This is a fascinating and beautiful walk along the Eden and Medway valleys through the Garden of England. At 14 miles it is longer than our usual walks, although it runs through largely level terrain. It can if shortened to about 12 miles by diverting to Leigh station; however it is may not be possible for this diversion to be guided, and anyone wishing to do this should bring an appropriate map.
The walk includes a great deal of historic interest, including the lovely National Trust villages of Chiddingstone and Penshurst with their half-timbered houses. Rivers, ponds, woods and fields make up the attractive typically English rural backdrop to the walk. There are also 4 major buildings of historic interest. Hever Castle dates from the Tudor period, with Boleyn family and Henry VIII connections. It was restored by the Astor family in the early 20th century. Chiddingstone Castle is essentially a country squire's house, with faux-medieval seventeenth century castellations. Neighbouring Penshurst Place is a perfectly preserved, unfortified manor house, the home of the Sidney family since 1552. The oldest part of the building dates from the fourteenth century, but it contains a blend of five centuries of architectural styles. Finally Tonbridge Castle is an archetypal 13th century stone castle. All of these buildings can be visited, though on a separate visit as we will not have time on this walk. In addition there are a number of interesting churches along our route.
Terrain / Difficulty
This walk runs along the Eden and Medway valleys with few significant ascents or descents, though it is longer than usual. Paths can be muddy, and the Medway Valley can occasionally be prone to flooding. If this is likely to be a problem, a communication will be sent nearer the time.