Miles of quiet country roads winding through ancient woodlands, rolling fields and well-tended abundant orchards attract all types of cyclists to the Weald of Kent and the towns and villages around the welcoming spa town of Tunbridge Wells.

Alongside these lanes are parks, disused railway tracks and riverbank trails. Such routes are well signposted and popular with families, cycling clubs, groups of friends and solo cyclists. You’re also more than likely to see the occasional MAMIL (middle-aged man in lycra) huffing and puffing along!

Cycling is one of the fastest growing sport and leisure activities across the UK and a great way to keep fit and enjoy the countryside from a different, more relaxing viewpoint than through a car window.

Head to Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest with the family to explore a network of over 30km of forest tracks and mountain bike trail. There’s a lovely café and restaurant overlooking a small lake and rare, beautiful trees thriving in the bike-free Pinetum.

Parking at the huge reservoir at Bewl Water, popular with dinghy-sailors and windsurfers, costs just £3 to park all day. You’ll then you’ll have access to a 13-mile trail around the water.

Some of the route is on public roads and there are a couple of steep bits, but you’ll see family groups cycling around, often with a picnic to share en-route. Again there’s a lovely café for teas, coffees and cakes, and the more formal Boat House Bistro lunches and dinners, a fitting reward for cycling around the lake.

Offroad bikes for ages and abilities can be hired at both Bedgebury and Bewl!

Need reviving … well, cafes across the region welcome cyclists serving reviving cups of tea, coffee and an energy boosting slices of lemon drizzle or walnut cake. Velohouse in Tunbridge Wells, Beales Barn in Lamberhurst and Cocolicious in Cranbrook all have amazing home-made delights and are also great stops for families.

There are several trails in the area, often created along disused railway lines.

Cycling along country trails - photography by Lynda Grisby

One popular route shared by cyclists and walkers is the nine-mile Forest Way from Groombridge to East Grinstead. Shaded by native trees including crab apples and oak, this route takes you away from the traffic and has lots of picnic tables overlooking bucolic scenes of grazing cattle and sheep; views that have hardly changed in centuries.

If you fancy something longer, then the Sustrans’ National Cycle Route 18 links Tunbridge Wells to Canterbury across the length of the county, on 61 miles of mostly quiet roads.

Local and national charities such as Hospice in the Weald and Hope for Heroes run well organised fundraising cycle events across the region which take you on quiet, scenic routes away from busy roads and through charming lanes and past picturesque farm shops with shelves laden with local produce.

This part of the world is steeped in history from the Tudor period and has many links to King Henry VIII.

Pedal along the peaceful and mainly car-free route of the Tudor trail from Tonbridge Castle passing the tranquil river Medway to Penshurst Place, where the famous BBC production ‘Wolf Hall’ was filmed.

Continue on quiet B-roads to Hever Castle, forever known as the ancestral home Anne Boleyn, King Henry Vlll’s doomed second wife.

So, whether you’re admiring the undulating countryside around Tunbridge Wells taking in the sights and sounds or in the midst of a colourful, fast moving peloton inspired by the 2006 Tour de France’s detour through the region, then the lanes and byways of Tunbridge Wells and the Weald have much to offer.


With thanks to Bruce McMichael, Tunbridge Wells Farmers' Market Manager


 

Related

Penshurst Place and Gardens
Historic House / Palace
Photography by Peter Smith - Penshurst Place and Gardens South view of the house

Set in the beautiful Weald of Kent, Penshurst Place & Gardens and the surrounding estate have stood on the banks of the river Medway since the 14th century, when the awe-inspiring medieval Baron’s Hall was built as a country retreat for the Lord Mayor of London, Sir John De Pulteney.

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest
Forest
Taking a walk in Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest

Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is a magnificent place for healthy outdoor activities.

Bewl Water
Lake / Reservoir
Boating and sailing on Bewl Water, on the edge of the borough of Tunbridge Wells Kent

Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.

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