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Westerham

Did you know that Westerham is the town/parish with the highest number of listed buildings in the Kent Downs AONB? If you visit this small town, you can park in the town centre and just by walking along the High Street can see over 78 listed buildings. Westerham is on the very edge of Kent on the A25 and follows an ancient route along the Vale of Holmesdale, which is the long valley below the chalk ramparts of the North Downs. A settlement has been in this area from pre-roman times. The village was recorded as Oistreham in the Domesday Book, and before the Norman Conquest was held by Earl Godwin (father of King Harold). There is an excellent range of restaurants, tea shops and antique shops around the village green. Statues on the green commemorate two English heroes. One is of General James Wolfe who died in the course of his most famous victory in 1759, which captured Quebec from the French and established the new country of Canada as part of the British Empire. His childhood home, now called Quebec House, belongs to the National Trust and is open to the public www.nationaltrust.org.uk. The other statue is of Sir Winston Churchill who lived at nearby Chartwell, which also belongs to the National Trust. www.nationaltrust.org.uk . The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin is clearly visible from a distance as you approach the town of Westerham and nestles behind the north-east corner of the Green. Once inside visitors are particularly struck by the 14th Century circular staircase at the base of the tower, which is only one of two known spiral staircases of this age to turn to the left. The church also contains memorials to some of the areas famous past residents; a hanging lamp is dedicated to Sir Winston Churchill and General Wolfe is commemorated by a tablet and stained glass window.

Useful Information

For more information about Westerham see the website at www.visitwesterham.org.uk.