Length: 25.0 km (15.5 mi) [19.3 km/12.0 mi w/o the extension]
Ascent/Descent: 190m [119m w/o the extension]
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours [4 ½ w/o the extension].
Toughness: 5 out of 10 [3 out of 10 w/o the extension]
Take the 10.07 Hastings train from Charing Cross (W’loo East 10.10, LBG 10.16), arrives Tonbridge 10.58.
From Victoria take the 10.12 Ramsgate train via Bromley South, arrives Tonbridge 10.51, and wait.
Return trains: six per hour.
This - recently fully revised - varied walk takes in a low-lying area of parkland, farm fields, paddocks, orchards and a country park of historical interest in the Medway Valley
: see Walk Notes). It is not a particularly scenic walk but it does include the chance to visit a unique church.
There is nothing remarkable about the exterior of All Saints, Tudeley
: an old guidebook described it as “obscure and unfrequented”. Nowadays the reverse is true, because its twelve stained glass windows were all designed by the great 20th
C Russian artist, Marc Chagall
. Initially commissioned by Sir Henry and Lady d'Avigdor-Goldsmid to create a single memorial window after the death of their daughter Sarah in 1963, Chagall was inspired to create windows for the entire church (as he had previously done for a synagogue in Jerusalem and a chapel in France). The final group of windows were dedicated in 1985, a few months after his death at the age of 98.
Tudeley's sister church at Capel is on the Long Walk route (see below). For understandable reasons St Thomas à Becket
tends to be overlooked but it has a series of 13th
C wall paintings. The church is no longer used for regular services but is normally open from 10.00-16.00.
After a lunch stop in a country pub the walk loops back to Tonbridge, with the riverside route into the town centre being rather more appealing than the urban stretch at the start of the walk. The remainder of the afternoon is a loop through Haysden Country Park
to the west of the town, a popular recreational area alongside the River Medway. Its most obvious features are the large fishing and sailing lakes created after sand and gravel extraction ceased in 1980, but closer inspection will reveal the chequered history of several attempts in the 19th
C to improve navigation on the river by altering its course and building canals.
The shorter Main Walk has a Figure-of-8 shape and you can easily shorten both it and the Long Walk by cutting out some or all of the afternoon loop through Haysden. Several short cuts are described inside the Country Park but you could omit it altogether, either by looping around the large recreation ground or simply heading directly to the station.
A few other short cuts are mentioned in the directions. In particular you could take a more direct route out of Tonbridge at the start, although the most direct route would be an unappealing stretch along a busy main road.
If you wish to abandon the walk on its eastern loop there is an infrequent bus service (Mon–Sat) along the B2017, passing Tudeley church and the two crossing points on the Long Walk.
Lunch: The Dovecote Inn
(9.0 km/5.6 mi, food to 14.00) in Capel
on the long walk, or The Poacher & Partridge
(8.0 km/5.0 mi, food all day) in Tudeley Hale
, on the shorter Main Walk, plus more options for late lunch in Tonbridge before commencing the westerly loop of the route. See the webpage or the pdf for details.
Plenty options in Tonbridge. See the webpage or the pdf for details.
For walk directions
, height profiles
and gpx/kml files
Swapped with Stargazer...