Distance - 24km (15mls)
Map - OS Landrangers 187 & 188 Explorer 147
Start - Cernes Farm (GR426445)
Finish - Tonbridge Castle (GR589466)
Public Transport - Edenbridge and Tonbridge are linked
by a railway line (Redhill-Tonbridge service). Tel:08457 484950
Waymarking - A yellow disc with the name of the walk and a
castle logo. Yellow arrow marks are also used.
Guidebook - Eden Valley Walk by Caroline Wing (Kent County Council)
Tourist Information - Edenbridge - 01732 865368 -
Tonbridge - 01732 770929
This walk is set in the Eden Valley, which for the most part is in the care of the National Trust. The walk was inaugurated by Kent County Council in 1991; a 15-mile route which links the Vanguard Way, where it passes to the west of Edenbridge, and the Wealdway in Tonbridge. The aim of the walk was to follow the course of the River Eden as far as its confluence with the Medway, and then to continue along the Medway's banks as far as Tonbridge Castle. Unfortunately there were insufficient Rights of Way to make this possible, so instead existing footpaths were linked together to form a meandering, but possibly more interesting, route through meadows and woodlands and, at every opportunity, along the riverside too.
The walk is fairly well waymarked, but there are some worrying gaps. Also as these waymarks are now getting on a bit some are obscured by hedgerows. I would recommend a 25,000 scale map for this walk.
The walk begins just south of Haxted Mill where the Vanguard Way comes to Cernes Farm. The Eden Valley Walk cuts away to the north-east and then follows the modest river from which it takes its name towards Edenbridge. Personally I prefer to start this walk in Edenbridge as car parking is easier and the train station is there.
From Edenbridge main street, coming from the station, turn left into Church st and enter the church grounds keeping left of the church. Ignore the branch path to the left and continue to the far left corner of the church grounds, bear right following the wall until you come to an exit gateway. Now follow the waymarks through the residential area, they are on walls and lamp posts. The way curves southward, passes alongside Delaware Farm and comes to the Hever Road. Perversely you turn towards Edenbridge, but soon after break away across a field, pass beneath the railway and cross several more fields on a detour that brings you back to the railway near Hever Station.
A brief spell along a lane brings you to a collection of cottages, a tile-hung pub on a corner, and the entrance to Hever Castle, birth place of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. The path takes you right beside a 700-year old church. From the churchyard a footpath edges alongside a driveway, with the 35 acre lake in the grounds of Hever Castle seen nearby. The way leads to an open greensward named Threshers Field, then rises through woods to the hamlet of Hill Hoath. Leaving Hill Hoath at the halfway point along the walk, the stonework of Chiddingstone Castle is seen through trees to the north. A breakaway path of about half a mile provides an opportunity to visit the village, where refreshments are available at The Castle Inn, a beautiful timbered building dating from 1420.
A track goes between fields and woodland, crosses a country lane and comes to the farm buildings of Wat Stock. From here Penshurst is just over a mile, an old coach road traces the crest of a minor ridge. As you come to the end of the coach road the walls of Penshurst Place appear out of sheep grazed parkland ahead. The way crosses this parkland and goes into Penshurst churchyard and out by way of the original Leicester Square. Now the walk takes a driveway alongside high walls that contain the gardens of Penshurst Place. A farm road continues, but a stile on the left bearing the Eden Valley logo soon directs you away from the concrete and up a steeply-rising meadow. having reached the hilltop, another exposed farm road leads north-eastward with large fields on either side. Then the road slopes down to pass a pair of cottages at Killick's Bank, where a footpath cuts away to descend through meadows to the left bank of the Medway. At the end of the meadows the route crosses to the right bank by way of Ensfield Bridge. The way now follows the course of the Medway into Tonbridge, passing under the A21.