Kent Ramblers: Walk 55



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Path Problems

Penshurst and Bidborough

Distance:   9.3 Miles (4h 30m)

OS Map:   Explorer 147 (Start at grid reference TQ535438)

Click map to enlarge and click again to enlarge further

There is space for parking at the side of Penshurst Road just north of Latymers.

Go down to road junction and turn left towards entrance to Penshurst Place.  Go through gateway and along drive past car park and fishing lakes on left.  Soon after lakes, take path on left through gate, along field edge, through another gate and then bear left uphill getting fine views looking back at Penshurst Place.  At top go through stile onto path that soon joins concrete lane (cycle track).  Continue forward on lane until you reach some houses on right.  Just past houses take track on the right and then gate on left.   Through gate bear right downhill to bridge.  Across bridge go straight forward to tree by bank of Medway and turn left along river bank to Ensfield road.

Turn right over Ensfield bridge and take path (cycle track) immediately on left.  Follow track to gate on right, follow left hand edge field to gate and cross plank bridge.  Turn right along path initially parallel to hedge but gradually bearing left to stile in fence.  Bear right to bridge over ditch few metres away then follow right hand side of field into corner and through gate.  Turn left along the field edge until you reach waymark post in hedge.  Turn sharp right across field to electricity pole in middle.  Turn sharp left towards large oak and go through gate beside it.  (The relationship between the field boundary and the path has been carefully marked on the map and is more reliable than the OS map at the time of writing.)  Follow left hand edges of two fields to Haysden Lane.

Turn right to junction, take left fork and soon take path on left.  (At time of writing you can turn right and shortly go into field on left then follow right hand edge of field to start of path.  This avoids most of the walk along the sometimes busy lane but may not always be available.)  Follow path uphill past left hand edge of copse.  Continue uphill towards pylon and on to corner of wood.  Bear slightly right and keep wood on your left as you follow field edge to stile in corner.  Through stile, cross field to stile in middle of far side, go through short section of wood across another field to Gate Farm Road.  Turn left up lane to reach road at Bidborough.  You could make a detour right to the Kentish Hare for lunch (and if you don’t feel like walking after lunch you can get bus back to Penshurst – but there’s only one bus every two hours and none at all on Sundays).

Otherwise cross the road and turn left.  Pass Woodland Way and take footpath (Wealdway) on right.  When you reach left turn, take it.  Cross St Lawrence Avenue and go through gap by wooden gate into Birch Wood.  Follow track downhill and pass lake on left.  You can take detour round lake if you wish.  Follow track past the lake uphill and at waymark post turn right.  Follow path will through kissing gate into Brookhurst Field where a couple of seats are good for resting or lunch.

Keep left along top of field and take path (rejoining Wealdway) through section of woodland and then into meadow where wild flowers are impressive in late May.  Bear right to gate at protruding corner of Southborough Cemetery.  Follow cemetery hedge on right down to steps and cross footbridge.  On far side head up to T-junction and turn right, soon emerging at Modest Corner.

Turn right down street and at bottom follow path down across cemetery drive to road (Bentham Hill).   Bear right uphill (beware of traffic), at junction with Stockland Green Road continue forward and take the first turn on the right (Frank’s Hollow Road).

Follow lane carefully round left hand bend.  When lane bends right downhill, ignore path up steps on left.  But at next right hand corner, take path over stile on left.  Bear left uphill to top corner of field and through gate.  Follow left hand edge of field to farmyard.  Bear right across farmyard and over steps by gate.  Follow track straight ahead downhill, cross stream at bottom, bear right and after sharp left turn pass some houses to Barden Road.

Turn left uphill and after a few metres take track on right; when track soon bears right, go straight forward along footpath over stile into field.  Follow this path along top edge of fields with woodland, rich with bluebells in late April and early May, on left.  On reaching lake over fence on left, go over stile turn right along bank of lake.  Go between a couple of electricity pylons to gate and path that passes another small lake.  Follow path along top edge of next field and down to Penshurst Road.  Turn right and very soon turn left along Poundsbridge Hill past “The Picture House” bearing date 1593.

Soon take footpath through gate on right.  Cross field, go through a stile and over footbridge.  Turn left along field edge and through gate.  Bear right past large oak to far corner of field.  Go through small gate next to large gate and follow right hand edge of next field.  When fence bears right go straight ahead and on reaching bridge over Medway don’t cross it but turn sharp right along path bearing away from Medway to another bridge.  Cross bridge and turn left along field edge.  At corner, turn right and half way along next field edge take stile on left.  (Strictly path goes diagonally across field from bridge to stile, but it looks as though everyone follows field edge.)

Bear right diagonally across field to kissing gate.  Go straight across next field, through two kissing gates and along left hand edge of field to gate on left.  Through gate keep left at T-junction.  Follow drive past several houses until, having passed Old Swaylands on left, the drive turns sharp right uphill.  Keep left past front of house on track that becomes grassy and go through gate into field.  Cross the top of next field to gate and onto broader track all the way to Rogues Hill in Penshurst.  Turn left downhill, across bridge over Medway and uphill to entrance to Penshurst Place that you passed near start of walk.  Retrace your steps to your car.

Points of Interest

Eden Valley Walk

The first couple of miles of the route follow the Eden Valley Walk which goes from Cernes Farm west of Edenbridge to Tonbridge Castle.  There is a full description of the route and the places of interest it passes in our Guide to Three River Valley Walks.

The Old Farmhouse

Also known as Killick’s Bank, this is a Grade II listed late mediaeval hall house with alterations, in particular the probable demolition of one end-bay.

The Kentish Hare

This is a gastropub at Bidborough that has won awards – not necessarily what a walker with muddy boots and rucksack is looking for.  There is a bar too where you can get fish and chips or a burger – prices a bit above average.  Not open Mondays and Tuesdays.

Beehive Former Public House

A grade II listed building, probably built as two cottages in the 18th century.  The pub closed in the 1990s.


The large house up the hill on your right has had a chequered history.  Once popular with the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) and writers such as J M Barrie and John Buchan, in 1919 it became the Cassell Hospital for Functional Nervous Disorders.  It later became a Special School.  Around 2012 the buildings were converted into what at the time appeared to be very posh apartments but construction defects subsequently emerged that have require major remedial work, still in progress at the time of writing.

Public Transport

Buses 231 and 233 from Tunbridge Wells station to Edenbridge station pass through Penshurst, making the walk accessible from either station.  No service on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

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

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

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

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

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Map contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2022.  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