16 September 2018 The stile at the southern edge of Ashurst Wood is broken. You can step over it if you are tall or else climb over the fence with care
A fairly flat three and a half mile route on mixture of paths and roads
|Length||5.6km (3.5 miles)|
|Terrain||Half a mile on road and half a mile on bridleway with the rest over fields|
|Time||60 – 110 minutes|
|Suitability||Walkers (there are two stiles in the middle section not suitable for dogs)|
|Points of interest||Mayfield High Street ; quiet footpath leading through Ashurst Wood ; site of Mayfield Gunfoundry|
|Start||Mayfield Memorial Hall car park, Mayfield (TN20 6PJ); grid reference TQ587272; GPS co-ordinates 51° 1’17.52″N.|
|Public transport||Bus route 51/251/252 between Tunbridge Wells and Heathfield/Eastbourne stops in Mayfield High Street, from where you can walk west (away from Tunbridge Wells) past the end of the shops for 300 yards and join the walk at the turn into Rotherfield Lane. There is also a community bus to & from Wadhurst twice a day. For detailed bus timetables go to the Mayfield and Five Ashes website|
|Parking||Car park for 30 cars at the start but it is often full at primary school pick up times and when there are events in the Memorial Hall|
View Mayfield loop 3.5M loop via Bassetts Lane in a larger map
From the Memorial Hall car park turn left into Tunbridge Well Road and in 100 yards turn right into the High Street where you can look at the beautiful buildings, some dating from the 15th century. On your right you will see the Mayfield cannon which was cast at the Mayfield Foundry over 400 years ago at a time when the village was one of the main iron producers in the country.
After 200 yards find the tiny turning into North Street, just before the Four Winds shop (a real treasure trove). The road, which is really a small passageway, quickly turns left then right again to pass between a row of cottages and the churchyard. In 100 yards, where there is a gate into the graveyard, it merges with another path coming in from the left and becomes a footpath that descends gently between hedges. This section has dog litter disposal bins at top and bottom.
In a further 150 yards, you cross a large gravel track and bear to the left past a car parking area and then beside a tennis court, keeping the hedge to your left. You are now in the grounds of Mayfield School and the route takes you through several of their fields where they have their horse-riding and jumping courses.
Keep just to the left of the hedge and in just over 200 yards come to a stile. (Note that just before this you can turn right by the side of the all weather sports pitches to come back in 250 yards to the Tunbridge Wells Road – you can use this and turn left down the busy road, which has no pavement, if the mud or the stile stops you using the footpath at this point). The stile has space for a dog to squeeze through, though it would be tight for a very large dog.
This section is very muddy after rain. Proceed for 500 yards, first following the path by the side of the hedge and then through a gap into the next field, where you head across between the horse jumps to a kissing gate in the far hedge which brings you out onto the Tunbridge Well road.
Turn left onto the road then in 50 yards, turn right onto a slip road which then leads in just over 100 yards directly onto a bridleway, the course of the old railway line from Rotherfield to Mayfield. Keep on this bridleway which runs initially close to the side of the main road, over its varied mud and gravel surfaces for 600 yards until you pass under a bridge just before the bridleway becomes a permissive path owned by Mayfield and Five Ashes Parish Council (which we are hoping and campaigning to one day become a footpath to Rotherfield).
Take the path right up the side of bridge and come out onto Bassetts Lane, a generally very quiet no-through road serving a few houses and farms down its mile length. Turn left (away from the main road) and follow the road downhill for two-thirds of a mile: past Little Wallis Farm on your right, then Appletree Cottage also on your right, then just after this past a footpath that turns off towards Trulls Hatch on your left, and then beside a fir wood before finally coming to a sharp turn to the left.
Here you turn right through the gate and diagonally up across the field ahead of you but leaving the highest point on your right. When you reach the far side, bear left to keep the fence on your right. Down to the bottom of the field and through the gate into Ashurst Wood, then over the footbridge and up the gully the other side and over a stile to emerge into a field. An agile dog might be able to climb onto the step and over the cross-beam but there is another stile ahead that would require lifting the dog.
Keep to the right of the field and then through the gate in front of you at its end which has no visible signposting (do not take the gate to your right). Again keep to the right, over a crest and down the other side to another stile, which leads you into Clay’s Wood. The path keeps to the edge of the wood for 100 yards then turns left through the wood and climbs up for 150 yards to come out on Little Trodgers Lane.
Here you turn up the road for 50 yards then sharp left on the entrance to Old Place. Go downhill onto the grass between the houses and then through a gate onto a path between trees and to another gate. Beyond this is a section that can be extremely muddy. Keep downhill in the same direction to the left of the field with a bank on your right hand side and views beyond it to Glebe Farm on the other side of the valley. At the bottom pass through a gate with a wood stretching away on your right.
Turn immediately right on the path into the wood, which drops to a bridge of planks crossing a stream and then climbs on a muddy path of bricks and earth to come out into a field. Keep in the same direction to climb sharply for 50 yards to the top hedge where you bear right and follow beside the edge of the field for 200 yards to a stile. You can go into the next field through the gap next to this stile and the path curves gently left to reach a kissing gate (formerly a stile) under some trees. Through the gate and sharp right on a shaded path to another stile after only 20 yards. You now come out into another field where you climb with a fence on your left for 100 yards to a signpost where footpaths cross,
Take the footpath on your right, cross a stile in 50 yards and keep to the left of the next field to another stile which leads onto a track. Across this and up 7 wooden steps to arrive in Court Meadow with a football pitch ahead. Bear right with the goal posts on your left and head from the concrete path that climbs up to the top by the Memorial Hall. Passing through the car park you come back to your starting point.