Six miles south-west of Maidstone, the village of Yalding is situated at the point where the Rivers Teise and Beult join the Medway in what was once the heart of Kent’s orchards and hop gardens. As a result there are three bridges including the Twyford Bridge, one of the finest medieval bridges in the south-east of England.
An example of a dumb bell village, the two parts of Yalding are joined by the U-shaped high street with each section housing picturesque buildings including the church, Court Lodge and Cleaves, the seventeenth century school house where the Kent poet Edmund Blunden was brought up.
A traditional farmers’ market is a regular highlight in the village’s social calendar and takes place on the third Saturday of every month in the high street with a range of products including fruit and vegetables, bread, cheese, meats, fruit juices, honey and chillies. Around 18 stalls take part, most of them from a six mile radius of Yalding, while a refreshment stall, run each month by a different village organisation, serves bacon and sausage rolls, fruit juices and tea and coffee.
Good food and drink can also be found at pubs such as The Walnut Tree, a fifteenth century pub and restaurant that used to be a beer house until about 1930 before the restaurant was established by merging two cottages, and The Woolpack Inn, which has a newly refurbished garden.
The village hosts the annual raft race from East Peckham Lock downstream to The Anchor at Yalding. During the two and a half mile race, the crews are bombarded with water, soot, dyes, flour and other missiles by supporters and opponents.