Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Lockdown look back #1: May 2017 - Eynsford, Kent (Part I)

Since posts about what we got up to when we were still allowed to go outside are proving rightly popular at the moment, I figured I would jump on the bandwagon with my own series detailing some of the places I've been to during my 3½ year hiatus from the blogosphere.


So to begin let me take you back to May Day 2017, which found me in the picturesque Kent village of Eynsford in the Darent Valley, for a third date. Situated next to the River Darent, while only 6 miles from Dartford we were still nevertheless in the heart of the Kent countryside.

We had arranged to meet at 12 o'clock at The Five Bells, one of four pubs to be found in the village (the decline of public houses seems to be mercifully low in Kent compared to Essex and other parts of the country, going by my experience) but unfortunately upon arriving first I discovered it was not open until 1pm.  Fortunately a second pub, The Castle Hotel, was only two doors down and happy to have me in - although I was the only person in the place (other than the owners and their dog)!  My date arrived shortly afterwards, having also gone through the same process of elimination on the pub front as I had done, and we settled down for a drink.  A few more people came in as lunchtime approached but we had agreed to eat elsewhere so headed off after about half an hour's chatting.

Our next destination and another reason for choosing Eynsford as a meeting place was the ruins of Eynsford Castle, a medieval fortification dating back to the 11th century (although an even earlier Anglo-Saxon settlement had also existed prior to then).  Quite a substantial ruin (again for someone used to far less extensive examples in their neck of the woods) it has a fascinating history and lovely views across to the Darent Valley.  Accessed via a small residential lane directly opposite The Castle Hotel and hidden away behind the village hall(!) it was a real undiscovered gem.

The following pictures are either sourced or my own:

The entrance bridge (constructed 1967) over the moat.

My view of the solar undercroft (living & sleeping quarters, probably for the bailiff).

The remains of the solar undercroft's fireplace. 

Another set of original steps accessing the solar undercroft...

... which I did not attempt to descend!

The original, "Great", kitchen with views of the Darent Valley beyond.

After a good look around and with photos taken we went off in search of lunch, which was to be found at the nearby Riverside Tearooms.  I can't recall now what we had but it was a nice little bijou place with good food and proved very popular.


When you round the corner from the entrance you get an idea of where it takes its name from:


A charming 17th century bridge links the high street to roads leading along the River Darent to the M20 or up the Darent Valley to the M25, with a ford running alongside for larger vehicles unable to use the bridge.  It was over this bridge and along the riverside walk that we went after lunch, on our way to our second destination - the next village of Farningham.

You'll be able to read all about our afternoon there in part two of this post, as I think this one has gone on long enough!  Stay tuned for the next instalment...


  1. Eynsford is such a beautiful village, steeped in history too. Will have to visit again soon.


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