This handsome, Grade II-listed bridge house sits on the River Beult in the heart of Yalding. Built in the early 18th century, the six-bedroom home spans some 3,047 sq ft internally and has been lovingly restored in recent years. Its expansive garden of established trees and rolling lawn unfolds down towards the riverbank, where one can launch kayaks along the river. Positioned on a medieval rag-stone bridge, the house sits in the centre of village life while being perfectly positioned to reach London in around an hour by train or by car.
Setting the Scene
Often referred to as the ‘Garden of England’, Kent is home to wonderfully bucolic areas like Yalding. The village was a favourite of Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, who wrote in the 1920s that “The Medway just above the Anchor is a river of dreams … If you go to Yalding you may stay at the George and be comfortable in a little village that owns a haunted churchyard, a fine church, and one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe.” For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
The handsome façade of the house is formed mostly of white painted brick and render, with a weather-boarded gable end. There is off-street parking to one side, and the house is separated from the road by a pretty, wrought iron fence.
Entry is via a small entrance porch, from which the reception hall—the main artery to the ground floor—unfolds. Basketweave parquet flooring runs underfoot and original oak beams have been left exposed. To the right of the entrance hall is the vast kitchen and breakfast room with a timber-framed double apex roof. Currently laid out for modern sensibilities, the space has oak cabinetry topped by veined stone worktops. Adjacent is a pantry and utility room with matching oak units; terracotta-tiled floors run underfoot here, as in the kitchen space.
To the left of the plan is the large drawing room, flooded with natural light care of glazing on three sides. An inglenook fireplace provides the focal point for the space, with a quarry-tiled hearth and cast iron log burner. Exposed timbers continue, and the space has been finished in neutral shades by Farrow and Ball, and a light, deep-pile carpet.
A flight of stairs leads from the reception hall down to the family room. Currently used as a home office, the space has hardy stone flags and French doors leading to a terrace and the garden beyond. There is also a guest WC on this floor.
The lower-ground floor is home to a large games room; the perfect space for entertaining, the space is finished with a porcelain tiled floor and has views over the side of the house. There are also two large cellar rooms accessed via the other side of the house.
The primary bedroom occupies a commanding corner position on the first floor, with views over the bridge and Yalding beyond. Dual aspect windows cast light over exposed floorboards and original timbers, and the space has been finished in a pretty blue paint. Beyond built-in wardrobes is an en suite; recently renovated, the space has has been clad with glazed green tiles and a marble floor. There is a rainfall shower, WC and vanity.
Adjacent is a guest bedroom, which overlooks the bridge. The room has been finished in a soothing yellow and has a cream, deep-pile carpet. The first floor is completed with a third bedroom or study, and a large family bathroom with soaking tub, separate shower, vanity and WC.
There are three further bedrooms on the second floor which overlook the bridge or the quiet rear gardens. All have been recently redecorated in calming shades of white.
The Great Outdoors
From a stone terrace, a flight of steps leads down to the formal garden. The gardens, spanning just under an acre, are a private oasis in the centre of village life. Surrounded on three sides by water, the grounds compromise a formal lawn, flower beds and a variety of trees including purple beech, maple, weeping willow, oak and a stand of birches. From here, a wild meadow with apple, cherry, plum and pear trees is the perfect spot for local wildlife. Beyond this, the riverbanks to the north-east and south-west boundaries allow direct access to the water, with a spot from which one can launch a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.
To the side of the house is an off street parking area for two cars.
Out and About
Yalding has great local amenities; there is a library, doctors surgery, village shop and village farm providing weekly box deliveries and several annual events, including a Yuletide Market and yearly village picnic with apple-picking and juice pressing. For the food-inclined, the Boathouse Pub, Walnut Tree and Tickled Trout (owned by the Hush Heath Estate) all date back to the 17th century, whilst the Woolpack Inn dates from the 15th century. Yalding’s Cricket Club is still active, with their first recorded game in 1798.
The area is perfect for rambling or walks with four-legged friends, with the Yalding Fen and Yalding Lees on the doorstep of the house and river walks along the Beult and Medway. The Greensand Way runs through the village on its way from Haslemere, in Surrey, to Hamstreet in Kent. There is also a nearby Waitrose in Paddock Wood.
The Mereworth Winery and Balfour Winery are both a short drive away, as is the Bedgebury Pinetum Forest and Water Lane Walled Garden (led by Nick Selby and Ian James). Leeds Castle and grounds, which is host to a sprawling castle, gardens and year-round events, is within reaching distance, as is the historic market town of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
There is an exceptional array of schooling in the area, with Yalding Primary School, St Helens Montessori, Somerhill Independent School, Kent College Prep and Sutton Valence catering for juniors. Local secondary schooling (both state and private) is well-regarded throughout Kent; local options include The Judd School, Tonbridge Grammar School, and further grammar and comprehensive schools in Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone Sevenoaks and King’s Rochester.
Yalding Station is a 3-minute drive or a short walk from the house, and runs regular services to London Bridge in under an hour. The area has quick and easy access to the M25 and M20, and the Channel Tunnel is a 45-minute drive, with easy access to France via car.
Council Tax Band: G
With Saxon origins, the name Yalding derives from the Olde English word ‘Ealdingas’, which roughly translates as ‘the place of the Ealda’, with the Ealda being the peoples who were settled in the area until the 9th century. By 1212, the town was recorded as ‘Ealding’, later mutating to ‘Yaldinge’ by 1642.
There are three bridges in the village, with the Twyford Bridge (meaning twin ford, where there was originally a double crossing of the two rivers) being one of the finest medieval bridges in the south-east of England. A principal shipment point along the River Medway, the wharf was used for transporting cannon, fruit and vegetables, many of which were grown in the local area.
The 13th-century St Peter and Paul’s Church is a fine Grade I-listed chapel in the village, still in use to this day.
The medieval records of Yalding are so complete that it has been used as a history case study for many secondary schools, aptly named the ‘Yalding Project’.
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