My favourite past time is walking with my husband and 2 dogs exploring the Kent countryside. Our walks often taken a lot longer than they should as Pete is stopping to take photos and I'm stopping to get inspiration from the patterns and textures found in nature. The changing seasons always brings something new to inspire me. When I started naming my collections they had to take the name of some of the woodlands around my home in Yalding.
Many of the woods you can explore for yourself if you find yourself visiting this part of Kent. I've tried to put links in to help you plan your walks.
Amsbury Wood is in the neighbouring village of Hunton and if you are walking the Greensand Way, then you pass through this ancient woodland. The Greensand Way offers outstanding days out for long distance walkers tackling the whole route from Haslemere, in Surrey, through to Hamstreet, in Kent and is named after the sandstone ridge, which crosses Hampshire, Surrey and Kent – one of a series of ridges running west to east across South East England.
During Covid 2021 Pete and I walked the entire length of the Kent Greensand Way.
Beech Wood is one of 5 smaller woods which join together near Nettlestead Green. The bluebells are stunning in the Spring and the Hop Pole pub does excellent Sunday Roasts . The Beech Wood range encompasses bangles and cuffs with the Kara Jewellery unique tree bark texture.
The beautiful Cinderhill Wood is found in the village of Matfield, just outside Tonbridge. A network of paths and bridleways crisscross through the heathlands and grasslands, woodland and streams and is a haven for birdlife. A total of 60 bird species can be seen at Cinderhill, including the Turtle Dove which possesses its own Biodiversity Action Plan.
The green woodpecker can be seen searching for insects, and Kestrels can be seen hovering over their prey. Willow tits dart in and out of the streamside woodland as they build their nests in the snags of deadwood. Many reptiles also make a home at Cinderhill, including slow worm, common lizard, and the adder. There is a car park for anyone wishing to visit this beautiful English woodland.
Small, dainty, tree bark textured leaves which have been hand carved before being cast, make up the Greybury Wood Collection. Greybury Wood is around a 20 minutes walk from Yalding. Up a steep hill, which keeps Charlotte fit, and over fields with the most amazing views across the Garden of England. The woods themselves are a favourite for walking the dogs and picking chestnuts. It is a great place in early autumn to collect the prickly sweet chestnuts which are ideal props for a jewellery photo shoot.
Henhurst Wood is only small and is one of the frequent woods we visit on our walks with the dogs as it forms an easy 45 minute walk through the fields surrounding our house and is a favourite route to take after the first frosts so we can pick some sloes to make our own sloe gin! My favourite sloe gin recipe is the River Cottage recipe. I’ve also tried it with damsons.
All my tree bark textured rings are part of the Trap Wood Collection and each style of ring is named after a tree. Trap Wood is another small wood next door to Henhurst Wood near Yalding, Kent. Many years ago Yalding used to be a major hop growing region with families coming down from London to stay in hoppers huts for the summer to pick the hops. With the changing of the times the local farms have changed to soft fruit growing under polytunnels. Small woods like Trap Wood are very important to keep the balance between nature and farming and to support the local wildlife.
Waregraves Wood is a collection of tree bark textured gifts and tableware. Walks along the River Medway are to be treasured for their natural beauty, peace and tranquility. Waregrave’s Wood is between Wateringbury and Teston and provides some shade on a hot summer’s day. Teston Bridge Country Park combines 32 acres of grazed meadow, river walks, a children’s play area and of course the picturesque 14th century Teston Bridge. This country park makes the most of its beautiful natural setting on the banks of the Medway and is an ideal place to bring a picnic.
Hope you've enjoyed your tour of some of the local woods surrounding Yalding!
Other things to do in Yalding
Enjoy a pint and food at the quaint The Walnut Tree Pub, in the centre of Yalding by the War Memorial
Stop for a cup of tea and cake at Yalding Tea Rooms.
Sit by the river and watch the world go by whilst enjoying something to eat and drink at The Boathouse, Yalding
Teapot Island Cafe has great food on the River Medway opposite The Boathouse and has an incredible tea pot museum which is well worth a visit.
Paddle Cabin, East Peckham if you fancy having a go paddle boarding. There's also a cafe here.
Elveys Canoe & Kayak Hire on the River Medway are great for groups or individuals. They are often fully booked so get in touch early if you'd like to do this.
Yalding Lees - This is a popular place to park on a sunny day and enjoy a picnic down by the river or walk along the Medway.
For something different you could visit the Alpacas at Kenward Place
Yalding might only be a small place but there is plenty to do. This is only a sample of things to enjoy here and of course we have amazing footpaths if you too enjoy walking.