Walk 55: Penshurst and Bidborough
Distance: 9.6 Miles (4h 45m)
OS Map: Explorer 147 (Start at grid reference TQ535438)
There is space for parking at the side of Penshurst Road just north of Latymers.
Go past the toilets and turn left towards the entrance to Penshurst Place. Go through the gateway and along the drive past the car park and a lake on the left. Soon after the lake, take a path on the left through a stile, along a field edge, through another stile and then bear left uphill getting fine views looking back at Penshurst Place. At the top go through another stile onto a path that soon joins a concrete lane. Continue forward on the lane until you reach some houses on the right. Just past the houses take a lane on the right and then a stile on the left. Over the stile bear right downhill to a bridge. Across the bridge go straight forward to a tree by the bank of the Medway and turn left along the river bank to a road.
Turn right over the bridge and take a path through a stile immediately on the left. Follow this path, ignoring a stile on the right, until you reach a point near some ponds on the right where two paths cross. Turn right on a path between the trees and soon go through a stile into a field. Follow the right hand edge of the field until the hedge bears right. At this point bear left across the field to a climb a stile in a fence. Bear right to a bridge over a ditch a few metres away then bear right into the corner of the field and over a stile. Turn left along the field edge until you reach a waymark on a post. Turn sharp right across the field to an electricity pole in the middle. Turn sharp left towards a large oak and go over a stile 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 edge of field to lane.
Turn right, take a lane on the left and then a path on the left that leads uphill past the left hand edge of a copse. Past the copse, continue uphill towards a pylon and on to the corner of a wood. Bear slightly right and keep the wood on your left as you follow the field edge to a stile in the corner. Through the stile, cross a field to a stile in the middle of the far side, go through a short section of wood and across another field to a lane. Turn left up the lane to reach the road at Bidborough. You could make a detour right to the Hare and Hounds for lunch (and if you don’t feel like walking after lunch you can get a 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 a footpath on the right. When you reach a left turn, take it. Cross St Lawrence Avenue and go through a gap by a wooden gate into Birch Wood. Follow the track downhill and pass a lake on the left. You can take a detour round the lake if you wish. Follow the track past the lake uphill and turn right near the top. This path will take you through a kissing gate into Brookhurst Field where a couple of seats are good for a rest or lunch.
Keep left along the top of the field and take a path through a section of woodland and then into a meadow where the wild flowers are impressive in late May. Cross this meadow to a stile then follow the right hand edge of a second meadow to a kissing gate and a bridge at the bottom. Across the bridge, follow the path to a T-junction and turn right passing some houses until you reach a street on a corner. Go straight ahead with woodland on your left and passing some houses on your right until you reach a busier road and see that you have just walked down Modest Corner. Go straight across the busier road onto a track through the woods that brings you out by a pond. Go round the left hand side of the pond and take path that goes up to the left of a house with Tudor beams. Keep going up and pass a children’s playground to Crundwell Road where you turn right. At Manor Road you turn left and almost immediately right. Cross Kibbles Lane into Sir Davids Park. The path goes to the left of number 18.
Follow this path, crossing a private drive and a lane. After crossing this lane go through a metal kissing gate at the edge of a narrow road; go through this gate across the road, through another metal kissing gate and after a few yards emerge into a field which cross diagonally to a stile in the far right corner. Follow this path through some woods until you reach the third stile (a metal hoop with wooden divider across it) adjacent to a wooden electricity pole at which point turn right and follow the right hand side of the next two fields eventually passing between gardens to a lane at Stocklands Green. Turn left along lane and take the first turn on the right (Frank’s Hollow Road).
Follow the lane carefully round a left hand bend. When the lane bends right downhill, ignore a path up steps on left. But at next right hand corner, take a path over stile on left. Bear left uphill to the top corner of the field and over a stile. Follow left hand edge of field to a farmyard. Bear right across farmyard and over steps by a gate. Follow track straight ahead. Follow track downhill, across a stream and after a sharp left turn pass some houses to a road.
Turn left and take track on the right a few metres up the hill; when the track soon bears right go straight forward along a footpath over a stile into a field. Follow this path along the top edge of a field with woodland, rich with bluebells in late April and early May, on your left. When you reach a ditch, the way across is not immediately obvious – you need to turn right along the ditch until you suddenly come across a nice footbridge with a stile on the far side. Follow the top edge of the next field until you see a lake over the fence on the left. Go over a stile which looks as if it leads straight into the lake and turn right along the bank of the lake. Go between a couple of electricity pylons to a stile and a path that passes another small lake. Follow the path along the top edge of the next field and down to a road. Turn right and very soon take a lane on the left past a house bearing the date 1593.
Soon take a footpath through a gate on the right. Cross another field, go through a stile and over a footbridge. Turn left along a field edge and through a gate. Bear right and go past a large oak to the far corner of the field. Go through a small gate next to a large gate and follow the right hand edge of the next field. When the fence bears right go straight ahead and on reaching bridge don’t cross it but turn sharp right along a track to another bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left along the field edge. At the corner, turn right and half way along the next field edge take stile on the left. (Strictly the path goes diagonally across the field from the bridge to the stile, but it looks as though everyone follows the field edge.)
Bear right diagonally across a field to a gate. Go straight across the next field, across a stile, through a kissing gate and along the left hand edge of a field to a gate on the left. Through the gate the path forks – keep left. Follow the drive past several houses until, having passed Old Swaylands on the left, the drive turns sharp right. Keep left past the front of a house on a path that becomes a grassy track and go over a stile into a field. Bear right and cross the top of the next field to a stile and onto a broader track all the way to Rogues Hill in Penshurst. Turn left downhill, across the bridge over the Medway and uphill to the entrance to Penshurst Place that you passed near the start of the walk. Retrace your steps to your car.
Birthplace of Sir Philip
Sidney in 1554 and home to his family ever since. The Great
Hall with its minstrel's dates from 1340.
David Salomons’ House
map appears to have misplaced the apostrophe – the house was
designed by Decimus Burton and built in 1852 for Sir David Salomons.
His nephew, Sir David Lionel Salomons, built the nearby water tower
to house an astronomical telescope and organised the first motor
show – the Horseless Carriage Exhibition of 1895.
The building now belongs
to Canterbury Christ Church College and is used as a conference and
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
and has now been converted into very posh apartments.
Our book of Ten
Favourite Walks in the Kent Countryside has routes for ten more
walks like this one.
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
If you find that the directions and map
for this walk are incorrect in any way, please report the problem to firstname.lastname@example.org.