16 mile circular walk from Wadhurst Station via Mayfield

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Latest status

LATEST STATUS: May 2017 – nothing to report

Hazards: 2 railway crossings without barriers.  It is up to you to watch and listen to decide when to cross safely

walk50x50 This walk starts and ends at Wadhurst Station.  Just after halfway it goes through the lovely village of Mayfield, a good place to stop for a meal or other refreshments
Length 15.8 miles (25 km)
Terrain a few short stretches of road (just over three and a half miles in total) and the rest on bridleways and footpaths
Points of interest Churches in Wadhurst and Mayfield dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Medieval buildings in Mayfield and historic cannon of the type made in the area 500 years ago.  Beautiful views over the High Weald.  “Clootie” tree – a tree decorated with ribbons and pieces of cloth that people have left while making a wish
Difficulty Moderate
Time 4 – 8 hrs
Suitability Walkers, runners and joggers
Start Wadhurst Station (TN5 6RZ); OS grid reference TQ622330; GPS co-ordinates 51.073390N, 0.313288E
Public transport Trains normally every half hour to and from London (via Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks) and to and from Hastings.  The journey time is about 70 minutes from London Charing Cross or Cannon Street and 40mins from Hastings. You can choose to go to the Charing Cross to Hastings timetable here.

Bus numbers 254, 256 and 356.  You choose to go to a bus map and links to further information here 

Parking Large car park at Wadhurst station, £1 on Sunday, £3.10 on Saturday, otherwise £4.60-£5.20 on weekdays depending on arrival time

There is also space for cars to park on the side of the road in a rough layby 100 yards before the station on the left hand side when coming from Wadhurst. However this is normally full during commuting hours.

 

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Turn left out of the station through the car park, and left at the road (B2099).  Go carefully on the busy road with no pavements for 40 yards to turn right onto Three Oaks Lane.  In just under 100 yards, keep left at the green triangle then in a further 40 yards, where the road turns sharp right, take the Sussex Border path ahead of you which crosses a footbridge and then undulates between fences for about 500 yards to come to another road.

Turn half-left onto Whitegates Lane and descend this quiet road for just under 500 yards to turn right into the drive to Great Shoesmiths Farm.  Follow the drive to reach the farm in just under half a mile.  Just before the farm, bear slightly right (a bridleway goes straight ahead) to come to a stile with dog latch on your right in 20 yards.

Over the stile, descend first with a small thicket to your left (you may need to go through a small gate if the field is divided up by tape) and then head across the field to a large gate.  Through this gate and straight ahead up across a second field and in about 100 yards through a gap to a third field.  The path continues uphill across the field for almost 300 yards to come to a stile with dog latch.  On the other side, continue with a hedge on your left for 200 yards then bear right downhill still keeping the hedge on your left, past a ruined stile to a small gate with stile and dog latch beside it.

The Sussex Border path now continues between rough hedges on what can be a very wet and muddy path. Follow this for about 100 yards and then about 10 yards beyond a tennis court behind a hedge on your right the path turns sharp right and curves round to a gate in 20 yards.

After the gate, turn left onto a private road and follow this for just over 400 yards to a crossroads at the edge of Woods Green. Go straight ahead and then bear left downhill across a small green to the lower road.  Right onto this road and in a few yards turn left through double wooden gates onto a drive which turns into a grassy track, goes through an iron gate and climbs between trees and then into the open.

You then come to a kissing gate and beyond it the path is between a fence and a hedge, round a corner and across a field to another “stile” (just a step when surveyed in March 2016).  Now follow a wide track between hedge and fence to another stile. Continue on a path through trees and then into the open to come to a gate and the B2100 Cousley Wood Road in 150 yards.

Cross the road to the pavement on the other side and turn right towards Wadhurst.  Follow this for about 300yds and then just before a short row of houses, turn left down an overgrown track which goes behind the houses.  NOTE: this path, which cuts off a corner and saves about 20 yards, was badly overgrown in March 2016 and you could always stay on the road and turn left at the junction in 100 yards to avoid the brambles.

Photo of St Peter and St Paul Church Wadhurst and path through churchyardEither at the end of the footpath (or, if you have taken the bramble-avoiding route, at the Pell Green road junction) turn left onto a small road, Pell Hill.  Follow this for 500 yards to a junction at the end of a steep descent.  Turn left onto Blacksmiths Lane which you follow for about 300 yards uphill to come to steps up on the right.  Go up the steps to a path which leads up to the churchyard of St Peter and Paul church in Wadhurst.  Through an iron gate and the churchyard, noting the church tower, parts of which date from the 1100s and out the other side right onto Church Street to quickly reach Wadhurst High Street (B2099)

Cross the High Street and descend Washwell Lane which is almost directly opposite.  Continue downhill for about half a mile, at first on a public road and then a private road.  Where the road turns left, cross the stile ahead into a field and turn left onto a path which starts with a bank to your right and then crosses the field to the far side.

Here you come to a stile with dog latch leading back to the road. Cross the stile and turn sharp right onto the narrow track between trees and fence.   Follow this for about 300 yards to another stile with dog latch and into a field where you keep to the left for nearly 100 yards then cross a stile to your left into Snape Wood (initial area was being replanted in March 2016).  In 20 yards the footpath turns right onto a large track which then merges with another track in a further 100 yards.

At this point the route leaves the footpaths marked on OS maps, since the path marked off to the right is very hard to find.  Our route carries straight on the large track for a further 100 yards to a junction where you take a long curve to the right and descend on a track for about 200 yards.  Just before the track turns left, take the footpath on the right which descends via a stile and some steps to a railway track.

Photo of pedestrian level crossing without barriersThis is the first of two pedestrian level crossings on the route where you must watch and listen for trains very carefully since it is up to you to decide when it is safe to cross on these types of pedestrian level crossings.

On the other side of the railway, descend steps between two fences, then cross a stile and a small two plank bridge to a track in trees which climbs to a stile (with a gap on the right) and then a field where you keep to the right near trees.

There is another stile where there is a new (c.2017) fence between fields and then the path climbs more steeply and leads to another field.  Keeping to the right of the fields all the time you reach Riseden road about 600 yards after the railway line.

Cross the road and carry straight on the track ahead of you for 400 yards.  As it bears right after a small wood on your right, the footpath goes straight ahead over a stile and follows a hedge on the right for 100 yards to another stile.  Cross this and the track ahead to go straight over the field (March 2016: wire fence immediately to your left) and descend to a small metal gate the other side.

Through the gate the path bears left and through a large metal gate, then straight ahead diagonally across a field to the far side.  Here there is a stile next to a large metal gate.  Go into the next field and bear left next to the fence for 30m then go straight ahead to go through some trees and to a stile with a tarmac drive beyond.  Go straight across the drive and over the stile the other side, then keep left across the top of meadow with a steep descent on your right.  You can see the churchyard and church of St John the Baptist, Tidebrook below you.  Keep straight on at the signpost where another path goes downhill to the road below,  and at the far top corner, turn left with the fence on your right to come to a gate into a private drive.

The oPhoto of sign asking walkers to please remove mud and leaveswners of the property you are now passing through would appreciate you leaving their drive as tidy as possible as they sign they have put up shows.  Continue on the drive for 100 yards, go through a wooden gate then in another 50 yards come to a junction of drives. Turn left and almost immediately go through a large gate (marked with a footpath sign) into a field. NOTE: here the path is in the field to the north of where it is marked on the OS maps.  In the field bear left and go uphill initially and then downhill to a small post with a footpath sign, down a gully, up the other side and out past the remains of a stile (the bottom step) into the next field.

Head across to towards the trees on the right side and turn left alongside them.  Keep a sharp eye out for the path that descends in the trees to a stile and then a dozen steps to the road (Tidebrook Road).

Cross the road and take the bridleway which follows the drive slightly to your right on the other side.  The house on your left a house is named “The Fountain” and the drive then passes its garden on the left with other houses on the right and then continues through trees.  Ignore a footpath on your right after 200 yards and pass a timbered house, Mousehall Mill.

Just after the house your route turns left with the drive leaving the bridleway which goes straight ahead next to a stream.  Continue up the gravel drive passing houses on your right then house and oast on your left. (Spot the mouse on the oast).  Continue on grass through a wooden gate and next to a barn.  Then after the next wooden gate, bear left through woods on a muddy track.  After about 200 yards come out into a field and go along the bottom into a strip fenced off with barbed wire then turn left up the right hand side. At the top come out of the barbed wire section and turn right along the side of another field, first alongside the barbed wire and then alongside the hedge.

At the top, climb over the stile next to a gate and continue straight to reach a driveway which forks either side of a grass island beyond which is a road (Lake Street).  On the other side of the road, opposite the middle of this island, is a stile and the path then goes downhill through the middle of a field through a narrowing with fence on right and trees on left then through bottom part of field to a kissing gate.  After this down a short slippery slope to step over a stream and climb up the other side.

Here you come out in a field and turn left down the side.  At the bottom go straight ahead across a footbridge.  The path then bears right and turns sharp left (there is a rough path that cuts this corner).  Continue for about 50 yards then turn right to cross another footbridge and then climb slightly up a very muddy path until you come to an opening in the bank on your left.  Turn along this narrow path and you come to a “clootie” tree – a tree decorated with ribbons and pieces of cloth that people have left while making a wish.  Beyond this is a stile to cross into a field where you bear left onto a path next to the trees.

This path goes through a gap at the bottom of a line of bushes into the next field then bears right and contours across the middle to reach a gap in the hedge ahead after 100 yards.  In the next field the path starts to descend after 50 yards, goes through a gap into the next field and descends steeply with Banky Wood on the right to reach a stile and dog latch at the bottom.

Once over the stile you turn left over the narrow footbridge then climb up the bank the other side, which can be slippery.  After 10 yards, keep going up, slightly right, ignoring the footpath to the left which is signposted for the Mayfield Circular Walk.  After another 20 yards, the path bears left and becomes a sunked track between trees – it is often easier to climb on the left hand side of this track.  Shortly beyond the sunken part, you come to a rough stile over a fence and then a narrow track which comes out on the left side of a field.  Continue on the left side of the field towards the stile in the far corner which is reached via a very muddy patch.  The other side of this stile climb upwards, firstly on a fairly wide but muddy path and then, once over a further stile, up a grassy field.

At the top you come to a farm track with a sign showing the crossing of two footpaths to your right.  Turn left along the track, over the cattle grid and then over a stile by a gate to descend a short drive to the road (Coggins Mill Lane). Turn right uphill and take care where the road bears left and over a brow since there is no pavement and little visibility.  You come in 200 yards to the Rose & Crown on your right, the first of several options for eating and drinking in the village of Mayfield.

The other options in the High Street include the Middle House pub, Peckish and the Pink Cabbage, which are two cafes, as well as Truffles Bakery and Mace which sell sandwiches and other snacks.

To reach the High Street, turn right 10 yards before reaching the Rose & Crown up a footpath next to a drive laid with concrete slabs (if you stop at the Rose & Crown, then turn left on leaving the pub and then left again in 10 yards to reach this footpath).  The footpath turns left after 20 yards and then in 80 yards comes out into Court Meadow.  Keep left and climb steeply uphill to the top.  Halfway up to the left you have a lovely view of the ridge from Heathfield to Burwash.

View of St Dunstan's Church Mayfield with tower and spire behind the War Memorial At the top cross the car park and turn left into Tunbridge Wells Road and then shortly right into Mayfield High Street, which is full of historic buildings.  After passing the buildings of Mayfield School on your left, which used to be one of the palaces of the Archbishop of Canterbury, have a look at the historic cannon at the side of the pavement and the village sign just beyond it. (Note: as at May 2016 the village sign is being repaired, having been blown down in a gale).  There is also the beautiful parish church of St Dunstan’s further on, parts of which date from the 14th century.

Once you have had a good look round, you need to leave Mayfield High Street by North Street, a tiny pedestrian path between the opticians and the shop “Four Winds”, which is about about 40 yards beyond the church entrance and war memorial on the same side.  The street turns left then right and passes a few cottages to meet another path coming in sharply from the left, where there is a gate to the churchyard on your right..  You continue straight ahead between hedges and in 150 yards come to a gate into the grounds of Mayfield School.

Cross a large gravel track and bear left past a car parking area and then beside a tennis court, keeping to the right of a hedge. In just over 200 yards come to a signpost and carry straight on ignoring the path to the right.  Go over a stile and keep to the left side of the next field.  At the bottom there is a (muddy) gap in the hedge to reach the next field where you turn half right to cross the field diagonally and reach a kissing gate on the far side beyond which is Tunbridge Wells Road.

Cross the road and turn left to face the oncoming traffic.  Walk carefully for the next 30 yards since there is no pavement and then turn right onto a side road which soon turns into a track (the old railway line from Eastbourne to Tunbridge Wells).  Follow this beside the main road for 400 yards to pass under a bridge.  Immediately after this turn right to climb up to Bassetts Lane.  Turn left along this quiet road and follow it downhill for about 1000 yards.

The road then turns sharp left and starts to climb slightly.  In 200 yards turn right through a wooden gate and down 4 steps.  Go straight across the field and through a metal gate onto a footbridge.  Then wind up through a small wood to another stile and once over this, turn sharp left to go uphill with a fence on your left.  At the top of the field turn left again through a large metal gate and then immediately right through a kissing gate (both these gates are often doubly secured).

You will now be in a narrow strip of field between two fences and you follow the path past a pond to the top. Here you go through a metal gate and turn right, over a cattle grid and follow a tarmac drive to reach Tunbridge Wells Road in 150 yards. Cross the road and turn left to follow it uphill for half a mile to a small grass triangle at the junction with Lake Street.

Turn right in front of the triangle and cross Lake Street to go over a stile and down the field heading slightly left to another stile (the field sometimes has mown area round the edges in which case it can be easier to walk round the sides). Note that dogs must be kept on a lead in the fields around Highfields Farm – please respect the notices that show this. Cross the stile and go into next field, initially keeping right next to the woods and then heading across to 2 metal gates on right hand side.  Go through the wooden gate on the left and across the middle of the following field.

At the end go steeply downhill to go through a small wooden gate to the right of a metal one and up a rough track ahead.  The track climbs and becomes concrete as it passes Highfields Farm on the right then starts descending.  In 50 yards bear right as the main track turns left and come to a gate in another 30 yards. After the gate keep right to follow the top of the field and then turn left downhill at its edge. You may see large numbers of pheasants on your right during the breeding season.  At the bottom you come to a T-junction with a bridleway.

Turn left to go round the bottom edge of the field for 200m.  At the end keep close to the edge to reach a metal gate with a wooden one beside it. (Note that on OS maps & East Sussex footpath maps the path is shown going to the left and cutting across a small corner of the field at this point.)

Go through the wooden gate, across a gravel drive and a flat area which often contains a jumble of logs and other material, then in 50 yards turn half right through a metal gate and go up a concrete drive to where the bridleway branches off on a small path to the left.  Follow the bridleway uphill for 200 yards.  It is very narrow here, with tree roots making the ground very uneven.

Look out for the stile on your right hand side.  Climb the stile and turn left to contour across the field keeping to the top edge.  At the end cross another stile and descend steeply in a small field to a footbridge in the bottom left corner.  The other side of the footbridge go over another stile and turn right to a metal gate in 20 yards. After the gate, turn left uphill and onto a wide track at the top under trees which emerges into a field after 50 yards.

Keeping to the left of the field you come to a metal gate beyond which is a grass and mud track to another metal gate with a stile to the left.  The other side of the stile, the track climbs for 30 yards to come to a concrete track. Turn left up the track for 400 yards to arrive at the B2100 (Wadhurst Road).  Turn right along the road for about 500 yards, keeping to the verge on the right for most of the way then crossing to the pavement on the other side for the last 100 yards.

At the junction with Fairglen Road (signpost for Faircrouch Lane), turn sharp left down a drive between houses which becomes  a mud track slightly downhill, then becomes a path between trees with some brick segments and descends more steeply.  In just over 600 yards, the path turns right and climbs to come out on Faircrouch Lane.

Turn left down the lane and in 100 yards take the footpath that bears right off the road just before a wicket fence.  The footpath continues straight for 150 yards to come out on Tapsell’s Lane where you turn right then left in 20 yards through a small wooden gate at the side of a large wooden one.  Go down a track for 30 yards then take the small path on the left which goes alongside the track and then into woods, down 4 steps to cross a stile.

Come out of the woods and go straight ahead down a field to enter more woods and reach a stile.  The path then crosses back over the railway line. Again you must watch and listen for trains very carefully.  On the other side climb a few shallow steps and go over a stile to arrive at the B2099, Station Road.

Cross the road to the pavement on the other side and turn left down the hill.  After about 100 yds cross again back into Wadhurst car park station to finish your walk.