All the fun of the Rusthall Summer Fair!

All the fun of the Rusthall Summer Fair!

by David Hodgkinson

Rusthall

A lovely little haven one mile west of the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells and Tunbridge Wells Common, Rusthall is hidden among the trees and surrounded by rocky sandstone outcrops complete with some lively village shops.

A village with two centres, one developed around Toad Rock in the 1800s, the Victorian era, as a summer holiday resort. The other is Lower Green the oldest part of the hamlet dating from around the 8th century.

"There was indeed an excellent cold bath near Rust-Hall Common"

...enthused Paul Amsinck Esq in his book ‘Tunbridge Wells and its Neighbourhood’ published in 1810. The Amsinck family were illustrious merchants with worldwide business connections so this is praise indeed.

The name of the village almost certainly derives from the naturally occurring rusty coloured well waters.

Cold water baths were built from the early 1700s to make the most of the ‘rusty, curative’ waters and for entertainment purposes before the Chalybeate Spring became popular. 

Stretch your legs and explore

Now only the foundations of the bath house are apparent in Happy Valley below the Hundred Steps in the gardens of the Beacon Hotel on Tea Garden Lane just outside Rusthall.

Fortunately being abandoned has meant the wildlife has thrived and now you can see important species like bee flies and hoverflies as well as beautiful wild flowers.

Back in the village, little historic cottages on the old London to Brighton coaching road can be admired from the pavement opposite the Red Lion pub. This public house was first licensed in 1415!

The grade II listed church of St Paul’s, nearby in Denny Bottom was built in 1849. It is open to all visitors and a fine example of Victorian ecclesiastical architecture.

A “little known treasure”

Rusthall Common is a glorious place to explore and ramble too.

Between Rusthall and Speldhurst lie Shadwell Woods and Hurst Woods - known locally as “one of the prettiest bluebell woods around” (Rusthall History website).

The café is a homely stop off for good, reasonably priced British food – sandwiches and breakfasts are most popular.

This is an active community with great spirit who organise the increasingly popular annual Rusthall Bonfire Procession each October and the successful summer fete every July.

Check the Events page and What’s On listings for the details.

Nearby is the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club and there are frequent bus services to and from Royal Tunbridge Wells via bus number 281.

You can enjoy town and country at its best by staying in this pretty little area; search for your accommodation now! 

External Links

With thanks to the local Rusthall History group.

For more detail on the Common and the Rocks see the Commons Conservators website.

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  1. Add The Great House to your Itinerary

    The Great House

    Hawkhurst

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    The Vineyard

    Lamberhurst

    English pub / bar serving locally sourced food

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    Ticehurst, Wadhurst

    At Pashley you will discover 11 acres of beautiful borders and vistas - the culmination of a lifetime of passion for gardening and an admiration of the tradition of the English country garden.

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    Biddenden

    Why not try an electric bike, zipping between vineyards or maybe stop at an iconic castle or a world-famous garden?  Our routes take you along the  quiet lanes of the Weald of Kent, passing oast houses and Wealden hall houses, farmsteads and ancient woodland.  You can stop at a village pub for…

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    Goudhurst

    Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest is a magnificent place for healthy outdoor activities.

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    Lamberhurst

    Not one but two houses! Victorian country house and ruined 14th century moated castle set in one of England's most romantic 'picturesque' style gardens.

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    Rolvenden

    15 acres of spectacular gardens and woodlands. Spectacular bluebell wood.

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    St. Mary's Church Goudhurst

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    Cranbrook

    The church on the hill above the village.

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    Cranbrook

    Providing entertainment in the heart of the Kent Weald.

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    Kino Cinema Hawkhurst

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    Hawkhurst

    Kino is the UK's first purely digital cinema with the full HD experience.

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    Hawkhurst Fish Farm

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    Hawkhurst

    Carp fishing for the family with a choice of 7 lakes, cafe and pottery.

  12. Add St. Mary's Church Lamberhurst to your Itinerary

    St. Mary's Church Lamberhurst

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    Royal Tunbridge Wells

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    Biddenden

    Biddenden Vineyards is the oldest commercial vineyard in Kent, established in 1969. It has grown to 23 acres, producing White, Red, Rosé and Sparkling English Wines. The vinyard is also known for producing cider and pressed juices. <br /><br />The vinyard and shop are open to visitors all year…

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    The Poet at Matfield

    Matfield

    Offering great British classics with a modern twist, and a comfortable pub with cask ales and a global wine cellar - our emphasis in on quality, taste and a fair price.

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  15. Add St. Dunstan's Church Cranbrook to your Itinerary

    St. Dunstan's Church Cranbrook

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    Cranbrook

    Cathedral of the Weald.

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    Merriments Gardens Ltd

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    Hurst Green

    The gardens at Merriments in the rolling Sussex countryside never fail to delight.

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    Cranbrook Museum

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    Cranbrook

    A 'must' for every visitor to the Weald.

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    Weald Sports Centre

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    Cranbrook

    High quality sporting facilities to include swimming pool, sports hall, fitness studio, exercise studio and creche.

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    Cranbrook Union Windmill

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    Cranbrook

    The tallest surviving smock mill in the British Isles, measuring 72 feet to the top of the cap.

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    Bewl Water

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    Lamberhurst

    Set in the heart of the High Weald and surrounded by 800 acres of outstanding natural beauty, Bewl Water is the perfect place to watch the seasons change and to enjoy some healthy family fun for all ages.

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