Cycle to Sissinghurst Castle and back
Sissinghurst Castle, Cranbrook, Kent, TN17 2ABRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This route has been created to get you from Staplehurst station to Sissinghurst Castle and back, using the back lanes and keeping you away from the traffic on the busy A229. The route takes in leafy lanes, country cottages, farms, oast houses, orchards and the sleepy village of Frittenden. You'll approach the castle across National Trust farmland.
- Bus stop
Start: Staplehurst station, grid ref: TQ784444
From Staplehurst station cycle to the main road and turn right onto the A229. Continue through Staplehurst to the next crossroads/traffic lights, turn left onto Headcorn Road, signposted Hawkenbury/Headcorn. Continue on this road and you'll pass the Jubilee playing fields on your left. Shortly after, you need to take the next right onto Cradducks Lane, signposted Frittenden. Continue on this lane until you reach the T-junction.
Turn left, signposted Frittenden. At the next T-junction turn right, signposted Frittenden/Sissinghurst. Ride through the village of Frittenden. Look out for a turning on the left, signposted Biddenden. Take this left onto Dig Dog Lane (you won't see the street sign until you've turned into the lane). Continue on this lane, over the bridge and up a small hill. At the top of the hill turn right onto the bridleway/farm track (can get muddy) to Sissinghurst Castle.
Often referred to as the 'garden of England', this part of Kent was famous for growing hops. After harvesting they were dried in oast houses before going to the brewery as part of the brewing process. You'll pass a couple of oast houses now converted into large houses. Now the main crops are apples and cherries.
Continue down the track and across the field. You'll soon see the white weather-boarded gazebo, the orchard and moat. Keep the moat on your left, further on you'll see the back of the National Trust shop. Keep the garden on your left and the shop on your right. Head up the path, passing the restaurant and oast houses on your right and the green on your left (perfect for a picnic). Call in at the visitor reception and they’ll show you where to secure your bike and give you any help you need.
These gardens were created by Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. It's a series of garden rooms created by hedges and walls that replicate the missing rooms of the ruined Elizabethan hunting lodge. Cultivated by us since 1967, our gardeners have made it colourful throughout the year.
Once you've finished your visit, retrace the route from Sissinghurst Castle to Staplehurst station. Leave the castle grounds on the track that leads down the side of the National Trust shop, keeping the garden and moat on your right until you reach the gazebo. Head onto the track, leaving the moat and garden behind.
In the 1950s, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson hired Captain Oswald Beale as their farm manager. Since 2009 the farmland at Sissinghurst has been managed by our tenant farmer John Hickman. The 450 acres of farmland are still farmed in the same way. It's grazed by Romney Marsh sheep and John's prize herd of Sussex cattle. You may spot some saddleback pigs enjoying a muddy corner of a field. Some arable crops are grown for feed.
Continue on the track until you reach the lane and then turn left. Continue until you reach the T-junction and turn right, signposted Frittenden. Cycle through the village of Frittenden. Turn left into Staplehurst Road, signposted Iden Croft Herbs. Continue on this lane until you reach Cradducks Lane on your right, signposted Pay and Play Golfing Park. Continue on this lane until you reach the T-junction and turn left. When you reach the crossroads and traffic lights, turn right; you may wish to take to the pavement for this bit. Turn left into Station Road for Staplehurst station.
End: Sissinghurst Castle, grid ref: TQ810380
- Trail: Cycling
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)
- Time: 45 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 136 (High Weald)/Explorer 137 (Ashford)
An easy-going route starting at Staplehurst station and taking you to Sissinghurst Castle, where you can explore the gardens and estate before returning by the same route. The route is on country lanes, although the section from the station to the crossroads is on the A229 (30mph limit). There is a pavement. The section across the fields to Sissinghurst is a farm track. Estate paths are tarmac.
- How to get here:
- By foot: from Sissinghurst village past church to footpath on left signposted Sissinghurst Castle (can get muddy)
- By bus: Arriva 5 Maidstone to Hawkhurst (passing Staplehurst train station), alight Sissinghurst, 1¼ miles (2km)
- By train: Staplehurst station 5 miles (8km). Then bus 5 to Sissinghurst village. For more info see the Southeastern website
- By car: 2 miles (3.2km) north-east of Cranbrook, 1 mile (1.6km) east of Sissinghurst village on Biddenden Road, off A262 Parking: 315 yards.
At Sissinghurst gardens:
- Gift and plant shop
- Restaurant and coffee shop using local produce
- Baby facilities
- National Trust car park (free for members)
- Toilets at Staplehurst station
- Station newsagent on the A229 (not NT)
- Railway tavern on the A229 (not NT)
- Acorn Stores in Frittenden (not NT)
- Bell and Jorrocks pub in Frittenden (not NT)
- Accommodation available at Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse (not NT)
- Telephone: 01580 710700
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle