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A corn mill was recorded on the river at Chartham in the Domesday Book. In the 14th century, the mill was used for fulling for the textile industry. In the mid 18th century, it changed again to play a significant role in the Kent papermaking industry.
The village church, St Mary’s, dates from the mid 13th century. The brass of Sir Robert de Septvans, a crusader knight who died in 1306, is considered to be one of the finest in the country.
The Stour Valley is known for its wildlife and in particular, the populations of grey heron to be seen along its bank. This rural part of East Kent is most famed for its orchards offering fine displays of pink and white blossom in spring.
No Man’s Orchard, on the North Downs Way near Chartham Hatch, features traditional fruit trees which are larger than the more common modern varieties. Blossom and windfall fruit attract wildlife to the grassland.
Nearby Larkey Valley Wood Nature Reserve suffered severe tree damage in the Great Storm of 1987, but the woodland has been regenerating well. The ancient woodland’s wildlife is as rich as ever including badgers, dormice, hawfinches and nightingales. In spring, look out for carpets of wood anemone and violets.