KENT - PLACES OF INTEREST | KENT - POINTS OF INTEREST | KENT - PEOPLE OF INTEREST
Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
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William and Mary house in countryside setting. Extensive collection of furniture and porcelain of the 18th century.
Squerryes Court/Squerryes Westerham TN16 1SJ Telephone: 01959 562 345
The farmers' market operates the 1st and 3rd Sundays every month.
The farmers' market offers freshly baked bread, seasonal fresh vegetables, salad and fruit, game, smoked meats, delicatessen, fish, cheese, pickles, honey and jams and plants/herbs/salad & vegetable seedlings.
A stall is also be made available to voluntary organisations and local charities, on a regular or an occasional basis.
Westerham Interactive Map
The Church of St Mary the Virgin The Green, dates back over 800 years. Famous people who have been baptised at St Marys in the 14th century font are John Fryth, who helped Tyndale translate the Bible and was martyred at Smithfield in 1533, General Wolfe and Winston Churchills grandson.
customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
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Home of Winston Churchill from 1922. Unremarkable exterior. The interior is full of Churchill memorabilia, from cigars to paintings to war correspondence.
Mapleton Road Westerham, Kent TN16 1PS Telephone: 01732 868381
The Weald is the eroded remains of a geological structure, an anticline, a dome of layered Lower Cretaceous rocks cut through by weathering to expose the layers as sandstone ridges and clay valleys. The oldest rocks exposed at the centre of the anticline are correlated with the Purbeck Beds of the Upper Jurassic. Above these, the Cretaceous rocks, include the Wealden Group of alternating sands and clays - the Ashdown Sand, Wadhurst Clay, Tunbridge Wells Sand (collectively known as the Hastings Beds) and the Weald Clay. The Wealden Group is overlain by the Lower Greensand and the Gault Formation, consisting of the Gault Clay and the Upper Greensand.
The rocks of the central part of the anticline include hard sandstones, and these form hills now called the High Weald. The peripheral areas are mostly of softer sandstones and clays and form a gentler rolling landscape, the Low Weald. The Weald-Artois Anticline continues some 65 km (40 mi) further south-eastwards under the Straits of Dover, and includes the Boulonnais of France.
Many important fossils have been found in the sandstones and clays of the Weald, including, for example, Baryonyx. The famous scientific hoax of Piltdown Man was claimed to have come from a gravel pit at Piltdown near Uckfield. The first Iguanodon was identified by Gideon Mantell, from a fossil discovered in a pit near Cuckfield in 1819.
Prehistoric evidence suggests that, following after the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, the Neolithic inhabitants had turned to farming, with the resultant clearance of the forest. With the Iron Age came the first use of the Weald as an industrial area. Wealden sandstones contain ironstone, and with the additional presence of large amounts of timber for making charcoal for fuel, the area was the centre of the Wealden iron industry from then, through the Roman times, until the last forge was closed in 1813. The index to the Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain lists 33 iron mines; 67 per cent of these are in the Weald.
The entire Weald was originally heavily forested. According to the ninth century Anglo Saxon Chronicle, the Weald measured 120 mi (193 km) or longer by 30 mi (48 km) in the Saxon era, stretching from Lympne, near Romney Marsh in Kent, to the Forest of Bere or even the New Forest in Hampshire. The area was sparsely inhabited and inhospitable, being used mainly as a resource by people living on its fringes, much as in other places in Britain such as Dartmoor, the Fens and the Forest of Arden. The Weald was used for centuries, possibly since the Iron Age, for transhumance of animals along droveways in the summer months. Over the centuries deforestation for the shipbuilding, charcoal, forest glass, and brickmaking industries has left the Low Weald with only remnants of that woodland cover.
While most of the Weald was used for transhumance by communities at the edge of the Weald, several parts of the forest on the higher ridges in the interior seem to have been used for hunting by the kings of Sussex. The pattern of droveways which occurs across the rest of the Weald is absent from these areas. These areas include St Leonard's Forest, Worth Forest, Ashdown Forest and Dallington Forest.
The forests of the Weald were often used as a place of refuge and sanctuary. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle relates events during the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Sussex when the native Britons (whom the Anglo-Saxons called Welsh) were driven from the coastal towns into the recesses of the forest for sanctuary, viz;
"A.D. 477. This year came Ælle to Britain, with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlenking, and Cissa, in three ships; landing at a place that is called Cymenshore. There they slew many of the Welsh; and some in flight they drove into the wood that is called Andred'sley."
Until the Late Middle Ages the forest was a notorious hiding place for bandits, highwaymen and outlaws.
Settlements on the Weald are widely scattered. Villages evolved from small settlements in the woods, typically four to five miles apart; close enough to be an easy walk but not so close as to encourage unnecessary intrusion. Few of the settlements are mentioned in the Domesday Book however Goudhurst's church dates from the early 12th Century or before and Wadhurst was of a sufficient size by the mid thirteenth century to be granted a royal charter permitting a market to be held. Before this time, the Weald was used as summer grazing land, particularly for pannage by communities living in the surrounding areas. Many places within the Weald have retained names from this time, linking them to the original communities by the addition of the suffix "-den" – for example Tenterden was the area used by the people of Thanet. Permanent settlements in much of the Weald developed much later than in other parts of lowland Britain, although there were as many as one hundred furnaces and forges operating by the later 16th century, employing large numbers of people.
In his first published version of On The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin used the chalk cliffs at Weald as a justification for his theory of natural selection. Charles Darwin was a follower of Lyell's theory of uniformitarianism and decided to expand upon Lyell’s theory with a quantitative estimate to determine if there was enough time in the history of the earth to uphold his principles of evolution. He assumed that rate of erosion of the cliffs was around 1-inch (25 mm) per century and extrapolated the age of Weald at around 300 million years. In 1862, William Thomson (later appointed as Lord Kelvin) published a paper 'On the age of the sun's heat' in which, unaware of the process of solar fusion which had yet to be discovered, he calculated that the sun had been burning for less than a million years. Based on these estimates he denounced Darwin's geological estimates as imprecise. Darwin saw Lord Kelvin's calculation as one of the most serious criticisms to his theory and removed his calculations on the Weald from the third edition of On the Origin of Species.
The Weald in its entirety begins in the west to the north-east of Petersfield in Hampshire; from where it crosses the counties of Surrey and Kent in the north, and West and East Sussex in the south. The western parts in Hampshire and West Sussex, known as the Western Weald, are included in the South Downs National Park. Other protected parts of the Weald are included in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In extent it covers about 85 miles (137 km) from west to east, and about 30 miles (48 km) from north to south, covering an area of some 1,300 km2 (500 sq mi). The eastern end of the High Weald, the English Channel coast, is marked in the centre by the high sandstone cliffs from Hastings to Pett Level; and by former sea cliffs now fronted by the Pevensey and Romney Marshes on either side.
Much of the High Weald, the central part, is designated as the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its landscape is described as one of rolling hills, studded with sandstone outcrops and cut by streams to form steep-sided ravines (called gills); small irregular-shaped fields and patches of heathland, abundant woodlands; scattered farmsteads and sunken lanes and paths. Ashdown Forest, an extensive area of heathland and woodland occupying the highest sandy ridge-top at the centre of the High Weald, is a former royal deer-hunting forest created by the Normans and said to be the largest remaining part of Andredesweald.
There are centres of settlement, the largest of which are Horsham, Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough; and the area along the coast from Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea to Rye and Hythe.
The Low Weald, the periphery of the Weald, is shown as darker green on the map (9), and has an entirely different character. It is in effect the eroded outer edges of the High Weald, revealing a mixture of sandstone outcrops within the underlying clay. As a result, the landscape is of wide and low-lying clay vales with small woodlands (“shaws”) and fields. There is a great deal of surface water: ponds and many meandering streams.
Some areas, such as the flat plain around Crawley, have been utilised for urban use: here are Gatwick Airport and its related developments and the Horley-Crawley commuter settlements. Otherwise the Low Weald retains its historic settlement pattern, where the villages and small towns occupy harder outcrops of rocks. There are no large towns on the Low Weald, although Ashford and Reigate lie immediately on the northern edge. Settlements tend to be small and linear, because of its original wooded nature and heavy clay soils.
The Weald is drained by many streams radiating from it, the majority being tributaries of the surrounding major rivers: particularly of the Mole, Medway, Stour, Rother, Cuckmere, Ouse, Adur and Arun. Many of those streams provided power to watermills, blast furnaces and hammers which once operated the iron industry and cloth mills.
The M25, M26 and M20 motorways all use the Vale of Holmesdale to the north, and therefore run along or near the northern edge of the Weald. The M23/A23 road to Brighton , uses the western, narrower, part of the Weald where there are stream headwaters, crossing it from north to south. Other roads take similar routes, although they often have long hills and many bends: the A21 to Hastings is still beset with traffic delays, despite having had some new sections.
Five railways once crossed the Weald; building them provided the engineers with difficulties in crossing the terrain, with the hard sandstone adding to their problems. The Brighton Main Line followed the same route as its road predecessors: although it necessitated the long tunnel near Balcombe and the Ouse Valley Viaduct. Tributaries of the River Ouse provided some assistance in the building of now-closed East Grinstead-Lewes and the Uckfield-Lewes lines. The principal main-line railway to Hastings had to negotiate difficult terrain when it was first built, necessitating many sharp curves and tunnels; and similar problems had to be faced with the Ashford-Hastings line.
The Weald is especially popular with ramblers, cyclists and other recreational users; and several Long distance footpaths cross it.
Neither the thin infertile sands of the High Weald or the wet sticky clays of the Low Weald are suited to intensive arable farming and the topography of the area often increases the difficulties. There are limited areas of fertile greensand which can be used for intensive vegetable growing, as in the valley of the Western Rother. Historically the area of cereals grown has varied greatly with changes in prices, increasing during the Napoleonic Wars and during and since World War II. The Weald has its own breed of cattle, called the Sussex although it has been as numerous in Kent and parts of Surrey. Bred from the strong hardy oxen, which continued to be used to plough the clay soils of the Low Weald longer than in most places, these red beef cattle were highly praised by Arthur Young in his book "Agriculture of Sussex" when visiting Sussex in the 1790s. William Cobbett commented on finding some of the finest cattle on some of the region's poorest subsistence farms on the High Weald. Pigs, which were kept by most households in the past, were able to be fattened in autumn on acorns in the extensive oak woods.
The Weald has largely maintained its wooded character, with woodland still covering 23% of the overall area (one of the highest levels in England) and the proportion is considerably higher in some central parts. The sandstones of the Wealden rocks are usually acidic, often leading to the development of acidic habitats such as heathland, the largest remaining areas of which are in Ashdown Forest and near Thursley.
Although common in France, the wild boar became extinct in Great Britain and Ireland by the 17th century, but wild breeding populations have recently returned in the Weald, following escapes from boar farms.
The Weald has been associated with many writers, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Notable examples include John Evelyn (1620–1706), Vita Sackville-West (1892–1962), and Rudyard Kipling (1864–1936). The setting for A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories was inspired by Ashdown Forest, near Milne's country home at Hartfield. In 2010, a documentary entitled "A Journey Through the Weald of Kent" was produced by Buff Films, JR Films and Cranbrook school to document the Weald's place in modern England.
The game of cricket may have originated prior to the 13th century in the Weald (see History of English cricket to 1696). The related game Stoolball is still popular in the Weald, mostly played by ladies teams.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Kent, England. In England the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses a site because of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features. As of 2008, there are 98 sites designated in this Area of Search, of which 67 have been designated due to their biological interest, 21 due to their geological interest and 10 for both.
Below is a "Where's the path?" link to map pages of each area of Special Scientific interest in Kent. Here you will be able to view various maps of each location including Aerial, Satellite, Dual View and even old Ordnance Survey maps with a modern day Google map overlay, Cycle routes and much more.
saxatile, occur locally. The area has supported a rich heathland breeding bird community, including nightjar.
incorporates neutral grassland, scrub and a variety of woodland. Sheep’s fescue Festuca ovina and upright brome Bromus erectus dominate the species-rich grassland areas. Associated herbs include
characteristic downland plants such as dwarf thistle Cirsium acaule, common rockrose Helianthemum nummularium, squinancywort Asperula cynanchica and horseshoe vetch Hippocrepis comosa. Seven orchid species occur in the grassland, particularly in the northern part of the site, among them the scarce man orchid Aceras anthropophorum. The Kentish milkwort is present in small numbers, in areas of more open turf. Where the slopes are less steep, fewer species generally occur and some of the grassland has become rank, dominated by upright brome and cock’s foot Dactylis glomerata. The deeper soils of the valley floor support neutral grassland. Woodland is scattered throughout the site, but is most frequent on the plateau over the Clay-with-Flints. Ash Fraxinus excelsior, oak Quercus robur and beech Fagus sylvatica are the most common standard trees with ash and hazel Corylus avellana widespread in the coppice layer. Other tree and shrub species, such as wild cherry Prunus avium, field maple Acer campestre and hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, are also present. The ground flora on the upper slopes is bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta dominated, with bramble Rubus fruticosus and occasionally bracken Pteridium aquilinum. Dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis predominates on the thinner soils of the steeper slopes. In addition, a number of species indicative of ancient woodland occur, including midland hawthorn C. laevigata on the clay soils and spurge laurel Daphne laureola on the more chalky soils. Lower Wood contains a narrow chalky bank with mature beech and yew Taxus baccata and here the ground flora, though sparse, includes the saprophytes yellow bird’s-nest Monotropa hypopitys and bird’s-nest orchid Neottia nidus-avis; these plants derive their nourishment from decaying organic matter. Both species are scarce in Kent.
Scrub is present in former woodland clearings and has also developed along hedge-lines and wood edges as well as in some of the ranker grassland. Hawthorn is generally the dominant species although bramble, traveller’s joy Clematis vitalba and roses Rosa spp. are abundant in places. Lime-loving species, such as whitebeam Sorbus aria and privet Ligustrum vulgare are also frequent.
The fauna of this site is not well known. However, two locally distributed butterflies are found here, viz the chalkhill blue Lysandra coridon and the brown argus Aricia agestis.
Scord's Wood and Brockhoult Mount
Consequently soils within the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) vary greatly depending upon the underlying geology. Soils forming on the greensand and head deposits tend to be acidic and well-drained; the outcrops of Kentish Rag lead to more calcareous soils and those on the Wealden Clay are poorly-drained and seasonally waterlogged. Much of the Chart was traditionally managed as wood-pasture until the mid-nineteenth century when it was enclosed through Act of Parliament. After the lifting of the grazing pressure the beech pollards and adjacent woodlands seeded into the open areas, and were managed as coppice for charcoal burning. The site now contains the best examples of sessile oak Quercus petraea stands in Kent. The shrubs on the plateau are dominated by beech Fagus sylvatica, sessile oak, pedunculate oak Quercus robur, birches Betula species, whitebeam sorbus aria and rowan Sorbus acuparia. Thuringian whitebeam Sorbus aria x aucuparia, a hybrid between rowan and whitebeam, is found here on one of only four sites in Kent. The ground flora is dominated by bramble Rubus fruticosus and bracken Pteridium aquilinum where the canopy has been opened by the 'Great Storm' of 1987. Elsewhere, where there is a dense canopy, it is sparse and includes bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa, heather Calluna vulgaris. A holly Ilex aquifolium understorey is present in places. Away from the plateau, pedunculate oak replaces sessile oak in the canopy and bramble, wood sorrel Oxalis acetosella, honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum and wood anemone Anemone nemorosa dominate the ground flora. Moving down the escarpment edge, species which require some lime such as ash Fraxinus excelsior, field maple Acer campestre, cherry Prunus avium, downy birch Betula pubescens and hazel Corylus avellana appear in the canopy and bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta and yellow archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon in the ground flora. The wetter, more nutrient-rich soils and springs in the woods on the Wealden Clay at the foot of the escarpment support woodlands dominated by oak species, beech, ash, field maple, alder Alnus glutinosa, aspen Populus tremula and guelder rose Viburnum opulus. The ground flora includes wood poa grass Poa nemoralis, bugle Ajuga reptans, stinging nettle Urtica dioica, sweet woodruff Galium odoratum, enchanter's nightshade Circaea lutetianna, dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis, town-hall clock Adoxa moschatellina, and thin-spiked wood-sedge Carex strigosa.
Grasslands on the acidic plateau soils are dominated by common bent-grass Agrostis capillaris, heath bedstraw Galium saxatile, sheep’s sorrel Rumex acetosella, often with heather Calluna vulgaris and bracken Pteridium aquilinum. A pasture just south of Emmetts House has more neutral soils with wet flushes. Here the sward is dominated by common bent-grass, sheep’s fescue grass Festuca ovina, cock's-foot grass Dactylis glomerata and meadow foxtail Allopecurus pratensis; other plants include devil’s-bit scabious Succisa pratensis, black knapweed Centaurea nigra, glaucous sedge Carex flacca, zig-zag clover Trifolium medium and common spotted-orchid Dactylorhiza fuschii. The number of plants scarce in Kent*2 have been recorded from this site. These include lily-of-the-valley Convallaria majalis, common wintergreen Pyrola minor, lemon-scented Oreopteris limbosperma and green hellebore Helleborus viridus.
Although most place names may appear at first sight to be random elements of words thrown together in no particular order, most are surprisingly easy to decipher with some elementary grounding in Old English. Over the centuries most of the Old English words have themselves corrupted and changed to appear as we know them today.
A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms: in use in the county of Kent' by W.D.Parish and W.F.Shaw (Lewes: Farncombe,1888)
'The Dialect of Kent: being the fruits of many rambles' by F. W. T. Sanders (Private limited edition, 1950). Every attempt was made to contact the author to request permission to incorporate his work without success. His copyright is hereby acknowledged.
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