CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Spotlight on: Cranbrook and Hawkhurst

PUBLISHED: 22:40 28 August 2014 | UPDATED: 22:40 28 August 2014

Cranbrook

Cranbrook

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Packed with white weather-boarded buildings, Cranbrook boasts its own restored smock mill while Hawkhurst, the ‘Crossroads of the Weald’, has distinct ‘old’ and ‘new’ parts

Known as the Capital of the Weald, Cranbrook’s original prosperity dates back to the arrival of Flemish weavers in the 1300s.

For three centuries it was the capital of the wool industry until this trade declined and agriculture, hop and fruit growing filled the gap. In the 1840s six professional London artists established the ‘Cranbrook Colony’ of artists, and today the fine town museum has a room devoted to their work.

The Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers made the village famous during the early 18th century. Prior to that Hawkhurst (originally ‘Hawk Wood’) had been at the heart of the Wealden iron industry since Roman times.

It was home to William Rootes (who founded the Rootes car empire) and Sir John Herschel, the famous astronomer.

Walkaround

Cranbrook has lots of hills, permitting good views, with the church and Union Windmill both on relatively high ground, therefore visible from much of the town below.

The High Street meets Stone Street at 
a T-junction, where you’ll find the Vestry Hall, and up on the left is St Dunstan’s golden-coloured church, known as the Cathedral of the Weald, with its scenic churchyard.

Turning left at this T-junction leads to Carriers Road and along here is Cranbrook Museum (01580 712475, TN17 3JX), where exhibits include a collection of Victorian stuffed birds, local interest exhibits and Roman artefacts.

On Stone Street you’ll find the handsome 14th-century George Hotel, and other notable buildings are in The Hill, which leads on from Stone Street. Look out for the charismatic Particular Baptist Chapel 
(a cottage with gravestones!) and Union Windmill (01580 712948, TN17 3AH) the town’s most prominent landmark, now fully restored and open to the public 
on certain days (check website).

Hawkhurst is comprised of The Moor, the original village with a green beside 
St Laurence church and ancient cottages, and Highgate, based around the crossroads of Highgate Hill and the A268.

The latter’s most notable feature is 
the long, white, positvely continental colonnade, housing some lovely shops; near here is Sir Thomas Dunk’s Hall, a 
large house with adjacent almshouses.

Shop then dine

Cranbrook shops are along the High Street and Stone Street, most of them independents, including home design and renovation shops, antique shops, gift stores and ladies fashions. Buy your farm-fresh produce at Hartley Dyke Farm Shop.

There are several specialist shops, such as Alfie and Daisy (toys), and Stoneydale’s art and craft materials. Cranbrook Farmers’ Market is on the fourth Saturday of the month.

Hawkhurst’s main shopping parade is the colonnade building, with ladies’ fashions, greengrocers, a florist and a café among others in this attractive setting.

For dining options, Apicius (01580 714666, TN17 3HF) is a highly acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant, and there is also dining at The George Hotel (01580 713348, TN17 3HE) and Campo Vecchio (01580 720555, TN17 3HF), while in Hawkhurst The Great House (01580 753119, TN18 5EJ) is excellent.

Good pubs serving great food include: The White Horse Inn (01580 720727, TN17 3EX) and The Oak and Ivy (01580 753293, TN18 5DB).

Solicitor’s viewpoint

Buss Murton (01892 510222) is one of 
the oldest law practices in Kent, and 
can trace an unbroken line back to 
John Hassell, attorney in Cranbrook 
in 1713.

Consultant Solicitor Corinne Browne (above) is in the Property Department 
in the Cranbrook office and lives in Hawkhurst. “There are some interesting development projects in the pipeline,” 
she says. “The old Council Offices in Cranbrook closed some years ago and now the site’s being developed as upmarket sheltered accommodation for the elderly.

“Cranbrook is a lovely town to work in, 
it has a busy band of local residents and business owners. I can recommend the 
Oak and Ivy pub and the independent 
Kino cinema, both in Hawkhurst.

“My family and I also love visiting the Union Windmill, the museum, nearby Sissinghurst Castle and Bodiam Castle.

“Cranbrook is a lively friendly place, with plenty to do locally.”

Garden lover’s viewpoint

Jill Foster is the former membership secretary of the Cranbrook Gardening Club, and her husband John was show secretary.

The club began in 1938 and thrived until six years ago, when it ceased to operate 
due to lack of committee members (call the trustees on 01580 713117 if any local keen gardeners are interested in becoming active trustees, so that the club can be re-started).

John and Jill have lived in the Cranbrook area all their lives, and their son and his family also live nearby. “Cranbrook is such a lovely place and it’s so pretty,” says Jill.

“We love the Union Windmill, the church and museum, while Bedgebury Forest is great for walking. Sissinghurst village is very nice, as is the castle and the gardens.

“Cranbrook has changed over the past 
40 years, but it’s still a very friendly town.

“I enjoy patchwork, quilting and spinning, and get a lot of my supplies from Stoneydale’s, while the toy shop sells the fine old traditional toys. There’s also a huge range of good restaurants and cafés.” n

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

On the banks of the Medway and boasting great shopping, dining and cultural attractions, our county town is great to visit at any time of year

Read more
December 2018

In the final month of the 50th Anniversary of the Kent Downs AONB and 40th of the North Downs Way, we’ve chosen 25 places to visit and enjoy in the Kent Downs this winter

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

This walk is the best way to take in the majestic beauty of the Weald of Kent, linking the North Downs Way at Trottiscliffe with the South Downs Way near to Eastbourne

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Counteract all that festive over-indulgence with a winter walk through National Trust-owned Kentish countryside

Read more

This characterful little country town draws history lovers from near and far. Let’s explore Churchill’s beloved Westerham

Read more
November 2018

From Napoleonic forts and wartime shelters to ancient chalk mines, we explore some of Kent’s underground visitor attractions

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Wandering through a festive market with mulled wine in hand is one of the pleasures of the season, so we have picked some of Kent’s best Christmas markets to do just that

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Steam trains, vineyards, tea rooms and a surprising maritime history. We take a look at all this and more on offer in tempting Tenterden

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Being so rich in history, it is hardly surprising that Kent is also a hub for hauntings and ghostly activity. We have gathered 9 of the spookiest locations in Kent to visit if you dare!

Read more

It may have been swallowed up by Greater London, but it still feels more like an idyllic Kentish village

Read more
October 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life