Romantic Eden Valley walk
- Credit: Archant
Pass through beautiful Kentish villages set within the stunning landscape of the Kent Downs AONB and take in the wonderment of Kent’s most interesting historic castles and houses
Location: Edenbridge, TN8 6HR
Distance: 15 miles (24.14 km) one way
Time: Allow a day or weekend to fully enjoy the experience
OS Explorer Maps: 147
Terrain: Field and woodland tracks, country lanes.
Public Transport: There is a railway station at Edenbridge. For public transport directions from your home address to Edenbridge, please visit kentconnected.org
Parking: Parking available in Edenbridge Village
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Refreshments & facilities: The Old Eden, a 15th century pub & restaurant in Edenbridge
This walk begins just south of nearby Haxted Mill where the Vanguard Way comes to Cernes Farm, however, many walkers opt to start at Edenbridge due to the convenience of parking and railway station facilities. Following the banks of the River Eden, you’ll find yourself passing through stunning landscapes which provide year round beauty, each season providing a different breath-taking landscape to feast your eyes on. Pass through beautiful Kentish villages set within the stunning landscape of the Kent Downs AONB and take in the wonderment of Kent’s most interesting historic castles and houses. Enjoy a romantic weekend in the Eden Valley exploring all these delights and come away feeling totally refreshed.
Whether you’re starting your walk at Haxted Mill or in Edenbridge itself, look out for the distinctive stone bridge spanning the river in Edenbridge. Meanwhile, the nearby Eden Valley Museum tells a wonderful social history story about Edenbridge and the local area – open Wednesday to Saturday, it’s a museum full of surprises so be sure to take a peek, admission is free!
Once you’ve finished exploring vibrant Edenbridge, your walk will take you through the beautiful landscape of the Eden valley; the landscape is diverse and is perfect if you like a walk with variety. You’ll pass through parkland, woodland, open fields and more quaint villages along your way. You’ll be walking in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) with much of the land in the care of the National Trust; the land will be conserved in a sustainable way which will protect the landscape for generations to come, whilst also allowing you to appreciate the natural beauty of the land today.
This area is also an architectural paradise – it is easy to see why notable lords and ladies chose to make Kent their home and built their properties on a grand scale, on your walk, you’ll pass no less than four historic houses and castles.
Hever Castle, not far from Edenbridge has 700 years of history to tell. With award winning gardens and the romantic double moated castle, Hever castle was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, open year round to the public, it’s a perfect romantic day out for families and couples alike.
Making your way to Chiddingstone, prepare to be enthralled by the sheer beauty of the village, claimed to the prettiest village in Kent. It’s an ideal stop off for a refreshing local beer, with an equal reputation for its collection of ghosts including clock climbing cavaliers and a headless coachman! Nearby, Chiddingstone Castle is an Englishman’s home filled with exotic treasures from the Kent Countryside. The fascinating historic house is set within 35 acres of informal gardens including a boating lake, picnic lawn and an intimate rose garden. The spring daffodil display on the East Meadow is truly spectacular and you may be lucky enough to see the start of this spectacle on your walk.
A short distance further on is Penshurst place, a top stately home and gardens. It is considered to have one of the grandest rooms in the world – the mediaeval Baron’s Hall. It has also been the film location for several big name films including The Other Boleyn Girl in 2008. It’s situated near to Tonbridge, with the last stretch of your walk taking you along a multi user walking and cycle trail. Enjoy the beautiful landscape as you walk along this easy going trail straight into the heart of Tonbridge.
You’ll pass by the banks of the River Medway as the market town of Tonbridge comes into view, but not before you’ve seen the wonderful Tonbridge Castle, one of the finest examples of a motte and bailey castle in the country, with a splendid 13th century gatehouse. Surrounded by 14 acres of beautiful riverside grounds, it served as a steadfast defence during the De Clare rebellion of 1088. It is now owned by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and offers a fascinating glimpse of mediaeval history.
Tonbridge marks the end of your walk. Take some time exploring this bustling town which has a rich World War I and Jane Austen history as well as a vast collection of places to have something to eat. Several members of Jane Austen’s family are buried in Tonbridge Parish Church and the prestigious Tonbridge School is also located in the town.
From here, you can catch the train back to Edenbridge or stay overnight and retrace your steps the following day. The choice is yours, however you chose to spend your time in the Eden Valley, it will be a wonderful escape to high society and grandness but never too far from a slice of cake and cuppa!
To find out about other walks and events in Kent including Easter Trails and stunning bluebell walks, please visit the Explore Kent website www.explorekent.org. Follow @explorekent on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share your adventures with us!