Kent walk: The Wealdway

PUBLISHED: 14:48 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 14:48 03 December 2018

The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)

The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)

Archant

This walk is the best way to take in the majestic beauty of the Weald of Kent, linking the North Downs Way at Trottiscliffe with the South Downs Way near to Eastbourne

Location: Gordon Promenade, Gravesend, DA12 2BS

Distance: 82 miles (131.97km) linear

Time: Allow at least a weekend to walk the whole route

OS Explorer Maps: 163, 148, 136, 147, 135 and 123

Terrain: Chalk downlands, river valleys, woodland and farmland

Public transport: For public transport directions from your home address to Gravesend, please visit kentconnected.org.

Parking: Pay & Display parking available at Milton Place

Refreshments & facilities: Pubs, Inns, restaurants along the way plus a range of accommodation

The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)

The Wealdway is undoubtedly the best way to take in the majestic beauty of the Weald of Kent, linking the picturesque North Downs Way at Trottiscliffe with the South Downs Way near to Eastbourne. Although it passes through some bustling towns along the way, this is mostly a secluded walk and is perfect for some post festive peace and quiet. The walk can be completed in sections as well as a whole if you prefer to tackle the route in smaller parts. Pass through three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and through precious grasslands, carefully preserved areas of chalk grassland, home to rare and unique wildlife. Arm yourself with a map and get ready for some exploring!

Head off from Gravesend promenade, with its fascinating historical defences that have been a feature of the lower Thames and Thames Estuary since the Iron Age. This starting point is shared with the Saxon Shore Way but you’ll be heading inland towards the Cobham Estate, an area of archaeological importance with a lost mediaeval manor, flint scatters and the remains of second World War camp being discovered in the area.

Stroll through Harvel and revel in the delights of the wonderful landscape found around Trosley Country Park. The hamlet of Harvel retains much of its traditional charm and has just 250 residents. As you continue through the pretty areas of Mid Kent, you will pass through picturesque villages such as Ryarsh which has a splendid pub worthy of stopping by for refreshments, and Platt, home to a delightful village church that stands on a hill overlooking the village centre

Nearing Tonbridge you will pass Dunks Green and walk through the beautiful Medway Valley, its wintery charm making this the perfect time of year to take this walk. Follow the banks of the River Medway into Tonbridge, home to Tonbridge Castle, wonderful historic buildings and the church where members of Jane Austen’s family are buried. With plenty of amenities in this small town, it’s well worth taking a break here before continuing.

Continue your walk towards Southborough, a town in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is home to the delightful Southborough Pond and has a thriving community steeped in industrial and sporting heritage.

The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)

From here you will head through the enchanting Wealden landscape, passing through Ashurst which has an unusual Wealden church, St Martin of Tour’s built in the 10th century. There were once two watermills here but the only evidence remaining is of a weir on the river.

You are now heading towards the half way point and it’s worth noting that there is a good selection of accommodation in this area including inns and bed and breakfasts. Why not stay at the tempting Dorset Arms Cottages in Withyham which are just a short walk away from the pub. You can stay in a room in a cottage or rent out the whole cottage if you are with a group.

From here you will head over the border into Sussex and Ashdown Forest, which was originally a deer hunting forest. It has affectionate connections with Winnie the Pooh with two walks available that take in the main Pooh sites.

Pass the bustling village of Maresfield which was until 1926 a largely agricultural village with substantial development taking place in the 1990s. Continue ahead to Uckfield, a town sitting upon the River Uck in the Wealden district of East Sussex. The most historical elements are Church Street, which was situated near the original historical development, and Bridge Cottage, thought to date from around 1436. Restoration was completed on the cottage in 2015.

The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)

From here, you will be heading towards the coast. Pass through Blackboys near the main route to Hastings. Discover the unique and beautiful East Sussex landscape, including Framfield which came into existence in the 9th century following Saxon invasion. Nowadays it is a community focussed village complete with two inns.

Head through several Wealden villages dotted amongst the East Sussex landscape, each one adding its own distinctive character to the walk. You will follow Cuckmere River for a large part of the route. Set in the Cuckmere Valley, this section passes through flower rich grassland owned by the National Trust. Enjoy stunning views out to sea as you walk alongside this fast flowing river.

As you head towards Beachy Head, you will join a particularly stunning part of the South Downs Way, taking in some outstanding cliff top sights as you head towards Eastbourne. Be sure to capture some photographs of this wonderful landscape which boasts great views of the sea and the chalky white cliffs of Beachy Head. Along the walk there are some cafes to stop at for a slice of cake and cuppa.

Your final stop is Eastbourne, where you can be sure of a seaside welcome. With a wonderful seaside walk into the town along the promenade, you will soon find everything you need, whether it’s a place to stay, a train ride home or the fantastic shopping facilities. There is enough in Eastbourne to give you the excuse to stay another night!

This is the walk for you if you fancy a new year challenge or a peek at what’s over the border. It’s also for you if you want to explore the best parts of the Wealden landscape. It’s a walk that should definitely be on your 2019 list!

The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)The Wealdway walk (photo: Explore Kent)

Explore more

To find out about other walks and events in Kent including marvellous Maidstone trails, please visit the Explore Kent website www.explorekent.org. Follow @explorekent on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share your adventures with us!

More from Out & About

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Animals are always a source of joy so we have gathered some zoos and wildlife parks across the country (and beyond) that are livestreaming animal enclosures

Read more
ThereWithYou

Towered over by its iconic cathedral, the streets of this city have so many stories to tell

Read more

With Ash dieback on the increase, we look at how a Kent project is celebrating this much-loved tree’s special place in local culture

Read more
Monday, March 23, 2020

Thanks to the Guardians of the Deep project, Kent now has 11 Marine Conservation Zones

Read more
Friday, March 20, 2020

Kent has many castles and stately homes, but we have hand selected the ten best castles in Kent for you to visit

Read more

Admired by ancient royalty, set on a peaceful creek and packed with all kinds of attractions for modern visitors, we explore the historic streets of Faversham

Read more

With exciting news about the future of Betteshanger Park, a vibrant, artistic community - and great fishing, Deal stays true to its roots while appealing to modern visitors

Read more
Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 marks 125 years since the founding of the National Trust - and Kent has always played a huge part in its story

Read more
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Kent took the top spot in a new study into the UK’s healthiest places

Read more
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A tiny cottage in Dungeness is set to be sold off into private hands – unless £3.5 million can be found to save it

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life