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Sissinghurst- A Walk Through Time

Walks from Cranbrook by Kent High Weald Partnership
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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 10.2 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  This route takes the walker northwards from Cranbrook though woods, past ancient houses and mills and over the rolling wealden... more »

Tips:  Distance: 10 miles (16 kms) allow five hours.
Start/End Point: Cranbrook, Weald Information Centre
Stiles: 13
Gates:16
Parking:... more »

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Points of Interest

If you have time to explore the church, it is well worth a visit; its history is available to view from the excellent information panels inside. It is often referred to as the cathedral of the Weald, and owes its present shape and size to the wealth brought to the town by the woollen cloth industry in the 15th and 16th centuries. A church on this ... More

2. Stream from Spratsbourne Farm

The stream under the bridge leads to a pond, formed by damming, at Spratsbourne Farm. This pond provided water to power the Spratsbourne corn mill until the 20th century.

3. Hazleden Farm and Hoppers' Huts

An archaeological survey of the Oast House at Hazleden Farm dates it to the 17th century. The site also contains Hopper Huts, in which hop-picking families from London would have stayed during the picking season every September. These huts were usually very basic- constructed from corrugated iron sheets nailed to a wooden frame over a dirt floor. ... More

4. Friezley House

A typical clothier's house built by the Hovenden family in 1608, by which time the cloth industry was in decline. By the middle of the next century, the house was no longer owned by the Hovenden family. It was leased by the Parish Vestry in 1780, to provide shelter and work for the poor on the Parish Farm. This was a very successful project that... More

5. Hocker Edge

A water mill existed here for more than 500 years and was the last to function in the parish. It is mentioned in 1523, in connection with the Courthopes and the Hovendens, prominent clothiers of the area. In the early 20th century, the mill was owned by Colonel Charles Hervey Gray, a horticulturalist and plantsman, who left Kent after the Second... More

6. Hornbeam- topped field boundary

Note the hornbeam-topped filed boundary on your right, which shows signs of hedge laying in the past, where there are old horizontal stems with vertical shoots rising from them.

7. Digdog Lane

The lane is named after stray dogs that dug up the bodies of plague victims buried at this point in the medieval times.

8. Sissinghurst Castle

Between 1560 and 1570, Sir Richard Baker built an Elizabethan house that was let to the government after a decline in the family's fortunes. It was used as a camp for French prisoners of war, and hence became known as a castle. The buildings were damged, fell into disrepair and were occupied by poor estate workers and brick makers for 50 years... More

9. Great Swifts Estate

A major estate in Cranbrook, the great Swifts estate was owned by Peter Courthope in 1447, and other owners have included Robert Tooth, the Cranbrook Hatter, in the 1840s. The house entertained a host of famous visitors, such as Anthony Eden and the Free Polish General Sikorski. As a child, Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor lived in a cottage in ... More

10. The Weald Information Centre