Length: 20.8km (12.9 miles) - 17.6km (11 miles) to Wadhurst village, from where a bus is possible (These distances are based on the GPX file rather than the length stated in the walk directions).
Toughness: 5 or 6 out of 10 depending on mud T=2.18 9.45
train from Charing Cross
(9.48 Waterloo East
, 9.54 London Bridge
) to Wadhurst, arriving 10.47
For walk directions
. For GPX
This walk (which after a very short bit at the start, goes off in a completely different direction from the Wadhurst to Tunbridge walk last week)
is chosen to coincide with the Wadhurst Bonfire
, which has proved a perfect event over the years. It is large enough to have a great big blazing bonfire
(with only minimal safety barriers, so you can stand as close to it as you can bear - your last sunbathe
of the year) and a firework display
to match any urban one. But it is also local/remote enough to not get too crowded. You can buy tickets (£5.00) in the Co-op and Jempsons supermarket, the White Hart and Wadhurst Ironmongers: buying on the day has never so far been a problem. The site opens at 5.30pm, the bonfire is lit at 6.30pm and the fireworks start at 7.30pm. There are refreshment tents with beer, burgers etc
Otherwise this walk gives you an idea of what the medieval forest of the Weald must have been like - lots of woods, some clearings, the landscape of fairy tales. It should be the ideal place to see whatever autumn colour is available.
The terrain might be muddy - the Weald gets very gloopy in winter. But it is not winter yet, and it will depend on how much rain we have had. Also at this time of year (here's the science bit) the un-rotted fallen leaves help to counteract any softness in the ground. Don't wear open-toed sandals, however.
There are two pubs in Mayfield
: I don't know which is considered better. In Wadhurst
, Jempson's Cafe has closed and only the superhuman will get to the Wholefoods Cafe
before it stops taking orders at 4pm. I would not rely on the Cottage Tea Room
being open either, though it may be. The Greyhound
pub will be busy with Bonfire goers (see below) so may not be in the mood to do hot drinks: the White Hart
may be a better bet. Wadhurst also has a small supermarket or two if you want to buy sugary snacks. Trains back
from Wadhurst station go at 29
past the hour until 7.29pm
and then hourly until 10.29pm
It is 3.2km (2 miles)
from village to station via the main walk route, which goes down pretty back lanes - allow an hour for this to be comfortable, though speedy types might do it in 45 minutes. Alternatively you can walk 2.2km (1.4 miles)
down the main road (pavement all the way, traffic: much less romantic) - 30-40 minutes walking time.
staying for the Bonfire might also want to use the 254 bus
from Wadhurst, which cuts out this last section of the walk altogether (reducing it to 16.6km/9.8 miles): this goes from outside the Greyhound (same side of the road) at 5.04
, taking six minutes
to Wadhurst station
or 22 minutes
to Tunbridge Wells
(stopping right by the station there: trains to London every 15 mins). Those staying for the Bonfire
will be aiming for the 9.29pm train
. Recommended here is the very atmospheric walk down the back lanes (ie the main walk route) in the dark, for which it is best to leave an hour. To allow for the small crush getting out of the Bonfire site, leave not long after the fireworks finish. If darkness is not your thing, the main road route is reasonably well lit, as far as I can remember.