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Wealden Villages

Within a short drive of the main centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells are some of the most picturesque villages in Kent.

Here are just a few of the wide variety of Kent Villages to explore:

Benenden:

This beautiful small village with a large village green is overlooked by the medieval church of St George.

Due to the generosity of a local benefactor, Lord Cranbrook, many of the houses in the village were refronted in the 19th century and vicarage and Bull Inn greatly extended.

The Jacobean house of Lord Cranbrook later became Benenden School for Girls, where Princess Anne once attended.

Brenchley:

Half-timbered, tile-hung and weather-boarded houses of varying ages surround the green of this pretty village.

All Saints' Church is set back off the road down an avenue of 300 year old yews and has windows designed by the influential Arts & Crafts artist Robert Anning Bell.

The pretty gardens at Marle Place Gardens & Gallery are nearby and open to the public from April to October.

With plenty of accommodation and events, Brenchley in Kent has something to suit all tastes and budgets.

Goudhurst:

Goudhurst is a delight with its village street tumbling down the steep hill from the church to the village pond.

The village and in particular the tower at St Mary's Church command wonderful views over the Kent countryside.

Goudhurst has a colourful history culminating in the defeat of the Hawkhurst Gang, a local group of smugglers in 1747.

Today Goudhurst is a pretty bustling village with several pubs and small shops.

Nearby Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, and the magnificent Georgian manor house at Finchcocks Musical Museum both make for interesting days out in the area.

Hawkhurst:

Hawkhurst is really two villages in one - the tranquil settlement on the Moor and a thriving commercial centre at Highgate.

The name of Hawkhurst was once notorious throughout southern England as the home of the Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers active in the early 1700s.

Hawkhurst has many other claims to fame: Charles Gunther, inventor of the Oxo cube, and the astronomer Sir John Herschel both lived for many years in the village.

Visit the Hawkhurst website for further details. With a range of accommodation, your visit to Hawkhurst in Kent can suit all your preferences.



Horsmonden:

The name of this pretty agricultural village means 'horsemen's woodland pasture'.

Like other Wealden settlements Horsmonden grew from the increasing prosperity brought by the cloth and iron industries. 

The church of St Margaret stands in a lovely setting overlooking the River Teise a good mile and half outside of the village.

The church was the family church of Jane Austen's ancestors with the churchyard containing many of their tombstones.

Lamberhurst:

The three hills of School Hill, Spray Hill and Town Hill lead up steeply from the River Teise which flows through the centre of Lamberhurst.

The famous Lamberhurst Gloucester ironworks, named after Queen Anne's shortlived son, were amongst the last in Kent to produce iron.

In the main street is a portion of the early railings of St Paul's Cathedral, made in the village in 1710 and returned to the village in 1976.

Matfield:

Matfield is a typical English village with its green, pond and elegant Georgian houses.

Siegfried Sassoon, the famous World War I poet, was born and raised in Matfield.

His book, 'The Old Century' describes his life in the area before 1914.

Paddock Wood:

The busy commercial centre of Paddock Wood was created by the railway which provided access for local fruit growers and hop farmers to London and the coast.

Today, Paddock Wood continues to be the centre for the country's hop growing industry and fruit distribution.

The town itself has a good selection of small independent shops.

Sandhurst:

Sandhurst is at the far eastern edge of the Weald.

Within a mile of the village, the ridge on which it stands drops away to the Romney Marsh.

The Church of St Nicholas is purported to have a plague pit where victims of the Black Death are buried and in the 14th century the village moved away from the church to its present position nearer to the road to Rye.

Southborough:

This busy town has many quieter areas, particularly its verdant 75 acre Common and cricket ground. 

Southborough was the home to two men both named David Salomons, one the famous human rights campaigner, the other his nephew, an inventor of international standing.

Their home is now a conference centre with a small museum containing memorabilia of both men open to the public.

Speldhurst:

Much of Speldhurst dates from the 19th century.

The original medieval church was destroyed by lightning in 1791.

The present church of St Mary the Virgin was built in 1870 and Burne-Jones and William Morris designed its spectacular stained glass windows.

The George and Dragon pub opposite the church is said to date from the 13th century.

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