HEVER is one of the area’s tourist attractions, popular with visitors en route to Hever Castle, where Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn. The village is unspoilt and is an extraordinarily small place to command its own railway station. Consequently, a house here will cost around £150,000 more than a similar property in Edenbridge. A modern, chalet-style three-bedroom bungalow would fetch between £300,000 and £400,000; a detached four-bedroom house, £600,000; a period farmhouse with land, £1.5m, if one was to become available as they tend to stay in the same family for 30 years or more. There is no cheap property in Hever, but the least expensive are the former labourers’ cottages from the Astor estate. These have been sold and, as the locals put it, ‘tweed up’ by their new owners. The village has a church, a few houses, a golf course and the Henry VIII pub. Beyond a massive stone gateway you enter the drive to Hever Castle and its strange mock-Tudor village, which is hired out for conferences. In high summer, plays and concerts are held in the Italian gardens; in winter a Christmas Fair raises money for the local church and school.
Hever’s Church of England primary school has such a good reputation that it reverses the usual demographic trend. Instead of children being bussed from village to town, children from Edenbridge are brought to Hever. Locals, however, have had to fight to keep the school from being closed. Village life is lively though there are no shops and the nearest post office is three miles away in Edenbridge. Horticultural shows and WI markets are held in the village hall. Although Hever proper is small, the parish has 800 names on the electoral roll and is quite far flung. As there is nothing for teenagers to do, it is probably just as well that the population consists of solicitors, commuters, retired people and minor landed gentry.