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View of the Weald from Brenchley

View of the Weald from Brenchley

David Hodgkinson

Brenchley

The Flower of Kent is the name of the London-bound stagecoach that galloped back and forth from Brenchley, three times a week in 1823.

A popular village for commuters even almost 200 years ago!

The village of Brenchley is a mere 6 miles east of Royal Tunbridge Wells, not too far from the A21 and adjoins Matfield to make up one parish.

However, Brenchley is the elder of the two!

Today Brenchley, being in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is encircled by gorgeous Kent orchards, farmlands and lovely walks with views and woodlands to soak up at your leisure.

Royal Connections in Brenchley

The village centre is a conservation area; not only is there a magnificent Tudor building called the Old Palace (begun in 1415 at the time of Agincourt) but the Countess of Wessex was born in Brenchley too.

Now the Old Palace is partially home to the village Post Office from where the Royal Mail can be despatched.

Even the local butcher’s shop is housed in a Tudor beam-striped building and for reasons unknown called the Queen Anne’s Hunting Lodge!

The majority of the buildings lining the high street of Brenchley are in fact half-timbered, tile-hung and/or white wooden weather-boarded houses of assorted ages dating from the 1200s. Most are from the 1600s – 1800s, some may be early 1900s during the Arts and Crafts era.

There is another epic Tudor building dating from the late 16th century, ‘The Old Workhouse’, opposite the war memorial.

These stunning examples of architecture were funded by the wealth of bygone industries such as iron-founding, hat-making, herring smoking, brick-making and of course fruit growing.

The latter, in Brenchley, is still an important contributor to the national consumption of apples. The Brenchley Pippin Apple is dated from 1884 originating from these parts.

Get away from it all in the Garden of England

Windy lanes overhung by the ancient Tudor houses are a quaint sight to behold.

Due to the age of these unique buildings, the walls are awry and the roofs are crooked, not dissimilar to a nursery rhyme fantasy!

1848 is the date that a new Gladiolus species was produced in Brenchley by a Mr Hooker. 

He created a scarlet gladiolus and it was named Gladiolus x Brenchleyensis in honour of Mr Hooker’s home.  He was well known long before for his country roses. This area is not called the Garden of England for nothing!

Gray’s Tearooms won the 2014 Love Where We Live Ethical Business Award and is an unpretentious local favourite.

Other local shops, pubs and restaurants in Brenchley may be small but they all offer a sincere welcome to visitors.

The Halfway House is a traditional real ale pub with nooks, crannies and country garden on the way to Horsmonden and scores highly on Trip Advisor and with the Campaign for Real Ale.

All Saints' Church was built in approximately 1233 hence its squat features. It is Grade 1 listed and surveys the main route through the village – the High Street.

An avenue of 400 year old yew trees guards the entrance to the church porch.

The beautiful stained glass windows are designed by one of the foremost Arts & Crafts artists, Robert Anning Bell.

There’s more to Brenchley than meets the eye...

The pretty gardens at Marle Place Gardens & Gallery are nearby and open to the public by appointment.

Cinderhill Woodland comprises 12 hectares of heathland, grassland, woodland and streams for rambling.

Brenchley Woods is an important local recreational area for horse riding, families, cyclists and walkers alike.

Scotney Castle, an idyllic moated castle, is only four miles away in Lamberhurst.

There are numerous walks in the local area, one whimsically known as the Iron Men of Brenchley on the AA website!

The nearest London-bound station is now at Paddock Wood, only 3 miles away and there are regular local buses from Paddock Wood and Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Put Brenchley on your itinerary along with nearby Matfield and Horsmonden and you’ll experience the epitome of the English Wealden villages.

You must check out our scenic driving tour too! 

Tags: Brenchley, Brenchley Village, Brenchley Village in Tunbridge Wells

With thanks also to the parish website www.brenchleyandmatfield.co.uk

External links

Bus and train links

Cinderhill Woods

With thanks also to the parish website www.brenchleyandmatfield.co.uk

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