by Lynda Grigsby
If you’re looking for a beautiful small rural Kent village with a village green, overlooked by a majestic medieval church, then you must visit Benenden.
Benenden is situated in the Weald of Kent, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is surrounded by scenic pastures and woodland where there are many walks to explore.
A True Kentish Rural Scene
Imagine sitting on the Green relaxing back on a wooden bench with a cool apple juice, made in Kent of course, listening to the gentle tap of leather on willow. This is Benenden enjoying the summer cricket.
The Green is used throughout the year for a number of village events including the traditional summer fete in June.
You can refresh yourself at the stylish local pub, The Bull at Benenden, or the community shop-café. The Woodcock Inn is less than 2 miles from the centre of the village tucked away down a narrow country lane where the promise is to “treat you like a local”.
Things to see in Benenden
Take in the historic church of St George which was one of few in the area named in the Domesday Book in 1086.
Linger over the cottages, some of which are built with Kent peg tiles hung on the top half of the walls.
These unique tiles were historically made from local clays and the brick earths of the Weald and Canterbury, with an array of hues from brown red to tangerine like the flames in a kiln.
The use of local material and craftsmanship means the village retains its authenticity to this day. Solid architecture with chunky chimneys, occasional painted beams and white clapboard - a chocolate box's dream!
Lord Cranbrook, a local aristocrat, paid to refront many of the village houses in the 19th century and the Jacobean house of his Lordship later became Benenden School for Girls, where Princess Anne was a pupil.
Things to do in Benenden
Hemsted Forest is 2 miles from the centre of the village. This is extensive woodlands carefully managed by the Forestry Commission for a large number of bird species and dormice. It is free to wander in and admire the wildlife and trees.
Cranbrook Golf Club is only 3 miles outside of the village. It has a course which has been established for well over 40 years. A welcoming sight to golf players as it is far off the beaten track. They have some group offers which include food.
Hemsted Equestrian Centre also welcomes visitors. Whether you are an experienced galloper or a first time horse rider, the staff offer accompanied hacks through Hemsted Forest. Why not give it a go and feel the wonderful fresh air fanning your cheeks?
Search for your perfect place to stay and other attractions in the local area in the panel on the right, including Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, Hole Park Gardens, and the villages of Hawkhurst and Cranbrook.
The handy map tab on the 'things to do' page will help you plan your trip.
Tags: Benenden, Benenden Village, Village of Benenden