Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular walk

This walk follows the Sussex Border path to Bewl Water, then follows its banks back to Wadhurst for tea. Gentle gradients but never flat.


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 Option Post # Weather
Sat, 04-Nov-23 Saturday Walk - Wadhurst Circular via Bewl Water for the Bonfire 6 wet
Sat, 03-Dec-22 Saturday Walk - Wadhurst via Bewl water Circular 29 cloudy but dry
Sat, 06-Nov-21 Saturday walk - Wadhurst via Bewl Water - The Wadhurst Bonfire (your last sunbathe of the year) 16 Cloudy
Sun, 04-Aug-19 Sunday walk: Wealden delights of Sussex
Sun, 22-Jul-18 c Sunday Walk – A dried-up reservoir? (Wadhurst Figure-of-8) 8 very hot
Sat, 04-Nov-17 Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular - for the bonfire/fireworks and full moon 13 Mainly just grey
Wed, 21-Dec-16 Wednesday Walk: Wadhurst, The Weald, Bewl Water Reservoir, and a very pleasant pub 17 drizzly or rainy
Sat, 05-Nov-16 c Saturday Second Walk - Wealden woods and the Wadhurst bonfire 30 cloudy and chilly
Wed, 04-May-16 Wadhurst Circular via Bewl Water 8 sunny all day
Sat, 12-Sep-15 d Third Walk
Sat, 21-Mar-15 d Wadhurst Figure-of-8, via Bewl Water (long walk)
Sat, 21-Mar-15 c Wadhurst Figure-of-8, via Bewl Water 8
Sat, 08-Nov-14 Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (revised) 17
Wed, 17-Sep-14 Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (revised)
Sat, 10-May-14 d Wadhurst Figure-of-8, via Bewl Water (long walk)
Sat, 10-May-14 c Wadhurst Figure-of-8, via Bewl Water 20
Sat, 02-Nov-13 a Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (original) 19
Sat, 03-Nov-12 a Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (original)
Sat, 12-Nov-11 a Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (original)
Sat, 27-Nov-10 a Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (original)
Sun, 19-Sep-10 a Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (original)
Sun, 07-Feb-10 a Wadhurst Circular, via Bewl Water (original)
Sat, 07-Nov-09 a Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Sat, 29-Nov-08 a Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Sun, 16-Dec-07 a Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Sat, 17-Nov-07 a Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Sat, 25-Nov-06 a Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Length: 17km (10.6 miles) 5 out of 10
"The area around Wadhurst is one of the prettiest parts of the Weald – a place of hidden valleys, ancient woods, and quaint old farms which feel far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This walk gives you a perfect introduction to it. Starting at Wadhurst station, it follows the Sussex Border Path to lunch at a pub in Cousley Wood, and then descends with fine panoramic views to Bewl Water Reservoir, whose shore is open and unfenced unlike many other reservoirs, and which makes a fine spot to while away some time on a sunny day."
After lunch, there are options to shorten the walk (8 miles) or take a longer route (12.2 miles).
Trains: Get the 0945 Hastings train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 0953) arriving Wadhurst at 1110. Return trains are xx04 and xx34. At the time of writing, Advance Tickets are available.
Lunch: The Old Vine, Cousley Wood (01892 784467 or 783666), 5.3km (3.3 miles) into the walk.
Tea: The White Heart in Wadhurst. It is 1.4 mile walk down the main road (with a pavement all the way) to the station, or a 2 mile, atmospheric walk down the unlit back-roads.
The Bonfire:
Is at Lower High St, Wadhurst from 5:30pm till 9:00pm - the firework display will run from 7:30pm to 7:45pm. Food and drink available. Buy tickets online here. Expect to get the 21.04 or 21.34, as trying to leave straight after the display means being in a slow moving crowd

  • 04-Nov-23

    You probably didn’t come on this walk because you thought it would be wet . Well rest easy because it was. Relentless rain, pretty much. The odd flash of sun. Blue sky to the north at times. At least boots did not get muddy: the mud all got washed off. Waterproof kit was…tested.

    Time was when Saturday Walkers were a hardy lot and would have turned out regardless of the weather. Well, those times are gone. Just 6 at the start of the walk, and one was a car driver who only stayed with us as far as lunch.

    Despite the rain, a nice walk, with some good autumn colour. We lingered over lunch in the not at all busy Old Vine. In retrospect, since we were going to fireworks in the evening, most of us should not have had burgers. Some had puddings and coffees.

    But the moment could not be put off forever, and eventually it was out into the rain again. A nice walk down to and around Bewl Water. It may have rained plenty lately but the reservoir has a long way to go before it is full.

    One wanted to do the long walk, but the others didn’t, so we didn’t. The main walk was enough, getting us to Wadhurst as night fell - as it does surprisingly early these days.

    We were in time to have tea in solitary splendour at the Artful Grocers, and then repaired to the White Hart, which was hideously busy. (Note to prospective buyers of the Greyhound: Wadhurst needs more than one pub.) We somehow filled the hour until it was time to go to the fireworks.

    These were empty when we arrived and were not, I think, as busy as normal. The fire looked smaller than last year too, but we met the very friendly organiser, who explained that whereas they used to use pallets to make a large but quick burning fire, this year they had used denser material to produce a longer lasting blaze.

    It ignited with a loud bang (petrol vapour catching light, apparently: thankfully no one was hurt) and was slow to get going, but made a good strong blaze once it did. We stared into the flames and thought ancient mystical thoughts (at least I did…). Amazingly, it was not raining and there were even some stars.

    Then the fireworks, which apparently cost £10,000. Despite a drizzle resuming, they were good value for the money, the bangs echoing atmospherically around the valley. As good as a big city display, but without the packed crowds.

    Afterwards, despite the absence of the usual instigators of such actions, we decided to get supplies for the train. We then walked down the back lanes to the station in the deep darkness. I adored this - my favourite bit of the day, out there in the impenetrable night with only the distant flicker of the torch of the walker in front of me for illumination.

    I should explain here that in the morning the trains were all ahoo. The specified train left 10 minutes late, went via Redhill, was only bound for Robertsbridge due to a broken rail, then was going to terminate at Tunbridge Wells due to flooding at Stonegate, then ran to Wadhurst after all.

    So we were by no means sure of a train home, a confidence decreased by a power cut as we approached the station, which plunged all into darkness. But the power came back on and the 21.04 train was only ten minutes late. We somehow polished off two bottles of wine between four of us on the way home. How did that happen?

Length: 17km (10.6 miles) 5 out of 10
"The area around Wadhurst is one of the prettiest parts of the Weald – a place of hidden valleys, ancient woods, and quaint old farms which feel far away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. This walk gives you a perfect introduction to it. Starting at Wadhurst station, it follows the Sussex Border Path to lunch at a pub in Cousley Wood, and then descends with fine panoramic views to Bewl Water Reservoir, whose shore is open and unfenced unlike many other reservoirs, and which makes a fine spot to while away some time on a sunny day."
After lunch, there are options to shorten the walk (8 miles) or take a longer route (12.2 miles).
Trains: Get the 0945 Hastings train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 0954) arriving Wadhurst at 1050. Return trains are xx01 and xx29. At the time of writing, Advance Tickets are available.
Lunch: The Old Vine, Cousley Wood (01892 784467 or 783666), 5.3km (3.3 miles) into the walk.
Tea: various options in Wadhurst, which is 1.4 mile walk down the main road (with a pavement all the way) to the station
  • 04-Dec-22

    I’m going for broke and saying there were 29 people on the walk, in cloudy but dry weather and quite muddy in places. A walker had booked 6 places in the Old Vine, and 25 of us turned up for lunch. Although the staff were rather alarmed, they did brilliantly and produced some lovely food for us even though there was only one person at the bar and one chef. For at least an hour, we were the only customers in the pub. I think all in all they were pleased that we all ordered food and drink although they did suggest it may be helpful to ring or even order ahead of arrival next time.

    The trees still retained some autumn colour and the ground was covered in gold and green leaves. We passed a maple tree, the ground underneath it carpeted by red and gold leaves.

    The group split up as follows: 9 (or more) did the middle distance route, 6 did the short route and 6 did the long route.

    A few people stopped in Wadhurst for refreshments, and a small group of 3 walked the country route back to the station where we were met by the 6 who had done the long route and caught the 17.04 back to London.

    Thank you to Pete G for posting this lovely walk.

Length: 17km (10.6 miles), with options of 12.9km (8 miles) or 19.6km (12.2 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10, mostly gentle gradients, but this is the Weald, so expect mud.
9.30 train from Charing Cross (9.33 Waterloo East, 9.39 London Bridge) to Wadhurst, arriving 10.52. Just for you, I have also asked Southeastern to route this train via East Croydon (depart 9.56) today. (This is engineering works obviously, but only adds marginally to the journey times.)

Buy a day return to Wadhurst.
For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here. T=swc.5
It has been three years since we went to the Wadhurst Bonfire and Fireworks (in 2019 it was cancelled due to high winds). For those that don't know it, it is a lovely village event: big enough to have a proper fireworks display and the usual hot dog/burger/mulled wine stalls, but intimate enough that you can get close to the great big blazing bonfire without heavy-handed crowd control. Gazing into the hot flames, thinking ancient fireside thoughts, is your last sunbathe of the year...
You can pay on the night for the bonfire using contactless payment on entry to the site, but to avoid queuing you are advised to book online here (up to midnight on 5 November). This also gets you in for £6.50 rather than £7.50. (Note: local shops will NOT be selling tickets this year.) Gates open at 5.30pm, the bonfire is lit at 6.30pm and the fireworks are at 7.30pm. See ** below for information about "après-feu" activities.

If you don't want to go to the bonfire, fine: many don't. You can still come on the walk, which is a nice Wealden outing, with short, main and long options to suit all leg muscle arrangements. This is the Weald, though, and it is autumn, so mud is to be expected.
Your lunch stop is the Old Vine in Cousley Wood, just 3.3 miles into the walk. This charming pub has had many incarnations over recent years - 1970s timewarp, gastro, Latin American. Now its website talks of "pub grub done properly", which sounds good to me. It isn't the largest place in the world, but we usually squeeze in. Those doing the short walk could have a late lunch instead in Wadhurst, which has two pubs and two cafes. It wouldn't be beyond the wit of man to divert to there even on the main and longer walks, come to that.
Wadhurst is also your tea stop. The Wealden Wholefoods Cafe sadly now shuts at 1.30pm, while the nearby Piccolo Cafe gives up the ghost at 4pm. So one of the two pubs - the Greyhound or White Hart - is your likely venue. Those of us going to the bonfire traditionally assemble in the former, but the latter can't be ruled out: it depends which has room for us.
After tea you have a choice of 1.4 mile walk down the main road (with a pavement all the way) to Wadhurst station, or the much nicer 2 mile walk down the back roads. I always say allow 40 minutes for the main road and an hour for the back roads, but then people post comments saying how they did it quicker. I suppose the worst that can happen is that you just miss a train and have to wait half an hour on a bare platform for the next one.
Trains back from Wadhurst are at 00 and 29 past until 21.29, and then 22.29
** Après-feu: the fireworks are usually over by 8pm. It is then is a tradition of some of us to walk the back roads in the dark - very atmospheric. When I say "dark" here, I mean DARK. There is no moon to help us this year, and the use of torches is discouraged because it spoils your night vision. This might sound nuts but it is actually an enchanting experience and the perfect introduction to winter. If you are not comfortable with this, you can walk down the main road, as outlined above: there is pavement all the way and a lot of it is lit. The back roaders will probably be aiming for the 21.29 train.
  • 01-Nov-21

    I suspect scientists will be keen to find out how the Wadhurst Bonfire Committee achieved nuclear fusion on their blaze this year!

  • 04-Nov-21

    prob doing short walk, thanks

  • 05-Nov-21

    Two bits of information from the Wadhurst Bonfire

    1) They advise you download your tickets as a pdf onto your phone - or print them maybe? - just in case the mobile network is not up to everyone trying to open their emails at once

    2) They are trialling a shuttle service to the station this year, presumably a bus. I am not sure how well this will work, but if you don't fancy the walk down the road afterwards (see walk post for details) that might be an option.

  • 06-Nov-21

    16 on this walk. Cloudy weather. There were occasional flashes of sun and some spots of rain. The wind was a bit keen at times. But basically it was signature November grey.

    The morning passed pleasantly apart from one woman suggesting we bunch up so as not to scare her horses. Possibly don’t pasture your horses on a public footpath if walkers make your horses nervous, missus? We ignored her and the horses seemed unperturbed.

    On to the Old Vine. Most lunched here, two separate tables having been booked and others being available. Despite this, our arrival put them in a pickle. It was not clear if we were to order at the bar or at the table. Some did one, some the other. Food came erratically, some who ordered early getting their food late and vice versa. When two who had ordered 20 minutes before us were still waiting when we had already finished our meals, we suggested to our waitress that they might be given a free drink or some peanuts. This apparently caused the waitress to burst into tears behind the scenes. The manageress then came out to tell us off and inform us that the disorder in the kitchen was due to us all turning up precipitately to occupy tables we had rung to book. At least one early orderer was then served an over cooked beef sandwich on white bread not brown.

    It was quite a relief to get out into the open air. Lots of us then did the long walk around the tranquil, two thirds-full Bewl Water Reservoir. Some presumably did the main walk.

    We got Wadhurst by 4.45pm. Some ensconced themselves in the Greyhound but when two more of us tried to join then there were no more chairs, though plenty of free tables. The barman shrugged when we asked if we might source some other chairs (eg from the nearly empty restaurant) so we went elsewhere.

    I was glad we did. It turns out a lovely new grocery shop cum tea room has opened on the corner, and there we found other walkers. Across the road there is also a friendly French wine bar to which the pubbers later decanted for wine and cheese. In general Wadhurst has gone remarkably upmarket since I was last there - due to COVID and working from home? The other pub, the White Hart, which went upmarket several years ago, was heaving. The Greyhound needs to ditch the rural rudeness and up its game maybe?

    So on to the bonfire. Ten of us went. There were unfortunately some rain showers (not forecasted!!) and the organisers had this year shifted the bonfire to the bottom of the field. It was cute, though - a Viking longship on a stack of pallets which was lit by attendants in horned helmets. Unfortunately a quite brisk wind was blowing straight up the field, so that the fire turned into a horizontal sheet of flame that looked a bit like a NASA rocket engine test. (The stewards managed this well, however, using a rope to push us back out of danger.) Starring into the flames as the rain fell was a bit surreal, but still nice.

    Thanks to having someone planted cunningly at the front of the enormous food queue, we then had delicious sausages in buns - real quality produce. There was then a spectacular fireworks display - Washington DC on the Fourth of July could not have done better.

    Afterwards six of us walked down the back lanes in the profound dark, as magical an experience as it always is. We unexpectedly arrived in time for the 9pm train and joined the other four bonfirers there, and we consumed pre-purchased “supplies” and generally made too much noise on the journey home.

  • 07-Nov-21

    Were tables prebooked for the pub? We understood there were no bookings made.

    As it was only 3.5 miles to pub, and we were generally together this made it difficult for the pub it seemed, about thirteen of us turned up at once.

    My meal was excellent.

    The firework field was pretty packed this year, with about three thousand people, about four times usual crowd!

  • 07-Nov-21

    One table for six and another for four. Both had “Reserved” signs on them.

  • 07-Nov-21

    Ok, thank you Peter. The understanding I had at our table is that the leading lady, land lady, who spoke with us suggested, indeed more or less said that we hadnt booked. So, good job we weren't in too much of a hurry as we wouldnt have finished by dark time.

    And then wouldnt have enjoyed the great coffee and cakes in the newly opened cafe shop, which closes at 5 (the other cafes close about 4) in increasingly upmarket Wadhurst. Lovely place though and a great day.

    Although, apart from my old peculiar on the train home, the ales were not that exciting.

Chris L
Chris L
Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Length: 17km (10.6 miles) or 8 mile or 12.2 mile options

Toughness: 5/10

10:15 Ramsgate train from Victoria changing at Tonbridge (arr 10:54; dep 11:00) to arrive at Wadhurst at 11:18.

Return trains, again changing at Tonbridge, are at xx:25 and xx:53 (journey time 64 mins).

With its platforms at Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street and London Bridge closed today, most Southeastern services are starting from Victoria and many require a change en route. But even so, the journey time to Wadhurst is no longer than normal.

In contrast to the older Wadhurst Circular walk, which explores the countryside south-west of Wadhurst, this one heads east and, after following the Sussex Border Path to the lunchtime pub, descends to the scenic shores of the Bewl Water reservoir, where shorter or longer options can be chosen. The shortest option reduces the distance from lunch to tea to just 4.5km. After tea there is still a 40-60 minute walk from Wadhurst to the station, depending on whether you take the main road or the back lanes.

The only pub option for lunch is The Old Vine (01892 782271) at Cousley Wood, 5.3km into the walk. Now renamed Galapagos, it offers a South American menu, but is not cheap.

You will need to download the walk directions.

Extra Walk 5c – Wadhurst Figure-of-8, via Bewl Water
Length: 17.6 km (10.9 miles), with longer and shorter options. Toughness: 6/10

09:55 Hastings train from Charing Cross (Waterloo East 09:58, London Bridge 10:04, Orpington 10:20), arriving Wadhurst at 11:00.

Return trains are at xx:00 & xx:29 to 19:29, then hourly.

I was going to post the main version of this walk but the only lunch pub on its route (the Old Vine) is reportedly closed. This Figure-of-8 variation is essentially the very short option of Book 2's Wadhurst Circular with an additional loop around Bewl Water after lunch in Wadhurst. For a shorter walk you could simply drop the afternoon loop; alternatively, there's the option of a longer one. See the walk document for more details.

There are two pubs in Wadhurst (the Greyhound and the White Hart), so you could have lunch in one and tea in the other. However, the Cottage Tea Room looks like a more authentic option for tea if it's open when you get back there. As most of you will know, the station is a long way from the village and there's a choice of routes to it: straight down the main road or a much more pleasant amble along back lanes.

You'll need to bring the directions from two PDF documents: Walk 2–18 for the morning loop, and Walk #5 for the afternoon loop. T=swc.5.c
  • 27-Jul-18

    Arriving in Wadhurst from a short nature walk around the reservoir, the SWC Walks Inspector met 8 walkers who'd completed the morning section on another very hot day. They'd immediately ordered drinks in an almost-deserted White Hart but been told there was a long wait for food, so some went on to the Greyhound while others opted for a light lunch at the Cottage Tea Room. The group dispersed in the afternoon: some headed straight for the station but at least two took the longer afternoon route out to Bewl Water. Contrary to expectation the reservoir looked quite full, whereas in previous years it might almost have been possible to take a short cut across it to the other side.

SWC walk 5 - Wadhurst via Bewl Water Circular
Length: - main walk: 16.9km (10.5 miles)
- short walk: 12.9km (8 miles)
- long walk: 19.3km (12 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.53 (Hastings-bound) train from London Bridge, (10.11 East Croydon), arriving Wadhurst 11.06

For walk directions click here. For GPX file click here.

This is a pleasant and gentle Weald walk with a choice of a shorter and longer route in addition to the main one. You don't have to make this choice till mid afternoon (about an hour after lunch at the Old Vine in Cousley Wood) and it basically involves how long you want to spend walking along the shores of the picturesque Weir Wood Reservoir.

Once this decision used to be swayed by the desire to get to the Wealden Wholefoods Cafe before it stopped taking orders at 4pm. But now there are later tea room options, including a very nice Jempson's cafe, which is open till 5pm. There are also two pubs.

The big reason for choosing this walk today, however, is to coincide with the Wadhurst bonfire and fireworks, an event that combines a good-sized bonfire and a full scale fireworks display with a friendly village atmosphere - well-attended without being crowded. I cannot find the ticket price online but in the past it was £5-7 or so and we never have never had any trouble getting them on the day. Doors open 5.30pm, the bonfire is lit at 6.30pm and the fireworks are at 7.30pm.

Whether you do or not not go to the bonfire, you have a choice after Wadhurst village of going a very nice way down back lanes to the station (3.2km/2 miles) or down the main road - a pavement all the way but rather tedious - (2.2 km/1.4 miles): it is best to allow one hour for the former and 45 minutes for the latter: they can be done quicker if you walk briskly but you don't want to just miss a train at Wadhurst, as there is nothing to do in the vicinity of the station until the next one.

There is also a 254 bus at 04 past the hour till 18.04 from outside the Greyhound pub in Wadhurst to Wadhurst station (6 minutes). If it looks like you are just about to miss the train, you could stay on this bus another 18 minutes to Tunbridge Wells station: you probably won't get to London any quicker, but you will be warmer while you wait.)

Trains back from Wadhurst are at 21 and 49 past till 17.49, then 19 and 49 past till 19.49, then hourly at 49 past till 22.49.

Alert readers will see that if you go to the bonfire and stay for the fireworks, you probably want to leave fairly smartly afterwards if you are going to catch the 20.49 train (arr London Bridge 22.00). At this time of night walking down the main road is obviously the easier option, but for those who enjoy walking the back lanes in the dark - always magical - note that there will be a full moon today, so if that is not obscured with cloud it might be even more magical.... T=3.5
  • 04-Nov-17

    13 on this walk. Mainly just grey , despite a forecast of rain: we had a tiny bit of precipitation at the beginning and, surprisingly, also in the early evening after the skies had looked to be clearing. But never anything worth worrying about. Just as well, as it was weirdly mild for early November - too warm for wearing waterproofs really.

    The walk was pleasant, not too muddy and with all trees now showing some autumn tints (I still predict next weekend for peak colours). Nearly all of us, I think, did the long version of the walk, which gave us lots of opportunities to wonder at the astonishingly low water levels in Bewl Water Reservoir. Large portions of it were green valleys, with lush grass growing for some way below the high watermark, suggesting it has not been full for a long time.

    We got to Wadhurst just as it was getting dark, which was just too late for Jempson’s tea room. The White Hart did tea, but not in pots alas, and tasty, though overpriced puds. Nine went to the Wadhurst Bonfire, which was as delightful as ever: a massive great blaze - “the last sunbathe of the year” - and fireworks that would not disgrace a city event.

    By the time it was over the full moon was emerging from the cloud. Six of us walked the back lanes in the magical moonlight and deep November night, serenaded by lots of hooting owls. We met the other three bonfirers, who had walked the main road route, on the 20.49 train, and polished off two bottles of red wine on the journey home.

SWC Walk 005 – Wadhurst Circular (via Bewl Water)
Length: 16.8 km (10.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 390 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 4 hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Long Walk (decision time is after lunch)
Length: 19.3 km (12.0 mi)
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 10.15 Hastings train from Charing X (W’loo East 10.18, LBG 10.23), arrives Wadhurst 11.19.
Return trains: 15.29, 16.00, 16.25, 16.58, 17.24, 17.59, 18.29, 18.58, 19.24, then xx.29 basically… (from 65 minutes journey time).
A special pre-Xmas lunch request…This walk had a well-attended outing on a Saturday in Nov, but that was the ‘figure-of-eight’ version of the walk with lunch in Wadhurst and bonfire in the evening, and the last time the Main Walk was posted (in May), a measly 8 people turned up. Surely we can better that?
Apart from the very end, this is a completely different route from the Wadhurst short and main walks in Book 2. It follows the Sussex Border Path to the large reservoir of Bewl Water, and then follows its banks back to Wadhurst village for tea. This is beautiful country, full of hidden valleys and picturesque farms. Being the Weald, the route is almost never flat (and there will be mud), but the gradients on this route are always gentle. The main walk spends some time exploring the shores of the reservoir, and then returns to Wadhurst over lovely hilly territory with fine views. The long walk takes you out around a remote promontary sticking out into the lake, and up across classic Kentish farmland with fine reservoir views. There is also an even shorter version, but I’m not going to mention it…

Lunch is in Cousley Wood at the lovely The Old Vine Inn (7.2 km/4.5 mi), a table for 8 has been booked for 12.30.
For tea in Wadhurst there are plenty of options, both cafes and pubs (for details see the webpage and the walk directions).
For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.
Next Week: SWC 236a – Ashurst to Eridge (w/o Burrswood) 18.3 km/11.3 mi, 4/10
  • 19-Dec-16

    I might make it on Wednesday. And I Think I did the Walk recently.

  • Anonymous

    1 gps and 1 map coming along; maybe, maybe with instructions on my phone (still thinking about it).

  • 22-Dec-16

    16 walkers off the train (incl. 3 first-timers), 1 more on the next one, so 17 in drizzly or rainy weather. The morning route: tarmac-heavy, with some of the grassy footpaths along fields being quite muddy and/or slippy, all leaves now having turned to dark mulch, and a couple of ploughed fields to cross with some very sticky mud: some might call it bleak.

    The booking of a table at the only lunch pub en route proved to be a good idea on a day with a surprisingly high turnout (for the weather): The Old Vine was chokka, every table booked and the bar area and all nooks and crannies filled by a funeral party. As it was impossible to find any extra seats on top of the pre-booked ones, everyone with contingency sandwiches (and a few others without) stayed outside, shared what was shareable and marched on to Wadhurst, in hope of tea and cake.

    The afternoon route is much more pleasant, with the reservoir the star of the show, and more rolling hills to view and cross, but - again - quite tarmac-heavy (at least that meant: no mud).

    The 5 fast sandwichers walked the extended version (but were later spotted passing the Wealden Wholefood Cafe, so were short-cutting in Wadhurst, to catch the 16.00 train we presumed). The other sandwichers (bar 1) walked the normal version and paused at the Cafe to then catch the 16.25, where we met the lunchers who had walked the short version, I believe. Several walkers had been on the figure-of-8 version of this walk just 7 weeks ago, so well done to them for turning up again!

T=3.05.c SWC Walk 5 (option): Wadhurst Figure of Eight
Length: 17.6km (10.9 miles) or 19.9km (12.3 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.53 train from London Bridge (10.11 East Croydon) to Wadhurst, arriving 11.09.

(The sharp-eyed will notice that this train is slightly diverted from its normal route due to engineering works: but this does make it more accessible to East Croydon types.)

Buy a day return to Wadhurst.

I make no apology for once again picking the Wadhurst bonfire and fireworks for 5 November, since this is a charming and pleasant village event, big enough to have a large blazing bonfire that you can get close enough to to "melt your goretex", as one walker charmingly phrased it to me the other day, and with a substantial fireworks display too, yet (in past years at least) not crowded or over-marshalled or full of loutish urban youth.

The event costs £6, gates open 5.30pm, the fire is lit at 6.30pm and the fireworks are at 7.30pm. Since this is a Figure of Eight walk (see below) you could buy your ticket in advance at lunch time from Wadhurst Ironmongers, The Co-op or Jempsons, but in truth we have never had a problem paying on the gate.

The Figure of Eight walk, which covers charming Wealden territory with lots of hills and woods, and later skirts the Bewl Water reservoir, works like this:

- First you do Book 2, Walk 18a, the Wadhurst Circular shorter walk. Directions for this are here and you only need print pages 2-3 and 7-8. You start off on the main walk, then when prompted at point [3], switch to the short walk directions.

- By this route it is 7km (4.3 miles) to lunch in Wadhurst, where you can choose between the traditional Greyhound pub, the White Hart which was revamped last year and now looks rather gastro, or the Wealden Wholefoods Cafe which has some light lunch options.

- After lunch you switch to the directions on page 8 of the SWC Walk 5 directions - here: print the whole document. These take you down the hill to join the afternoon route of this walk where in due course (paragraph 41 on page 5) you have a choice of routes: The main walk is 7.4km (4.6 miles) from lunch back to tea in Wadhurst and takes in a short section of the shores of Bewl Water. The longer walk takes in a much longer section of the reservoir shore and is 9.7km (6 miles) from lunch to tea.

- Tea is then back in Wadhurst - the same places as for lunch - and you can either go onto the fireworks or not. Afterwards you can walk down the main road to Wadhurst station - there is a pavement all the way and it is 2.2km (1.4 miles). But more interesting is to follow the main walk route down the back lanes - 3.2km (2 miles) - a lovely walk, perfectly doable in the dark (with or without a torch, but a torch is obviously useful).

If you are not going to the fireworks, you can also get a number 254 bus from Wadhurst village - outside the Greyhound - to Wadhurst station, or Tunbridge Wells station which has a more frequent trains service. This goes at 02 past the hour until 18.02.

If walking the back lanes in the dark, note that the field crossing in paragraph 66 can easily be avoided by staying on the road and taking the next road left. Follow this to the very bottom of a steep hill and turn right and then resume the directions in paragraph 69.

I always reckon to allow 45 minutes for the main road route to the station and an hour for the back lanes route. Every year people say they do both quicker, but the point is that you don't want to just miss a train at Wadhurst, as there is nothing in the vicinity of the station and it is a cold place to wait for the next train.

Trains back from Wadhurst are at 19 and 49 past until 19.49, then hourly at 49 past until 22.49

  • 06-Nov-16


    cloudy and chilly

    Lovely autumn colours.

    Very nice lunch at The White Hart in Wadhurst at a reasonable price.

  • 06-Nov-16

    30 Hugely enjoyable walk. The group got split up around The White Heart, The Greyhound and cafes in Wadhurst. After lunch a group of us set off with to do the extended walk around Bewl Water getting more fragmented on the way. Six of us going to the bonfire arrived back in Wadhurst at dusk, filling in an hour at the Greyhound. The Bonfire was spectacular, as were the fireworks. We only saw two others at the event. Deciding not to rush we headed down the back lanes for the 2149 via The White Hart. A great day out!

  • Anonymous

    At least 5 from White Hart pub went home after lunch perhaps for even more spectacular firework displays elsewhere. Five of us did the short version in the afternoon, met one walker who was wondering in the woods aimlessly. Two more walkers who did the longer version caught up with us just before Wadhurst. After a quick visit to Paramor outdoor shop, we decided to catch 5:19pm train with take away tea from a grocery shop as some of us had other bonfire parties to go to. Nice autumn colours with occasional slippery path, an enjoyable walk.

Mike A
Mike A

Wadhurst Circular via Bewl Water

The Sussex Border path to Bewl Water, then along its banks back to Wadhurst for tea. Gentle gradients but never flat.

Book 3* Walk 5 *online only

Length : 17 km or 10½ miles

Toughness : 5 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:15 am train from London Charing Cross to Wadhurst
Calling stations:

  1. Waterloo East: departs 10:18
  2. Orpington: departs 10:39
  3. Sevenoaks: departs 10:49

Meeting point : Wadhurst Station at 11:19

Tickets : Buy a cheap day return to Wadhurst

Brief Description

If you've still some energy left after the many walks on offer over the Bank Holiday, then this stroll might be the one for you. It's a little different to the walks on the west of Wadhurst, this "east side stroll" visits Bewl Water and part of the Sussex Border Path.
It's a bit of a trek from the tea stop at Wadhurst to it's station, 2 miles/3 km (nothing unusual there!). However 4 can share a cab (about £6) or you may catch a 254 bus at 4 minutes past the hour at the bus stop just outside The Greyhound. (The walk notes suggest continuing on the bus to Tunbridge Well station where there are more frequent trains).
You may find full details of this walk here and a downloadable PDF here

Suggested Lunch stop

The Old Vine, Cousley Wood t: 01892 782271

Suggested Tea stops

The White Hart Wadhurst, TN5 7AP t:01892 782850
The Greyhound Wadhurst, TN5 6AP t:01892 783224
Wealden Wholefoods Café Wadhurst, TN5 6AA t:01892 783065 (Closes 3:30pm Wednesday, but mentioned for the hares)


OS Explorer : 136

Return train times

Trains return from Wadhurst at the following times ... 16:00 | 16:25 | 16:57 | 17:24 | 17:59

Too much detail ? Every half an hour at about 25 past and 5 to the hour :-)
  • Marion

    At last I can get my connecting train to join the Waterloo East departure. Anyone interested in the short walk to experience the unusual cakes on offer from the owner of the whole foods cafe? He did stay open later than the advertised 3,30pm when I was last there on a Wednesday but only because I promised him some trade from the late walkers.

  • Anonymous

    Hope to walk jfk

    Richmond Boro Commander suspended for alleged mis conduct .alleluia at last.

  • 04-May-16

    If you go from London Bridge then you need to change at Orpington. Train departs from London Bridge at 10:07am.

  • 04-May-16

    If you go from London Bridge then you need to change at Orpington. Train departs from London Bridge at 10:07am.

  • Marion

    8 on walk-Sunny all day. Great route. No mud and a fab lunch served with record speed by the really efficient staff managed by Sarah the new owner. We did book however for 6 and were glad we did . A large party of vintage car owners were also present but did not impede the service. Excellent prices too. Does B and B too.

    The whole food cafe was open til 4.30pm where 4 of us spent a sunny sojourn in the garden with homemade cakes and leaf tea. One walker spent £20 on provisions here. Another having walked the short cut bought a Paramo jacket at the shop across the road from the cafe so Wadworth did quite well today. The cottage cafe closed at 3,30pm instead of staying open til 4pm as advertised on the door! Another sampled 2 pints in the pub and we all travelled back on the 5.28 train. Arthur Dent and our lunch monitor stayed on the longer walk and were not seen again!

  • Anonymous

    8 sunny

  • Anonymous

    This truly was a delightful day out. The recent cold wind had subsided and it was sunny all day .

    8 of the train at Wadhurst, peeling off layers as the temperature rose.

    The Sussex Border Path was adorned with blossom and the whole countryside had become decidedly verdant.

    The Old Vine at Cousely Wood (under new management since late 2015) had copious dining space, were well organised, unflustered, efficient and cheerful, bliss!

    Car enthusiasts would have enjoyed the MG car club cars in the car park. (Overlooked by the owners who had tucked themselves on a corner to keep an eye on them!)

    One walker disappeared after lunch (did she join the MG enthusiasts?) and the remaining 7 headed off to Bewl Water for the afternoon leg. One took the short cut back to Wadhurst to sample Wealden Wholefoods Café's finest cuisine and the remaining six continued alongside the waters of Bewl. Two dallied behind to enjoy the vistas and chose the longer route back to Wadhurst enjoying further stretches of Bewl Water, soft fruit orchards and fields of blackcurrants. All in all a great day out for everyone.

Sat, 12-Sep-15 : Third Walk ?
Wadhurst Figure of Eight
Length: 17.6 km (10.9 miles). Toughness: 4/10
Catch the 9:49 from London Cannon Street (London Bridge 9:54) arrives Wadhurst 10:47.

The Wadhurst Figure of Eight walk combines CW2, Walk 18a Wadhurst Circular Short Walk with SWC 5 Wadhurst via Bewl Water walk to create a Wadhurst Figure of Eight walk (ie having both lunch and tea in Wadhurst) offering a comprehensive introduction to the different types of scenery around the village. This walk is 7km (4.3 miles) in the morning and 7.4km (4.6 miles) from lunch to tea, which with a further 3.2km (2 miles) to the station gives a total walk length of 17.6km (10.9 miles). Or if you use the long walk option, it is 9.7km (6 miles) from lunch to tea, giving a total walk length of 19.9km (12.3 miles).

Aside from the main headline walk, there are two longer options, plus the longer Figure of 8 walk (mentioned above) - all detailed below. For the Robertsbridge ending, buy a day return to Robertsbridge. Suggested lunch stop for the long walk ending at Robertsbridge is the Woodpecker Café (18km from the end of the walk - The Visitors centre in the text [L3])

The main walk options are detailed below WalkDirections requiredDistance km Wadhurst figure of 8 long optionCW2 Walk 18a pages 1-3,7,8 + SWC Walk 5 20 Wadhurst to RobertsbridgeCW2 Walk 18a pages 1-3,7,8 + Wadhurst Long walk option34 Wadhurst to Robertsbridge (via Mayfield) CW2 Walk 18 + Wadhurst Long walk option43
Return trains Station Robertsbridge xx:14 17:44 18:14 18:44 xx:14 until 22:14 Wadhurst xx:00 xx:29 17:59 18:29 18:59 xx:29 until 22:29
  • 08-Sep-15

    Intend going on the Wadhurst to Robertsbridge walk (34km)

  • Anonymous

    Like to do the 10.9mls version. Anyone else planning the same?