1 - If arriving by train, from the station exit turn left along Station Road. In about 250 yards, pass the Gray-Nicolls factory on the left, where the famous cricket bats are made. Just beyond, go over where the new flood defence barrier can be raised if the nearby river overflows.

Immediately past this, at the entrance to Willow Bank on the right, is the Jubilee Garden which is a good spot for a picnic; notice the unusual wooden sculpture. Continue along Station Road over the river bridge to the car park on the right.

2 - Go up a tarmac path by railings, near the car park entrance, to the High Street and turn right. Just before The George Inn (bus users start here), cross the road by the village sign to the footpath on the right of a bookshop.

Follow this for 175 yards, passing the primary school on the right; then turn left down a slope to Fair Lane and turn right. At the end of this cul-de-sac, continue over the bridge crossing the bypass.

At the other end, turn right downhill, then left into woodland at the bottom. Where the footpath emerges from the wood, follow the right-hand field edge at first then go straight ahead downhill.

Go through a gap at the bottom and continue on a wide grass path between wire fences. Turn left into a wood, as a fingerpost indicates. Then, on coming to a crossway of paths, continue ahead.

Where the path leaves the wood, turn right along the edge of a hop field with its high poles and wires (one of the few remaining in this area).

Cross a footbridge in the corner of the field and veer left to cross a track and continue uphill along the right-hand edge of the next field.

3 - At the top, turn to admire the view across to Salehurst, then cross a bridleway to go along a track opposite. In 200 yards, where the track turns into private grounds, see a very stationary old Morris Minor which has acquired a new use as a greenhouse.

Continue straight ahead past the car, downhill on a grass path. At the bottom, go over three stiles in succession, then follow the footpath as it climbs steadily up quite a steep hill.

Go over a stile into the next field and aim towards houses seen ahead. Cross the next stile on to a lane and turn right. In a few paces, turn left to go over another stile.

Bear left across the field to a stile just beyond a holly bush. Then bear right across the next field to another stile halfway along the farther edge. Continue across the field, veering left to follow the contour to another stile.

Bear left to go through a gap along the left-hand field edge and continue the diagonal direction to the farther top corner. Go through a wrought-iron gate to the main road and turn left.

4 - Pass the John’s Cross Inn and a caravan/camping shop on the left. Continue on the footway past a car park and, immediately before the primary school, turn right down a path to the main road.

Cross at the traffic lights to go up a flight of steps almost opposite and over the stile at the top. Veer right and over a footbridge, then uphill to the right towards the left-hand side of a clump of oaks at the top.

Go through a gap beside a field gate and turn left, then between brick pillars along the tree-lined avenue towards Mountfield Court. Where the driveway enters another set of pillars, go through a gap on the left.

At a junction, turn right alongside Mountfield Court and adjacent buildings. Go forward downhill and through a field gate. Looking to the left it is possible to see Darwell Reservoir glistening over the tree tops.

Continue downhill to the left of a pond surrounded by trees, over a stile, then to the right of another pond hidden by trees. Follow the path to the bottom right-hand corner of the field to cross a bridge over a stream and veer right through the tunnel under the railway.

5 - Go through a field gate and turn right. Cross the first of several new footbridges and follow the footpath through a wood, bearing left at a waymark, downhill to the next footbridge.

Veer right across the field, cross a footbridge with squeeze stiles and turn right along the field edge by the river. Go through a gate and continue direction in the next field.

On coming to a stile on the right, cross this and the footbridge. Then turn left to follow the footpath between the river and railway for about 650 yards. On the way, go over a stile and, moving away from the railway line, cross another footbridge.

Bear right across the field to a stile leading on to a lane and turn right. In a few paces, before a railway bridge, turn left on a permissive path. Cross a footbridge and turn first left, then right over another footbridge into a recreation field.

Bear left to go through a gap on the left of a field gate on to a lane. Turn right and, in a few paces, left on a path by bollards into Mill Rise housing estate. Go uphill through the estate and turn right into Brightling Road to return to the rail station.

  • Distance/Time: Five and a half miles/two and a half hours
  • By Car: Car park (free) with toilets in Station Road, Robertsbridge (off High Street). Be sure to park in a marked nine-hour bay as a two-hour restriction applies elsewhere (start from point 2)
  • By Public Transport: Trains to Robertsbridge from Hastings and Tunbridge Wells. Buses (304/305) to The George Inn (near point 2) from Hastings and Hawkhurst. Timetable information from Traveline: 0871 2002233 or www.traveline.info
  • What’s underfoot: Mostly field and woodland paths, which may be muddy in places at this time of the year. One steep climb and quite a number of stiles
  • Thirsty Work: The George Inn, High Street (near point 2)
  • So you don’t get lost: OS Explorer Map 124; also Landranger 199. A compass would be useful for general direction

Click here for a full-sized map of the Robertsbridge circular