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The Straight Mile

28-Oct-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Harden Vineyard in August

20-Aug-13 • Sean O'Neill

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Harden Vineyard in August

20-Aug-13 • Sean O'Neill

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Autumn colours on Cinder Hill Lane

20-Nov-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Railway bridge across the River Medway

08-Dec-14 • Sean O'Neill

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Penshurst Place

Penshurst Place

Tonbridge to Penshurst walk

12-Mar-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Leicester Square, Penshurst

Leicester Square, Penshurst

Tonbridge to Penshurst walk

12-Mar-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Tonbridge to Penshurst Walk

The Eden Valley Walk through Haysden Country Park to Penshurst Place and Chiddingstone Castle

Tonbridge to Penshurst
Length

Main Walk: 18 km (11.2 miles). Four hours 20 minutes walking time. For the whole excursion including trains, sights and meals, allow at least 8½ hours.

Main Walk, with shorter afternoon: 15¼ km (9.5 miles). Three hours 40 minutes walking time.

Long Walk, finishing in Edenbridge: 21 km (13.0 miles). Five hours walking time.

OS Map

Explorer 147. Tonbridge, map reference TQ587460, is in Kent, 10 km SE of Sevenoaks.

Toughness

3 out of 10 (4 for the Long Walk).

Features

This walk provides a link from a major town with a frequent rail service to the rolling countryside around the villages of Penshurst and Chiddingstone. You are soon out of Tonbridge town centre and heading for Haysden Country Park, a popular recreational area of lakes and water meadows alongside the River Medway. The area's industrial past can be glimpsed in the many abandoned waterways and reclaimed gravel pits, while the modern Leigh Flood Relief Barrier is a reminder that this low-lying area is prone to flooding.

The remainder of the morning section follows the Eden Valley Walk to a choice of lunch places in Penshurst. This attractive village is dominated by Penshurst Place, 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 (2017) is £11, or £9 for the gardens only.

The afternoon section closely follows the route in Extra Walk 92 (Leigh to Penshurst), climbing the low hills between the Medway and Eden rivers to the equally pretty village of Chiddingstone. On days when it is open (Sun–Wed from April to October) you could explore the grounds of Chiddingstone Castle, a castellated manor house rebuilt in the 19thC which contains an unusual collection of art and curiosities left behind by its recent owner, Denys Eyre Bower; admission (2017) to the house is £9.50. A short final section takes you back over the River Eden and across low-lying farmland to a station which calls itself Penshurst but is 3 km away from that village.

The walk crosses the area which is intentionally flooded when the Leigh barrier is raised so it will not be feasible in this event. The Wealden soil does not drain well and parts of the walk can be muddy even after moderate amounts of rain.

Additional Notes

The original version of this walk included a short Circular Walk option from Penshurst station. This has been transferred to a new Penshurst Circular walk, which also contains a longer option around Bough Beech reservoir to the north of the railway line.

Walk Options

You can save nearly 3 km by staying on the Eden Valley Walk between Penshurst and Chiddingstone, following the route of Extra Walk 78 (Cowden to Hever). For variety this option includes a different final section to Penshurst station (which you could also take on the Main Walk).

Directions are also given for a Long Walk to the larger town of Edenbridge. After taking the same direct route to Chiddingstone this breaks off to head west across Hever Castle Golf Course and farmland in the Eden valley (although some of these rights of way were poorly maintained and might be difficult to follow).

Transport

There are four to six fast trains an hour from London Charing Cross and Cannon Street to Tonbridge, taking 40-45 minutes, plus an hourly service on an alternative route via East Croydon, Redhill and Edenbridge, taking an hour. Buy a return to Penshurst if you travel out on the main route, but a return to Tonbridge on the alternative route.

At the end of the Main Walk there is an hourly service from Penshurst station, on the Redhill–Tonbridge line. A Penshurst ticket is valid both for direct trains to Victoria or London Bridge via Redhill, and via Tonbridge where you can change for a fast service to London.

At the end of the Long Walk there is a station called Edenbridge on the same Redhill–Tonbridge line, but this is at the ‘wrong’ end of the town. It is more convenient to return from Edenbridge Town on the Oxted–Uckfield line, which has an hourly service to London Bridge (on Sundays you need to change at Oxted). A Penshurst (or Tonbridge) ticket is valid from Edenbridge Town, as tickets via one Edenbridge station can be used at the other.

If you want to finish the walk in Penshurst village, Metrobus 231 & 233 combine to give a regular bus service (Mon–Sat) to Edenbridge in one direction and Tunbridge Wells in the other.

If driving, the large station car park in Tonbridge costs £5.90 off-peak, £4.10 Sat, £1 Sun (2017). Alternatively, you could park at the end of the walk and take a train from Penshurst or Edenbridge to the start. There is a small private car park on the south side of Penshurst station where a sign says the charge is £3 per day, although this may not be enforced at weekends. The small car park at Edenbridge station costs £3.40 Mon–Sat, £2 Sun (2017); there is also a large free car park off the town's High Street, just north of the parish church.

Suggested Train

Take the train nearest to 10:00 from Charing Cross (or Cannon Street) to Tonbridge.

Train Times

Lunch

The suggested lunch place (after 8¼ km) is the refurbished Leicester Arms Hotel (01892-871617) in Penshurst, an up-market establishment serving excellent home-made food until around 2.30pm (4pm Sun). On the way into the village the Porcupine Pantry (01892-870307) is just outside the main entrance to Penshurst Place and open daily to non-visitors; it serves light lunches but might struggle to cope with a large group. There is also a tearoom in the village, but the Fir Tree House (01892-870382) does not open until 2.30pm.

A later lunch option on the Main Walk might be the small Rock Inn (01892-870296) in Hoath Corner, but this pub had a long spell when it was not serving food so call beforehand if you plan to stop there. There are also more options in Chiddingstone (see below).

Tea

If you want to break for refreshment in mid-afternoon there are several places in Chiddingstone. The Tulip Tree (01892-871504) in Burghesh Court, behind the Chiddingstone Stores, is a popular tearoom which is open daily to 5pm. On days when Chiddingstone Castle is open you could visit its equally good Victorian Tearoom (01892-870347) and explore the grounds without necessarily paying to visit the house. Stronger fare is available at the Castle Inn (01892-870371), which reopened in April 2017.

At the end of the Main Walk the Little Brown Jug (01892-870318) is a stone's throw from Penshurst station and usually open all day.

At the end of the Long Walk the suggested tea place on Edenbridge High Street is a Costa Coffee at #64 (01732-866883), open to 6pm Mon–Sat, 5pm Sun. Stronger fare is available at the King & Queen (01732-862139) and Ye Old Crown Inn (01732-867896), and there are several fast food shops in the area.

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Trains

Out: (not a train station)

Back: (not a train station)

By Car

Start: TN9 1TT Directions then return to your car by train:

Finish: TN11 8JE Directions then travel to the start by train:

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Help

Start walking Large print Using GPS data

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

Version

Jul-17

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.

Tonbridge to Penshurst

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

Walk Map 2: Penshurst to Edenbridge Walk Map 1: Tonbridge to Penshurst Walk Maps

Walk Options ( Main )

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

  1. Main Walk (18 km)
  1. Main Walk, with shorter afternoon (15¼ km)
  2. Long Walk, finishing in Edenbridge (21 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. Tonbridge Station to Haysden Country Park (2 km)
  2. Tonbridge From the station head north towards the start of the High Street, then cut through the streets on the left to the River Medway. Cross the river into the large sports ground and take any route across it to the far side. Cross the other branch of the river on a footbridge and turn left onto the Eden Valley Walk (EVW) and Cycle Route 12 (CR 12). After going under the railway turn left into Haysden Country Park.

    Tonbridge Arriving from the London train on Platform 3, go up the steps near the front to emerge on a busy main road. Turn left, go down the slope and past a roundabout into the start of Tonbridge's1 High Street. Almost immediately turn left into Avebury Avenue, then take the first right into River Lawn Road. Towards the end of this short street, bear left onto a tarmac path cutting across a patch of grass towards the River Medway.

    Cross a footbridge over the channel at Buley's Weir and head N alongside the river for a short distance. Opposite the entrance to Tonbridge Memorial Gardens2 cross the river on a footbridge. Take the path going directly away from the river to the edge of a large sports ground and turn right, signposted to the Castle and Swimming Pool. In 100m, with the Pool ahead on your right, veer left to join a surfaced path going around the edge of the grounds, alongside another branch of the river.

    After 600m around the perimeter the path goes up a short incline where you turn right to cross the river on a footbridge. Either cut across the next set of sports pitches to the far left-hand corner, or simply follow the path ahead and turn left at the end onto the Eden Valley Walk3 (EVW).

    You will be following the EVW intermittently to Penshurst (and beyond on the shorter afternoon route). Much of this route is shared with Cycle Route 12, but in several places the route splits into parallel paths: at these junctions ignore the CR 12 signs and stick to the footpath.

    After passing the sports pitches follow the path under a low railway bridge. A further short stretch of tarmac leads onto a broad woodland path alongside a water channel, the outflow from the Powder Mills4 site. In 200m you come to a path junction and turn left, crossing a couple of footbridges into Haysden Country Park5.

  3. Through Haysden Country Park (2¼ km)
  4. Cross the river on Lucifer Bridge and go along the side of Barden Lake. Continue on paths close to the main branch of the river, going through Heusenstamm Wood and over an embankment by the Leigh Flood Relief Barrier. Go under the A21 flyover and follow the riverside path round to the left, under the railway and onto a strip of land alongside Haysden Water. Cross a footbridge and turn right onto the Straight Mile.

    Follow the path alongside the River Medway for 150m (passing a WWII pillbox) to a bridge with steel lattice sides. The EVW continues alongside the river but you turn left to cross Lucifer Bridge. Before coming to a second footbridge, turn right through a squeeze gate onto a narrow woodland path, also leaving CR 12. The path winds its way through the trees and goes down a short flight of steps to the perimeter path around Barden Lake.

    Unless you want to take the long way round the lake (adding 500m or so) turn right onto the path. At the far end of the lake keep ahead on a path into the trees, which soon turns right to cross a backwater on Sharpe's Bridge. This brings you back to the main river where you turn left, signposted to the Leigh Barrier. In 150m you pass the ruined Stone Lock6 and its bridge to continue on a broad strip of grassland alongside a straight stretch of the river, the New Cut7.

    In 300m go past Friendship Bridge. Where the main path turns left shortly afterwards, keep ahead through a squeeze gate into Heusenstamm Wood8. The path forks by a wooden sculpture and you can take either route: the right-hand path gives you a closer view of the Leigh Barrier, although it can be muddier. On both paths a stile at the end of the wood brings you out onto a patch of grassland alongside the Leigh Flood Relief Barrier9. Climb the embankment ahead, to look down on a water meadow crossed by the A21 flyover.

    It goes without saying that if the barrier has been raised and this meadow is flooded the rest of the walk will not be feasible.

    Take any route across the meadow to the far left-hand corner, passing under the flyover (the bank on the left-hand side is the most sensible continuation if the ground looks waterlogged). In the corner go under the railway bridge and in 25m turn right onto a narrow path leading to a strip of scrubland between the river and Haysden Water. Make your way along this potentially muddy area; you are now back on the EVW and heading SW. As you approach a projecting piece of woodland on the left and the path splits, take the left fork.

    Just after this fork an inconspicuous path through the trees on the left leads to a viewpoint across Haysden Water. If you take this short detour the path loops back to rejoin the main path by the footbridge a little further ahead.

    The main path swings left to continue alongside a wooden fence and comes to a substantial footbridge over a water channel. Go across this and turn right on the far side to reach a path junction at the boundary of the Country Park, where CR 12 rejoins from the left.

  5. Haysden Country Park to Penshurst (4 km)
  6. Follow CR 12 to Ensfield Bridge. Cross the river and continue on the EVW all the way into Penshurst: initially on the riverbank, up a slope to Killick's Bank, along a farm track (skirting Well Place Farm) and rejoining CR 12 as it goes past Penshurst Place.

    Keep ahead at the path junction to go along an attractive tree-lined path between two abandoned waterways, the Straight Mile6. In 500m keep ahead at a path crossing, which you might recognise from Book 1 Walk 19: the path on the right leads to Leigh. Continuing along the main path, you pass a couple of places where the waterways would have linked up with the river, swinging left to cross the second one on a bridge. After a short climb a footpath joins from a squeeze gate on the left.

    For the rest of this section you will be following the route of Book 1 Walk 19 (in reverse).

    Follow the path for a further 400m to reach a minor road. Turn right onto the road to cross the river at Ensfield Bridge, then immediately turn left onto the riverbank, leaving CR 12. In 500m a number of signs direct you to bear right (before these were put up it was easy to miss this turning). Head towards the trees and cross a backwater on a wooden bridge, coming out into the bottom of a field. Bear left and follow a faint grassy path up to its top left-hand corner, in front of a house at Killick's Bank. Go out through a squeeze gate, turn right and then immediately left at a T-junction with a concrete lane, rejoining CR 12.

    Follow the lane for 600m, heading SW. Where the lane (and cycle route) turns left towards Well Place Farm, keep ahead on a track. In 100m go through a squeeze gate into the top of a field, with a view of Penshurst Place 1 km ahead. Follow a broad grassy path sloping downhill, slightly to the left. In the bottom corner go through a squeeze gate, along a field edge for 100m and then back onto CR 12 through a squeeze gate on the left.

    Turn right onto the lane, passing some lakes on the right. In 400m you pass Penshurst Place's large car park on the right, with the Porcupine Pantry (a possible lunch stop) behind it; if you are stopping here for refreshment (or visiting the manor house), return to this lane afterwards. From the end of the car park to the main road there is a high brick wall on your right, in the middle of which a locked gate affords you a glimpse of the manor house's formal gardens.

    At the end of the driveway go out through a stone and brick archway and keep ahead on the B2176. On the right you pass Leicester Square10, where an archway11 at the back leads to St John the Baptist church12 (which is worth visiting). Continuing on the road into the village, you soon come to the Leicester Arms Hotel (the suggested lunch stop) on your left.

    If you are doing the Main Walk, go to §6.

  7. Penshurst to Chiddingstone direct (4 km)
  8. Head north out of the village on the B2176, then turn left onto the old coach road. Follow the Eden Valley Walk past Wat Stock, across Wellers Town Road and through a wood. Fork right onto a footpath heading north across fields and over a small hill. Turn left and go along Chiddingstone's village street, passing a tearoom and the Castle Inn.

    This section is the same as Extra Walk 78 (with the short cut at the beginning).

    For the shorter afternoon route to Chiddingstone, turn left out of the pub and then keep right at the road junction in the centre of the village to stay on the B2176. You soon pass the Fir Tree House tearoom on your left, although this is usually closed at lunchtime. In a further 150m turn left into the lane to Salmans Farm, signposted as a public bridleway.

    In 500m this old coach road crosses the River Eden13 and you fork right up a track, with increasingly fine views over the Eden Valley on your right and later with a huge array of polytunnels in the fields on your left. Continue on the main track for 1½ km to the derelict farm buildings at Wat Stock and keep ahead where a lane joins from the left.

    Continue along the lane as it passes a pond and bends right. 150m after this bend bear right onto a track and go through a gate to the right of a metal fieldgate. Head diagonally across a field on a grassy path and leave it through another gate to emerge on a minor road. Cross the road and go over a stile off to the right to continue on an attractive woodland path for 400m.

    On the far side leave the wood through a gate and continue briefly on a grassy tree-lined path. In 50m fork right onto a narrow path, as indicated by a sign on a tree to your right. In 200m, where a path joins from the left, veer right through a gap in the hedge into a large field. Do not take the path straight ahead but immediately turn left onto a broad path going up the field edge.

    Follow the path uphill and round to the right, passing an isolated tree in the field. On the far side continue on a tree-lined path, passing a sports ground on your right and later a primary school on your left. At the bottom turn left onto a lane into Chiddingstone.

    At the entrance to the village, follow the directions below if you want to see the Chiding Stone.

    • Detour to the Chiding Stone (+250m)
    • Turn left onto a signposted path to the Chiding Stone14, where there is an information panel. On the way back, if a gate in the wooden fence on your left is unlocked, you could cut through the village's Community Garden and pass between the Village Hall and Primary School to return to the street.

    Continue along the picturesque village street15, where there are a couple of opportunities for a refreshment stop. Opposite St Mary's church16 the Tulip Tree tearoom is up a short driveway behind the Chiddingstone Stores; the Castle Inn is the last building on the left before the road turns sharply to the right by a pedestrian entrance to Chiddingstone Castle.

    On days when it is open you could wander around the Castle grounds and perhaps visit its shop and tearoom (at the back of the house); if you do, return to this point to resume the walk.

    If you are doing the Long Walk (to Edenbridge), go to §10.

  9. Chiddingstone to Penshurst Station (3 km)
  10. Head north out of the village and take a footpath on the right across fields to a footbridge over the River Eden. Fork right off the main path onto a footpath leading to a house (Chested). Go out along its driveway and turn left briefly onto a minor road, then turn right onto a footpath heading east across fields to Beckett's Farm. Go across its driveway onto another footpath heading east along the right-hand edge of a large field, then north-east across some smaller fields to Penshurst station.

    Follow the lane out of the village, passing the church tower up on your right and heading N. Immediately after crossing a stone bridge at the end of the lake in the castle grounds go through an old metal gate on the right onto a signposted footpath.

    Go along the right-hand side of some small fields, then through a belt of trees into a larger field. Bear left and follow a grassy path curving round to the far corner. Turn left at a path T-junction and follow the path up to and across the River Eden on a new wooden footbridge.

    After crossing the river go through a metal gate on the right into the corner of a field. Turn left and go along the field edge parallel to the path you were on, veering slightly away from it at the end to go through a gap into the bottom of a sloping field. Follow a faint grassy path up to its top right-hand corner and go through a gap into another field. Make your way over to its right-hand side and continue along the field edge, heading N.

    In the next corner go through an old metal gate (or over a stile) and bear right across a field which slopes downhill, aiming just to the right of a house which comes into view. Go over a stile at the bottom and turn right to follow the house's driveway out to a minor road. Turn left onto the road, then in 60m turn right onto a signposted footpath, heading E along a strip of grassland.

    At the end of the hedge on your left bear left towards the field corner. Go through a metal fieldgate in this potentially muddy area and veer right up a slope to continue along the right-hand edge of a field, heading E again towards the buildings of Beckett's Farm. Go over a stile in the field corner and veer left briefly onto the driveway leading away from the farm, then immediately go over a stile on the right into a large field.

    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.

    In the field corner go over a stile to the right of a metal fieldgate and continue up to another. Go through this gate and turn left along the edge of another large field. About 100m before the railway embankment which you can see up ahead, turn right by a footpath marker post to go straight across this field, heading E again. On the far side go through a metal fieldgate to continue along a grassy track on the left-hand edge of a field.

    At the end go over a stile beside a wooden fieldgate and through a small parking area to reach Penshurst station. Platform 1 on this side is for trains to London via Redhill. For some refreshment before the journey back, or to take a train to Tonbridge, cross the footbridge to Platform 2. The Little Brown Jug is on the other side of the B2027, directly opposite the station.

  11. Penshurst to Salmans Manor (1¾ km)
  12. Head south-west out of the village on the B2188. At the school, turn right into a lane and follow this to the Warren. Keep ahead along a footpath which crosses the River Eden and continues to Salmans Manor.

    For the longer afternoon route to Chiddingstone, turn left out of the pub and then keep left at the road junction in the centre of the village. Go along the B2188 for 200m, passing some attractive old buildings17. Immediately after passing the primary school, turn right into a lane (The Warren). Stay on this lane for 600m, eventually passing a row of cottages.

    Where the lane ends, keep ahead down the right-hand edge of a large field. In the bottom corner go through a metal gate and veer right across the grass to a footbridge over the River Eden13. Cross this and continue on an enclosed path.

    In 200m go through a metal kissing gate and turn right along a narrow fenced path. This takes you around two edges of a large field, with two more kissing gates along the way. After the second of these, do not continue on the broad grassy track ahead (with a tall hedge on its left), but turn right to head NW on another wide track.

    The track soon comes to a tarmac lane by the buildings of Salmans Manor. Turn left briefly onto the lane, but instead of following it round to the right go through a fieldgate (or a wooden side gate) to continue in the same direction on a tree-lined track.

    A short detour up the lane would give you a fine view of a large mill pond opposite a particularly attractive oast-house conversion.

  13. Salmans Manor to Hoath Corner (2 km)
  14. Leave Salmans Manor on a footpath heading west, climbing gradually through fields, woods and the edge of Harden Vineyard. Soon after the path joins a track by Oakenden Farm, turn right and take the path through Puckden Wood to Hoath Corner.

    Go along the track for 100m, with glimpses of the mill pond on your right. Just before a metal fieldgate leading into a large field, turn left through a kissing gate and climb a short flight of steps. This leads through another kissing gate into the field where you continue up its left-hand edge.

    In 150m turn left through a wooden kissing gate into a small enclosure, leaving it by a metal kissing gate in the opposite corner. Bear right and go across a small fenced-in field to another gate. Go through this and turn right along the field edge, soon passing Harden Vineyard on your left. At the end of the field go over a stile and through some trees to a path T-junction. Turn right and follow the path as it bends round to the left.

    In 100m you come to the edge of the wood and go over a stile into an attractive large field. Follow the enclosed tree-lined path up the right-hand edge of this field. At the top cross a stile onto a path through some trees, soon joining a driveway by the entrance to “Skipreed”.

    The final part of this section needs some care. About 100m along this drive, opposite a house “Oakenden”, turn right up a few steps in the earth bank. Go over a stile and along the left-hand edge of a field (with a distant view of Penshurst Place away to your right). At the end of the hedge, go over a stile on the left into the corner of another field.

    Follow the right-hand of two grassy paths across this field (moving slightly away from its left-hand edge). On the far side go over another stile and downhill through Puckden Wood. At the bottom of the slope, the path curves right and soon veers left to leave the wood. Climb a broad grassy path between fences and continue along a short driveway past some houses to a road junction in the hamlet of Hoath Corner.

    If you want some mid-afternoon refreshment the Rock Inn is just off to the right.

  15. Hoath Corner to Chiddingstone (3¼ km)
  16. From Hoath Corner, take the lane heading west for a short distance and turn right onto a footpath which goes via Trugger's Gill to Stock Wood. Turn right at a path junction and follow this footpath through woods and fields to reach Hill Hoath. Take the lane heading north to the entrance to Chiddingstone Castle. If the the castle grounds are open you could go through them, otherwise continue along the road and turn right at the crossroads to reach the village.

    Take the narrow lane heading W from the road junction, signposted to Markbeech. In 150m turn right at a footpath sign to go down a path between fences. After passing some gardens and crossing a stream the path continues along the right-hand edge of two meadows, heading NW.

    Just before the far corner the path veers right and goes down into a small wooded glen, then back up into the corner of another meadow. Keep right, initially alongside a projecting piece of woodland. Where these trees end, bear slightly right across the meadow to find a path on the far side leading into a large wood.

    The woodland path comes to a T-junction with footpath markers where you turn right onto a potentially very muddy path. After it bends left pass to the right of a horse jump and continue on a path between hedges, now with fields on both sides.

    At a path crossing near another horse jump, go through a metal kissing gate on the right and continue on a well-trodden grassy path for about 500m, heading NNE. At the end of the field go through another kissing gate, down a short slope to a gap in the hedge ahead and turn right onto an earth track. This leads into a short lane going through the hamlet of Hill Hoath, where you pass some houses (including a renovated half-timbered cottage) and reach a three-way road junction.

    At the junction keep left to head N on this quiet country lane. In 300m you pass a corner of Chiddingstone Castle's grounds on your right (with a locked gate), then in a further 400m come to its main driveway. The route in §8b is not a right of way but is a nice alternative on days when the house is open to the public.

    The grounds are not very large but include a tearoom, an attractive lake and some pleasant woodland paths beyond the lawn at the back of the house.

    1. Route along public roads
    2. Continue along the lane to a crossroads and turn right. In 250m this road bends right and crosses a stone bridge, with a view of the castle beyond the lake. In 150m there is a pedestrian entrance to the castle on the right (the exit for the alternative route) and the road turns sharply left.

    3. Route via castle grounds
    4. Turn sharp right off the lane to go up the castle's driveway, which curves gently round to its main entrance. To go directly to the Victorian Tearoom without visiting the house and its collections, continue past the entrance and go all the way round the back of the house to find the shop and tearoom in the far corner.

      Afterwards, return to the front of the house and turn right. Continue across an arm of the lake on a footbridge and follow the path as it curves round and leaves the grounds through a gate in the castle walls, emerging on a bend in the road.

    At the bend in the road the Castle Inn is on the right, the first building on Chiddingstone's picturesque village street15. Opposite St Mary's church16 the Tulip Tree tearoom is up a short driveway behind the Chiddingstone Stores.

  17. Chiddingstone to Penshurst Station (2¾ or 3 km)
  18. There is a choice of routes to the station. For the main route head east along the road to Larkin's Farm and continue along a footpath across the brow of Hampkin's 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. Alternatively, turn left off the lane outside the village and take a footpath heading north to a footbridge over the River Eden. Fork right off the main path onto a footpath leading to a house (Chested). Go out along its driveway and turn left briefly onto a minor road, then turn right onto a footpath heading east across fields to Beckett's Farm. Go across its driveway onto another footpath heading east and then north-east across fields to the station.

    Continue along the village street. After passing the primary school, follow the directions below if you want to see the Chiding Stone.

    • Detour to the Chiding Stone (+400m)
    • Turn right onto a signposted path to the Chiding Stone14, where there is an information panel. Return the same way.

    Just after the path to the Chiding Stone ignore a public footpath on the right (the direct route from Penshurst village). In a further 25m there is another footpath on the left which offers an alternative route to Penshurst station.

    1. Main route, via Hampkin's Hill (2¾ km)
    2. Stay on the lane, climbing gently with good views of the Greensand Hills on your left. In 400m fork right in front of Triangle Oast (with Larkin's Farm18 on your left). Almost immediately turn left at a footpath signpost onto a ridge path heading E across Hampkin's Hill, with fine views on both sides.

      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, going over a stile to the left of a metal fieldgate. Take the right-hand of two faint grassy paths to head NE across a large field, going past a loop of the river. The path heads towards a metal fieldgate where there is a wide bridge over a stream in the trees, but the correct (and usually less muddy) route is to aim about 30m to its left where there is a footbridge over the stream.

      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 over a stile into the right-hand field and continue in much the same direction for 400m along the left-hand edge of two fields, at first with a wire fence and then a line of trees on your left. At the end of the second field go over a stile into a large field and turn right to head E along its edge.

    3. Alternative route, via Beckett's Farm (3 km)
    4. Turn left off the lane onto the footpath, the driveway to a house “Coachmans”. At the end of the drive bear right as indicated in front of a wooden fieldgate onto a fenced path skirting around the house. On the far side follow the path gently downhill alongside a wood. Keep ahead where another footpath joins from the left and follow the path up to and across the River Eden on a new wooden footbridge.

  19. Chiddingstone to Hever Castle Golf Course (3¼ km)
  20. Head north out of the village and take a footpath on the right across fields to a footbridge over the River Eden. Follow the main path northwards through Somerden Green, then turn left onto a footpath heading west to Mill Lane. Turn right onto the lane, then take a footpath on the left towards a house (Gravelpits). Go across its driveway onto a footpath heading south-west to Hever Castle Golf Course.

    After crossing the river ignore a metal gate on the right and stay on the main path, between hedges. After passing the first of several cottages continue on a long driveway, climbing gently. 100m after the drive turns half-left, and just after a cottage on the right, there are footpaths off on both sides; turn left here past an old stile into a large field.

    Follow a path across the field, initially heading W and then veering down to the right past an isolated tree. At the bottom of the field follow the path through some trees and bushes and back over the River Eden on a long footbridge, negotiating some awkward metal poles at each end. Continue in the same direction across a large meadow.

    On the far side go over a stile beside a metal fieldgate and turn right onto a road. Follow it NW for 200m, crossing the river for the last time. Ignore a farm track off to the left but soon after turn left at a footpath sign, going through a squeeze gate to the right of a metal fieldgate.

    Go along the bottom edge of a field for 150m, then veer left and right through a wide gap to continue on the other side of a tall hedge. Follow the field edge round to the right and uphill, continuing around the left-hand edge of another field at the top. After passing an old outbuilding veer left past a small metal gate onto a narrow path between hedges and continue along a short track to an unsurfaced lane by the entrance to a house “Gravelpits”.

    Go straight across the lane and through a narrow gap in the hedge to the right of a metal fieldgate. Turn left and follow a path along the edge of a large field for 250m, curving round to head SW. In the corner of the field go over a stile in a belt of trees onto a golf course.

  21. Hever Castle Golf Course to Whistlers (2¼ km)
  22. Continue on the footpath heading south-west and then west across the golf course to Hever Road. Take a footpath just off to the left past How Green Farm and across fields to a large farmhouse, Whistlers.

    Turn left and follow a grassy track down the side of the course, with trees on your left. After curving round to the right keep ahead (passing a footpath marker post) into a lightly wooded area crossed by several golfers' paths. Go over a small bridge, crossing the outflow to a large pond on your right, and veer left and right onto a long straight path heading W and climbing gently.

    Follow this clear path straight ahead for 1 km. There is a hedge on your right throughout, except at one place where the path crosses a fairway (and you need to take extra care with golfers playing from behind you on the left). On the far side leave the course over a stile and continue through a wooded area to a lane (Hever Road).

    Turn left briefly onto the lane, crossing over carefully at some point. In 50m turn right onto a signposted footpath (not easy to see). Go over a stile in the trees and follow a grassy path across a field, crossing a stile in the middle and another on the far side. Go straight across a byway onto a short farm track and continue along the right-hand side of two fields.

    At the end of the second field keep ahead across a plank footbridge and through a small metal gate into a large farm field. Go straight across this (slightly to the left), across a dip in the middle and up to a footpath marker post in front of a driveway. Turn left briefly onto the drive, but as it curves right bear left by another marker post onto a grassy path along the top of a field, passing an attractive farmhouse (Whistlers) off to your right.

  23. Whistlers to Edenbridge (Forge Croft) (2¼ km)
  24. Continue on the footpath heading west, joining the Eden Valley Walk (EVW) after 1 km. Follow this across the Oxted–Uckfield railway line into Edenbridge.

    Continue down the right-hand side of the field, soon with a fence on your right. Near the bottom turn right through a metal kissing gate and cross a stream on a wide concrete bridge. Turn left and go alongside the stream for a short distance to a footpath marker post, pointing up to the right and heading W.

    At the time of writing the right of way across this very large field was not marked out (it passes just to the right of an isolated tree near the top of the field). If there are crops in the field you might find it easier to walk up one of the lines of tractor tracks to the top of the field.

    At the top of the field turn left along the edge. In the corner turn right through a metal fieldgate and continue along the top edge of another field, heading W again. In the next corner you rejoin the Eden Valley Way (coming up the field edge on your left) for the stretch to Edenbridge High Street. Go through another metal fieldgate and keep ahead across another field, gently downhill and passing to the left of a clump of trees.

    At the bottom go through a gate in the hedge and across a ditch. Continue in the same direction, with farm buildings away to the right and a meander of the River Eden not far off to the left. After crossing another ditch keep ahead along the right-hand side of two more fields, going over a stile by a large tree in the boundary hedge.

    Your eventual exit is in the far left-hand corner of the second field but the right of way is to go around two field edges, turning left at the first corner. As you approach the second corner veer right on any of the short paths through a belt of trees and go out through a wooden kissing gate on the left to an unsurfaced lane. Follow this up a slope and over a railway bridge (where you can see Edenbridge Town station on the right). At the bottom turn right onto a residential street (Forge Croft).

  25. Forge Croft to Edenbridge Town Station (1 or ½ km)
  26. Edenbridge Unless you want to head directly to Edenbridge Town station via Greenfield and Grange Close, follow the EVW along Churchfield and through the churchyard to reach the refreshment places on Edenbridge High Street. To complete the walk, head north up this street and turn right into Station Approach for Edenbridge Town station (or continue along the B2026 for Edenbridge station).

    If you want to go directly to Edenbridge Town station, follow the directions in §13b.

    1. Main route (1 km)
    2. Edenbridge For the route through the town centre turn left off Forge Croft almost immediately into Churchfield. At the end of this cul-de-sac continue on a short tarmac path on the left and turn right to go alongside the churchyard. The path later turns half-left and skirts around the western end of the church of Ss Peter and Paul19, which is worth visiting; its entrance is on the other side.

      Go out through the lychgate and continue along Church Street to the long straight High Street20, with the King & Queen pub on the left and The Minstrel coffee shop opposite. To continue the walk turn right onto the High Street, where you pass Ye Old Crown Inn and Costa Coffee (in a former pub) on the left as well as several fast food shops.

      Shortly before the High Street joins the B2026 at traffic lights you come to Station Approach on the right. Unless you want to head for the town's alternative station (1 km further away on the long straight road ahead: see map) turn right into Station Approach to reach Edenbridge Town station in 250m.

    3. Direct route (½ km)
    4. To go directly to the station (without passing any refreshment places) go past Churchfield and turn right into Greenfield. At the end of this residential street go through vehicle barriers onto another street (Grange Close). The station is visible down to the right but Grange Close turns away from it, so after 100m you have to turn right and then right again into Station Approach to reach it.

    Platform 1 on the near side is for trains to London; if the ticket office is closed, the entrance is on the right.

Walk Notes

  1. Tonbridge has always been pronounced Tunbridge and was often spelt that way. The 'o' spelling became standard in the late 19thC to help distinguish it from its spa neighbour Tunbridge Wells, which retained the 'u' spelling.
  2. Tonbridge Memorial Gardens were created after World WarⅡ“in grateful memory of the men of this town who died in the service of their King and Country”.
  3. The Eden Valley Walk runs for 24 km, linking the Wealdway in Tonbridge with the Vanguard Way to the west of Edenbridge. At its eastern end much of the route is actually alongside the River Medway, whereas there are only short stretches with convenient rights of way close to the River Eden.
  4. The Powder Mills site manufactured gunpowder from 1813 until its closure in 1934, with the channels from the River Medway providing the water power for grinding and mixing the ingredients. Unlike the similar works at Chilworth the historic site (on the boundary between Tonbridge and Leigh) is not open to the public.
  5. Haysden Country Park was opened in 1988 after sand and gravel extraction ceased, a process which had created Barden Lake and Haysden Water.
  6. Stone Lock is at one end of the Straight Mile (now cut in two by Haysden Water), dug in 1830 in an attempt to straighten out the River Medway for navigation. The blocks of stone were reputedly taken from Tonbridge Castle. The canal never filled with water and the project was abandoned.
  7. The New Cut was a later and more successful attempt to straighten out the meanders of the original river. The Shallows (on the other side of the railway line) are gradually reverting to marshland.
  8. Heusenstamm Wood was planted on reclaimed land after the Flood Barrier replaced a large weir which had previously controlled water levels. The trees were donated from Tonbridge's twin town in Germany after the 1987 storm.
  9. Completed in 1981, the Leigh Flood Relief Barrier was designed to protect Tonbridge from flooding. The embankment acts as a dam and a large area of water meadows can be flooded to hold back the water (although it did not have enough capacity to fully protect the area downstream in the winter storms of 2013/14).
  10. 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.
  11. “My Flesh also shall rest in Hope”, inscribed above the archway leading out of Penshurst churchyard into Leicester Square, is from Psalm 16:9.
  12. 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.
  13. The source of the River Eden is in the Titsey estate, 2 km north-east of Oxted on the slopes of the North Downs. A Saxon named Eadhelm built a bridge over the river and the town “Eadhelmsbrigge” (later Edenbridge) gave its name to the river. It flows into the River Medway near Penshurst.
  14. The Chiding Stone is a large sandstone boulder after which the village is named. Nagging wives or wrongdoers were supposedly brought here and told off (chided) by the other villagers.
  15. The Streatfeild family sold the buildings of Chiddingstone village to the National Trust in 1939. As a consequence it remains largely unspoilt and has been used as a location in period films, eg. A Room with a View.
  16. 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”!
  17. The large horseshoe-shaped doorway in the quaint shop/garage is a relic of its days as the village smithy.
  18. 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.
  19. Ss Peter & Paul, Edenbridge was rebuilt and extended in the 13thC and there is little trace of an earlier Norman church. It contains some fine memorials and a poignant tombstone to Ann Jemett. The tower clock has an hour hand only.
  20. Edenbridge High Street and its continuation (Station Road) are on the line of the Roman road from London to Lewes.

» Last updated: July 23, 2017

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