Maidstone West via Beltring
Close to Beltring station is the Hop Farm Country Park. It contains the largest group of Victorian oast houses in the world, and runs many events and craft fairs throughout the year. Beltring itself is not an identifiable community and has no more than a few houses. Nearby Laddingford is a village on the River Teise, a trout stream. It has a good pub, The Chequers, and a clutch of detached and semi-detached houses with generous gardens, which sell from £180,000 upwards.
Yalding is a lovely old village served by winding country lanes. There are several shops, a post office, a working forge, a beautiful 14th-century bridge over the River Beult and a Church of England primary school. A farmers’ market is held once a month. The settlement was once one of the main shipment points on the River Medway for cannon from the Wealden iron industry. A three-bedroom house with a handkerchief garden will cost £200,000 upwards; a substantial period property with extensive gardens and grounds, around £725,000.
The prettiness of Wateringbury is marred by the busy A26 Tonbridge to Maidstone road, which thumps through it. It has some shops, a post office and a Church of England primary school. You would have to pay over £340,000 for a newly built five-bedroom detached house; over £535,000 for a period detached house with land. The village has a few fine, stone-built Georgian houses and creeping modern development.
East Farleigh is much quieter than Wateringbury (though it is increasingly used as a rat run to Maidstone) and just as attractive with a five-arch 14th-century bridge pinning the centre together. It has a county primary school and a shop-cum-post-office run by villagers from a Portakabin in the pub car park following the loss of their post office in 1995. Small cottages cost at least £155,000. A newly built town house on the river might fetch £250,000; a Grade Two listed, four-bedroom detached house, £400,000.