Text copyrighted © Colin Bridge 2009-2021
Section 16 (Return)
Tonbridge to Five Oak Green
|Map||OS Explorer 136 (The Weald)|
|Distance/Time||5 Miles/3 Hours|
|Start||The Chequers Inn by the river bridge and castle in Tonbridge; public carparks.|
|Comment||The route out of Tonbridge is through several streets of residential housing then a long an enclosed footpath with a muddy section. There is a difficult main road crossing then 150 metres up a busy side road. It is worth the effort because there is excellent varied countryside for the rest of the walk and two outstanding churches at Tudeley (Chagal windows) and Capel (medieval wall paintings).|
With the Chequers Inn behind, turn right down the High Street over the river and keep on down the main road. Eventually cross a side road and go on over the railway bridge passing Tonbridge Station entrance. Immediately over the bridge turn left down Priory Road.
Keep on for about half a mile, to the very end, passing under a railway bridge on the way. At the end the road turns right uphill. Soon reach a corner shop on your left. Here turn left down Hectorage Road.
Keep on for some way looking for house number 110. Here turn right off the road up a steep footpath. Pass a nursery school and reach another school entrance at the top. Turn left into the end of a road and go along to a T-junction.
Cross straight over to an enclosed path going downhill. This is a long path. At the bottom turn sharp right (rather muddy here) and keep on between fences to eventually emerge onto an old road.
Turn left along this road passing an industrial site on your left. On reaching two bridges, cross the footbridge into a field and go on up the field edge with a hedge on your right. Exit via a gap at the top and keep on up to a roundabout. This is the A26 trunk road and very busy. Be patient and cross with care (the road to the left of the roundabout is narrower than on the right).
Past the roundabout go straight ahead uphill on the B2017 signed to Paddock Wood and Tudeley. In 150 metres turn right off the road on an entrance drive to ‘The Schools at Summerhill’. This winds steeply up to a junction. Here turn left on a cinder path (part of the Weald Way) and go up to a wooden shelter. The school is over on your right.
Follow the road down to the left a few paces then turn right into an unusual path between stone walls. Keep on when the walls end and climb steadily up through woods to emerge into an orchard. Keep straight on with a hedge on the left and distant views.
At the foot of the orchard, cross a drive and go on down an asphalt track by a line of poles. At the bottom, cross a stream. Here the track turns right towards oasts and farm buildings. Turn left, off the track, and, up a green bank, to meet a field. Turn left along and down the field edge. At the bottom continue around to the right .
Look for a metal footbridge on the left and a gap into woods. Follow the path through the wood, and up a bank, into a field, at the far side. Go straight across the field to reach a road by a house (if refreshment is required the former village pub, now an Indian restaurant, is off right; it has a public bar and a garden). Do not go onto the road but turn left along the field edge with a hedge and road on your right (this is a permissive path).
At the bottom of the field, turn right and cross the busy road with care to go up the entrance to Tudeley church (do go in if open). Pass the church on your left to a stile at the far end. Go on across a field to a stile at a gap in the treeline ahead.
Cross a horse paddock to a metal kissing gate and go on, up by a fence, to farm buildings. Keep on to a road. Turn left and in a short distance turn right on a footpath opposite oasthouses. Go up a muddy track with a hedge on the right and horse paddocks on the left. Go through a gate by wooden fieldgates and keep on in the same direction.
Where the hedge ends go straight on aiming for a gap in the hedge ahead. Go through and turn right along the field edge with woodland on your right. Where the woods veer right, by a pond, go straight ahead across the open field, under power lines, to a stand of trees.
Pass these trees on your right and immediately bear right, following the wood edge and passing a pond on the right. Keep on down the field edge parallel with power lines on the right towards the ‘George & Dragon’ pub in the valley below. Emerge onto a road by the pub. Turn left to pass the pub and immediately turn right on a footpath through woods. At the end cross a stile and go diagonally left uphill (or turn left along field edge). At the top of the hill aim to the right of Capel church ahead. Cross a stile into the churchyard.
Bear left to a gate and go on to pass the church (do go in if open) and keep down to a road. Turn left down the road. Halfway down, look for a track going off right by a huge oak. Follow the treeline on your left as it curves left up and around to enter a field by an old rusty fieldgate. There is an excellent view ahead with oasts down on the left and Five Oaks village over on the right.
Go straight ahead down the field but halfway down turn sharp right and head right across the field to old fieldgates at the very far side. Pass through these to a road and turn left. Soon turn right, at a bend, onto a track opposite mock timber framed houses.
Near the end, just before house and oasts, turn left over a stile and go on down a broad grassy way. At the bottom keep going over a stile a (ignore a stile off right) into an enclosed path. Stay on this as it winds between tall garden fences, by a stream, between new housing. Emerge onto a road.
Turn right to return to the village shop at Five Oak Green.