Edenbridge Tourist Guide

Introduction

Discover all the fascinating places to visit in and around the town of Edenbridge!

Edenbridge is a town and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent. It lies on the Kent/Surrey border and Edenbridge has a population today of approximately 8,000. The town is located on the upper floodplain of the River Medway: the latter's tributary, the River Eden, gives the town its name, deriving from the Old English ‘Eadhelmsbrigge’ (‘Eadhelm's Bridge’). The name appears to be from the bridge over the Eden, but after the Romans left a Saxon, Eadhelm, became leader of the local people and he built a bridge over the river which was unnamed at the time. So the village was named EadhelmBridge which was shortened to Edenbridge, from where the river name is derived.

Edenbridge’s history
Evidence of settlement comes from an early Iron Age camp on the crown of Dry Hill, lying about two miles south-west of the town on the Edenbridge-Lingfield parish boundary. The camp, which was built about the 1st century BC, covered 24 acres and was enclosed by three embankments with intervening ditches. It served as a strongpoint to which local tribes people retreated in times of danger, most of them probably living in scattered farmsteads on the fringe of the hill where they practised iron-smelting together with subsistence farming. The old part of the town grew around the Roman crossing point of the river. The High Street, which cuts a straight line through the town, was originally a section of the Roman road leading from London to Lewes. Built about 100AD it had the twofold purpose of getting iron out of the Weald more economically and of providing direct access to the surplus corn-growing areas of the South Downs. Some two miles of this road still stretches between Marlpit Hill and Dencross, most of the remainder having disappeared under the surface of fields and woodlands. In the Middle Ages it became a centre of the Wealden iron industry. There are many mediaeval timber buildings in the town, one of which houses the Eden Valley Museum. With the coming of the railways the town expanded and the community of Marlpit Hill, north of the original settlement, became part of the town.

The church, St Peter and St Paul's, is first mentioned in a document from 1120AD, the Textus Roffensis, but the stone building is likely to have been built by the Normans just after the invasion in 1066. It was most likely erected on the site of a Saxon church. Largely rebuilt and extended in the Early English period, the double roof was originally entirely covered with Horsham Slabs.

An old legend is that the first stone bridge across the river was built because two old ladies were unable to cross the river in a time of flooding, and a trust was set up to maintain the bridge. The latest bridge was built in 1834 and provides a scenic crossing of the river.

The 1500s brought wealth to the town with the iron industry. The raw materials came from the neighbouring areas. The 15th and 16th centuries were a period of speedy development when local agriculture focused on farming for the growing London market. The excess of hide combined with the local profusion of oak as a source of tannin gave momentum to the local leather industry and later to boot-and-shoe and glove manufacture. Little evidence remains of the tanning industry, remembered now in street and place names, such as Leathermarket and Tanners Mead, although it is less than 50 years since it ceased to operate where now stands the Co-op Supermarket and new ‘Tannery’ estate houses. The small town built up but suffered badly with the relocation of the iron industry to the Midlands in the early 1800s.

However in the middle 1800s the town started to recover its wealth when it became the crossing point for the north-south and the east-west railway lines, which made it a loading point for the locally produced farm goods and the first commuters. The town’s fortunes declined from the start of the 17th century; charcoal was no longer needed for iron smelting and improved transport made farming less profitable as markets further from London became reachable to feed the city. Perhaps paradoxically it was at this very time that the population started to increase. These two opposing factors led to a depression in local living standards. The beginning of the 20th century brought a turnaround. Commuting for work became a realistic option and the town continued to grow and prosper.

Edenbridge’s geography
Edenbridge is situated in the extreme south-west of Kent on the fringe of the Weald, between the greensand hills and the forest ridge of Sussex. The greensand hills, to the north, extend from Westerham through Sevenoaks towards Maidstone and are characterised by rich woodlands, widespread commons and striking valleys. These hills stand over 800 feet above sea-level.

The forest ridge, south of Edenbridge, extends from St. Leonards’ Forest, near Horsham, through Tilgate and Worth to Ashdown Forest and continues along the wooded heights around Crowborough and Wadhurst. This ridge, which displays equally attractive scenery, merges into the proper Weald of Kent towards Tunbridge Wells.

Between these two great tracts of high woodland runs the productive valley of the Medway. Edenbridge stands on the River Eden which flows into the Medway at Penshurst after it has been joined by many contributory streams from the hills on both sides. West of Edenbridge the Kent Brook and Kent Water provide natural borders between this county and Surrey and Sussex.

Local attractions

Hever Castle - come and visit this 13th century romantic castle - once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Set in magnificent gardens from the majestic formal Italian Garden and topiary, to the relaxed meanderings of the lakeside and Sunday Walk. The Water Maze on Sixteen Acre Island and the Yew Maze challenges both adults and children alike!
The stunning gardens at Hever Castle were laid out between 1904 and 1908 by Joseph Cheal & Son, turning marshland into the spectacular gardens we see today. One of the most wonderful areas of the gardens is the Italian Garden, which was designed to display William Waldorf Astor’s collection of Italian sculpture. Over 1,000 men worked on the great design with around 800 men digging out the 35 acre lake at the far end of the Italian Garden - taking two years to do so! Within four years the 30 acres of classical and natural landscapes were constructed and planted. The garden is only now reaching its full maturity and includes the colourful walled Rose Garden which contains over 3,000 plants.

Eden Valley Museum
Found in Church House in the High Street, Eden Valley Museum is a learning experience using touch screen technology and hands-on exhibits. It tells the story of Edenbridge, its people, buildings and natural environment, using children's Activities, Exhibitions, Games and Pastimes from past and present. The Museum is housed in a 14th Century farmhouse. Tel: 01732 868102 or visit www.evmt.org.uk

Edenbridge Leisure Centre in Stangrove Park. This is a multi-purpose leisure centre, run by Sencio Leisure Trust, which caters for many indoor sports - such as swimming, squash, badminton, karate and volleyball. Tel: 01732 865665

Evolution Indoor Climbing Centre is located in Lye Green, Crowborough, just 15 minutes drive from Edenbridge. It has a climbing area of over 360 square metres with bouldering, leading, top roping and abseil tower. The activities are suitable for all abilities from beginner to pro! Tel: 01892 862924 or check out www.evolutionclimbingwall.co.uk.

Hever Castle Golf Club has the Kings’ and Queens’ Championship Course, host to the Kent PGA Championship and Kent Open, which has matured over the years and, together with the Princes’ 9 holes, offers a eye-catching array of holes fit to challenge all golfers. Contact the club on 01732 701 004

If you fancy a walk around Edenbridge then try The Edenbridge Trail.

Festivals
Edenbridge Festival (Late Spring Bank Holiday) Tel: 01732-862925
Edenbridge & Oxted Agricultural Show (August Bank holiday) Tel: 01737 645843

Restaurants
Haywards Restaurant Tel: 01732 866223
Haxted Mill Tel: 01732 862914
Kentish Horse Tel: 01342 850 493
Quality Tandoori 106/108 High Street Tel: 01772 865043 or 01732 864378

Travel
The central position of Edenbridge makes it an perfect place to base and organise your trips, or stop over for a weekend in town and do some site-seeing. A car is the ideal transport, although there are train, bus and taxi services in the town. The M25 Motorway is 15 minutes away with direct routes to the North and London and the Channel Ports and South Coast.

Railway Services
There are two railway stations: Edenbridge Town Station is on the route from London via Oxted. Edenbridge North Station is on the route from Reading and Guilford through to Tonbridge. Check with National Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50.

Bus Services
Arriva Hotline Tel: 01634 281100
Metrobus East Surrey Tel: 01342 893080
KCC passenger services Tel: 01622 605935
Traveline: public transport information Tel:0870 608 2 608
Volunteer Transport Bureau – based at Edenbridge Hospital Tel: 01732 865353

Car Parks (free)
Parking is available at the Leathermarket (access from the High Street, south end); Market Yard (access from Croft Lane); Co-op for shoppers to store, access from Mont St. Aignan Way; Leisure Centre car park (access from Wellingtonia Way). More parking on-street can be found in Church Street.

Local Health Services
The Edenbridge Medical Centre is located in Station Road. Tel: 01732 865055
Edenbridge & District War Memorial Hospital including the Minor Injuries Department is on Mill Hill and is open from 08.30 - 18.30. Tel: 01732 862137/863164

The Doctors' Group practice at West View, Station Road, has the following surgery hours - mornings from 8am; afternoon/evenings from 4pm.

Boots the Chemist are at 27 The High Street Tel: 01732 863215.
Paydens Ltd are at 36 High Street Tel: 01732 863211

Southview Dental Centre, Station Road, Tel: 01732 865021
Stangrove Court Dental Practice, 2 Stangrove Court Tel: 01732 863061



Disclaimer: The information in this Tourist Guide has been researched from a variety of sources including books, articles and online information. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information the reader should check any specific facts for themselves before making any decisions based upon the said information.
 

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015