Fri. Jan 15th, 2021

Let’s move to eastern High Weald, East Sussex and Kent: not fashionable, but fabulous

It might be under the radar but it’s packed with magical old villages and market towns

What’s going for it? Rudyard Kipling came to the eastern High Weald to escape. It’s that kind of place. He was, at the time, perhaps the most famous author in Britain. So famous, in fact, that after publication of The Jungle Book, coach parties would come daily to gawp at his family home in Rottingdean. After the untimely death of his daughter Josephine, this became intolerable, so in 1902 he bought 33 acres in Burwash as a comfort blanket in which to hide away. He chose well. The eastern High Weald is at once in the thick of things, London on its doorstep, yet when you’re standing in a field off the B2096, you might as well be in the Gobi desert. Unlike the western Weald, sliced by the A23, gouged by Gatwick and carpeted with commuters’ suburbia, its other half south of Tunbridge Wells is somehow under the radar, spurned by today’s escapees for more fashionable spots such as Hastings. What a treat they’re missing, this area of outstanding natural beauty, without any big moves but instead gazillion square miles of deeply English landscape: wooded hills, duck ponds, oast houses and tile-hung villages, as if art-directed for Country Life. Kipling country.

The case against Conservative with a small c, though you can find edgier spots deep in its folds. Not cheap, though mildly cheaper than many other places hereabouts.

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