Introduction: This wildlife-rich woodland site can be accessed on foot directly from southern Tunbridge Wells. The site owners, the Woodland Trust, are slowly converting the conifer-rich plantations to mixed deciduous woodland and open heathland, with great views south into the High Weald.
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent
What can I do? You can walk two waymarked trails: the one-mile green route and two-mile circular red route or make up your own route on the many tracks around Hargate. Or why not become a conservation volunteer to help the Woodland Trust manage this site?
What can I see? In springtime you will see a fantastic range of flowers including Lily of the valley which is rare in the region, and plenty of frogspawn in the ponds. In summer the heathland flowers purple and rowan berries line the paths. A variety of butterflies throughout the year.
What can I hear? A variety of woodland birds such as screeching jays and chiffchaffs in the spring.
Information available: A site pdf welcome board (3.81 MB) and a pdf site leaflet (13.46 MB) help you to explore the woods and heath at Hargate Forest.
Grid reference: TQ574370(OS Map)
OS map: 188 (Landranger, 1:50,000)
Opening times: All year
Terrain: There some hills with gentle or moderate gradients and some of the tracks can get muddy in winter or after rain. Although the green route is surfaced other paths are unsurfaced and can get bumpywith tree roots, ruts and holes.
Nearest train station: Tunbridge Wells (mainline) 1.5 miles
Tunbridge Wells West (Spa Valley Railway) 0.8 miles. Visit Spa Valley Railway for timetable of connections to mainline.
Nearest NCN route: Route 21 is 1.9 miles
Where can I park? Please park carefully on the roadside at Broadwater Down, with consideration to local residents, and walk into the site.
Where can I get further information: Woodland Trust website has more information
Site Enhancements 2009 - 2012
Gateways were created into Hargate Forest from Broadwater Down and, to improve access around the site, two waymarked trails were formed. The one-mile long green route leads to a woodland pond, and is surfaced and with gentle gradients, making it suitable for buggies. The two-mile long red route provides a circular walk option and follows unsurfaced rides.
The red route leads the visitor to the Old Carriageway: the original route for the owners of Eridge Park to attend church in Tunbridge Wells! On the Carriageway, extensive rhododendron was cleared and specimen trees - protected by ornamental tree grilles designed by local children and interpreting the history and wildlife of the area - were planted.
The volunteer group was also established; to carry out access and habitat management tasks on site.
The 2009 - 2012 site enhancements were funded by the Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership Scheme, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.