MARDEN has some pretty Kentish weatherboarded houses, genuinely useful shops, including a butcher, fruit and vegetable shop, and a farm shop selling locally sourced produce in what was once the court house and lock-up. There is a post office and a primary school. Two-bedroom bungalows sell for around £180,000. You might find a three-bedroom period cottage for £270,000, but a larger five-bedroom listed farmhouse will fetch £685,000 at least.
Just over four miles to the south is Goudhurst. It is set on a hilltop surrounded by orchards, cornfields and hop gardens and has lovely views across the valleys of the Low Weald. This is a classic English village with half-timbered cottages, a duck pond and a church, which is lit spectacularly at night. It is a self-sufficient community with its own primary school, shops and a tea shop for the summer visitors. A three-bedroom mid-terraced house can be bought for £195,000; a period cottage with land, from £480,000. Just over two miles to the south, there is a huge forest known as the Bedgebury Pinetum, which has one of the world’s finest collections of conifers.