Canoe Days Out

Kent - River Medway - Tonbridge to Leigh Sluice (& return)

This page was submitted by Phil Caisley
How to get there - Tonbridge is easily accessible from the A21 about 10 miles to the south of the M25 at Jn 5. It is also easily accessible by train from London on the Charing Cross line, the river being a short distance from the station.

On arrival at Tonbridge by car, follow the signs to the Swimming Pool and park in its Pay & Display car park. Don't go into the main car park if you have canoes on your car roof... you soon won't have, since there is a height restriction on the entrance.

For those with SatNav a nearby postcode is TN9 1HS.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - There is a slip way at the end of the main car park, so you might have a 50m walk with your canoes.

General Description - The slip way is directly opposite Tonbridge park and the river runs around the outside of the park in a complete circle. You can either turn left from the slipway and then take the next right travelling clockwise around the park or turn right from the slipway and travel anti-clockwise around the park. If you turn right, when you get to the railway bridge, turn right and follow the river upstream. The river is very scenic and includes opportunities to explore some minor tributories. About 2 miles above Tonbridge, if you want to carry on upstream, you'll need to carry your canoe above a weir, and again the river is stunning up here.

If you travel down to the lock (300m), you'll pass Tonbridge Castle which borders the river.

We didn't have photos for this trip but some have been provided courtesy of Tonbridge on the Internet. If you are able to provide any please e-mail them to

Comments on this trip

12 Oct 2009
You can get the barrier to the car park open if you go to the swimming pool reception.

19 Jan 2007
There are apparently no plans to even seek agreements for the upper section of the river so - canoe there at your own discretion.


Tonbridge Castle
Map of the River Medway
River Medway Access (inclucing suggested portages)

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson