The Kent village of Hadlow stands out due to a 170ft tall tower built by Walter Barton May in 1835 as an addition to Hadlow Castle, which had been built by his father. The tower, which can be seen from miles around, is one of the largest follies in Britain, while the well maintained brick-paved high street includes two Tudor inns and a pharmacy that can be traced back to at least 1856.
Based in the Medway valley near Tonbridge, Hadlow is recorded in the Domesday Book as Haslow and was in the heart of the Mid Kent hop-growing and brewing country up to about 50 years ago. Beer enthusiasts can learn all about Hadlow’s part in the beer making process by taking part in the Hadlow Hop Tour and takes in the Hop Picker’s Memorial, the original site of The Maltings and The Close Brewery, and twin oasts.
Hadlow is now best known for housing Hadlow College of Agriculture and Horticulture, which is based on the southern side of the village, promotes the traditional farming methods of Kent, and teaches students a range of land-based skills covering landscape management, garden design and sports fisheries. Hadlow College Farm Shop sells fresh produce – some of which is grown on the college’s 1,000 acre estate, and Hadlow reared meat, including lamb, beef and poultry as well as eggs from its Princess Christian’s Farm site.