Wealdway: Wrotham Heath to Tonbridge

NEAREST LOCATION

Wrotham Heath

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

13.7 miles (22kms)

ASCENT
338ft (103m)
TIME
5hrs 20min
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Medium
STARTING POINT
TQ633580

About the walk

The Wealdway passes through three AONBs and connects the Thames Estuary with the English Channel, via the Weald of Kent and Sussex. It crosses the centre of the overcrowded south-eastern corner of England, but the chosen route manages, for almost its entire length, to avoid main centres of population. Much of the walk is quiet and remote, with only the occasional tiny village to interrupt a varied succession of woodland, arable field, river bank, heath, orchard and downland pasture. This section passes through the extensive Mereworth Woods, before dropping to a river-filled plain, meaning that after the first three miles of climbing, the walk is either downhill or flat. The last few miles follow the River Medway, ending in the market town of Tonbridge with its impressive castle gatehouse.

Walk directions

Start the walk along a drive to the right of the Royal Oak pub. It narrows to a path and passes under the railway. Ignore a left fork and, at the next lane, bear left. After 300yds (275m), fork right on a
narrow fenced path between rhododendrons. Ignore the many side and crossing tracks in this woodland.

At the road on the edge of the village of Platt, turn right and, shortly, left into Potash Lane. To visit The Blue Anchor pub in the village, a few minutes away, go straight on from this point. Otherwise, follow Potash Lane over a crossroads and on to join a wider road. At another crossroads, go ahead between high hedges. After 250yds (225m), fork right. For the next 2 miles (3km), the Wealdway heads south through Mereworth Woods; predominantly coppiced hazel, with a scattering of silver birch. Ignore all side and crossing tracks to reach a road at Gover Hill, a small National Trust area, with broad views southwards over the valley of the Medway.

Cross a road and continue the walk along a track besidea white-walled cottage. After 0.5 miles (800m) turn left, as waymarked. For the next mile (1.6km), the Wealdway is also part of the Greensand Way, and is the continuation, in Kent, of the route described on pages 62–65. At a lane, turn left and,
very shortly, fork right. A few minutes’ walk brings you to West Peckham, where the church and The Swan on the Green pub are delightfully set beside the village green.

Follow the road between pub and church. At a road junction, turn right on a path, enclosed at first. For the next 4.5 miles (7.2km), south to the Medway, the Wealdway follows a series of field paths, subject to cultivation. Most of the paths are waymarked but there are one or two gaps. Care, plus a good 1:25,000 scale map, will ensure successful navigation. On the first path, veer right in the third field. Cross the A26. The start of the next path, a few yards to the right, is not obvious. Cross the verge bank and go ahead on a roughly metalled track. After 0.5 miles (800m), turn right on a track which crosses two streams and continues to Peckham Place Farm. Follow the farm drive out to a lane and turn left.

The next path follows a straight southerly line through an orchard and across a field to a lane. Turn right. At Kent House Farm, a massive converted oasthouse, turn left along Pierce Mill Lane. After 0.5 miles (800m), beyond an attractive house and garden on the right, turn right along the north bank of the River Bourne. Cross the river at the first opportunity, go ahead over a field to a second footbridge, and bear left across the corner of the field beyond to a third footbridge. Turn right to continue beside a field out to the road at Barnes Street, opposite a picturesque half-timbered house.

Turn right and, very shortly, go left along a Turn right and, very shortly, go left along a Turn right and, very shortly, go left along a track. Walk through an orchard, bearing slightly left, to find a wide grassy track leading onwards to the River Medway. Cross the river and turn right along the towpath. At East Lock, cross back over the Medway and follow the north bank for 4 miles (6.5km) into Tonbridge. It is quite a busy waterway and you are likely to encounter pleasure boats working through one of the four locks on this lovely stretch of the river. Walk through an orchard, bearing slightly left, to find a wide grassy track leading onwards to the River Medway. Cross the river and turn right along the towpath. At East Lock, cross back over the Medway and follow the north bank for 4 miles (6.5km) into Tonbridge. It is quite a busy waterway and you are likely to encounter pleasure boats working through one of the four locks on this lovely stretch of the river. Walk through an orchard, bearing slightly left, to find a wide grassy track leading onwards to the River Medway. Cross the river and turn right along the towpath. At East Lock, cross back over the Medway and follow the north bank for 4 miles (6.5km) into Tonbridge. It is quite a busy waterway and you are likely to encounter pleasure boats working through one of the four locks on this lovely stretch of the river.

On the outskirts of Tonbridge, cross the Medway once again, using the Cannon Road bridge. Continue beside the river, passing Town Lock, to reach Tonbridge High Street.

Additional information

Riverside footpaths, farm tracks, woodland paths, field paths, road

River, fields, woods, valleys, oasthouses, a market town

Several fields where sheep graze and a lead must be used

OS Explorer 136, 147, 148

Lay-by near Ming restaurant at start

Been on this walk?

Send us photos or a comment about this route.

Know a good walk?

Share your route with us.

Walking in safety

Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.

Find out more

About the area

Discover