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Things to do in Eynsford, Kent

View of Eynsford © Jeffrey Darlington

Eynsford is a pretty Kentish village in the lovely Darenth valley. Its ancient ford and a hump-backed mediaeval bridge across the river are still in use.

A delightful view of the ford and bridge opens up from the turning off the main street opposite the church, on the road to Lullingstone and Crockenhill.

Lorries and coaches bound this way have to splash through the ford, as the bridge is only wide enough for light vehicles. The riverside here is a nice place to linger and watch the ducks, and children can paddle in the shallow water.

Listed Buildings

Eynsford contains many listed buildings. The local flint is featured as a building material, together with brick, exposed beams, weather-boarding and steeply pitched clay tiled roofs.

The Church of Saint Martin is built of flint in the Norman and Early English styles, the oldest part dating back to 1100. Its tower has a wood-shingled spire and a clock surrounded by a quotation from Browning: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be".

Norman Castle Ruins

From the main street towards Farningham, a half-hidden lane opposite the Castle Inn leads to the castle ruins, in the care of English Heritage. This is one of the earliest examples of a Norman stone enclosure castle in England.

The site had been in use since the Saxon period and was once surrounded by a moat. The lower parts of the walls survive from the original 1088 building, the rest of the structure mostly dating from 13th century re-building.

Looking across the valley from the castle you can see Eynsford Hill, the house that Arthur Mee (1875-1943) built for himself. Mee was the enormously successful author of The King's England, "the most complete picture of a country ever presented to its inhabitants".

This pioneering series of county guidebooks was begun in 1936 and is now being re-published. Mee's other productions included the magical ten Red Books of the Children's Encyclopaedia that were read and enjoyed by many thousands of children in Britain and abroad, and the weekly Children's Newspaper (1919-196').

Composers

Other famous Eynsford inhabitants included the composers Peter Warlock and E J Moeran, whose roistering antics scandalised the village in the 1920s. The stay in Eynsford was productive for Warlock, whose songs have found a place in the English art-song repertoire.

Moeran was working on his gloomy Symphony in G Minor, which he only finished in 1937 after moving to Ireland. His dreamy Violin Concerto of 1942 is unjustly neglected nowadays.

The village has several pubs and is popular with walkers. It lies on the Darent Valley Path, which follows the river from its source in the Greensand hills south of Westerham, to the Thames. The section of the path from Eynsford to Shoreham via Lullingstone is popular.

Other paths climb the steep side of the valley to the south-east and give almost aerial views down on the village.

Description by Jeffrey Darlington

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Images of Eynsford


View of Eynsford © Jeffrey Darlington
View of Eynsford © Jeffrey Darlington
View of Eynsford © Jeffrey Darlington
View of Eynsford © Jeffrey Darlington

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