Tonbridge & Malling has a rich tapestry of outdoor leisure facilities from tennis and golf to water sports such as canoeing and windsurfing; from country parks and open spaces to lakes and rivers; and from waymarked walks and cycle routes to nature trails and bridleways. For further details on sports clubs and associations, including tennis, baseball, cricket and football see the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Sports & Arts Directory, copies can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre at Tonbridge Castle or by telephoning 01732 770929.
The Dive Centre at Leybourne Lakes offers windsurfing, scuba diving, canoeing and dingy sailing. Boards and wet suits etc are available for hire. For more information call 01634 246006. Tonbridge Town Sailing Club - operating out of Haysden Country Park, the club aims to encourage small boat sailing on Haysden Water. At present the club has a membership of around 140 comprising of individuals, families, students, cadets and establishments such as scouts, guides and sea cadets. As well as sailing, the club has an active social scene that includes barn dances, talks, barbecues and treasure hunts. For more details Tel: 01732 354841. Canoeing is also carried out within the district through the Tonbridge Canoe Club. For further information contact: Tel 01732 361759.
More on water safety
The countryside of Tonbridge and Malling offers a varied selection of interesting and challenging walks. Whether you like to explore Kent's rural delights as a family, walk solo or as part of a club, your needs can be met. No season of the year is closed to walkers! Much enjoyment can be gained from walking on a bright crisp winters morning, or on an "Indian Summers" day in the autumn. In the Springtime the countryside is full of new life and growth. All of the following walks pass through the borough of Tonbridge and Malling:
Eden Valley Walk
The Eden Valley Walk is a 15 mile (24.14km) linear walk starting at Cernes Farm, West of Edenbridge. The River Eden meets the River Medway at Penshurst, and the walk follows the river valley and continues through the Penshurst estate into Haysden Country Park on the outskirts of Tonbridge, and on into the grounds of Tonbridge Castle.
The Greensand Way
The Greensand Way is a long distance walking route extending for 108 miles (172.8km) across Surrey and into Kent. Much of the land is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Greensand ridge is so called because of the green coloured mineral "glauconite" found across this area. The walker will experience unparalleled views across the Weald to the south and, at many places, extensive views towards the North Downs.
The Medway Valley Walk
This 28 1/4 mile (45.2km) walk between medieval Tonbridge and the cathedral city of Rochester, passes through a varied landscape. Downland, woodland, orchards, hop gardens, meadows and unspoilt villages can be discovered, whilst following the meandering River Medway through this delightful valley.
The Wealdway is a long distance walking route extending for 82 miles (131.9km) from Eastbourne in East Sussex to Gravesend in Kent, across the area of South East England known as the "Weald". The name "Weald" comes from the Anglo-Saxon "Andreads-Weald" the name they gave to the great forest. Even today the Weald is well-wooded and full of character, with hedgerows, coppices, farmsteads, hamlets and villages.
The North Downs Way & The Pilgrims Way
The North Downs Way National Trail is 142 miles (227.2km) and broadly follows the Pilgrims Way (a route of 120 miles (192km)) along modern roads, track-ways and footpaths, between Farnham in Surrey and Dover in Kent. The first pilgrims did not create this route, but used existing tracks and paths between Winchester and Canterbury. It was not until much later, long after pilgrimages had ceased, that the name "Pilgrims Way" was used. As well as these walks there are also Haysden Country Park and Leybourne Lakes Country Park. For more information visit our country parks webpages. You might like to also look at our Healthy Walks webpage. These walks are free and are an enjoyable way to discover the beauty of your borough, meet new people and improve your health. Additional useful links:
- Healthy walks
Want to get running? Run England is the official England Athletics recreational running project which aims to get the whole nation running. Regardless of your age, fitness level, aspiration, background, or location you can be a part of Run England and benefit from being a part of England's running community.
Through registering with Run England for free you can:
- Join registered running/jogging groups
- Get discounts and vouchers for running products
- Get information and training to qualify as a running group leader
- Set up your own running group/club
This enables you to do your running, your way, where you are - while benefitting from the support and encouragement of the wider running community.
Cycling for health and leisure is an ever-growing pastime and Tonbridge and Malling yields many interesting outings, both locally and further a field. The country lanes, bridleway and byway networks can be combined to make many enjoyable outings for you and your family. It must be noted, however, that not all routes are appropriate for cycle use (factors such as terrain, surface, type of cycle and rider experience need to be taken into consideration). Please always follow the Highway Code and it is advisable to plan your route carefully in advance to avoid getting lost and to minimise the use of busy roads. An Ordnance Survey Landranger map will be useful to assist in identifying bridleways and byways.
NEW REGIONAL CYCLE ROUTE!
Regional Cycle route 12 Between Tonbridge Castle and Penshurst Place offers an excellent, almost entirely traffic free ride from the heart of Tonbridge alongside the river Medway, out into the countryside as far as the glorious buildings of Penshurst Place, some 5 miles to the west. This wonderful cycle ride takes you along the edge of Tonbridge Racecourse Sportsground and into Haysden Country Park, running round the edge of Barden Lake with its wide variety of birdlife. Shortly after passing beneath the A21 you enter a delightful secret kingdom of lush broadleaf woodland carpeted with wildflowers in the spring and a delight in autumn as the colours change. The one noticeable climb of the day comes between the bridge over the River Medway and Well Place Farm giving you wide-ranging views of the surrounding countryside and setting you up for a fine descent past two lakes to arrive at Penshurst Place, the finest and most complete example in England of 14th century domestic architechture.
Download a leaflet that includes a map.
Additional useful contacts:
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council - 01732 844522.
Penshurst Place and Gardens - 01892 870307.
Tonbridge Castle Tourist Information Office - 01732 770929.
National Cycle Network - 0845 1130065.
Tonbridge Train Station - 08457 484950.
The north of the borough offers a choice of rides, including the "Pilgrims Way" and the expansive North Downs above Trottiscliffe. Snodland, Holly Hill and Trosley Country Park all make good starting points. Through the middle of the borough, the Greensand ridge has many quiet lanes and good bridleway links, ideal for a relaxing afternoon ride, especially near Plaxtol. At the Tourist Information Centre at Tonbridge Castle, you can pick up the informative literature on cycle routes both in and around the borough and Landranger maps. Some of these items are free, including the Off Road Cycling Code. It is possible to hire cycles with route information or to book guided tours and holidays through Cycle-Ops in Tonbridge. Tel: 01732 500533. Cycle shops in the borough will be happy to service your bike to ensure it is in excellent condition for a fun season of riding.
Boating and River Trips
The River Medway runs through Tonbridge and during the summer small boats and canoes can be launched free of charge at Tonbridge using the slipway at the Lower Castle Field car park though an Environment Agency (EA) permit is required.
Apply for a craft registration or ask for a form at the Tonbridge Information Centre - Tonbridge Castle Tel: 01732 876322. The car park has a height restriction barrier so it is recommended that access details are checked in advance by telephoning 01732 876322.
Tonbridge & District Angling & Fish Preservation Society control the fishing on 14 miles of river and 9 lakes, much of which are based in the Tonbridge area and includes Haysden Country Park. The Society was formed in 1875 and has around 2,000 members. For further details contact 01732 355072 or 01732 832352 or view their web site at www.tonbridge-angling.co.uk Angling can also be enjoyed at Leybourne Lakes, which consists of a 250-acre aquatic nature reserve and incorporates 11 lakes, for further information telephone Mid Kent Fisheries (01227 730668)