22 January 2016 – update since one stile has been replaced by a kissing gate and one now can be bypassed by a big gap
This walk takes you on less well known permissive paths – a chance to go slightly off the paths shown on the OS maps. There are many possible variations to make it shorter
|Length||6.2km (3.8 miles)|
|Terrain||On footpaths and permissive paths with two short stretches on road (the second one can be bypassed)|
|Difficulty||Easy but two moderately steep hills|
|Time||70 – 120 minutes|
|Suitability||Walkers, walkers with dogs, runners and joggers|
|Points of interest||Site of Mayfield Furnace, Mayfield Grange (formerly Mayfield College)|
|Start||Mayfield Memorial Hall car park, Mayfield (TN20 6PJ); grid reference TQ587272 ; GPS co-ordinates 51° 1’17.52″N, 0°15’47.15″E|
|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 (put in hyperlink to instructions here). 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 50 cars in South Street, which can be full at peak times.|
Take the concrete path which leaves the left (north-east) corner of the car park in front of the Memorial Hall and goes downhill. Where the path bears right just after the basketball court, keep straight down over the grass and behind the football posts to the steps in the far corner.
Go down the steps and cross over the track and the stile opposite. FOR THE NEXT PART OF THE ROUTE YOU NEED TO KEEP ANY DOGS ON A LEAD OR UNDER CLOSE CONTROL DUE TO THE PRESENCE OF SHEEP. Follow the path as it keeps to the right of the field and in 100 yards come to another stile which leads to another field and in a further 50 yards to a crossing of footpaths with a signpost on your right hand side.
Bear left down the path keeping a fence and garden beyond it on your right. At the hedge cross a stile and go on a narrow covered path for 10 yards to a kissing gate (formerly a stile). Through this gate and bear right to keep close to the edge of the field passing a house and oast on your right. Go through the gap next to a stile and keep to the top of the next field for 200 yards then bear left steeply downhill to the woods below. A footpath sign on a tree marks where the path enters the wood. Keep descending on a rough path with some bricks in it to a bridge made of planks, and then a short climb the other side brings you to a footpath junction at the edge of the wood.
Turn right downhill and when you come to the bridge in 20 yards have a look at the site of the old Mayfield furnace. Just beyond the bridge on the path up to the left there is an information board which is full of interesting information about the furnace and the woods. You can also have a look at their map and see some of the permissive paths that you will be taking further on in the walk.
Continue your walk on the path past the information board and also past the white box where you can record wildlife observations. In about 25 yards take the small path off through the woods on your right. This part of the route is unmarked but the path is clear. It goes through the top of Banky Wood, climbling slightly to begin with and then leveling off, and eventually coming to a coppiced area at the far end of the wood. Just before the fence at the end of the wood, turn sharp right and slighly back on yourself to descend a smaller path (mid-March 2014 there was a fallen tree to avoid). You come out onto the footpath which is following the stream at the bottom of the wood and turn left. In about 30 yards you come to a concrete footbridge on your right and a signpost and stile on your left.
Cross the stile and climb uphill for 50 yards passing a tree on your right with a footpath sign on it to come out into a field. Here the footpath keeps straight on but you take a permissive path (again not signposted) which is half-left (ignoring the path left through the gap). Keep on this path with trees on your left and go through a gap in the trees ahead into another field. Continue with the field on your right and the trees on your left past a large oak tree and then the path curves right away from the fence and trees and then descends sharply to a gate at the bottom of the field. Here you return to a marked footpath.
Go through this gate and the footpath sign on the post just beyond and cross the middle of the field in front of you keeping a few isolated trees to your left. In 200 yards come to a gate and stile in the fence on your left. Cross the stile, go into the trees and over the bridge and in 20 yards where you come to a track, turn left to come out of the trees into a field where the path bears right and climbs sharply to go under trees and emerge in another field. Keep right and you come to a gate in the top hedge and Little Trodgers Lane beyond it.
Turn left downhill and keep on the road for 400 yards. There are two turns in the road and 100 yards after the second, there is an opening on the left with a gate and a stile at its side. Over the stile you find a track with a fence on your right. Continue downhill, cross a stile and keep on the well defined track until you come to the Mayfield furnace board which you passed before. This time turn left on the footpath which is just before the bridge and follow the path along the side of the river. In 200 yards you again come across a part of the route you have done before, but this time at the end of the path, you take the narrow concrete bridge on your right across the river.
On the other side climb up past a fingerpost in 10 yards which shows the path bearing slightly right uphill. In another 20 yards you come to a second fingerpost and take the right branch (the left branch is marked for the Mayfield Circular Walk). In another 30 yards bear left, ignoring a path to the right, uphill onto a sunken track which continues climbing in the woods and in 100 yards comes to a stile. The sunken track is now at the left side of a field and eventually becomes part of the field and leads to a stile in a very muddy corner. The other side the path continues between two lines of trees and climbs steeply through another muddy patch. After the next stile you come out into a field for the final part of the steep climb straight ahead to a farm track with a fingerpost behind it marking the crossing of two footpaths.
Here you can go straight ahead and retrace your steps along the initial part of this route. This avoids a short section of road. But to avoid going on the same route as before, turn left along the farm road over a cattle grid and then at the end of a field across a stile and down a short stretch of tarmac to emerge on Coggins Mill Lane. Turn right up the hill and follow the road as it curves right between high banks and levels out. You will see the triangle of grass ahead on the left and the Rose & Crown pub ahead on the right. Just before the pub, turn right through a staggered set of railings up the footpath at the side of a farm track (unless you want to stop for refreshments at the pub). After 20 yards, the path turns left with houses on the left and a market garden on your right. At the end emerge into Court Meadow (King George’s Playing Fields) and climb up the tarmac path ahead of you to come back to the car park where you started.