Paddock wood is an interesting small town with an array of independant shops, cafes and an early Victorian station which opened in 1842. The arrival of the station put Paddock Wood firmly on the map turning it from a village to a town in a little under 50 years. Hop pickers traveled in their droves from London for their annual hop picking holidays with some settling in the area permanently.
Paddock Wood History
On this walk which starts outside the station, you will see several oast houses dotted along your walk. They are a wonderful reminder of the hop picking hey day when the hops were taken to the oasts for drying before being sent to the brewery. The walk takes you from the town through woodland, orchards and open countryside. Paddock Wood has always been known for fruit picking which continues to the present day with suppliers shipping fruit from Paddock Wood throughout Europe.
You’ll pass the church of St Andrew’s shortly after the station. Constructed in 1860, the church was destroyed by a stray bomb on the 4th November 1940. The ragstone from the original church was recovered and used in the construction of the church that stands there today.
As you leave the bustle of Paddock Wood behind you’ll have the opportunity to spot plants and wildlife. In spring the woodland floor is coated with bluebells, there is blossum on the orchard trees and there are tadpoles in the ponds that you will walk past. In the summer look out for orchids, lush green pastures and blue skies, in the Autumn fruits on the trees, crunching leaves in the woods and the autumn breeze. In the winter beautiful frosty branches, patchwork fields showing the last of the snow and a winter wonderland of ice covering the rooftops of the oast houses.
Towards the end of your walk you’ll pass Paddock Wood cemetery. Charles Dicken’s daughter Dorothy is buried here, if you stop by you’ll be able to see her headstone.
Before you head off don’t forget to stop off for a bite to eat at one of Paddock Woods pubs or cafes. The John Brunt VC pub is located near to the station as well as several cafes and coffee shops in town.