HORSMONDEN

Kent Life - - Weald Of Kent -

at Mat­field, The Three Chim­neys at Bid­den­den, The Bull at Be­nen­den and the fab­u­lous new The Small Hold­ing in Kil­ndown. For a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, try the Miche­lin-starred West House in Bid­den­den.

PRO­TECT­ING THE LAND­SCAPE

Emma White (front row, third from left) from the High Weald AONB Part­ner­ship tells us about their im­por­tant work.

“The High Weald Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty is a breath­tak­ing me­dieval land­scape cov­er­ing parts of Kent, Sus­sex and Sur­rey, cov­er­ing 1,641km². Like the rest of the High Weald, the Ken­tish part of the land­scape is char­ac­terised by me­dieval farm­steads, abun­dant an­cient wood­land, gill streams, sunken route­ways, ir­reg­u­larly shaped small fields and rolling hills.

Our Part­ner­ship leads on a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties to help con­serve this pre­cious land­scape, work­ing with landown­ers, com­mu­ni­ties and part­ners such as The Wood­land Trust, Forestry Com­mis­sion, RSPB, Environment Agency and DE­FRA.

Whether it’s run­ning prac­ti­cal train­ing cour­ses to help farm­ers cre­ate and man­age new species-rich habi­tats, help­ing landown­ers and com­mu­nity groups ac­cess fund­ing for con­ser­va­tion projects, ad­vis­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties on plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions or work­ing with pri­mary schools through our High Weald He­roes ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme – no two days are the same!

Get­ting out into the coun­try­side for a walk is the best way to ex­pe­ri­ence the We are An­drew and Kate and we own Heath Stores, the vil­lage shop in Horsmonden. Heath Stores was built in the 1680s as a draper’s shop and has changed uses a num­ber of times.

When we took over in 2011 the shop was quite tired so we re­fit­ted it and have seen huge growth since then. It’s now a fu­sion be­tween a farm shop and a con­ve­nience store.

Our aim is to have ev­ery­thing you need and a lot of things you didn’t know you needed! We have an ex­ten­sive range of lo­cal foods, fruit and veg­eta­bles, as well as ar­ti­san prod­ucts and a Fair­trade range, not to men­tion our own Heath Stores Ham – still cooked on the premises to a recipe that we know goes back to at least the 1950s.

Our deli is very pop­u­lar and we are able to make be­spoke ham­pers, which are espe­cially pop­u­lar at Christ­mas. There is area; you can visit our web­site for lots of easy, short routes to try. You can also down­load re­sources such as na­ture spot­ter sheets to get the whole fam­ily in­volved.

If you are a landowner with more than one acre we of­fer a free ad­vi­sory visit.

We bring his­toric maps of your prop­erty to show its de­vel­op­ment over time, help you iden­tify its his­toric and wildlife fea­tures and sug­gest ways to look af­ter these fea­tures.”

Visit www.high­weald.org an outreach Post Of­fice that vis­its three times a week and we pro­vide a de­liv­ery ser­vice too.

We have won nu­mer­ous awards, in­clud­ing in­dus­try awards for Com­mu­nity Re­tailer of the Year. We won the Ru­ral Os­car in 2015 in the Coun­try­side Al­liance awards as the Daily Tele­graph Bri­tish Vil­lage Shop of the Year. Last year we were Best In­de­pen­dent Re­tailer in Kent Life’s Food and Drink Awards.

Horsmonden is a tra­di­tional vil­lage com­mu­nity; there are a lot of so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and peo­ple look out for each other. It is very much a gate­way to the Weald and from parts of the par­ish there are won­der­ful views across to the Green­sand Ridge and also to Goud­hurst and Brench­ley.

Tak­ing the dogs for a walk through Scot­ney Cas­tle es­tate is lovely. We love do­ing a round walk that starts and fin­ishes at Kil­ndown as af­ter­wards you can have a fab­u­lous meal at the new restau­rant there, The Small Hold­ing. Bedge­bury is an­other great place to visit. We can hire bikes and tackle the red run, or just en­joy a quiet walk in the woods. And the best beer fes­ti­val, we think, is at the Half­way House in Brench­ley on Bank Hol­i­days in May and Au­gust.

ABOVE: The High Weald AONB Part­ner­ship team out­side their head­quar­ters in Kil­ndown

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