far side of the field go over another stile and follow a broad grassy path between a hedge and a low wire fence for 700m, parallel to the sloping dam wall.
    6. Towards the end the path turns sharply left to head S and eventually comes out through a narrow gap, where you turn three-quarters right to go across a field. In the tree boundary go over a footbridge and continue across the next field, slightly to the right.
    7. On the far side bear right to go most of the way along its edge, then cross a stile on the left towards the Redhill–Tonbridge railway line?. Cross the tracks carefully and follow a short path sloping up through some trees, coming out onto the B2027 by a bus stop.
    8. Although there is a pavement on this side of the road it is better to cross the road with great care at this point (if you cross further along there is limited visibility for traffic coming over the bridge and turning sharp left). Turn right to walk carefully along the other side to the road junction and the Wheatsheaf pub. If you are not visiting this pub the walk continues up the driveway just before the entrance to its car park.
  8. Bough Beech to Chiddingstone (3¼ km)
    • Take the driveway heading south from the road junction by the pub. In front of the entrance to “Gravelpits” turn left onto a footpath heading south-east to Mill Lane. Go along the lane for 200m, crossing over the River Eden, then take a footpath heading east across a meadow. Cross back over the river and turn right onto a track going down through Somerden Green. After crossing the river for a third time take the right-hand of two footpaths up into Chiddingstone.
    1. Take the unsurfaced driveway beside the entrance to the pub's main car park, climbing gently and heading S (you might also be able to get out via the overflow car park at the back of the beer garden). Ignore a footpath off to the left of the driveway and continue for a further 75m, then fork left in front of the entrance to “Gravelpits”. Immediately bear left onto a narrow path between hedges, which leads out through a small metal gate into a field.
    2. Turn right and follow a path around the field edge. This curves round to the left and then veers right to go down the edge of a large field, with a low hedge on the left. At the bottom follow the path round to the left, then veer left and right as indicated to continue in much the same direction on the other side of a hedge. In the field corner go through a squeeze gate to the left of a metal fieldgate and turn right onto a minor road (Mill Lane).
    3. In 200m, shortly after crossing the River Eden?, turn left onto a signposted footpath. Go over a stile and follow a grassy path across a large meadow, heading E. On the far side go back over the River Eden on a long footbridge, negotiating some awkward metal poles at each end. Follow the path through some trees and bushes and then up a sloping field, passing a large oak tree in the middle.
    4. On the far side turn right onto a long driveway (Somerden Green), passing several cottages and gradually descending. After the last set of cottages the driveway peters out and becomes a grassy path between hedges. In 200m cross the river for a third time on a new footbridge and continue on the path for a further 125m.
    5. At the start of a wood on the left turn right at a three-way footpath signpost and follow a grassy path curving round to the left across a field. In the opposite corner veer right through a gap in the tree boundary and continue along the left-hand side of some small fields. At the end go through an old metal gate and turn left onto a lane (Chiddingstone Road), crossing the outflow from a lake on a stone bridge.
    6. Follow the road into Chiddingstone?. After passing the church tower up on the left the lane turns sharply left by a pedestrian entrance to Chiddingstone Castle.
      • An estate notice inside the Castle grounds states that there is no right of way through them but nonetheless welcomes visitors, so if it is open you could explore the grounds and perhaps visit the gift shop and Tea Room (at the back of the house). If you do this, return to this point to resume the walk.
    7. Continuing along the picturesque village street, the Castle Inn is the first building on the right. Opposite St Mary's church? the Tulip Tree tearoom is up a passageway beside the Chiddingstone Stores. After passing the primary school a little further on you could make a short detour to see the Chiding Stone?.
    8. Detour to the Chiding Stone (+400m)

      • Turn right onto a signposted path to the Chiding Stone, where there is an information panel. Return the same way.

      If you are doing the Main Walk, go to §J.

  9. Chiddingstone to Penshurst Station direct (2¾ km)
    • Head east along the road to Larkin's Farm and continue along a footpath across the brow of Hampkins Hill. Turn left in front of Vexour and go downhill to rejoin the road, crossing the River Eden at Vexour Bridge. Take the right-hand of two footpaths, heading north-east across meadows and fields to the station.
    1. The Short Walk 1 route continues along the lane, climbing gently and with good views of the Greensand Hills on your left. In 400m fork right in front of Triangle Oast (with Larkin's Farm? on your left). Almost immediately turn left at a footpath signpost onto a path heading E across the brow of Hampkins Hill, with fine views on both sides.
    2. At the far end of the field, turn left along its edge. In the corner veer right down a narrow path through a belt of trees and turn left onto a tarmac driveway. At the bottom rejoin the minor road you left at Triangle Oast, crossing over the River Eden on the attractive Vexour Bridge. On the other side bear right off the road by a pair of footpath signposts, going over a stile to the left of a metal fieldgate.
    3. Take the right-hand of two faint grassy paths to head NE across a large field, going past a projecting group of trees surrounding a loop of the river. At this point the grassy path splits again. The right-hand path heads towards a metal fieldgate where there is a wide bridge over a stream in the trees, but the correct (and potentially less muddy) route is the left-hand path, which reaches the trees 30m to the left where there is a footbridge over the stream.
    4. Either way, head roughly N across the next field (turning half-left after crossing the footbridge, or straight ahead from the wider bridge) towards a gap in the trees on the far side, 125m away. Go through a small metal gate to the right of a fieldgate and continue along the left-hand edge of two fields for 400m, at first alongside a wire fence and then a line of trees. At the end of the second field go over a stile into a large field and turn right to head E along its edge.
  10. Chiddingstone to Penshurst (village) (4 km)
    • Take the footpath heading south out of the village, which soon merges with the Eden Valley Walk (EVW). Follow this south-east via Wat Stock, eventually crossing the River Eden and coming to the B2176 in front of Penshurst Place. Unless you want to bypass the village, turn right onto the road to enter Penshurst.
      • Alternatively, turn left onto the B2176 and bear right onto a footpath which merges with the path out of the village.
    1. Just after the path to the Chiding Stone turn right onto a signposted public footpath, heading S. This tree-lined path goes gently uphill past fields and a sports ground, emerging into the top of a large field. Follow a clear path slightly to the right down the field.

      The pink house which you might be able to see through the trees 1 km ahead on your left is not what it seems, as you will discover later.

    2. The path comes to the corner of a copse and bears left to go alongside it. In 50m follow the path into the trees and immediately fork left to go along the edge of a lightly wooded area, still heading S. In 225m this path merges with the Eden Valley Walk? (EVW), a broader path coming in from the right; you will be following this waymarked route into Penshurst.
    3. In 50m go through a kissing gate into a wood and continue along the main path for 400m, climbing gently at first. At the far end of the wood go over a stile and turn right briefly onto a minor road (Wellers Town Road). In 30m veer left onto a bridleway, going through a metal gate and across a field on a grassy path. On the far side leave through another gate and turn left onto a tarmac lane.

      In 100m the view from a fieldgate on the left reveals that the ‘pink house’ seen earlier is a trompe-l'oeil, painted on the back of an old barn at Wat Stock.

    4. After the lane bends left round a pond keep ahead past some old farm buildings (including the trompe-l'oeil). You now follow this potentially muddy track (the old coach road) all the way to Penshurst, with views over the Eden Valley on your left and later with a huge array of polytunnels behind the trees on your right.
    5. After a long descent the track merges with the driveway from Salmans Farms and you cross the River Eden for the last time. In a further 500m you reach the B2176, with Penshurst Place visible in the grounds ahead.
    6. If you want to take a short cut bypassing the village (saving 500m), follow the directions below.

    7. Short Cut, bypassing Penshurst

      1. Turn left and go along the road for 125m, crossing over at some point. Go through a metal kissing gate into Penshurst Park and take the left-hand of two footpaths, a grassy path going through a line of trees and then across the estate's driveway via two more kissing gates. Carry on towards a tree-lined grassy avenue, merging there with the main route, and resume the directions at [?] in §K.
    8. For the main route, turn right onto the road to enter the village. In 150m you come to the Fir Tree House tearoom on your right, the suggested tea place if you want to break for refreshment. The walk route continues round to the left at the road junction in the centre of the village, where stronger fare is available at the Leicester Arms Hotel.
  11. Penshurst (village) to Penshurst Road (2½ km)
    • Briefly head east along the B2176, then go through Leicester Square and the churchyard. Take the footpath heading north and then north-east through Penshurst Park. At the top of a slope fork left onto a footpath towards Park Farm, eventually coming out onto Penshurst Road near its junction with Cinder Hill Lane.

      The first part of this section follows the route of Walk 1–15 (in reverse).

    1. From the centre of the village briefly head E on the B2176. Before the road turns right in front of the stone and brick archway for Penshurst Place, turn left into the picturesque Leicester Square?. Go under an archway? at the back into the churchyard and take the path round the left-hand side of St John the Baptist church? (which is worth visiting).
    2. Leave the churchyard through a metal kissing gate and take the right-hand of two grassy paths ahead. The path stays close to the hedge-topped stone wall guarding the manor house and then curves gently to the right. Cross the estate's driveway via two metal kissing gates and continue along a tree-lined avenue, in 75m merging with another grassy path from the left (the short cut route).
    3. Follow a track through the right-hand line of trees and continue on a broad grassy path heading N, at first alongside the avenue and then moving slightly away from it. In 300m go through a kissing gate in a fence and turn right to continue across the parkland, soon alongside a wooden fence with a line of clipped yew trees on the other side.
    4. After going through another gate the path turns left past the lifeless trunk of the veteran Sidney Oak? (with a plaque recording that it expired in 2016). Follow the grassy path up a gentle slope, through a gate and then up a broad tree-lined avenue.
    5. At the top keep ahead at a three-way footpath signpost to go through a wide gap in the trees, leaving the Walk 1–15 route (Leigh station is 2 km away, along the avenue to the right). After going through the trees do not continue on the broad grassy path ahead but immediately fork right onto another grassy track. Follow this through the parkland for 500m, heading NE.
    6. At the bottom of a dip go straight across an estate track to continue on a grassy track climbing through a lightly wooded area. In 250m the track passes a huge oak tree and turns half-left, dropping down to a T-junction at the edge of the estate. Turn left to come out onto Penshurst Road.
  12. Penshurst Road to Penshurst Station (2¼ km)
    • Turn left briefly onto Penshurst Road, then turn sharp right to go along Cinder Hill Lane for 500m. Continue on a footpath along field edges past Little Moorden to the B2176 at Moorden. Turn right onto this road and fork left onto the long station approach road to reach Penshurst station.
    1. Turn left briefly onto Penshurst Road, cross over carefully and almost immediately turn sharp right into Cinder Hill Lane. Follow this narrow country lane down a slope, past a few houses and between fields and a wood for 500m, making several turns to the left.
    2. Where the lane turns right to cross over the railway line, keep ahead briefly on the driveway to Little Moorden, signposted as a footpath. In 100m, where it bends left and there is a fieldgate ahead, go over a stile between them to continue along the left-hand edge of a large field, parallel to the drive on the other side of a hedge.
    3. In 400m keep ahead through a fieldgate and continue along the edge of another field. In the next corner follow a grassy farm track into the trees on the left. In 100m go past some outbuildings and veer left onto a driveway going up a short slope and then round to the right, coming out onto the B2176.
    4. Turn right and go along this main road for 125m, taking care as there is no pavement. Where the road bends right after passing a converted oast house “Moorden” fork left onto a long straight lane (Station Hill). In 400m this leads into the parking area for a timber yard.
        Walk Notes
      • St Luke, Chiddingstone Causeway was built in 1898 in late Gothic style, replacing a small chapel when the village grew in size. It was constructed in Bath stone and has a particularly fine Altar window designed by the Impressionist British artist Wilfrid de Glehn.
      • The large fields between Chiddingstone Causeway and Charcott are the site of Penshurst Airfield, which operated in WWⅠ and was also used as an emergency landing ground in WWⅡ. Between the wars it hosted a few air shows and took some civilian flights when Croydon Airfield was fogbound.
      • Bore Place is the site of some rural enterprises and educational trusts under the name Commonwork, as well as being a large organic dairy farm. Several waymarked trails are available for walkers to explore the farmland and surrounding countryside.
      • Bough Beech Reservoir was created in the late 1960s by damming one of the many streams flowing down from the Greensand Hills to the River Eden. One of the displaced properties in the valley (Bayles Farmhouse) was rebuilt at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton, near Chichester.
      • The Redhill–Tonbridge railway line opened in 1842 as part of the main line between London and Dover, and retained that status until the direct line via Sevenoaks opened in 1868.
      • Chiddingstone Nature Reserve is a small area of wet woodland, managed by volunteers. The only public access is on the footpath running through it.
      • The source of the River Eden is in the Titsey Estate, on the slopes of the North Downs near Oxted. It is one of the main tributaries of the River Medway and flows into it near Penshurst.
      • Chiddingstone remains largely unspoilt because the Streatfeild family sold many of the buildings to the National Trust in 1939. It has been used as a location in period films such as A Room with a View.
      • St Mary, Chiddingstone contains many memorials to the Streatfeild family. On display is a Vinegar Bible of 1717, so called because in St Luke's Gospel, Chapter 20, “The parable of the vineyard” is written as “The parable of the vinegar”!
      • The Chiding Stone is a large sandstone boulder where wrongdoers were supposedly told off (chided) by the other villagers.
      • The buildings at Larkin's Farm include Larkin's Brewery, which was established in 1986 and moved to the family's farm a few years later. Chiddingstone Cider is also produced here.
      • The Eden Valley Walk runs for 24 km, from Tonbridge to a remote spot on the Vanguard Way west of Edenbridge. There are only short stretches with convenient rights of way close to the River Eden and at its eastern end much of the route is actually alongside the River Medway.
      • Some of the half-timbered and tile-hung houses around Leicester Square (named after a favourite of ElizabethⅠ) are Victorian imitations, like the post office house of 1850.
      • “My Flesh also shall rest in Hope”, inscribed above the archway leading out of Penshurst churchyard into Leicester Square, is from Psalm 16:9.
      • The Sidney Chapel in St John the Baptist, Penshurst contains many memorials and a fine armorial ceiling, restored in 1966. By the side altar is the Luke Tapestry (in Greek), made by Penshurst's former village doctor: it honours the partnership between medical science and Christianity.
      • The Sidney Oak was reputedly planted in 1554 at the birth of Sir Philip Sidney, but is now believed to be many hundreds of years older. Acorns from this ancient tree have been taken all over the world, and cloned saplings planted around the Penshurst estate.

    » Last updated: October 27, 2020

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