Using the Commons
Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons are wonderful green spaces in the middle of our town and are there for the benefit of the local people. We hope you will respect them and leave them in the same condition as you find them. Everyone is welcome to use them freely, subject to a few restrictions.
Please note that users of the Commons have a duty of care to themselves on Common land and must understand that this is a common, not a park, so might have holes,muddy or slippery paths and steps, fallen branches and other hazards which you should look out for.
There are numerous paths on the Commons, both surfaced and unsurfaced, level and easy, steep and difficult, to suit users of all abilities and requirements. The Friends of the Commons, in conjunction with the Conservators and the Kent High Weald Partnership, have recently produced high quality, weather resistant leaflets with maps of the Commons showing all the main paths and suggested walks. They are available from the Tourist Information Centre and various other outlets around town, or you can download them here:
Tunbridge Wells Rusthall
Please note that there has been a recent case of Lymes Disease caused by a tick on a lane adjacent to the Common. You should be aware that the presence of deer means that it is always a possibility. Please take sensible precautions and go to the doctor if you develop a "bulls eye" rash. This disease is easily treated in its early stages but can be serious and uncurable if left untreated.
The biggest group of users by far are dog owners, as the open spaces are ideal for walking dogs of all sizes. Please help yourself to one of our bags, available from dispensers at the start of the main paths and use it to pick up after your dog! It is perfectly acceptable to use any litter bin - there are plenty out there. The blight of dog mess spoils the Commons for all other users.
There is a large space in Fir Tree Road, next to the cricket ground, which is used informally as a free car park. It is there for the benefit of the users of Tunbridge Wells Common, not commuters, so parking is restricted to four hours. If you wish to park there for longer than four hours while using the Common, please let the office know so that you do not get stickered! Please note that this is not a public car park - it has a rough surface, and, although pot holes are filled whenever we can, the Conservators can take no responsibility for users' cars. Also note that it is adjacent to a cricket ground with the possibility of stray cricket balls.
There is also a paying car park, the Pantiles Car Park, at the bottom of Major Yorks Road. Additionally, many of the roads through and around the Commons have unrestricted or four hour parking and spaces can usually be found.
Parking may be harder around Rusthall Common - in places the residents struggle to park - but spaces on the roads can usually be found.
The Commons are ideal for picnics, and there are plenty of benches if you do not want to sit on the ground. Please take your rubbish home or place it in one of the many bins.
Barbecues are not allowed as they can burn the grass if placed directly on the ground, and unattended barbecues are a fire risk.
If you wish to use the Common for a large scale activity, such as a group picnic or informal sports, please contact the office on 01892 554250 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Permission would normally be given so long as it is not a commercial event and will not harm the Common or other users, but the Conservators do need to know the arrangements in advance. Please ensure that you clear up after yourselves. Gazebos would not normally be allowed without express permission from the Conservators.
We do not make a charge, but would be very happy to receive a donation towards the upkeep of the Common.
The Commons are there for the use of local people, and are an excellent resource for keeping fit. However, if you wish to hold a class there, please contact the office on 01892 544250 or by email at email@example.com as we need to know that you have appropriate insurance (the Conservators cannot take responsibility for any accidents or mishaps) and have done a risk assessment. We also need to ensure that your activities will not damage the Commons, its benches or its railings, and that you understand your class must not cause difficulties for any other Commons users.
There is no charge, but the Conservators would expect a donation to help towards the upkeep of the Commons.
There are a great many footpaths on the Common. Some of them have tarmac surfaces and are maintained by Kent Highways. Most of these paths are suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. In addition there are a great many informal paths, many of which can get very muddy in wet weather.
The main paths are marked on the maps on the Maps page
Horse riding is permitted from 1 April to 31 October each year, although we would ask that you do not ride on soft ground in wet weather to avoid causing too much damage. Please note that horse boxes are not allowed in the car parks.
It is against the bye-laws to ride bicycles on the Commons because of the danger to other Commons users. The exception to this is the restricted byway running from Cabbage Stalk Lane to Major Yorks Road, on which cycling is permitted. This byway has recently become part of the National Cycle Network.
It is against the bye-laws to ride motor bikes or vehicles of any description on the Commons and anyone found doing so is liable to prosecution.
Although metal detectors are not prohibited, digging on the Commons definitely is, so there is very little point.
With so many wooded areas, the Commons are a fire risk, particularly in the spring and in dry weather, so please do not light any fires without specific permission.
Please respect the Commons and all the flora and fauna you find there. There is an enormous diversity, and the Commons provide valuable habitats for many endangered species. It goes without saying that you should not attempt to chop branches off trees. Anything removed from the Commons, such as firewood, is theft unless you have specific permission.
Page last updated: 13/06/2017