About the Region
The Actual boundaries of the Kent and East Sussex Weald are difficult to determine but a rough definition would be a region within a line drawn from Tunbridge Wells, via Tonbridge to Maidstone, along the M20 to Ashford and from there across to Hastings. That is exactly the area covered by the Wealden Property magazine.
The attractions of living in the region are many. Good road connection via M25, M20, A272, M2 rail using two main lines from Hastings or Ashford, mainland Europe through the channel tunnel, on the ferries or by air from London Ashford Airport or London Gatwick.
Throughout the region the network of lanes, roads and tracks, take you back hundreds of years because many of these roadways originated as pack horse tracks or inter village pathways, when foot or horse travel were the preferred mode of transport. There are many ‘hursts’ and ‘dens’, as part of the title to these villages, recognising the vast forests that used to cover the region, and identifying enclaves within those forests, where the inhabitants lived. The rivers running through the Weald were vital to the economical growth of the region, with the Rother which has Rye at it’s estuary, perhaps the most important.
Gradually, the use of wood to create heat and the subsoil containing iron ore to make tools, lead to the Weald becoming an early manufacturing base, that in turn, gave way to the new open spaces becoming ideal agricultural land.
Farming for centuries, has provided a financial foundation for the region. Cranbrook in the middle ages was known as the Capital of the Weald, because of the wealth generated by the wool from the flocks of sheep that roamed the countryside. European weavers would visit Cranbrook as the exchange of money for wool brought riches to Cranbrook and the Weald in general. Hops, fruit, sheep and cattle were an ideal mix for farmers with the hops gathered in, before the ewes were tupped, whilst lambing took place before the apples were picked, then, once that harvest was brought in (lamb’s, apples), the sheep could graze happily underneath the tall apple trees. It was in the simplistic of terms, an idyllic world.
Centuries on from those times, the Weald is a much more cosmopolitan region, with the train line to the Sussex coast and the Kent Channel ports, providing avenues of opportunities for residents and commerce. The road links are adequate, though the cross-country journey of a few miles is often extended by the agricultural traffic moving around the area and other road users preferring the country lanes to the more direct motorways to travel around Southern England.
Many people commute to London for work via the two rail connections, but private commerce and enterprise abound throughout the Weald. Most villages even the ones without shops, contain some form of business or employment. The diversification of interests and services is enormous; examples such as Paddock Wood and Staplehurst identify large numbers of private companies offering in some cases unique manufacturing or services, whilst Hawkhurst has over 150 businesses located within the parish. It is a busy thriving community.
The shopping within the region must be amongst the best in the county. High quality farm shops, excellent specialist communication, electrical, clothing, food, stationary, etc can be found in most of the towns of the weald. They are where service retains a purposeful meaning, with a blend of tradition, new and original retail outlets that make shopping a pleasure. Once you have experienced the quality available, you will realise that the bland cloned urban shopping mall does not compare with Weald town shopping.
In similar vane eating, social locations, sport and league activities are available throughout the region, with some of the finest restaurants or pub eating establishments located right here in the Weald. The choice is fantastic, the quality of mouth wateringly delicacies and the ambiance welcoming and warm. There truly cannot be many better places to live; yet there is more. The Romney Marsh is on the doorstep as is the shuttle terminus, airports at Lydd & Gatwick are close by, National Trust venues abound, Bewl Water, Bedgebury Pinetum, Vineyards, Headcorn parachuting facilities, fishing, all team sports and most individual sports are catered for to a very high standard.
The Kent and East Sussex Weald is a living region of the Country that offers so much on hand, yet provides access to even more without having to travel miles to find it.
Other interesting aspects of the Kent and East Sussex Weald are the amount of water related activities available. Perhaps the best known is Bewl Water at Lamberhurst, which offers every water sport apart from swimming and water skiing, plus a wonderful trans-lake walk or cycle path that has the participants taking in many hidden wildlife sanctuaries wild fowl, other bird life, flora and fauna, plus ground level wild life. Although you hug the lakeside, the inlets and peninsulas take you to parts of the countryside that is inaccessible in any other way.
Sailing, rowing, windsurfing, fishing and canoeing all have organised facilities under the watchful eye of the wardens and supervisors.
Dudwell reservoir, the rivers, Tiese, Rother, Medway, Stour all figure in the Weald landscape and each provided variety to the landscape and activities of the region. There is nothing better than following a riverbank, exploring unknown territory, and then coming across a pub or café to help refresh the appetite to continue the adventure.
National Trust properties abound, Sissinghurst, Scotney, Bodiam, Batemans, Smallhythe, English Heritage administer, Battle Abbey, etc, but the real jewel in the crown is the Pinetum and Bedgebury Forest. To obtain the latest news and to inspire you to visit the Pinetum and finest-connect with their website to understand what is available, certainly it is much more than just a collection of trees.