From north to south, the Eden Valley can be broadly split into three bands. The Kent Downs in the north, from Westerham to Crockham Hill, form a ridge running west to east across Surrey and Kent.
Dropping down from the Kent Downs into the flood plain, the River Eden starts in Surrey, south of Tandridge, and then meanders along the valley until it joins the River Medway at Penshurst.
Rising up again south of Penshurst, is the High Weald, dominated by sandstone and clays, forming a landscape of high forested ridges and valleys. It also includes heathland in the Ashdown Forest, one of the most important and extensive areas of heathland in south eastern England.
One of the most renowned features of the curved greensand ridge of the Kent Downs is the chalk grassland. In addition there are old orchards, ancient hedgerows and coppice woodland. Ancient woodlands have also survived in the area.
From the Greensand Ridge there are spectacular views across the Low Weald, and at Toys Hill and Ide Hill are dramatic wealden edge hangers (steep, wooded slopes).
The River Eden meanders along the valley, a predominantly low lying region dominated by heavy clay soils, but with thin bands of limestone, beds of sandstone and sandy head deposits.
It is gently undulating with occasional steep-sided stream valleys, ridges and plateaux.
Small towns and villages are scattered amongst a patchwork of woodland, permanent grassland, hedgerows and wetlands on the heavy clay soils.
The land use is predominantly agricultural.
The area boasts the highest proportion of ancient woodland in the country and is, essentially, still a medieval landscape. Intermingled with the woods is a close patchwork of small fields, hedges and sunken lanes. Follow a sunken lane and you will be treading in the steps of Saxon drovers and their pigs.
There are numerous stream valleys and steep ravines (known locally as ’gills’) and scattered outcrops of massive sandstone rocks, which are a distinctive feature of the countryside around Tunbridge Wells.
Open water habitats include numerous ponds, some of which were ’hammer ponds’ originating from the wealden iron industry.