Wittersham

Wittersham Tourist Guide

Introduction

Wittersham is located between Rye and Tenterden on the B2082, four and a half miles south of the latter town, lying on the high ground of the Isle of Oxney which was once an island surrounded by sea water.


The village sign has the image of a Danish longship incorporated into the design. It is believed that the Danes occupied an area of the Isle of Oxney in AD 892, when they invaded Appledore, as it offered a vantage point to monitor the soldiers of Alfred the Great who were camped at nearby Newenden. In 1032, the manor of Wittersham was given with the consent of King Canute, to the church of Christ, Canterbury. Later it was assigned by licence to the Master and Fellows of All Saints College, Maidstone.

In the village there is an attractive 13th century church - St John the Baptist. This Grade I listed church shows evidence of a building from the Early English period. There is one remaining traditional pub The Swan, serving real ale.

 

Stocks Mill, about one mile away from Wittersham on the B2082 is a fine example of a post mill, being built in 1781, the largest of its type in Kent. The white-weatherboarded mill, now Grade II listed, is thought to have been moved from another site. The mill was operated for 120 years, but towards the end of the last century, the demand for locally milled flour declined, and that for factory ground increased. Although the mill is no longer in production it is open to the public on Sunday afternoons in the Summer and Bank Holidays 2.30 - 5.00 from May to September. The exterior structure has been fully renovated with great trestle and sweeps in position. This mill is the tallest post mill in Kent and has superb views from the top floors. There is also a small museum display. +44 01797 270295

 

During the First World War, there was a mooring site for airships in Wittersham and the village housed a key listening post for downed pilots over the channel during the Second World War. All that is left now is a small concrete house and a few craters dotted around from attacks by the Luftwaffe and several doodlebug (V1) strikes.

 

There is a popular and well-attended Community Market every Tuesday morning in the Village Hall from 9 - 11am. Fresh food including milk, cream and cheese, speciality food, crafts, Fair Trade goods and Post Office facility for pensions, car tax, foreign currency etc are available together with refreshments. The main shopping centre is in Tenterden to the north, or Rye to the West. The nearest trains run across the Romney Marsh from Hastings to Ashford, and can be caught at Appledore .

 

K&ESR Stations - Wittersham Road Station

About one mile away from the village on the Rolvenden road is the small station of Wittersham Road with its steam trains . This is on the Kent and East Sussex Railway, with trains travelling to Tenterden , Northiam and also to the castle at Bodiam. This original station site was mainly cleared by British Railways but for the reopening in 1978 the railway provided a station platform using coping stones from Heathfield station in Sussex. The platform footpath is flanked by railings retrieved from another station on a Stephens' railway, Cranbrook and lamp standards from Ashurst and Cowden. The Station Nameboard also originated from Cranbrook. The signal box is a Saxby and Farmer type 5 box from Deal Junction, Dover built about 1882 and transported here for the opening of the rebuilt station. The yard here is somewhat extended from its old role as a busy agricultural goods yard and is currently used as the Permanent Way Headquarters for the Railway and as a relatively vandal free storage site for rolling stock in need of renovation.

 

The station building is set at right angles to the line and is similar to the original but came from the Cambrian Railways at Borth in West Wales where it had been since the 1890s. Opposite this building across the station yard, where stock coming to and from the railway is loaded, is a relic of World War II. By the picnic site the small Blockhouse was built as an ammunition store for one of a pair of 'super heavy' 9.2" rail-mounted guns that were based on the railway from February 1941 to 8th August 1944. They had a range of some 20 miles and would have been used to fire on the beaches bordering Romney Marsh had an invasion occurred.

 

Ratsbury is located in Smallhythe Road in the heart of the Kent countryside, near the historic town of Tenterden. Ratsbury has a 17th century timber-framed, thatched barn and a walled garden. There is a nursery growing and selling cottage garden plants and local crafts are for sale. Home-made cakes and cream teas are also available. Tel: +44 01580 762066

 

Smallhythe Place is a half-timbered house, built in the early 16th century when Smallhythe was a flourishing shipbuilding yard, which was the home of the Victorian actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to 1928 and contains her eye-catching theatre collection. The cottage grounds include her rose garden, orchard, nuttery, a brilliant display of wild flowers and the Barn Theatre, which holds exhibitions and regular performances of plays, music and talks. Tel: 01580 762334

 

If you enjoy beautiful gardens visit Hole Park Gardens which is an unique 15 acre private garden owned by 4 generations of the Barham family, featuring lawns, specimen trees, formal gardens, fine yew topiary and woodland gardens.

 

Perhaps you prefer a glass of wine, if so pop along to The Chapel Down Winery in Small Hythe which is home to the largest producer of English Wines. Visitors can see a new Wine and Food Store where they will find the best Kentish and English food and drink, including a range of award-winning still and sparkling wines.

 

Bodiam Ferry Co. offers river boat trips between Newenden (Kent and East Sussex railway station, Northiam) and Bodiam Castle. Rowing boats are for hire and there is a tea garden. Visit www.bodiam-ferry.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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