Tunbridge Wells Circular walk

A varied High Weald walk with stretches through parkland, restored heathland and woods containing massive sandstone outcrops, finishing alongside the Spa Valley Railway.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Post # Weather
Sat, 19-Mar-22 Saturday walk - Tunbridge Wells Circular - Signs of spring in the wonderful Weald 26 lovely sunshine
Sat, 31-Jul-21 Saturday Walk Frant to Tunbridge Wells via Groombridge 14 mostly sunny two short showowers
Sat, 11-Jul-20 Saturday walk - Tunbridge Wells Circular 18 sun and cloud
Sat, 07-Mar-20 Saturday Walk: Tunbridge Wells Circular 16 Warm and humid but no rain
Sat, 30-Mar-19 Saturday Walk - Frant to Tunbridge Wells - the Weald in Spring 33 sunny and warm
Sat, 26-May-18 Saturday Walk Frant to Tunbridge Wells via Goombridge 8 hot and humid
Sun, 08-Oct-17 A varied walk through the High Weald 13 fine sunny and dry
Sat, 22-Jul-17 Saturday Walk - Frant to Tunbridge Wells 15 rained intensely for two hours
Mon, 17-Apr-17 Easter Monday Walk – Bluebells, rock outcrops and steam locos 20 dry cloudy with a cool breeze
Sun, 29-Jan-17 A varied High Weald walk 1 cloudy
Sun, 28-Feb-16 The High Weald 11 A few early spots of rain and some later weak efforts at sunshine with most of the day in between
Wed, 09-Dec-15 Midweek day walk - Frant to Tunbridge Wells 9 bright and clear
Mon, 25-May-15 Bank Holiday Monday Walk – rock climbers and steam trains 14 cloudy and sunny
Mon, 21-Apr-14 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sun, 02-Feb-14 Frant to Tunbridge Wells (short walk) 10
Sun, 27-Jan-13 Frant to Tunbridge Wells (short walk) 2
Sat, 31-Mar-12 Eridge to Tunbridge Wells - withdrawn
Sun, 05-Feb-12 Frant to Tunbridge Wells (short walk)
Sat, 08-Oct-11 Frant to Tunbridge Wells (short walk)
Mon, 25-Apr-11 Frant to Tunbridge Wells (long walk, via Groombridge)
Sat, 21-Nov-09 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sat, 11-Apr-09 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sun, 20-Jul-08 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sat, 03-May-08 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sat, 12-Jan-08 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sat, 07-Jul-07 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Mon, 07-May-07 Tunbridge Wells Circular
Sat, 19-Mar-22
Saturday walk - Tunbridge Wells Circular - Signs of spring in the wonderful Weald
Length: 17.5km (10.9 miles) or 23.8km (14.7 miles) T=swc.19
9.45 train from Charing Cross (9.48 Waterloo East, 9.54 London Bridge) to Tunbridge Wells, arriving 10.40
For walk directions click here. For GPX click here. For a map of the route click here.
I must go down to the Weald again, to the lovely hills and the sky.
And all I ask is some early spring flowers, and some sun to see them by....

Famous last words: but I make so bold as to think that we can now go back to the wood and pastures paradise of the Weald and find the paths once more dry underfoot... I am also hoping for primroses, celandines, newborn lambs, carolling chiffchaffs and other signs of spring.
There are two walk options here, but both remain together until lunch at the Nevil Crest and Gun, a capacious pub with a large garden about six miles in, which usually manages to accommodate us. Earlier pub options (3 miles in) are available in Frant.
After lunch the main walk (10.9 miles) crosses the wooded RSPB reserve of Broadwater Warren, but I highly recommend the longer 14.7 mile walk via Groombridge. This passes Harrison's Rocks, which is a prime site for wood anemones - they won't be at their best yet, but cross fingers there should be some. There are then possible pub/tea options in Groombridge and you pass Groombridge Place, which usually has a fine display of daffodils. The option ends with one of my favourite spring walks down the valley to Tunbridge Wells (with more wood anemones possible near the end)
Both options end in Tunbridge Wells, which is groaning with tea options, either in the scenic Pantilles or the High Street.
Trains back from Tunbridge Wells are at 09 and 39 past
  • 14-Mar-22

    The website at the Nevil Gun and Crest shows there are no tables available at 1pm. Worth booking some tables for 12.45 or 1.30 in advance?

  • 14-Mar-22

    In the past we have always been able to sit in the garden, which is nicer if the weather is fine. But I suppose they might not be serving food there at present, so I have booked for eight people on the “covered terrace” for 1.30pm. Note that in order to book they ask for a credit card and charge £10 per person if you don’t show and don’t inform them in advance (!!!), so if anyone wants to indicate in the comments that they definitely do plan to attend and want lunch, that would be nice….

  • 16-Mar-22

    For those living on the Northern Line, Bank Branch: you can also take the 9.30 Southbound Thameslink train direction Brighton at St Pancrass and change at London Bridge. 9min for platform change.

  • 18-Mar-22

    Lunch for me please, thank you.

    Mina

  • 19-Mar-22

    Well, we had our lovely sunshine . There were plenty of signs of spring, including at least a dozen chiffchaffs, a scattering of butterflies, and bright green grass thrusting eagerly towards the sky.

    26 assembled at the start. Having been forced to give my credit card details to guarantee a pub booking @ £10 per person in the event of no-shows, I took particular care to establish how many wanted a pub lunch. The count came to 12, and we adjusted the booking accordingly (another walker had also booked a table for eight, so she halved that booking).

    We had also been told tables were not available at 1pm, and so had booked for 1.30pm. We got to the pub at 1pm nevertheless, and found it fairly empty. The “covered terrace” where we had booked was completely empty apart from us. Several more than twelve of our group had lunch.

    All of this was a bit bewildering to my aged brain. Who are these people who have pub lunches when they have been repeatedly asked if they want one and said no? Why deny us the right to book for 1pm when the terrace was empty? If staffing was a problem, why were so many flitting round behind the bar? If the pub was half empty why insist on credit card guarantees for no shows?

    The pub redeemed itself, however, by letting us order at the bar (yay!) and because the food came with reasonable speed. It was a bit cold under the covered awning, notwithstanding some roof heaters, and I cast longing glances at the sunny garden, where we could have just sat at unbooked outside tables. One or two of our group did decide to do this. But mostly we had a nice congenial lunch, so no complaints.

    After lunch I tried in vain to interest the majority in the longer afternoon walk. Instead the standard walk won out. I understand many of this contingent had tea at the High Rocks pub terrace and saw a steam train go by. It was one of those days when it was chilly in the breeze but summery when sheltered from it: the terrace was in the latter category, apparently.

    Only three of us did the long walk - or perhaps a fourth, but if so she went on ahead and we never saw her. I have to say that pleasant though the whole walk is, I do think this long afternoon is the loveliest bit of it. There were fairly good displays of wood anemones at Harrison Rocks, lots of enthusiastic young rock climbers on it in the sunshine, and Groombridge Place was a sea of daffodils. I was footsore and weary by the end, though.

    We met two of the main party for craft beer in the Pantilles and then had some wine on the train. So all in all a lovely spring day, and hopefully the first of many.

Sat, 31-Jul-21
Saturday Walk Frant to Tunbridge Wells via Groombridge
Frant to Tunbridge Wells via Groombridge T=swc.19.b

Length: 13 miles (21 km) (6 out of 10). Five hours 15 minutes walking time. There is also a 9.3 mile option (4 out of 10)

This is an enjoyable walk and the Spa Valley Railway will be running the green timetable here, with stops at Groombridge and High Rocks The choice of how far to walk comes after lunch. I've always found the main walk start (5a), along the road not too bad, but you could start earlier from Tunbridge Wells for a longer option.
Trains: Get the 1015 Hastings train from Charing Cross, (London Bridge 1024) arriving Frant 1115. Return trains from Tunbridge Wells are xx09 & xx39. CDR to Frant.

Lunch: is at the Nevill Crest and Gun (7.5km) in Eridge Green; it has a large garden and serves food all day from noon
Tea: As well as the wide choice in Tunbridge, there is the High Rocks Inn has a large garden next to the SVR station. On the Long Walk the walk route passes the Junction Inn Goombridge,
  • 01-Aug-21

    14 off the train for a lovely walk with a bit of mud to navigate. mostly sunny two short showowers . We got a bit separated after lunch, with a shower scattering the picnickers. My group of 4 arrived at the bridge at Goombridge, perfecly timed to see the arrival of the steam train, and then briefly met the lead group of 4 at the station café, before they set off again. A second short shower after High Rocks and the 1809 train, resisting the Pantiles Gin Festival in Tunbridge.

Sat, 11-Jul-20
Saturday walk - Tunbridge Wells Circular
Length: 17.5km (10.9 miles), 19.3km (12 miles) or 23.8km (14.8 miles)

Meet at the entrance to Calverley Grounds (see ** below), by Tunbridge Wells station, at 10.45am. We will do a socially-distanced meet up there and split into groups of no more than six.

(The 9.45 train from Charing Cross - 9.48 Waterloo East, 9.54 London Bridge - to Tunbridge Wells, arriving 10.39, would get you there in time.)

** Calverley Grounds are right at the start of the main walk, just across the road from Tunbridge Wells station, if you leave it via the exit that goes directly up from the arrival platform (ie NOT crossing the footbridge to the main exit on the other side of the line).

Since we have to walk in groups of no more than six, I thought we might as well have a walk with various options to suit various abilities.

- The shortest walk (17.5km/10.9 miles) involves taking a slightly shorter start to the main walk: otherwise you do the main walk as advertised

- The main walk is 19.3km/12 miles

- A longer walk of 23.8km /14.8 miles is also possible via Groombridge

All of these options are outlined in the walk directions, or on the map or GPX for this walk, one of which you will of course bring with you.

Refreshment options

At the end of the walk, tea or other drinks should be available in Tunbridge Wells, either in the Pantiles or the town centre. The High Rocks Inn just before the town is NOT yet open according to its website.

For lunch, you are best advised to bring your own, but if you want to try for a pub lunch, the George Inn in Frant 4.3 miles into the main walk is open, as is the Nevil Crest and Gun in Eridge Green 7.1 miles into the walk. Both will be table service only, and probably booked out, but the Nevil Crest and Gun has a large garden and says on its website these tables will not be bookable, but first come, first served: so you might be lucky. See here for their full rules and regulations, which include a stipulation that those eating inside are from two households only. Table service seems to apply in both places even if you only want to buy a drink

On the longer walk, Groombrdge has the Junction Inn and Crown. The Crown is closed 2.30pm to 6pm and says it will only do meals (rather than just drinks). See here for more. The Junction Inn does not have any coronavirus-specific information on its website.

Trains back from Tunbridge Wells are at 09, 21, 39 and 51 past. T=3.19
  • Anonymous
    08-Jul-20

    Please take instructions with you to be independent and not needy.

  • 08-Jul-20

    As on all our walks, everyone must bring the walk directions, GPX or map, yes: links in the walk post.

  • 11-Jul-20

    18 on this walk on a day of sun and cloud . Two elected to do the short start, three or four did the long walk in reverse to maintain social distancing, and the rest of us split into three groups to do the main walk.

    Clearly given the split, the rest of this account will be somewhat partial and prejudiced (apologies to Jane Austen). My group got lost in several places, but this was not the fault of the directions, as we had all forgotten to bring them, and none of us were very good with the GPX. But in due course we got to Frant, where the George looked utterly empty (though perhaps had some customers in a garden not visible to us). We in any case carried on past it to the village green, where two of the earlier groups were lunching, well distanced from each other. We joined them, ditto.

    After crossing Eridge Park three of us stopped at the Nevil Crest and Gun, where it was easy to get a table in the garden for drinks, albeit that they came rather slowly. The reverse walkers were at another table 30 metres away, but we eschewed them religiously. I am told by someone who went in for the loo that it was fairly empty inside. People are reluctant to eat indoors, it seems.

    Back in Tunbridge Wells the Pantiles has more outside tables than an Italian piazza. Almost every establishment was offering drinks there, with table service. Again the drinks were a bit slow to arrive, but the wait was pleasant - “the nearest we will get to a Mediterranean holiday this year” as one of our number remarked. We had more drinks, this time courtesy of Sainsbury’s, on the train home.

    Note to future posters: this would make a good heather walk. There was lots of it in Broadwater Warren, but as yet only a tiny bit of bell heather was out.

Sat, 07-Mar-20
Saturday Walk: Tunbridge Wells Circular
12 miles / 19.2 km

A varied walk through the High Weald - Eridge Old Park, Eridge Rocks, Broadwater Warren and the Spa Valley Railway.

Trains: 09:45 Charing Cross, 09:54 London Bridge, arrives at Tunbridge Wells 10:39. Return trains from Tunbridge Wells at xx:09/39 and xx:21/51.

Lunch: An early lunch at The George Inn, Frant or a later stop at Nevill Crest and Gun, Eridge Green.

Click here for full details and walk directions

T=swc.19
  • 08-Mar-20

    I don't recall any of us counting at the station, but I guess that there were about 16 on this walk. Warm and humid but no rain . Extensive mud made it feel much harder work than usual for 12-13 miles.

    Three of us at the back took lunch at the George Inn at Frant. Portions not huge, prices not cheap, but warm service and an interesting menu that included pheasant crumble which tasted good if noticeably salty. No sighting of the faster majority of the group who presumably forged on to the later pub.

    The three lunchers plus two others converged at the Cake Shed in the Pantiles just as it was closing.

Sat, 30-Mar-19
Saturday Walk - Frant to Tunbridge Wells - the Weald in Spring
Length: 15km (9.3 miles) or 21km (13 miles) T=3.19

10.15 train from Charing Cross (10.18 Waterloo East, 10.24 London Bridge) to Frant, arriving 11.15.

Buy a day return to Frant.

For walk directions click here, for a GPX file click here, for a map of the route click here.

I have picked the alternative Frant start for this walk, even if it does start with an awkward 300 metres on a busy road - please take the greatest care on this - because it allows shorter and longer walkers to stay together till lunch at the Nevil Crest and Gun pub in Eridge Green. Hopefully the latter won't be booked out due to Mother's Day (which is on Sunday), but past experience shows there is relatively little spillover.

After lunch those who prefer a more relaxed walk can stick to the main route (the 9.3 mile version) which crosses Broadwater Warren Nature Reserve and gets you to the Pantilles in Tunbridge Wells in good time for tea.

If you are a more vigorous walker I urge you to try the longer route (13 miles) around Harrison Rocks. Above these (at a site passed by the walk directions) there is a grand display of wood anemones in Birchden Wood at this time of year, which look particularly impressive if the weather is fine and their star-like flowers are open.

Both long and short walkers will also see wood anemones between High Rocks and Tunbridge Wells.

Trains back from Tunbridge Wells are every 15 minutes - at 9, 21, 39 and 51 past.

  • Marion
    30-Mar-19

    Intend coming and have booked for 6 for lunch but the pub web site wouldn't accept a ressie until 1.45pm so expect them to be really busy. Tables in the garden are not bookable so should be warm enough to sit outside as long as they can serve us.

  • Steph
    30-Mar-19

    I very cleaverly missed the london bridge train by a hair. Am jumping on the 10:39 from London Bridge to Tunbridge and will hopefully be able to figure it out from there.

  • Marion Watkinson
    30-Mar-19

    I’m hoping to catch a bus from bus stop T Tunbridge Wells to the recommended pub having missed the train due to engineering works. Any idea of your ETA? I booked a table for 6 but walkers will probably want to sit in the garden. Look out for me at TWells Marion

  • 30-Mar-19

    30 of the scheduled train, plus the two late starters who commented below (assuming that they both made it) and one serial offender who joined us part way through the walk and bunked of early after lunch, making 33 or so. Gloriously sunny and warm with the odd bit of light cloud made for a pleasant days walking. Plenty of wood anemones, celandines and primroses, and large patches of bluebell and wild garlic plants holding out the promise of some spectacular displays in the next few weeks (unlike Thomas on his perambulation around Petersfield very few of the bluebells that we saw were in bloom). Strangely, given that we were further south, there seemed to be far fewer leaves out in the hedgerows than on my home turf at the northern end of the Metropolitan Line. I did however, see my first lamb of the season, not long born by the look of it, and a white deer that rather gave away the location of the rest of it's herd (the second that we had seen that day).

    Many of us stopped at the Nevil Crest and Gun for lunch, all I think choosing to sit in the large garden. The first group to leave separated up soon afterwards when some split off to do the short walk. The five of us who formed the vanguard of the group doing the long walk passed through the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells without stopping, drawn onwards by reports of riches to be had at Juliette's tea room. Alas, it was not to be as the place was jam packed and no table was to be had for at least twenty minutes. Two then headed of for the station, leaving three of us to seek solace (and tea) in a nearby Café Nero. On reaching the station we encountered another some other short walk participants who sang the praises of a café in the Pantiles called the Cake Shed which served large (too large in the opinion of two of the group) portions of very sounding home made cake. One to remember out for future walks perhaps.

    A fine day out.

Sat, 26-May-18
Saturday Walk Frant to Tunbridge Wells via Goombridge
Frant to Tunbridge Wells via Goombridge T=swc.19.b

Length: 13 miles (21 km). Five hours 15 minutes walking time. (there is a 9.3 mile option)

This is an enjoyable walk and the Spa Valley Railway will be running (Goombridge 1620 to Tunbridge Wells). The choice of how far to walk is after lunch. I've always done the main walk start (5a), and not found it too bad.

Trains: Get the 1004 Hastings train from Charing Cross, (London Bridge 1011, East Croydon 1026) arriving Frant 1115. Return trains from Tunbridge Wells are xx09 & xx39. CDR to Frant.

Lunch: at the Nevill Crest and Gun (01892-864209) in Eridge Green; it has a large garden and serves very good food all day from noon


  • Anonymous
    24-May-18

    The initial bit is along a short section of winding road with limited visibility and no pavement. There's not too much traffic but it's fast moving when it comes. You can avoid this by doing the alternative start from Tunbridge Wells – see Tunbridge Wells Circular.

  • Anonymous
    29-May-18

    N - about 8

    W - hot and humid

  • 30-May-18

    8

    hot and humid

Sun, 08-Oct-17
A varied walk through the High Weald
SWC Walk 19 - Tunbridge Wells Circular (Main walk)

Length 19.2km (12.0m); toughness 5/10

Trains: London Cannon Street 09.53 arriving Tunbridge Wells 10.51. (Cannon Street is on the Circle and District lines.)

Return trains to London Cannon Street at xx:09 and xx:39

This is a varied High Weald walk with stretches through parkland, restored heathland and woods containing massive sandstone outcrops, finishing alongside the Spa Valley Railway.

Click here for further details about the walk and your lunch and refreshment options. You can shorten the walk if you wish by starting from Frant. Click on the pdf tab on the walks page for full walk directions.

T=swc.19
  • Anonymous
    02-Oct-17

    Intend going.

  • Sandy
    04-Oct-17

    I may join anonymous on this walk as I have an unexpected gap in my diary, although I'm still chuckling about the "annual rutting walk" and as it's on my doorstep I might do that one instead.

  • Anonymous
    04-Oct-17

    Sounds like a proper walk in the countryside - Anonymous 2.

  • Anonymous
    06-Oct-17

    Hi Sandy,

    Long time no see or news hope you are well. Demanding Monica will be attending this walk. Hopefully see some familiar faces. been busy past 6 months.

    Regards,

    Monica

  • Anonymous
    06-Oct-17

    Sorry Sandy thought you meant Tunbridge wells. Enjoy the 'rutting' season.

    Monica

  • Anonymous
    07-Oct-17

    Anyone starting from Frant?

  • Anonymous
    07-Oct-17

    If anyone wishes to start at Frant perhaps they could sit in front carriage of train (second if front carriage is first class). If I attend, I may then finish the walk via Groombridge.

  • Sandy
    08-Oct-17

    Sorry Monica, I did mean this walk but was out late last night and haven't got up in time for the Tunbridge Wells train, so Richmond it is!

  • Anonymous
    08-Oct-17

    Hi everybody. I am On the train at Cannon Street. Where should we meet? Look forward to it

  • 09-Oct-17

    Ten off the train at Tunbridge Wells and a further three started from Frant so 13 in all. Weather fine sunny and dry . This excellent ramble attracted a good Sunday turnout and we enjoyed perfect walking weather. The notoriously muddy stretch just before Eridge Park was err muddy but you can walk in the heathland off to its right a lot of which has been cleared to enable you to avoid the track which bitter experience has taught me is a nightmare in winter.

    Five of us had a picnic lunch under a superb oak tree on a hill just before the Nevill Crest and Gun lunch pub where we all met up for a drink. Here the group split with some lingering at the pub with at least 2 saying they were going to do the 14+ mile long walk via Groombridge. Four of us set off to complete the standard walk noting a fine Amanita muscaria in a wood along with a healthy population of spiders. We also picked some hops from a roadside bush.

    Annoyingly all the Pantiles cafes closed at 4pm except one which was packed so I made do with a tea from a cafe Nero before catching the train home. A fine autumn day out.

  • Anonymous
    09-Oct-17

    Actually Pete 6 of us did the long walk and it turned out to be 28.5 km (16.8 miles) which we were all surprised but we all 6 thoroughly enjoyed it. Good sunny weather and hardly any mud after lunch. Expected autumn colours will be fully out in 10 days time and maybe the mud too!

    Yes Sandy you miss a very good long walk at least you saw some deer. Thank you Pete and all of you who attended as its one of my best SWC day out. Love to do it again next spring if not sooner.

    Monica.

Sat, 22-Jul-17
Saturday Walk - Frant to Tunbridge Wells
Frant to Tunbridge Wells (long walk)

Length 13 miles (21km) 5/6 out of 10

"This longer route goes along the southern part of Broadwater Warren and then loops around the area's most famous sandstone outcrop, Harrison's Rocks, which are very popular with climbers. After a mid-afternoon tea stop in Groombridge you pass the grounds of Groombridge Place, a beautiful Jacobean manor house surrounded by a medieval moat. This option includes a much longer stretch alongside the SVR and if their steam trains are running you could round off the day with a ride from Groombridge (or High Rocks) into the old Tunbridge Wells West station, leaving just a 1¼ km stroll via The Pantiles to the mainline station".Don't be put off by the unpromising start to this walk! You can of course shorten the walk after lunch, by following the directions for the circular walk. T=swc.19.b

Trains: Get the 1015 Hastings train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 1023), arriving Frant at 1115. There are frequent trains back from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross and London Bridge. Buy a return to Frant.

Lunch: is the Nevill Crest and Gun (01892-864209) in Eridge Green, open all afternoon, with a large garden 4.5 miles (7.25km) into the walk.

Tea: There is a lot of choice in Tunbridge Wells, but you might want to break up the afternoon with a stop at the pub in High Rocks.

It is around 7km from Eridge to Groombridge, around 2 hours walking, if you want a trip on the Spa Valley Railway. The 1536 is steam, the 17.01 is Diesel.
Groombridge dep 15:36 17:01
High Rocks dep 15:43 17:08
Tunbridge Wells West arr 15:50 17:15

  • Anonymous
    19-Jul-17

    Two of us thinking of doing the Short Walk, starting from Frant which is 9.3 miles, anyone coming with us please?

  • 20-Jul-17

    I will be joining the walk probably doing the middle distance option, perhaps the shorter version.

  • Anonymous
    21-Jul-17

    Re short walk 9.3miles, I am interested, are you ending the walk at Eridge?

  • Anonymous
    21-Jul-17

    If return from Eridge - Southern Train, will Frant return still valid?

  • Anonymous
    21-Jul-17

    It is not: different rail franchise, different line.

  • 21-Jul-17

    Hi Anony #1 yes we are planning to do the short 9.3 ending in Tunbridge Wells which is on the same line as Frant J+J

  • 23-Jul-17

    15 on this walk. A pleasant, brightish morning and the Nevil and Gun lunch pub was not over busy and served food efficiently. We even sat outside. In the afternoon most opted for the shorter 9 mile option: five of us decided to do the specified longer walk but changed our mind five minutes later when drops of rain were felt. This proved to be a wise choice as it then rained intensely for two hours , a truly shocking downpour, as bad as anything I have ever experienced on an SWC walk (though ironically by the time we got to Tunbridge Wells it had stopped and the sun later came out, making me wish we had done the longer walk after all).

    In the Pantilles we ran into the other walkers, one or two of whom had not brought waterproofs and looked like drowned rats. Tea and fancy chocolate cakes revived us. Many then got shockingly early trains home: a few of us had a stroll around historic Tunbridge Wells, followed by a drink in a mouldy-smelling Opera House pub (it might have been all the wet clothes).

  • Anonymous
    23-Jul-17

    Three walkers stopped at High Rocks and took steam train back to Tunbridge Wells (£3.5 only), well worth the journey. Just outside Nevil and Gun, we met one other walker who started one hour early and was on her way out just as we walked in and we met her again at the Waterloo East station. She was the only person who managed to do the long walk today.

Mon, 17-Apr-17
Easter Monday Walk – Bluebells, rock outcrops and steam locos
Extra Walk 19c – Tunbridge Wells Circular (long walk, via Groombridge)
Length: 23½ km (14.6 miles), with shorter options (see below). Toughness: 6/10

09:45 Hastings train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 09:48, Waterloo East 09:53, Orpington 10:10, etc), arriving Tunbridge Wells at 10:39.

Trains back from Tunbridge Wells are at 09, 21, 39 & 51 minutes past the hour to 8pm, then three per hour.

I was planning to post this bluebell walk in May but with spring coming on apace I've decided to bring it forward a few weeks by pinching one of the Easter Monday slots. As well as some fine bluebell woods (especially the one just before the lunch stop in Eridge Green) this long walk option will take you past one of the finest sandstone outcrops in the south-east, Harrison's Rocks. On the final stretch back to Tunbridge Wells you're never far from the heritage Spa Valley Railway.

The last time this walk option was posted I gather that a walker following his gizmo inadvertently led the group on the longer route out of the town: unless you really want to do an extra mile or so, I suggest taking the shorter start in §3 down the town's High Street, as per the printed directions for Option c. In just over an hour you'll pass a nice pub in Frant village but I suggest pressing on for another hour to Eridge Green, where it's the last day of a Spring Cider Festival at the Nevill Crest and Gun. There are several places where you can break for tea in the afternoon, including a buffet on the platform at Groombridge station (where a steam train might be available to convey anyone who's over-indulged on the cider and perry to Tunbridge Wells).

Shorter Walks. As well as ducking out at Groombridge, two other options for a shorter walk are described in the walk document:

Later Start: Buy a return to Frant (one stop further down the line), take the train half an hour later (CHX 10:15, etc) and start from Frant at 11:15. This is Option b. You might well meet up with the main group on Frant village green and be able to do the rest of the walk together.

Shorter Afternoon: After lunch in Eridge Green switch to the Main Walk (or Option a if you start at Frant) through Broadwater Warren, skipping the loop out to Harrison's Rocks and Groombridge.

You'll need to print the directions from the Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk page. If you're sure which route you're taking you can minimise the amount printed by clicking on the relevant Walk Option. T=swc.19.c
  • Anonymous
    09-Apr-17

    The Raptor Centre near Groombridge Place is worth a look. It's about 20 metres off the route. http://www.raptorcentre.co.uk/

  • 18-Apr-17

    14 off the specified train at Tunbridge Wells but another 6 either starting at Frant or coming on different trains so 20 in all. Lots of bluebells on South facing slopes but north-facing slopes still not showing at all. With firm underfoot conditions (and this is an important proviso for this walk where some stretches would be very difficult after rain) the long walk makes an excellent summer outing with some terrific views and attractive trails.

    We lunched and drank at the Nevill Crest and Gun where the meals were generaly good except for a disappointing biryani where the rice and vegetables were wrapped in a cabbage leaf!

    After lunch the group fragmented and six of us enjoyed the superb sandstone Harrison rocks - the centrepiece of the long walk - which are much better than the ones at Eridge and on this holiday Monday well-populated by climbers. I've also never seen so much wild garlic on a walk (no picking; its illegal.)

    The six all had a drink at Groombridge station where two departed on the steam train back to Tunbridge Wells with 4 of us continuing on the final leg on the way enjoying the olfactory experience of a local sewage works! (Walks inspector to review the route here.). Arrived in Tonbridge Wells just after 5pm for trains home . A grand day out but the countryside badly needs some rain, foliage looking stressed and "tired". Weather dry cloudy with a cool breeze .

  • Anonymous
    19-Apr-17

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sun, 29-Jan-17
A varied High Weald walk
Free walk 19a Frant to Tunbridge Wells (short walk)
Distance 15km (9.3m)
Toughness 4/10.
Trains: 10.01 London Bridge (East Croydon 10.16) to Frant 11.05. Return trains from Tunbridge Wells are at xx:17 and xx:47 mins past the hour.
Buy a day return to Frant.

This is a varied High Weald walk that takes you through Eridge park. Full details about the walk can be found here. Be sure to click on option a to get the walk directions for this short walk option.
  • 25-Jan-17

    Why is it called a 'free' walk?

  • Anonymous
    27-Jan-17

    As I recall, the term "free walk" is historic, dating from when walk directions were available either by buying books 1 or 2 or printing a "free" walk directly from the website. Nowadays we have all walk instructions available online.

  • 31-Jan-17

    1 on this, I hear: "I was the only person who got off the specified train and I didn't see anyone else. This is the first time this has ever happened to me on a SWC walk."

    cloudy , with promised rain not really materialising.

Sun, 28-Feb-16
The High Weald
Book 3 Walk 19
Tunbridge Wells Circular – main walk
Length 19.3km (12.0m ); toughness 5/10
Trains:09.55 London Charing Cross (Waterloo East 09.57)Tunbridge Wells 10.51
Return trains xx.09 and xx.39 to London Charing Cross
An interesting walk through parkland, heathland and woods in the High Weald. (There will be some mud I’m afraid but hopefully not too much!)

There are options to shorten the walk should you so wish but you can find further details about the walk, refreshment opportunities and full walk instructions here. Click on the Main Walk options M for the 19.km version of the walk
  • David
    26-Feb-16

    Planning to go. Anyone else?

  • Anonymous
    27-Feb-16

    I'm hoping to go.

  • David
    29-Feb-16

    I'm not sure how to leave a report. There was one minor problem with the directions in Section 4 of the walk. Please insert the following: "Ignore the first gap in the hedge and, instead, take the next (smaller) gap in the hedge, go up a few steps and follow the left-hand edge of a second field"

  • Anonymous
    01-Mar-16

    but how many walkers were on it?

  • David Colver
    02-Mar-16

    I took the train 30 minutes after the scheduled one, and followed the short cut that the write-up suggests gives an opportunity to catch up with the group.

    Shortly before arriving at Frant, I saw a group of walkers some distance away. Its appearance was consistent with the SWC. The direction it was approaching, from my left, could not be reconciled to the directions, though it would be consistent with recovering from a confusion over hedge gaps before steps mentioned by David.

    Since the spot was very close to the early lunch stop, I went there expecting to be joined by the group. They soon arrived, and hard to tell as it was from the distance, I thought I recognised at least a couple of regulars, but the group made no effort to stop.

    So I had a happy lunch anyway in the George Inn, where the welcome was warm, the service rapid, and the roast functional. The place was pretty much full at 1225, and I don't think there would have been room for a larger group.

    I looked in later at the later lunch stop, the Nevill Crest and Gun in Eridge Green, which is a much larger place and had plenty of unoccupied tables, but saw no walkers, which was perplexing as it was hard to imagine a group getting served any faster than I had been.

    If this was our group, I would say that 11 , including me. A few early spots of rain and some later weak efforts at sunshine with most of the day in between .

    At one point in the walk the instructions take one down three or four steps, along a path, then right into woods that lead over a walkway above marshy ground before crossing a stream. The GPX file is inaccurate at this point, and just displays a short direct line between the start and end of this sequence.

Wed, 09-Dec-15
Midweek day walk - Frant to Tunbridge Wells

Frant to Tunbridge Wells (short walk)

A varied High Weald walk with stretches through parkland, restored heathland and woods containing massive sandstone outcrops, finishing alongside the Spa Valley Railway.

Book 3* Walk 19

* online only

Length : 15 km or 9¼ miles

Toughness : 4 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:15 am train from London Charing Cross to Frant
Calling stations:
  • Waterloo East: departs 10:18 am
  • Orpington: departs 10:39 am
  • Sevenoaks: departs 10:49 am
Meeting point : Frant Station at 11:15

Tickets : Buy a day return to Frant

Brief Description

With the SWC Christmas party just a day away, this weeks offering should help to put you in good spirits if you're intending to go.
You may find full details of this walk here, and hopefully it will not be too muddy through Eridge Old Park

Suggested Lunch stop

Nevill Crest and Gun t: 01892 864209

Suggested Tea stops

One of the many cafés in The Pantiles

Maps

OS Explorer 135 and 136

Return train times

Trains return from Tunbridge Wells to London Charing Cross at 16:09 | 16:21 | 16:49 | 17:06 |17:21 |17:39
Trains return to Cannon Street at 15:51 | 16:39 | 17:49
  • 07-Dec-15

    Arthur, are you going on this Wednesday walk?

    Peter Gibson

  • 07-Dec-15

    Yes, I'm intending to go.

    AD

  • Marion
    08-Dec-15

    Weather looks good and a handy Waterloo East train very convenient so I'll be coming.

  • 08-Dec-15

    I will coming up from Hastings, joining you on the train at Tunbridge Wells.

  • Anonymous
    10-Dec-15

    9 or 10 on this walk. The weather was bright and clear . A bit of a squelch in the morning through Eridge Park, although the clay wasn't cohesive enough to build up on ones boots.

    Two more joined at lunch and the group fragmented with the pub lunchers dallying in the Neville.

    Slightly firmer underfoot in the afternoon passing through RSPB Broadwater Warren with it's amazing collection of flora, fauna and wild life before the final leg passing High Rocks and following the Spa Valley into Tunbridge

  • Anonymous
    10-Dec-15

    Thought the unexpected High rocks and the lunch time pub were a knockout jfk

Mon, 25-May-15
Bank Holiday Monday Walk – rock climbers and steam trains
Extra Walk 19c – Tunbridge Wells Circular (long walk, via Groombridge)
Length: 23½ km (14.6 miles), with shorter options. Toughness: 7/10

09:33 Hastings train from London Bridge (East Croydon 09:52, Redhill 10:08), arriving Tunbridge Wells at 10:39.

Late Start option: You could take the train half an hour later (10:03) and start from Frant (one stop further down the line) at 11:16. This is the original version of Walk 19, now option b. I reckon that both groups will get to the old well on Frant village green at the same time and so could do the rest of the walk together.

Trains back from Tunbridge Wells are half-hourly, at around 03 & 33 minutes past the hour.

Note that the Hastings trains are being diverted this weekend with a slightly longer journey time (but a bonus for south Londoners who can connect with them at East Croydon or Redhill).

When you head out of Tunbridge Wells station beware those walkers following the route on a gizmo, as there's a 50-50 chance they'll set off on the longer way out of town: on this option c you should be starting at §3 in the printed directions. You'll pass a nice pub in Frant village but I suggest pressing on to the Nevill Crest and Gun in Eridge Green, after about 10 km. After lunch you can switch to the shorter return route via Broadwater Warren, but the long walk will take you past one of the finest sandstone outcrops in the south-east, Harrison's Rocks. On the final stretch back to Tunbridge Wells you're never far from the Spa Valley Railway and could decide to save your legs by boarding one of their heritage trains at Groombridge (steam loco at 15:46, diesel at 17:22). There are several places where you can break for tea during the afternoon, and of course plenty of opportunities for further refreshment in Tunbridge Wells itself.

You'll need to print the directions from the Extra Walk 19 page. If you're sure which route you're taking you can minimise the amount printed by clicking on the relevant Walk Option.
  • Ian T
    27-May-15

    I think I can tell you how many were on this walk 14 and I wasn’t even on it. I sort of was, but not in the same way as everyone else. I was going to start at Frant but my computer had other ideas. Someone, either me or it, accidentally selected the “main walk”, which, let me tell you, does not print out the full directions. Having realised that Frant was crossed out, I had time to switch to the TW train at East Croydon. At TW, I realised that the shorter start was also crossed out. :( So I followed the long morning, possibly even the “gizmo” route, sulking all the way, and arrived at Frant well after everyone else had left. Shortly before Frant, I was overtaken by someone who started an hour later. Tell me I’m not that slow.

    My “afternoon”, was shorter than the others’. Much as I would have liked to extend the walk to God-knows-how-long, my computer had said “no” and that was that. I was going via Eridge Rocks. And Broadwater Warren, desolate but passable.

    At walk’s end, I had a quick look along the Pantiles for any stragglers but saw none. I admit, though, that I was reluctant to venture far inside any of the notorious tea dens.

    I can vouch for the Pantiles Tap, a tiny little establishment selling real cider and beer. A well-earned half was quaffed in seconds.

    Then on to the station where I actually met three stragglers, which is how I got the numbers. I also found out that quite a few bailed out at Groombridge and got the chuff-chuff. cloudy and sunny

    2 things I think I learnt today:

    a) check the directions after printing

    b) always a good idea to bring a map