Kent Ramblers: Walk of the Month

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June: Hayesden Country Park and Leigh

Distance:         4 miles (1 hour 50 minutes)

OS Map:          Explorer 147 (Start at grid reference TQ571459)

Click map to enlarge and click again to enlarge further

Park in car park at Haysden Country Park (1.80p for four hours and £4.00 for longer).  If approaching from A21 southbound, leave at Tonbridge exit and follow signposts for Tonbridge.  At first roundabout, turn left (signposted Country Park) past West Kent College.  Turn for Haysden Country Park is soon on right and is well signposted.  The road is narrow.  After half a mile, turn right into entrance to Park.  The speed humps are severe, so go very slowly.

Leave farthest corner of main car park (before the overflow car park) and take arched Shallows Bridge gradually approaching railway.  After crossing another arched footbridge (Rainbow Bridge) turn left then immediately right along track signposted “Haysden Lake” straight towards A21 high above.  On reaching embankment, go straight up it and down other side then forwards under A21 towards lake.

Follow path alongside the lake, with railway on your right.  At junction with path through railway arch on right, bear left to lake edge.  At end of lake, following main path, bear left over James Christie bridge and turn right along long straight stretch of path – part of the “Straight Mile” (see Points of Interest).

At end of the Straight Mile, bear right over bridge over stagnant water then left towards bridge made of green girders.  Cross bridge and take path northwards towards embankment.  Go over  embankment, under railway and continue past gate into Green View Avenue.  Continue to Leigh village green, bear right round green and turn right into Powdermill Lane.  Soon take public footpath on left by some railings.  Soon turn right past house then through kissing gate and right through woodland.  At end of woodland go through kissing gate and take path between fences followed by two more gates.  Cross right hand edges of three fields cross footbridge over A21.

Continue along path, initially with woodland on left.  Cross left hand side of field and pass isolated house on left.  Carry straight on over three footbridges and climb with glimpses of large house called Avalon (formerly Meopham Bank) on left.

Before you get to lodge on drive to Avalon, take stile on right leading into drive of house.  Cross drive and go through gap immediately to right of two garages opposite.  Follow path along right hand side of field to road.

Turn left and carefully follow road until you reach right turn signposted Powder Mills.  Walk full length of this road and turn left into Hunter Seal.  Keep left and take the footpath on left when Hunter Seal bears right.

Follow path alongside lake to junction.  Take right turn signposted Haysden Country Park.  Turn left across Lucifer Bridge, again signposted to Haysden Country Park.  Cross another bridge almost immediately and reach clearing.  Don’t take first right (the cycle track) but second, soon turning right again to re-join cycle track.  Turn left to Barden Lake.  Turn left and walk round lake to far-left (southwest) corner.  Bear left under railway back into car park.


In addition to the walking routes on our web site we have published four popular walking guides:

Points of Interest

The Straight Mile

The canal on your right was built in the 1830s by the Penshurst Canal Company in an attempt to straighten the Medway to make it navigable upstream from Tonbridge.  The enterprise caused a huge dispute with the Medway Navigation Company whose supply of water for the operation of its locks was threatened.  There were expensive legal proceedings and fights between workers from the two companies.  The chief instigator of the venture, James Christie, was bankrupted by escalating costs and fled to America leaving the canal never to be completed.

Avalon

Known as Meopham Bank until a few years ago and still shown as such on most maps, Avalon was once the home of artist John Frederick Herring Senior (1795 to 1865), renowned for his paintings of horses.  The house, possibly designed by Septimus Burton (brother of the more famous Decimus Burton who designed many houses in Tunbridge Wells and also the Palm House at Kew Gardens), was then known as Meopham Park.

Barden Lake

Created between 1974 and 1980 by the removal of a 4m layer of sand and gravel which was itself 2m beneath soil and other deposits.

Long Distance Walks

Both the 82-mile Wealdway from Gravesend to Eastbourne and the Eden Valley Walk from near Edenbridge to Tonbridge pass through Haysden Country Park.  Kent Ramblers has published guides to both (see below).


Public Transport

Haysden Country Park is within walking distance of Tonbridge Station.  Alternatively you could start and finish the walk at Leigh which has a railway station and is on the 210 bus route to Tonbridge.


Please report any problems with this walk to info@kentramblers.org.uk.


Ramblers' volunteers in Kent work tirelessly to ensure that our paths are as well protected and maintained as possible.  Of course we also organise led walks but most of our members are independent walkers who simply want to support our footpath work.  Please join us and become a supporter too.  You need us and we really need you.


Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2023.  Some paths on map are based on data provided by Kent County Council but do not constitute legal evidence of the line of a right of way.



Guide to the Wealdway




Guide to the Kent Coast Path: Part 1, Camber to Ramsgate

Guide to Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk and other walks in the area

Guide to Three River Valley Walks in West Kent: Darent Valley Path, Eden Valley Walk and Medway Valley Walk