To High Rocks, Friezland Wood up to the Happy Valley and across to Tunbridge Wells common and back.
A lovely semi circular walk which is especially beautiful in the spring. Distance approximately 5 miles. 1 ½-2 hours walking plus lots of places to visit en route.
From Flying Horses Cottage take path through wood and follow this to the right and down hill and then along until you reach the farm. Turn right along edge of field until you reach a path which bisects the field running East-West. Turn left onto this path and carry on until the start of the next field when you turn right and then left at the bottom of this field hugging the wooded stream valley of Spratsbrook. Go right through the gap between fields keeping the steam on your left and cross into Ruffets wood (this is a wonderful sea of bluebells in the spring) find the windy path which traverses this wood and then turns sharply to the right and up a steep hill. Follow the path to the top and then left opening into a cleared area which leads to the High Rocks car park. At the road turn immediately right and High Rocks Inn is on your left and the ancient hill fort of High Rocks (open to visitors and at certain times to climbers) on your right.
Go past the Inn and over the railway bridge (where the Spa Valley railway stream trains run from Tunbridge Wells to Eridge Station via Groombridge) and then take a narrow path on your right into Friezland Wood. This woodland is owned by The Woodland Trust, has rocks running along the right hand side and a stream running through the wood adjacent to the railway line. It is filled with woodland flowers and is a wonderful spot to visit in the spring where the banks of the stream are filled with wood anenomes, wild garlic, celandine and the woods are a carpet of bluebells. Follow the path along the stream until you reach a gate and stile by a railway bridge. Cross the stile and go under the railway bridge turning right onto High Rocks Lane. Carry on up the lane for approximately 400 yards where you will see a footpath marked on your left. Take the footpath which winds steeply up a hill until it becomes a road “the Midway”. Carry on up the Midway until it reaches near the top of hill where you have two choices:-
1) To the Beacon Restaurant There is a footpath to your left and one straight ahead. Take the path straight ahead and after 200 yards take a left and follow this path along the Happy Valley until you reach Tea Garden Lane. Turn left and on your left is The Beacon which has wonderful views southwards and Westwards. There is lots of outdoor seating and It is a lovely place to stop for a drink or if you have time enjoy a meal. From the corner of the outside terrace you can see Bond’s Cottage to the south.2) To Tunbridge Wells Common and back to Bond’s Cottage
From The Midway take a right turn into Nevill Court and then bear right into Nevill Park at the end of which is Major Yorks Road and you can explore Tunbridge Wells Common. The Mount Edgcumbe Hotel sits in the middle of the common and is steeped in history the Georgian building has plenty of character with a cave in the bar! The Wellington Rocks the far side of the Cricket Ground are a popular spot with dog walkers and families, and at the bottom of Major York’s Road you can cross over to the Pantiles and enjoy its quaint shops, tearooms and bars and of course sample the spa waters!
Returning to Flying Horse Cottage, there is a pathway which runs from the back of the Pantiles Car Park (at the bottom end of Major Yorks Road) keep left and this turns into Cabbage Stalk Lane and then into High Rocks Lane where you will soon reach the railway bridge on your left and you can return via Friezland Wood and High Rocks across Spratsbrook Farm to Flying Horse Cottage.