Mark Cross is an ancient small village between Heathfield and Tunbridge Wells in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. John Harmer’s walk takes in a church set at an unusual angle, an old industrial site, a converted tower mill and a modern thriving garden centre.

1. If coming by bus, go along the B2100 almost opposite the Sussex Country Gardener. This is an independent family-owned garden centre which includes, amongst other things, a cafe and an Aquatics & Pets Centre. So, this may be well worth a visit either before or after the walk.

Pass St Mark’s Church (on the left). This was originally built in 1851 as a school for village children, which explains why it is not on the customary east/west alignment. In 1873 a new larger school was built on nearby land and the old building was adapted, extended and consecrated as the parish church. Continue past the Mark Cross Inn (on the left) along what was the old main road before the construction of the present A267. Bear right at the road junction and, in a short distance, a car park will be seen on the right.

2. From the car park, go across the B2100, in a south-easterly direction, to cross a stile by a fingerpost. Follow the footpath down the left-hand field edge and, after going through a dip, veer right, uphill along the right-hand field edge to the corner of a wood.

Go over a footbridge and stile, then turn left along a path inside the wood. Pass a pond on the right and continue through two hand-gates in succession to leave the wood. Turn right along the footpath which goes through a farmyard. Be guided by waymarks indicating the route past an electricity pole and a house (both on the right). Immediately past the farm buildings, go through a field-gate and down the left-hand field edge in a southerly direction. After passing through another field-gate, follow the footpath uphill along the right-hand field edge to another gate leading onto a road.

3. Turn left along Lake Street for about 500 yards. Just past Little Trodgers Oast, turn left by a plinth and through a gate. Follow the footpath to the right of a garage and along the woodland edge, with waymarks to guide, passing through two more gates, for about 250 yards. Cross a stile into a field gap, then veer right to continue direction (north-easterly) going through Rocks Wood for about 200 yards. At gates, bear right downhill to leave the wood and join a track going in an easterly direction. Ignore two other footpaths on the left and continue direction downhill, past waymark posts, for a further 450 yards. As the track levels out, a pond bay will be seen on the left.

Pond bays are man-made embankments to create ponds which supplied water to provide power for milling in the days before electrical power. This area would have been a busy working environment in past centuries; but it is all quiet now. Having become overgrown it is a haven for wildlife.

4. In a short distance beyond here, turn left to join a bridleway (see blue waymarks), going through a gate and uphill along a woodland edge; first, in a north-easterly direction, then veering to northerly. Ignore a stile and footpath on the right and bear left, continuing on the track towards Bassetts. Where the bridleway turns sharp right along a lane, go straight ahead following footpath waymarks and along a gravel surface. Continue downhill and, where the path divides, take the right-hand fork. Now veer right in a northerly direction through woodland and scrub. In about 250 yards, the footpath bears left in a westerly direction, and then across open fields veering to the north-west. Ignoring another footpath on the left, cross a series of stiles and a track leading to Earl’s Farm on the left. Go down in a dip and over a footbridge and stile, and then climb steeply uphill along the right-hand field edge for about 400 yards. Go over a stile into Eight Acre Wood and, in about 200 yards, where the track goes straight ahead; bear left for about 150 yards. Now bear right in a north-westerly direction. Near the edge of the wood, ignore another footpath on the left and veer right to leave the wood via a stile and footbridge. Go straight across a field to a stile leading onto a road (B2100).

5. Cross with care and turn left. In about 200 yards, go through a kissing-gate on the right. Bear left across the field, aiming just to the right of an old tower mill without a cap and sweeps. At a slight kink in the field edge, find and go over a stile following along a twitten leading into a driveway. Notice the converted Walter’s Mill, believed to date from c1845, on the left. Follow the driveway to the road (A267) and turn left along the footway. In a very short distance, the Sussex Country Gardener will be seen opposite, if a visit is desired. Bus users may finish here. To return to the car park, turn left on the B2100, past the Mark Cross Inn, and bear right at the next road junction.