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Plenty of space for country walking in the Weald of Kent

Plenty of space for country walking in the Weald of Kent

David Hodgkinson

Walking & Walking Routes in Tunbridge Wells

With some of the best landscapes in the country and a fantastic network of footpaths, the best way to see the glorious countryside of Kent and Sussex (part of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) that surrounds Royal Tunbridge Wells is on foot.

By slowing down and looking at the scenery around you from a new perspective you see so much more.

Whether you like to roam for miles or prefer a gentle stroll, walk with the family or wander freely, the miles of footpath, the marked long distance walking routes and some of the best walks in Kent, make the area ideal for walkers.

Several Ordnance Survey maps covering the local area give details of all the footpaths with public access.

Perfect for great walks in the countryside 

The Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk has 27½ miles (44.3 km) of paths surrounding the town, with link paths to Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre.

This provides a real challenge for those spending several days in the area or can be split into sections for a more leisurely walk through the Kent countryside.

Passing several points of interest along the way, such as Groombridge Place Gardens and the magnificent Chagall windows at All Saints' Church in Tudeley, the Tunbridge Wells Circular is a good introduction to some of the sights of the area.

Visit the inspiration for Winnie The Pooh's home

Nearby Ashdown Forest provides 2,500 acres of open heathland criss-crossed with pathways and bridleways to enjoy.

The Forest was the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood in AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories.

True Pooh fans can enjoy a game of Poohsticks on Pooh Bridge near the village of Hartfield, a short 20 minute drive from Royal Tunbridge Wells.

The Wealdway walk runs across the counties of Kent and Sussex across the chalk ridges of the North and South Downs and through the Weald stretching for almost 80 miles (126.8km).

Starting from the River Thames, it finishes at Eastbourne, passing through Royal Tunbridge Wells on its way.

The Sussex Border Path, as its name suggests, runs along the county borders of Kent, West Sussex and East Sussex, over the South Downs towards East Grinstead, passing south of Royal Tunbridge Wells to Bewl Water and Hawkhurst and then finishing in Rye.

The walk goes through unspoilt countryside, charming villages with small friendly pubs offering good food and beer.

Embark on some of the best National Trails in the UK

If you are a keen hiker who loves a challenge the National Trails of the North Downs Way and South Downs Way are within easy reach of the Tunbridge Wells area.

Walking sections of these trails make for wonderful days out in the countryside.

Alternatively, stay longer and get out and really explore.

The trails link to an extensive rights of way network across Kent and Sussex.

Less is more

Many of the local walks start from the villages and towns such as Goudhurst, Paddock Wood, Lamberhurst and Cranbrook, with their rich history and heritage they are the perfect place to stop and linger.

There’s no rush so pause and take the time to discover more about our rural villages.

Explore Kent has lots of downloadable walking guides, find their link at the bottom; here is a sample of three in the area.

The Goudhurst walk (A Walk Through Time) is a ten mile circular route that goes through the village and out through ancient woodland awash with bluebells in the spring.

South of the village there are stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

The walk south of Cranbrook (A Walk Through Time) is just under four miles and takes you into the Wealden countryside.

The town of Paddock Wood is the starting point for the 5½ mile circular Paddock Wood walk that includes farmland and woodland.

The Kent High Weald Partnership also has a large selection of walking guides (web link at the bottom too).

Their Lamberhurst walk is a five mile circular route with lovely views.

We have walks for everybody

Walking the Tunbridge Wells Common and Rusthall Common trails are the perfect way to discover the amazing wildlife and plants that live on the the doorstep.

There are shorter routes for those with little legs at Dunorlan Park, Broadwater Warren Nature Reserve and Hargate Forest (see the Kent High Weald Partnership's website for the latter two).

What will you see and hear down in the woods?

Can you identify that birdsong, plant or leaf?

There are a number of short toddler walks to download.

The Forest Way is an abandoned railway track that runs from Groombridge to Forest Row passing through classic Wealden countryside with views of the rolling hills.

There are several circular walks leading off Forest Way into the surrounding countryside and because it is a flat trail it is accessible to all.

For information on walks, countryside and green spaces which are accessible to those using wheelchairs, mobility scooters, pushchairs and buggies, visit www.accessiblecountryside.org.uk

You set the pace

Walking is a free and healthy activity and no matter what the season there is always something to see.

So what are you waiting for?

Grab your walking boots, get out and explore our spectacular countryside.

Further details of all the above routes and other Tunbridge Wells walks, as well as accommodation within easy reach of the routes, can be obtained by contacting the Tourist Information Centre in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Useful External Links:

Circular Walk
Ashdown Forest
The Wealdway
The Sussex Border Path
North Downs Way and South Downs Way
Explore Kent
Kent High Weald Partnership 
Forest Way

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