The Cake - Spring 2022

A slice of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst life

A slice of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst life


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Spring 2022 | FREE

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Published by Cranbrook and

Sissinghurst Parish Council


Trisha Fermor - rt.fermor@googlemail.com


David Hobden - 01892 677741



Graham Holmes - gpholmes@hotmail.co.uk


Tally Rix - Coffee Shop Media Ltd - 01580 848555



Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council

01580 713112


Whilst every effort is made to ensure

accuracy, the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Parish Council, editor and authors cannot

be held responsible for published errors.

The views or opinions expressed do not

necessarily reflect views of the Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst Parish Council. Inclusion

of any advertising material does not constitute a guarantee

or endorsement of any products or services or claims made.


We love to hear from you. Please send all ideas for

contributions to The Cake to

rt.fermor@googlemail.com by 2 May 2022.


The Cake team is delighted to announce the

fifth birthday of this much-praised magazine

and is happy to share with you the 20th


Launched by the late Brian Clifford, it has

evolved into a quarterly magazine which

keeps its readers up to date with news so

often ignored by local newspapers.

This month, we are sadly reporting the

resignation of two councillors, Nancy Warne

and John Smith, who have both given years of

service to the parish. We wish them well.

We are saddened that our vicar, the Rev

Ann Pollington, has taken her final service

and left the vicarage. We thank her for

devoting herself to our beautiful church and to the town and wish her well in

her retirement.

Again, The Cake is outlining the very real fears for the future of St

Dunstan’s Church, the fight to re-open the former High Weald Academy and

our chairman’s view on how YOU can help Cranbrook to thrive in years to


We very much hope that parishioners will all receive their copy of The Cake,

via Royal Mail, but if not please let us know.

Cllr. Trisha Fermor, editor


Buy delicious grass fed meat reared

to the highest welfare and nutritional

standards from Paley Farm, Cranbrook.

Sustainably farmed from pasture to

plate, truly natural living. Order online

or visit the new onsite butchery at Paley

Farm, Paley Lane, Cranbrook TN17 2LX.


Inside this issue


5 Directory

7 Chairman’s Comment

8 Letters

10 Development

12 Local News

14 Club News

15 Event News

16 Support Local – spotlight

on food and drink; advice

on health and wellbeing

18 Local Comment – Helen

Grant MP, Rev Ann, parish

warden Ivor Hatcher

30 Kids’ Corner

32 Kitchen & Garden

35 Badger’s Plot

41 Parish Council Update


11 High Weald Academy – an

update and an appeal

20 Local Health – Everyday

Active Champion and

Hands of Hope

25 Save St Dunstan’s – just

£12 a year could make all

the difference

27 Wildlife Champion – Nigel

Witham and his passion for


29 Museum Matters – a new

painting joins the collection

37 Arts – local artists illustrate

storytelling in different


39 Legal Advice – divorce law


42 The Cake Chats With…

Troy Scott-Smith, head

gardener, Sissinghurst

Castle Garden

The CakeSpring 2022 3

In Pictures

Send us your snaps from in and around Cranbrook and Sissinghurst for inclusion in the next

issue. Email the editor at rt.fermor@googlemail.com

Busy bee, captured

by Alan Ford

"Dinner time!" captured

by Alan Ford

Red sky in Sissinghurst,

captured by Trisha Fermor

4 The CakeSpring 2022



A list of useful contacts in

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst


An ode to his school, this poem is written

by a pupil of the new Belle Vue School,


Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Parish Council

The Old Fire Station, Stone Street,

Cranbrook, KENT TN17 3HF

Clerk – Mrs. L. Ham

Deputy Clerk – Mrs. L. Thirkell

Deputy Clerk - Mrs. C. Bezuidenhout

01580 713112 / clerk@




Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

01892 526121


Kent County Council

03000 41 41 41 / www.kent.gov.uk

01580 713112 (10am-12pm weekdays).

A full list of over 30 venues for hire in the

parish is available from the parish office



Congregational Church,

Cranbrook: 01580 388070

St. Dunstan’s, Cranbrook:

01580 715861

St. Theodore’s RC, Cranbrook:

01580 713364

Strict Baptist Church, Cranbrook:

01580 713212

Trinity Church, Sissinghurst:

01580 852275

Vine Church, Cranbrook: 01580 712620



Electricity: 0800 727282 (24 hrs)

Gas: 0800 111 999

Water: South East Water (drinking

water) 0800 0283399, Southern

Water (waste water) 0800 820999 (24

hrs), Emergency leak 0800 0283399,

Floodline 0845 9881188 (24 hrs)


Non-Emergency Police: 101

Crime Stoppers: 0800 555111

KCC Community Warden: Adam

Osborn - 07813 695741

PCSO: Simon Humphreys -


Neighbourhood Watch Area

Co-ordinator: 01622 604395

In an emergency i.e. if life is in danger

or a crime is in progress call 999. To

request non urgent police assistance,

to report crime or to make enquiry

call 101. Non urgent correspondence

and crime can be reported via the Live

Chat icon at www.kent.police.uk


St George’s Institute, Sissinghurst:

Ursula O’Connor 01580 713938

The Parish Room, Sissinghurst: Sue

Crowe 01580 712567


The Vestry Hall, Council Chamber and

Addison VC Room, Cranbrook:


Colliers Green CE Primary:

01580 211335

Cranbrook CE Primary: 01580 713249

Cranbrook Children’s Centre:

03000 41 10 35

Cranbrook School: 01580 711800

Dulwich Preparatory School:

01580 712179

High Weald Academy: 01580 712754

Rainbow Pre School, Cranbrook:

01580 715570

Sissinghurst CE Primary: 01580 713895

Woodpeckers Pre School, Cranbrook:

01580 720195


Old School Surgery, Cranbrook:

01580 712476

Orchard End Surgery, Cranbrook:

01580 713622

The Crane Surgery, Cranbrook

01580 712260


Cramp Club, Cranbrook

Cranbrook Fire Station

Cranbrook Medical Centre, Cranbrook

Cricket Club, Sissinghurst

Parish Council office

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

St. George’s Institute, Sissinghurst

Tennis Club, Sissinghurst

The George Hotel, Cranbrook

The Milkhouse, Sissinghurst

Beautiful View

At Belle Vue, we don’t judge.

We don’t preconceive, we never

hold a grudge.

Instead, we build up diligence

and resilience.

We don’t stagnate, we

encourage brilliance.

The building.

A perfect manifestation of our

foremost goal.

To give each of our students a

place in society, whatever the

role. Along the way we will

nurture and inspire to reach

our final goal.

To help our learners achieve

whatever they desire.

Here community is of upmost


The solipsistic and indolent we

most definitely denounce. Belle

Vue is happily partnered with

many other groups, whatever

they do, we welcome them into

the loop.

So welcome to our school.

To get where you want, we will

give you the fuel. Good grades,

we will get you earning.

Belle Vue, a different way of


By Jacob

The CakeSpring 2022 5





Sadly, we have had to

say goodbye to two

councillors, Nancy

Warne, who has

done sterling work

heading up the Neighbourhood

Development Plan, and John

Smith, who led planning and

been a mainstay of Sissinghurst

activities. They have devoted

so much time and energy to

making the parish a better place

and deserve your thanks.

Our community is built on

people connecting with one

another and finding common

interests that create a glue that

makes a strong community.

Mostly this is based on giving

time to your interests which

also benefits others. In this

edition of The Cake you will see

many opportunities to share

your experiences and energies

to create a stronger community

and add to your own well-being.

Many of us are concerned

that the closure of High Weald

Academy will weaken our

community, and elsewhere in

The Cake, you will read about

the parish council’s initiative to

get it reopened.

The closure of the public

toilets has been a source of

frustration since the continued

vandalism caused TWBC to gift

the building to the parish. There

is good news on the horizon,

thanks to Cllr Colin Gilbert who

has put enormous time and

effort into re-opening them


Hopefully, this will prevent

fouling of footpaths around the

town. We will put a new wooden

Cllr Colin Gilbert has put enormous time and effort into the re-opening of the public toilets in Cranbrook.

See page 19 for more.

youth shelter in the Crane

Valley for youngsters to have

somewhere to meet, and not

wreck the WCs.

This is a huge risk with your

council tax money to try to stop

the vandalism of the toilets.

The damage cost most of all

TWBC’s budget for WC repairs.

Hopefully, the fast-food outlets

will publicise the 24/7 aspect of

their being open.

The new children’s play

equipment on the Ball Field and

Jubilee Field has caused some

upset as it is different and raised

some concerns. Councillors had

diligently sought new, exciting

equipment for the sites. They

are your elected representatives

who devote their time to the

common good, using their

expertise and contacts to come

up with the best overall solution

for the long term. Decisions are

made, not everyone is pleased,

but hopefully the majority will


Parishioners could be working

together to create wider use of

our sports’ facilities. It is good

to report that the Weald Sports

Centre, run by Fusion, is to

spend £1.17m on improvements.

Nearby, is the Weald

Cranbrook Sports Club,

previously the rugby club, which

has burgeoning membership

and needs room to expand. It

also has extensive parking.

The parish owns and manages

the Ball Field, while Cranbrook

School shares Jaeger’s field

with the sports club for rugby.

I salute Mark Lawrence and

Wellbeing in the Weald for their

efforts to increase the access to


Are you making the most of

the facilities?

Cllr Kim Fletcher, chairman

of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Parish Council


The CakeSpring 2022 7


www.bussmurton.co.uk | T: 01580 712 215

Cranbrook in


I moved to Cranbrook last

February and was keen to

get involved in the local

community and make some

new friends locally. I found

Cranbrook in Bloom whilst

searching online for local

activities and events. It was

easy to make contact, a quick

email, and I soon found myself

chatting on the phone with

Marian Cumberland who was

very welcoming and informed

me of all upcoming events.

Since then I have met some

lovely people and become

involved in various activities

such as planting flowers in the

High Street planters, tidying up

the plants on the roundabout

and making holly wreaths for

the Christmas fair. I particularly

enjoyed serving tea and cakes

at the Garden Safari in June in a

beautiful Cranbrook garden.

My experience of

volunteering with Cranbrook in

Bloom has been very positive.

I have discovered more about

Cranbrook and made some

new friends and would highly

recommend to other local

people that they give it a try.

Debbie Batstone



I understand the parish

council has come in for

some criticism regarding

the amount spent and

the choice made on the

behalf of children on the

new play equipment at

the Ball Field, Cranbrook.

As a regular user of the

playground with my

children, I agree that

the previous wooden

structure needed to be

removed, but the play

value that piece had was

enormous. There was an

area to climb, an area to

navigate, a place to hide,

a place to strive to reach,

a place to build strength,

a place to be high, a place

to be low, and the bark was

just a joy in itself – tower

building, potion making,

creatures to create etc.

While I appreciate there

was long ‘consultation’

with suppliers of

equipment, where was the

consultation with the end

users, the kids?! I know

Goudhurst Parish Council

made an awesome effort

when they replaced their

equipment, with three

alternatives drawn up

and circulated and a

vote taken. Surely

this could have

been achieved here.

Having Googled

around, it seems this

is pretty standard


While I understand

this metal structure will

be here for decades, next

time, please, please your

common sense.

Henrietta Cox

Please send

your letters to:


or by post to The Cake, Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst

Parish Council, The Old Fire

Station, Stone Street, Cranbrook,

TN17 3HF. Please note, letters may

be published in a shortened form at

the discretion of the editor.

A Street Party to Remember

Thanks once again to the talents of sisters Wendy Waters and Julie Sales, Cranbrook will be in celebration mode on 5 June, this time to

celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The pair are organising a massive street party in the High Street (which will be closed!) and we are all urged to go along and turn it

into a grand celebration for the Queen – the first monarch on the planet to have celebrated 70 years on the throne.

Bring your tables and chairs, some bunting and Union flags. There will be bands, food outlets and face painting but you can bring

your own fun as well!

Make it a day everyone, especially our children, will remember for a very long time!

Monty Woods

8 The CakeSpring 2022

We have been providing expert and

trusted legal advice to individuals and

businesses for generations.


The Cake is launching a special competition, judged by the

team, to find the best shop design in town and there will be a

trophy for the winner!

Each quarter, we will pick the winner and picture it in The

Cake. Congratulations to Mrs T Potts Sweet Shoppe at 35 Stone

Street, Cranbrook, for leading the pack this spring. A triumph

of nostalgia and fun. A trophy will be winging its way to you

shortly! TF

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All materials, components and workmanship are to comply with the

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For all specialist work, see relevant drawings.

This drawing and design are copyright of Clague LLP

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Community and

Medical Centre Latest

I updated you last year on progress with our Community and Medical

Centre and I’m pleased to report the latest.

Just to recap, the project at the

moment will contain the new

library, multi-use rooms, seating,

a large teaching kitchen, WCs,

some quiet office spaces, storage,

a plant room and bin space. Also,

the site is situated on a sloping piece

of land, so the design will use the

topography to utilise this to the best


We are still open for ideas on usage

and would welcome suggestions from

you all so that we can give as full

a brief to the professional team as


As you are aware there has been

a delay to the project due to Covid

distractions and lockdowns.

However, our GPs have been

working on suitable specifications for

the Medical centre. They have been

putting together details like the space

needed and the number of consulting/

treatment rooms. I am pleased to

report that the doctors have now

completed their specifications which is

great news. At the time of writing this,

the document was going through its

final sign off process.

On receipt of this document our

project manager will re-run the

numbers in the Business Case and was

endeavouring to complete this by the

end of February. He can begin to put

together the brief for the designer/


At last, we have the chance to push

on with your project and we are very

much looking forward to seeing it take


So, just a reminder, there is still

time for more ideas and suggestions

from you, as to what you would like to

see in your community centre. Please

let us know.

Cllr. Colin Gilbert

Fernham Homes

Recreation Ground

Play Area

2 1



The Street

Proposed Mixed Use Development, The Street, Sissinghurst

Houses “too crammed”

say critics of village


Farnol Co t

3 16

Although Sissinghurst would benefit from a

brand new village hall if Fernham Homes was

allowed to build houses in the village, the

parish council has voted against the plan.

Fernham included the attractive hall as part

of its plan for two four-bed, 15 three-bed and

two two-bed homes on the Bringloe land in

The Street.

However, the council’s planning committee

members agreed that 19 homes on the land

looked “crammed”. There was also concern

that the hall car park could be used by people

visiting the new homes. Parking is already a

big problem in the village as there is very little

off-street parking.

The proposed site is currently home to the

old village hall which many people believe

is a landmark and should be taken down and

put up elsewhere in the village. One objector

Old Star Co t

Co tage


Robin Co tage

Cats Co tage


Scale 1:500


0 5 10 15 20 25 50m

Proposed Mixed Use Development

The Street


Proposed Site Layout Plan


July 2021

Kent CT1 2BH 01227 762060

London SE1 1JF 0203 597 6112


30153A / 10





described the tin building, built more than a

century ago, as a “treasure” which should be


The site backs onto a row of listed

properties, none of which has its own parking,

and committee members would like to see

Fernham providing areas for the residents as

part of the development, as was shown on a

previous plan.

The independent watchdog, Cranbrook

Conservation Area Advisory Committee, has

also spoken out against the plan as being

“too dense” and a terraced block of three

dwellings “particularly unattractive”. Parking

arrangements are not ideal and show the

buildings, access and parking “so tight” there

is little room for additional landscaping

anywhere, particularly the boundaries. All

these concerns would have an adverse effect

on the High Weald Area of Outstanding

Natural Beauty as well as the adjacent

Sissinghurst conservation area.

The final decision rests with Tunbridge

Wells Borough Council. TF


10 The CakeSpring 2022

A Challenge to the

Department of Education

Your children will all sit on a bus for up to two hours a day to go to school unless we

get High Weald reopened. Is this what you want?


Since the announced

closure, 514 people

from the 300 square

mile catchment

area have created a

Facebook page sharing their pain

and anger over the closure: see

‘Save High Weald Academy’ on


It appears that the school will

close, so a fresh start will be

required. Any new school needs

150 new students every year to

make it viable and preferably

have it run by an Academy

Trust so the administration costs

are minimised.

Our vision is: A reopened

free school, with a new ethos

and a new start, with the

support of Cranbrook School, to

educate both the academic and

the vocational, with relevant

certificates to give students a

strong start in life, either to

work locally or go on to higher


Co-ordinated community

action across the region, in each

primary and pre-primary school

and parish council, is needed to

create a compulsive argument

to put to the Department of

Education based on:

• High Weald was a poor

performing school that was

not tackled by the Department

of Education until it was

summarily closed

The slow decline of standards

of education and behaviour

that caused people to choose

other schools

The lack of a forum for parents

and the wider community to

be involved in the direction of

the school

The future lack of community

cohesion caused by generations

of children attending schools

out of their neighbourhood

The economic and

environmental cost of bussing

700 children out, every day for

the next few generations

The under-utilisation of the

new school buildings, built for

1,050 pupils, now planned for

about 100 pupils.


Can you be the local catalyst who can pull together the

information and, if necessary, be the local spokesperson? Would

you support a local co-ordinator?

Please email reopenwealdenschool@gmail.com with your

offer and discuss with your friends, other parents, grandparents

and organisations as this will need people power and strong

arguments to change the Department of Education’s mind. We

will then co-ordinate local groups to gather the information we


Cllr Kim Fletcher, Chairman, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Parish Council

The CakeSpring 2022 11



Goodbye and thank you Mr Smith

After devoting more than 20

years to local government

– much of it representing

Sissinghurst – John Smith has

chaired his last parish council

committee meeting.

Mr Smith, 57, who was

elected for a second time to

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst

Parish Council in 2015,

had to vacate his seat in

February after moving from

the village where he was well

known for supporting many


He told The Cake it had

been his home for 28 years

and he really enjoyed his time

representing parishioners

at both levels. He cited his

year as mayor in 2012 as the

highlight of his time in local

government, particularly

entertaining Prince Edward

and his wife to lunch at the

Brew House in Tunbridge

Wells to celebrate the Queen’s

diamond jubilee.

Mr Smith, the managing

director of Weald Granary,

the largest arable co-op in

the south east, paid tribute to

his wife Rebecca, adding: “I

couldn’t have done what I did

without her support.”

The couple, who had

lived in the village for 28

years, are well known for

supporting numerous local

events including the village

fete and his setting up of the

Sissinghurst boys’ football

club in 2000. Rebecca is

renowned for her charity “K9

Angels”, which finds homes

for unwanted dogs from

Romania, and also for judging

John Smith, cookery teacher Rosemary

Shrager and wife Rebecca

the dog shows at the fete and

the Cranbrook on the Green


Mr Smith, who was born

in Cardiff, the son of a coal

miner, described himself as a

“boots on the ground man”,

preferring to “get my hands

dirty helping the village litter

pick or organising a fete”.

Although having moved

from Sissinghurst, Mr

Smith will continue to head

the committee which is

supporting plans for a new

village hall. TF

Could you

be a Parish


With the resignation of two councillors,

two seats have become available. If an

election has not been requested, vacancies

can be filled by co-opting new people.

Any person is legally qualified to hold

such office and who is willing to serve

provided they are a British citizen, or

a citizen of the Commonwealth or the

European Union, and are neither the

subject of a bankruptcy restriction order

or interim order or have, within five years

before the day of the co-option, been

convicted in the UK of any offence and

have had a prison sentence (whether

suspended or not) for a period of over

three months without the option of a fine.

Provided the person also satisfies at least

one of the following:

• Registered as a local government elector

for the parish

• During the whole of the preceding 12

months occupied as owner or tenant,

any land or premises in the parish

• Principal or only place of work during

the preceding 12 months has been in the


• Have during the whole of the preceding

12 months resided in the parish or

within 4.8km of it

• Must also be 18 years or older on the day

they take office.

Please contact the parish office by 31

March to register an interest.

Tel: 01580 713112.

Men’s Shed Opens in Cranbrook

An inaugural meeting of the Wealden Men’s Shed has been held at its new home at Cranbrook


Thanks to headteacher Will Chuter, members will be able to meet in a building on the

campus in Waterloo Road. Wellbeing in the Weald administrator Liz McLaren, who initiated

the group, welcomed about 25 potential “shedders” which, at present, are “men only”. The

organisation was founded in Australia in the 1980s and there are now more than 500 sheds in

the UK.

It was set up to help men’s health and wellbeing and to counteract isolation and loneliness.

Mrs McLaren said she had been amazed at the overwhelming number of men who had shown

interest in joining.

For further information email Liz at hello@wellbgingintheweald.co.uk or call 07921 809161.

12 The CakeSpring 2022

Plant a Tree for the Jubilee

– with Cranbrook in Bloom

We want to encourage the planting of trees

in and around Cranbrook to support The

Queen`s Green Canopy which has been

launched to commemorate her Platinum

Jubilee in 2022.

A variety of 15 different trees are for

sale from Cranbrook in Bloom, and will be

available at events throughout the year.

They are potted up and can be planted out

later in the year.

The trees you plant can be recorded

online at www.queensgreencanopy.org

and will provide a legacy in honour of the

Queen, appreciated by future generations

for years to come.

If you do not have room in your garden,

please contact Cranbrook in Bloom who

will help you source a place in or near the

town. cranbrookinbloom@outlook.com

Pictured Right from L

to R: Susan Hooper, Viv

Lowe and Jill Hooper.

How about a nice cup

of tea? The Saturday

morning drop in café

at St Dunstan's Church

has re-opened. Do

drop in!

From L to R: Cllr Colin Gilbert, hon. mayor

Linda Page and parish council chairman Cllr

Kim Fletcher.

“Iron Horse” blessed

in St Dunstan’s

“We plough the fields and scatter….” was the hymn

aptly sung in St Dunstan’s Church when a 74-year old

piece of farm machinery was blessed in January.

A few years ago, the vicar the Rev Ann Pollington,

revived the age-old tradition of celebrating Plough

Sunday by ensuring a plough was centre stage for

the blessing which dates back centuries. Worshippers

were invited to bring tools such as garden forks and

secateurs to be blessed by her to ensure a good harvest.

Roger Fermor, whose family farms near Maidstone,

had previously managed to get larger ploughs into the

Cathedral of the Weald. However, this year life was a

little easier when he brought along the British Anzani

Iron Horse which caused a lot of interest at the service

the following day. TF




The joint owner of the Providence Chapel, in

Cranbrook, parish councillor Matt Hartley,

has told fellow members he is putting the

dilapidated building up for sale.

The idea is a test to see if a potential buyer is

willing to take on the listed building without

alterations compromising its heritage. In the

past, there were several stumbling blocks to

changes, including the removal of the pews.


Controversial plans by Cedardrive Ltd to

develop Hawkhurst Golf Club, including

demolishing the clubhouse and squash

courts to build houses, a care home, a

possible community hall/doctors’ surgery

and a new relief road, have been quashed

following a Department of the Environment



A Department of the Environment inspector

has overseen an appeal by developers

Dandara Homes which was refused

permission to build 42 homes on land off

Mill Lane, Sissinghurst. Among the strong

objections was Kent Highways’ concern at

the narrowness of the road. The hearing

started on 1 February and a decision is

expected shortly.



To mark the death of well-respected

Sissinghurst villager and former parish

councillor, Denis Hemsted, his family have

presented three new youth trophies – one

for each of the three annual shows – to those

who enter the new under 16s photography

class. The shows are on 26 March, 18 June,

and 10 September.


The Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Age Concern

coffee mornings will begin again on Tuesday

8 March from 10.15-11.45am at the Vestry

Hall, Cranbrook. Everyone is welcome. A

Big Thank You to Roni Summers for her

many years of support for the charity will be

held at the hall on Tuesday 29 March from

10.15-11.45am. Organisers are urging people

to attend to show their appreciation for her

many years of hard work.

The CakeSpring 2022 13


Great Goals

for Young Club

Footie-mad youngsters

in Cranbrook are going

from strength to strength,

thanks to support

from a large number of


Girls and boys from the Cranbrook

Junior FC have been told their club

has achieved England Football

Accredited status, which co-founder

Ant Tomlinson described as “quite


The club has also received

approval as a Weetabix Wildcat

Centre and will be starting girlsonly,

five to 11 year olds, football

next month. Sponsorship has also

been secured for Little Trackers

which has allowed the club to move

indoors at the Weald Sports Centre.

The club also trialled its first football

camp during half term in February

with plans to offer more during all

school holidays. TF




Young people are the future.

They’re the doers, the dreamers

and give-it-a-goers.

Everything we do in Scouting

is shaped by our young people,

working in partnership with the

adult volunteers. They learn

valuable life skills by taking part

in games and activities, exploring

the outdoors and helping to plan

the programme.

The Weald District is currently

comprised of eight Scout Groups

in the area: Brenchley and

Matfield, Cranbrook, Goudhurst,

Hawkhurst, Headcorn,

Sissinghurst, Staplehurst and

Tenterden, with an approximate

membership of 400 young people

aged between four and 25.

Sissinghurst recently opened a

new Squirrels section, the first in

our district, which is for earlyyears

children aged four and

five. Our other groups all have

Beavers (six to eight years), Cubs

(eight to 10½ years) and Scouts

(10½-14 years), with Explorers

(14-18 years) at Goudhurst

and Tenterden, and Network

members (18-25 years) spread


The district also owns its own

campsite in Horsmonden which

each group can access whenever

they choose, for outdoor

activities or camping.

However, we do need

more volunteers at all of our

groups, both in leadership

roles and behind the scenes

as administrators, trustees

and supporters. In particular,

we would love to reopen our

Benenden group if we can form a

committee to run it.

We also really need some

leaders for our Explorer Scout

units at Goudhurst and Headcorn.

The young people in this age

group are a real pleasure to work

with as they are very independent

and proactive.

As a volunteer, you’ll learn

career-friendly skills, boost your

The Big Night Out,

Weald District Scouts

wellbeing, and make new friends.

Because volunteering at Scouts

is a two-way street – good for

young people, and good for you


Tell us what you’re interested

in, and we’ll help you find

something that matches your

skills (and the time you have


Contact us today. We’d love to

chat about what’s good for you!



14 The CakeSpring 2022


Cranbrook in Bloom Events

We look


to hearing

from all

you keen

volunteers and gardeners

wanting to showcase our

amazing town in 2022 and



Would you like to include

your garden in the

Cranbrook in Bloom annual

garden safari on 19 June?

We are seeking new

gardens for people to

visit and enjoy during our

annual safari. Small or large,

traditional or quirky. We all

know, that come June, our

current, rather bare looking

gardens, will be full of colour

and bursting with blooms.

Why not share it? Contact

Marian on 07780 526766.


Cranbrook in Bloom will

be entering the South

and South East in Bloom

competition again this year.

This involves the whole

town, nooks, crannies and


Whilst we do our best to

keep Cranbrook looking full

of colour, help from you

will make the streets clean

and colourful as well. Front

gardens, communal areas

and public spaces are all

considered and judged on

the day in mid-June. Please

help us aim for and achieve

another GOLD award again.




If there is an area in or

around the town that has

been tidied, tended or

planted up by locals please

let us know. There is a SSEIB

competition category that

we would encourage/help

you to enter.



Cranbrook in Bloom’s front

garden competition will be

judged week commencing 20

June. Please enter. We have

five different categories,

including planters and


Entry forms available from

Pages Newsagents or www.

cranbrookinbloom.co.uk from

30 May or contact Marian on

07780 526766.




As I write about plans for Cranbrook to

host a street party to celebrate the Queen’s

platinum jubilee, it is Monday February 7,

exactly 70 years ago that she succeeded to

the throne.

It is no surprise to hear that sisters,

Wendy Waters and Julie Sales, are drawing

up a list of events for a fun-packed day of

celebrations to be held in Cranbrook on

Sunday June 5.

Running from 11am to about 5pm, people

can bring their own picnic or buy from the

street food outlets. It is hoped a children’s

entertainer will be keeping everyone in

the party mood and there will be face

painting and hook the duck, as well as other


There will be an ice cream seller with

a 1960 traditional work trike. The Box of

Frogs will be playing at the White Horse,

the first at 2pm and then later in the day.

There will also be plenty of popcorn and

candyfloss as well as a big selection of food

and drinks stalls. TF


Goes Nuts!

Nuts in May is back in

Cranbrook High

Street on Sunday

29 May after a

two- year Covid


The theme will be

trees and recognising the

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Founder Gwenneth Bransby-Zachary

is looking forward to welcoming

exhibitors who reflect the permanent

theme of celebrating “anything that

grows and what you can do with it”.

There will also be a food court and

music, including the ever-popular

cover band Marvellous Mo and the

Backline Ferrets. People who would

like to help on the day are asked to call

Gwenneth on 07721 672348. TF

The CakeSpring 2022 15



Food & Drink


Gulliver’s Play Café

23 Stone Street, Cranbrook

01233 510315


Our friendly chefs love cooking from scratch

with fresh ingredients, and definitely don’t

do ‘pop and ping’ frozen microwave meals.

Where possible, we buy our ingredients from

local farmers and suppliers because freshness

makes a difference and we love to support local

businesses. When you support your friends, they

look after you too – that’s our principle. We’re

lucky to get all our meat from our neighbours on

Stone Street, EC Wilkes and Sons, and our coffee

comes from local supplier Bean Smitten.

Keeping kids safe around food is also one of

our main priorities. We have a detailed allergen

and food safety policy, meaning grown-ups can

relax during their stay. If you or your little one has

a particular dietary requirement, don’t be afraid

to ask. We’re also proud to have been recently

nominated for Best Café in the Taste of Kent



Aldo’s Sandwiches

7 Stone Street, Cranbrook

07812 787307


Sandwiches made with love right in the heart

of Cranbrook. Freshly made, just for you, visit us

and create your own personal sandwich. Choose

from a variety of breads, pick your fillings, salads,

sauces and chutneys or choose from our specials

board. We also offer soup, toasties and paninis

if you fancy a warm option. Gluten-free bread is

available too.

People are also raving about our coffee. We

use award-winning coffee beans from local

coffee roasters, Bean Smitten. Coupled with our

Italian made Sanremo coffee machine, you’re

guaranteed the perfect cup.

If hot chocolate is more your thing then you’ll

love ours with cream, marshmallows, chocolate/

caramel sauce and more chocolate!

Born and raised in North London and now settled

in the beautiful Kent countryside, Aldo is a

husband and dad to three daughters. He trained

at the prestigious Leith’s School of Food & Wine

and is looking forward to welcoming you to his

shop on Stone Street.


Paley Farm

Paley Lane, Cranbrook TN17 2LX

01580 891046



Paley Farm is home to an 800-acre mixed

livestock farming business providing sustainable,

ethical and grass fed meat. Located just north of

Cranbrook, we work with sustainable mentality

and regenerative practices.

From our pasture to your plate, a delicious range

of meat all bred and reared at our farm to the

highest welfare and nutritional standards. Our

methods ensure you will experience some of the

best tasting meat you will ever buy.

Our meat is expertly prepared by Peter onsite

at the farm, so not only do you get to see where

your meat comes from, your food also has the

lowest possible food miles. As part of our team

at the farm, Peter is one of very few butchers that

is aware of the careful planning that goes into

rearing and managing livestock to ensure that

their diet is transformed into the very best meat.

We offer free local delivery and national courier

service, just order online. Better still come along

to our farm and recently expanded butchery to

say hello and see what’s on offer!

16 The CakeSpring 2022



Health & Wellbeing

Correct Posture

Through Pilates

Mary-Therese O'Connell

Achieve Health

07447 426243



West Road, Goudhurst, TN17 1AA

Pilates is for everyone. It’s not

about pulling out a mat and

doing an hour everyday – mind

you that would be great, but

rather making small changes

throughout your day. This helps

improve your posture and bring

awareness to how you move and

hold yourself.

The most important

thing in pilates is to

improve your core.

To do this, you

must pull in your

abdominal muscles

(your tummy). Imagine

a string pulling you

from the crown of your head

and lengthening through your

spine. As you walk articulate

through your foot and swing

your arms.

Pilates is about gently reeducating

your body to the

correct posture for you. We

all have different body types

and our bodies are amazing

at adapting when we injure

ourselves or if a woman has a

baby. It’s extraordinary what

we demand and expect of our

bodies and then we are shocked

when they let us down. But with

a little TLC we can get them

back functioning properly once

we get the right muscles firing

correctly, in the right order and

getting the body to realign itself


To find out more contact Mary-

Therese ex-nurse, radiographer

and Stott pilates instructor using

the details above.

Setting Goals for


Issy Szumniak

Issy Szumniak PMU & Aesthetics

07990 015103



Carriers Road, Cranbrook, TN17 3JX

Self-improvement is an

empowering thing. It’s limitless,

as are we. When we set ourselves

goals and begin achieving them

we soon realise our endless


Setting goals for me is one

of the most effective tools for

self-improvement. Whether

it be small changes or big


We are so lucky to have

amazing resources at our

fingertips, from books and the

internet to empowering podcasts,

and if you’re lucky enough,

encouraging and positive people

around you.

Not sure where to start? Begin

by identifying your goals, be

personal, business, health or

relationships, and ask yourself

where do you see yourself in six

months, one year or five years?

Once you have a clear idea you

can begin thinking about how

this can be achieved by setting

out a plan. This to me really

is putting pen to paper. Set

yourself realistic and achievable

timeframes and begin actioning.

Lastly and importantly is

gratitude. So often we forget

to celebrate the wins or really

take the time to be proud of our

achievements however big or

small. We so often quickly move

onto the next or want more

forgetting how far we’ve come or

how much we’ve achieved.

For help and advice on how to

look and feel great, contact Issy,

permanent makeup artist and

aesthetician, using the details


The CakeSpring 2022 17


Setting a National

Standard in Cancer Care

Pembury and Maidstone hospitals leading the way

on NHS backlog, says our MP Helen Grant

The Prime Minister,

Boris Johnson, and

Chancellor Rishi

Sunak, visited Kent

Oncology Centre at

Maidstone Hospital in February,

marking World Cancer Day.

I was pleased to join the tour

and was delighted to see the

progress that the Maidstone

and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

(MTW) is making on addressing

the Covid backlog. Lockdowns,

and fear of infection at hospital,

prevented many patients with

non-Covid medical conditions,

from presenting themselves for

diagnosis and treatment. Those

people are now coming forward

and one of the areas hardest-hit

has been in cancer treatment.

I am delighted to report that

MTW is setting the national

standard – with cancer patients

receiving treatment within

62 days of diagnosis – for 29

months in a row. Our trust is

one of the most efficient cancer

units in the UK and the Prime

Minister remarked upon this

achievement saying: “I want

the whole country to be able to

meet these standards”.

The trust’s chief executive,

Miles Scott, explained to us

the enormous efforts they are

making in staff, services and

facilities are paying off. MTW

has invested over £10m in

new buildings and provided 12

additional cancer consultants

for specialist care in the past

three years, with consultant

availability now seven days a


“Maidstone Hospital also has one of Kent’s three newly-elevated

46 bed hyper-acute stroke units. That means local stroke

patients are being admitted and treated faster than ever before,

which is so critical for this condition”

During the visit, Miles

and I took an opportunistic

moment to make a pitch to

the Chancellor about money

– £31.3 million pounds to be

exact. It is for a new theatre

block which would significantly

increase the trust’s orthopaedic

surgical capacity with four

state-of-the-art operating

theatres, a 20-bed inpatient

ward and a 16-bed day case

ward. Let’s see.

Maidstone Hospital also has

one of Kent’s three newlyelevated

46 bed hyper-acute

stroke units. That means local

stroke patients are being

admitted and treated faster

than ever before, which is so

critical for this condition.

As we emerge from the

pandemic, the progress being

made across the MTW Trust

for residents in Cranbrook

and Sissinghurst is significant.

I will continue to work with

Miles, and his excellent teams

in Pembury and Maidstone, to

deliver the best health services

possible for the people of

Maidstone and The Weald.

18 The CakeSpring 2022



The Rich History

of the Crane Brook

Ivor Hatcher, our long-time parish warden, takes a look at the

meandering path taken by the town’s pretty stream

Often, when I am picking cans,

bottles, bikes, and other rubbish

out of the Crane Brook, I think

of its rich history, powering

industries past.

Who would believe that the stream that

runs through the Crane Valley, from which

the name of Cranbrook derives, used to play

such an important part in the industry of the

town in yesteryear?

The stream rises at Hartley, winding its way

through field and woodland to the Tanyard,

where surface water from other areas of the

town flow into it. The Crane Brook, which

becomes Hammer Stream at Hammer Mill on

the outskirts of Sissinghurst, is a tributary to

the River Beult winding its way from Ashford

through Headcorn and on to Yalding, where it

joins the River Medway.

The Crane once had tributaries that

powered the town’s watermills at the Freight

and Baker’s Cross. These were probably

‘fulling mills’, which formed

part of the woollen industry.

In the Tanyard, John

Tooth, a hat maker, used the

power of the water to power

his hat factory. Hard to

believe that there was enough water to power

a water mill. As it flowed, it once powered

several watermills, including one at Moat

Farm, and the Sissinghurst watermill, which

was on the site of Lake Chad.

It is surprising how much the river does

rise when there is heavy rainfall. The grid

in the Tanyard prevents the river blocking

under the car park, as has happened in the

past, flooding the Old Bakery several times. I

once saw a mini car float across the car park

because the water was so high!

Toilets to Re-Open with Children’s Murals!

As you are most likely aware, we have been without public toilets in

Cranbrook for some while. This is not acceptable in such a vibrant


The parish council took over responsibility for the toilets from

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council after they had expended almost

all of their funding trying to maintain the building due to repeated

vandalism, leading to their closure.

The parish council looked at several sites in the town for suitable

temporary toilet facilities but, due to varying factors, none of these

sites proved viable.

We have decided to take the risk of opening the toilets again by

refurbishing the Ladies, making them Unisex and available 24/7. The

disabled facilities will also be opening, accessed by key. To keep costs

down, it was agreed to keep the old gents’ space closed.

We had not envisaged spending any money on the externals but

we were contacted by the Belle Vue School, whose headteacher and

pupils had commented on the poor state of toilets.

The children came up with the

idea of murals they would paint on

the outside walls and doors. They are

aware of vandalism but are happy to

make good any damage by looking at

the building on a weekly basis.

We are very pleased by their kind

offer and applaud their willingness

to support our community in such

a way.

We have decided to invest some

of your money on doing something different by

providing and having constructed a timber shelter for youngsters to

gather in the Crane Valley. This will, hopefully, distract them from

further damage to the loos. Any other constructive ideas are very


Cllr Colin Gilbert, chairman Burial Grounds and Properties

The CakeSpring 2022 19


Vicar says goodbye to

her beloved chickens!

Farewell with love

from Revd Ann

In the words of Peter Cook

and Dudley Moore:

‘Now is the time to say



Now is the time to yield a sigh.

(Yield it, yield it)

Now is the time to wend our


Until we meet again

Some sunny day’.

And so, six years and three

months after I became Vicar of

Cranbrook, it’s time for me to say

goodbye to all you lovely people

of this parish. I am retiring on

5 March after nearly 20 years of

ordained ministry.

“I will miss you all, I have really enjoyed

my stay here and loved the house and

garden, but as I was told at theological

college, vicars are in a way ‘resident aliens’

in the parish they serve”

It has been a great privilege to

enter into your lives at sad and

happy times and to enter into

the life of the community and

town of Cranbrook. I will miss

you all, I have really enjoyed my

stay here and loved the house

and garden, but as I was told at

theological college, vicars are in a

way ‘resident aliens’ in the parish

they serve. We come and reside

amongst you, for a few years or

for many, and we go and make

way for someone else to enter

that role.

The word Goodbye is, I seem to

remember reading somewhere, a

shortening of the phrase God Be

With You, and this is my prayer

for all of you, whether you have

faith or not. God be with you in

all you do in your community,

school, church and business

here in this wonderful town

of Cranbrook in the Garden of

England, sometimes called Kent!

Over the time I have been here,

I rather hope I have built bridges,

encouraged us ‘churchy folk’ to

get out of the church building

and get on with the community

building, by being a presence

in the High Street and at

community events with our stalls

selling cakes, books and plants,

and by inviting community

20 The CakeSpring 2022


organisations to come inside

the wonderful building we know

to be St Dunstan’s church for

concerts and Saturday ‘coffee

and cake time’, and much more


There is much more to be

done, but at nearly 66-years-old I

will retire and pass on the baton

to the next vicar. I hope, like any

good gardener, I have prepared

the soil well and possibly sown

some seeds of faith amongst

you. Sometimes we don’t see

the results of our planting,

but preparing the ground and

sowing the seed is always done

in the hope that, when the right

conditions come along, blossom

and fruit will follow.

To all you lovely parishioners

I look forward to reading about

your blossoming and fruit, and

do take care of your next vicar,

resident alien that he or she may


May God bless you all,

Goodbye and love from Revd Ann

A note from Revd Ann while

Cranbrook is without a vicar

The vacancy may be a long one, so in the

meantime there are four names to share with you.

If you need a priest for any reason, then please ring

Revd John Tapper on 01580 713836. If you would

like to receive Communion at home please ring

John Mulrenan, one of St Dunstan’s Readers, on

01580 714756. If you need to ask for a referral to

Nourish, our local foodbank, please contact Wes

Sargent, the minister at Cranbrook Congregational

church, who is taking over this duty. Sad to say

this is still needed as families and individuals

have their finances squeezed even more as the

year progresses. Last but not least, if you need to

book the church for a concert or event, or wish to

enquire about a wedding, baptism or funeral, then

please ring Julie Warman in the church office on

01580 715861.

St Dunstan’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) will

be meeting during the vacancy, putting together

a profile they hope will attract the right person to

feel that God is calling them to serve as the next

vicar of Cranbrook.

I do know that one of the stumbling blocks that

may mean the vacancy is longer than the normal

nine months or so, is whether the PCC can show

that St Dunstan’s is a sustainable church, able to

afford a vicar.

It does cost us all to have a vicar. We vicars

don’t come out of thin air, we have been selected

for training, trained and then housed and paid a

stipend. St Dunstan’s contribution to the Church of

England finances amounts to well over £60,000 per


Please don’t think vicars get paid that much,

but with employers’ National Insurance, clergy

pensions, housing and training etc. it all mounts up.


If you think Cranbrook should continue to have

a vicar, and I sincerely hope you do, please think

about making a donation to St Dunstan’s PCC.

Julie in the office (01580 715861) can tell you

the church bank account details. If 3,000 adults

in Cranbrook could commit to giving just £20 a

year (less than 50p per week) then that would

almost cover it, and the PCC could then tell the

Archdeacon that St Dunstan’s is a sustainable


I do think that vicars are worth more than 50p

a week, I like to think you will do too.

A Veterinary

Practice Like

No Other!

Small, family owned,


21a Stone St, Cranbrook TN17 3HF | 01580 763303

info@herondenvets.co.uk | www.herondenvets.co.uk

The CakeSpring 2022 21


Guy's Column

Welcome to Guy Pullen, head of horticulture at the charity Hands of

Hope in Hawkhurst. He will be writing a regular column on all aspects

of his job from helping people’s well-being to growing everything

from fruit to flowers

When you look beyond life’s

essentials, what sustains

you as a human being?

Friendship and human

contact; good physical

and mental health; a sense of use and

purpose? We often take these for granted,

but whether it’s through bereavement, ill

health, redundancy, family breakdown or just

plain old bad luck, living without them can be


At Hands of Hope we aim to tackle some of

life’s thorny issues by connecting people with

nature and each other. We offer opportunities

to carry out meaningful work in a beautiful

location and amongst friendly faces and in

doing so, we tackle food poverty, loneliness

and rural isolation as well as improving

physical and mental health.

Set within 23 acres of AONB land in

Hawkhurst, Hope Farm Garden is a no-dig,

organic market garden growing for food

banks, lunch

clubs and

to tackle



“We garden using the

no-dig system which aims

to preserve the incredible

life force that is soil.”

as well as providing produce for our own veg

box scheme. With only two paid gardeners

working the land, we rely on volunteers to

help us take the produce from seed to harvest

and beyond. In return we offer a life affirming

experience that you just can’t get in any other


This winter, we have expanded our

vegetable garden from 64 beds to 180 beds

and this has taken some effort. Luckily our

hardy volunteers have been keen to get stuck

in and with a relatively dry winter, the work

has run smoothly. We garden using the no-dig

system which aims to preserve the incredible

life force that is soil. For too long, it has been

seen as something that can be bagged up and

shunted around. We assume it will always just

be there for us, but as with any living system,

soil must be nurtured and protected.

No-dig gardening does just this whilst

reducing the need for watering and fertilizers.

Digging on our heavy clay is hard work, so it’s

good to demonstrate a better way.

Beyond the vegetable garden, we have an

orchard, beehives, woodland, fields, meadows

and ponds, all of which need our attention.

Every winter we lay some of the hedges in the

traditional way and this has been one of our

most popular events this year. Hedge-laying

is an art, taking many years to perfect, but the

learning has to start somewhere. After only

one day, some of our volunteers felt confident

enough to take on their own wayward hedges.

Over the next issues of The Cake, I will

focus on some of our core activities – the

joys of volunteering, learning traditional

countryside skills and more.

22 The CakeSpring 2022

Getting Active in

Cranbrook and


You may be

surprised about

the wide variety

of opportunities

available to you

locally, but as the area’s Everyday

Active Champion, I have had the

pleasure of meeting many of the

people who run these clubs and

classes. The enthusiasm of the

instructors and coaches makes

me feel really positive about the

future health and happiness of

our community.

Although most of my focus

remains on finding opportunities

for people who are not currently

as active as they would like to

be – such as Wellbeing Walks

– I have also been chairing a

forum for sports clubs, in order

to ensure we can offer the best

service possible to our residents.

Now that spring is here, it’s a

great time to start thinking about

getting out to try a new activity

or sport, writes Mark Lawrence

Another big part of my role

is promoting the available

activities through the Tunbridge

Wells page of the Everyday

Active website, which also

hosts a wealth of advice for

anyone looking to make a

key lifestyle change: www.



However, if you feel you need

more support in setting goals for

a healthier lifestyle, one of my

colleagues in the One You service

will be waiting to take your call.

The service offers help on things

such as weight loss, getting more

active, drinking less and stopping

smoking, and we are hoping to

re-open the Cranbrook clinic


You can call 01892 554411 or email



Cranbrook Bowls Club, Ball Field

TN17 3JN


07970 875069

Cranbrook Juniors Football Club,

Rammel Field TN17 3JW


Cranbrook Sports Club, Tomlin

Ground, Angley Road TN17 2PN


01580 712777

Men’s Hockey (Newenden

Nomads) Cranbrook School,

TN17 3JD


Sissinghurst Tennis Club, Jubilee

Field TN17 2JA


Weald Tri Club



Begginers2Runners, Tenterden –


Cranbrook Joggers –



07908 320058

Cranbrook Pickleball

07702 126571

Fitness Boxing, Wellbeing

in the Weald


07961 669 575

Weald Sports Centre, Angley

Road TN17 2PN

01580 710720

And if you want to be added

to my list of providers, drop

me an email: mark.lawrence@


The CakeSpring 2022 23





Town and Country

Travel in Style

Business and Social Pleasure


“We care for all in the Community!”

Allows you to Drink like a Lord

Leave Like a Lady!

To Book Text: 07785 11 20 21 or Call: 01580 441 302

Email: book@elbaprivatehire.com






•Toe Nail Trimming • Diabetic Foot Care

• Fungal Nail Treatment • Corn Removal

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Appointments on request

Tel: 07443871266

Email: clairsfootcare@gmail.com

Private Parking

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24 The CakeSpring 2022


Can you be a Friend

to St Dunstan’s?

A question posed to us all in Cranbrook by John Williams,

membership secretary of the church’s friends’ group;

“How would you feel if you found St Dunstan’s Church

in the same dilapidated state as the Providence Chapel?”

Why, I wonder,

should the

relatively few


who regularly

attend the church bear the brunt

of the considerable expenditure

involved in keeping such a

magnificent building in a good

state of repair?

Indeed, some Christians might

argue that they would be freer

to celebrate their faith without

the encumbrance of having to

maintain any church building.

St Dunstan’s, together with the

windmill, must be of considerable

help in contributing to the

significant level of tourism

within the town. I think that

most of us like to know that the

building is there, even if we do

not go through the doors very

often. Many of us like to look at

the time on the clock, hear the

bells ringing in the tower, attend

the occasional wedding, funeral,

memorial service or baptism, or

the annual Remembrance Day

service. We take it for granted

that the church will always be


I know that our vicar would

like to open up the building even

more, so that it can be a real

focal point for all the Cranbrook

community, as it would have been

centuries ago.


How can we help? We could all

become Friends of St Dunstan’s

(FOSTD)! We are not committing

ourselves to spending hours in

church, but simply wanting to

help keep the building safe, clean,

dry and open, and to be ever more

beautiful for generations to come.

A minimum donation of £12 per

person per year would really

encourage the small committee

of trustees to continue their

work, helping keep the church

building open and available to

the wider community.

In recent years, FOSTD

have, amongst other projects,

contributed money to the

various projects of St Dunstan’s

Parochial Church Council. They

include maintaining the fabric

of the building, helping to aid

the recent restoration of the

tower, and the renewal of the

lighting and rewiring. FOSTD

have also helped with funding

for the restoration of windows

and memorials, repairs to the

roof, stonework and noticeboards.

Funds have helped to pay for

the overhaul of the clock, create

the Millennium Book, maintain

the organ, purchase a grand

piano, install CCTV, repair the

heating, refurbish a chapel and

porch, provide pew cushions,

and published church guides and


The trustees organise concerts

during warmer weather at 1pm on

the first Thursday of each month

from March to October, this year

starting on March 3rd, to which

all are welcome without charge.

There is a retiring collection for

the friends’ work.

If you could help, please chat to

one of the trustees (on the Friends’

website) or contact; FOSTD

Membership Secretary, Church

House, Stone Street, Cranbrook,

TN17 3HA. John Williams

The CakeSpring 2022 25



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and the Weald

I am here to help you in

any way that I can. If there

is an issue of concern to

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I can assist, or if you

would like to arrange a

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26 The CakeSpring 2022


A Call To Stand

Up For Nature

“A strimmer is to a butterfly what a chain

saw is to an orangutan” – says wildlife

saviour Nigel Witham

The 59-year-old


animal crusader

has turned his

Weald garden into

a sanctuary for wildlife and

happily shares his delightful

videos and stills with a

multitude of followers on the

Nextdoor site.

His garden has become home

to a vast number of animals,

from foxes to rare butterflies

and owls to sparrowhawks, and

he despairs at the way wildlife

globally is being obliterated by

“social inertia”.

He does not believe the

problem is just down to

governments and added: “We all

need to respect all life.”

A keen prize-winning angler,

Nigel has contributed to many

fishing books and had his first

article in Angling Times when

he was just 18. He was even

featured on ITN news after

saving the life of a canoeist

who had capsized in the River


His love of wildlife was

kindled in his childhood when

the family moved to the country

where he soon became intrigued

by the vast array of wildlife. He

recalled: “When I was about

seven or eight I went with a

friend to some grass land and

it was just full of butterflies,

there were so many of them.” It

“When I was about

seven or eight I went

with a friend to some

grass land and it was

just full of butterflies,

there were so many

of them.”

was not until this year that he

recorded seeing his first-ever

Purple Emperor butterfly.

A commercial interior

designer, Nigel would love to

devote his entire time to saving

wildlife but also getting the

message across to everyone

that they too can help to

understand the importance of

wildlife and saving habitats,

whether gardens, fields, verges

or churchyards.

He despairs that his

efforts to re-wild Goudhurst

churchyard have failed. He also

battles against the concerts,

Christmas lights, and other

commercialisation at nearby

Bedgebury Pinetum, believing

they seriously damage wildlife

in an area which was originally

devoted to special trees from

around the planet, grassland and


He said: “It would be easy to

think my message is like pushing

water uphill but I take succour

from people supporting me.”


The CakeSpring 2022 27


Capital Allowances Consultants

Helping people in the area save money upon

their commercial buildings such as offices,

shops, restaurants, hotels and holiday let cottages

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28 The CakeSpring 2022



This Spring finds us

all optimistic (at

the time of writing!)

that the museum

will be open for

a full season this year. Our

first exhibition – “Unfinished

Business” – will examine some

of the changes that have taken

place over the years to the face

of Stone Street and the High

Street. Do come and see the

social history of our town that

is evident in how shops and

businesses have come and gone

over the past two centuries.

The museum opens on Friday

1 April, 2pm to 4.30pm, and

thereafter Tuesdays – Saturdays

and Bank Holiday Mondays. We

will also be open for Nuts in

May, The Garden Safari and any

other events in the town. We

look forward to welcoming you!

Despite Covid and the

winter, we have been very busy.

One of our main ambitions

is to develop our Cranbrook

Colony collection and several

new works have been added

since we were last open. The

most recent is a wonderful

F.D. Hardy oil painting which

was purchased with support

from Arts4Kent. Along with a

delightful Mulready watercolour

and a couple of small Webster

paintings, the collection will be

well worth a visit from anyone

interested in art, the history of

art or Cranbrook’s nationally

important heritage in this area.

Another fascinating addition

to the collection is the discovery

of a long lost stack of 800

photographs from World War I.

Currently undergoing essential

conservation, they will be

displayed publicly in due course.

More to follow on this in a

future edition of The Cake.

The fabric of the museum

“Despite Covid and the winter, we have been very busy. One of our

main ambitions is to develop our Cranbrook Colony collection and

several new works have been added since we were last open”

which is, as you may know,

Grade II listed and dates back

in places to the 15th century,

has been undergoing some

major work with specialist

stonemasons dealing with the

issues. This will be completed

before we reopen. Furthermore,

we have been delighted to

welcome several new volunteers

this winter, who have taken on

specific research and curatorial

tasks. We are always keen to

welcome new volunteers and

have many roles from research

to care and maintenance so do

get in touch if you would like

to be involved in any way. You

don’t need to know anything

about the town’s history to join

us as you will quickly discover

that Cranbrook is a place where

its rich past is ever present.

Mike Huxley


Don’t forget the museum (along with the windmill) is part of the

hugely successful Wheels of Time – a heritage trail through Kent for

children and their families with badges to collect!

Great fun for the Easter Holidays! More information on our website


The CakeSpring 2022 29


Kids' Corner


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30 The CakeSpring 2022


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The CakeSpring 2022 31





According to the



Christopher Lloyd:

“Some people are

rather repelled by dahlias but it

is the types that are chosen and

the way they are grown…that are

repulsive rather than the dahlia


For many years, I just couldn’t

understand why people grew these

often gaudy flowers but, having

been persuaded in the past few

years, I would not be without


According to the late owner

of Great Dixter in his invaluable

book, The Well-Tempered Garden,

Mr Lloyd wrote: “…there is such a

variety of flower form and colour

that there must surely be dahlias

to suit every taste”.

Indeed there are! They come in

every colour, except blue, can be

bold to the point of garishness, but

also petite and intriguing like the

orchid-flowered Honka varieties

with their single, eight florets

(mistakenly called petals) flowers.

There are ball and pompom

shaped blooms, dinner plate-sized

ones with more petals than you

can count and paeony-flowered

ones in eye popping colours. If

that wasn’t enough choice, there

are also anemone flowered types

and collarette dahlias…

It is surprising, when looking

at the bold and brassy varieties

that, in the language of flowers,

dahlias stand for “dignity” and

“my gratitude exceeds your care”,

an ideal choice when looking for

a present for someone. Oddly

enough, the flower also has other

meanings, including, “warning

There must surely

be dahlias to suit

every taste…”

someone about a potential

betrayal” and “staying

graceful under pressure”.

Natives of Mexico, where

they were declared the

country’s national flower in

1963, the flowers’ relatives

include sunflowers, daisies,

chrysanthemums and

zinnias. Stem length ranges

from a mere 12ins to 8ft

so be prepared to allow

plenty of space, and some

staking for the more vigorous

ones. It is interesting to note that

the Aztecs used to grow the tubers

as a food crop but it never caught

on in Europe.

Deciding which dahlia to

grow has never been easy!

There are literally hundreds of

different varieties to choose

from. Café au Lait, a delicate

creamy peachy, ivory, is a stunner

with blooms growing to nine

inches in diameter. In the cactus

dinner plate range Hollyhill

Spiderwoman takes some beating

with its shaggy red and white

florets which scream “look at me”.

Other stunners are the decorative

dark red Arabian Night, the similar

Thomas A Edison and the red

and white dinner plate, Avignon.

The choice is mind-blowing and

it is easy to get carried away with

a catalogue or a visit to a plant

centre but once you have grown

dahlias you will be hooked!




1. March is the ideal time to buy tubers

which will flower until the first frosts.

Pick fat, healthy-looking tubers from a

reputable supplier.

2. Wait until all risk of frost has passed before

planting in full sun in rich soil.

4. Make sure your plants are well-watered.

Feed once a month and deadhead

regularly for continuous flowers.

5. When the leaves start to turn brown in the

autumn, dig up the tubers, carefully clean

off the soil and store in a box of dry sand

or sawdust in a frost-free place.

6. To keep your cut dahlias looking good,

put in a vase in a cool, shady spot. Add

flower food or substitute with a teaspoon

of sugar, two or three drops of bleach and

a dessert spoon of vinegar. Trim the stems


Penny Royal

32 The CakeSpring 2022


Let’s Cook

Sweet Pepper Pots

Sweet peppers are a great vegetable – so

versatile and delicious – and mixed with a

few every-day store cupboard ingredients

make a fabulous dish which never fails

to please. It is delicious on its own (a

great starter) as a main course with some

warm, crusty bread or served alongside

fish. I guarantee once you have made this,

it will become a go-to favourite!


Serves 2-3

250g of butter

1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped

1 onion chopped

1 garlic clove, grated

225g plump tomatoes

Half a tsp of sugar

2 tsps of capers

4 tbs double cream or crème fraiche

Grated Parmesan

Salt and cayenne pepper


1. Melt the butter and add the pepper,

onion and garlic. Cook over a gentle heat,

stirring often, until the peppers are soft.

2. Put the tomatoes in a bowl, pour over

boiling water and leave for a few seconds

until the skins start peeling off. Remove

the skins. Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop

out the seeds and discard then chop the


3. Add to the pan and cook slowly for

15 minutes until they are thick and

mushy. Stir in the sugar, salt and a pinch

of cayenne pepper. Spoon into small

ovenproof dishes and leave to cool.

4. If the capers are salty, rinse and soak

for at least an hour, then squeeze dry.

Capers in vinegar need to be rinsed and

dried before chopping. Mix the capers

and the cream/crème fraiche, spoon

over the pepper mixture and sprinkle

with Parmesan. Bake in a hot oven 210C

(fan) 400F, Gas 9 or grill until speckled

with brown.

Bon appetite!

Emma Fraser

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The CakeSpring 2022 33


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34 The CakeSpring 2022


Spring MusingsJOBS ON

We are entering an exciting

and busy time of the year

in the kitchen garden or

on the plot. The days are

getting longer and the

sun is warming the soil. But there is still the

risk of late frosts and cold northerly winds

which act as reminders that summer has not

arrived yet.

I have previously suggested the possibility

of creating a herb garden. There are many

clever ideas on the subject but this is going

to be a little more basic, serving to supply

only the kitchen with the more popular


Choice of site is important as most

common herbs originated in the

Mediterranean, so plenty of sun is preferred.

The size of the bed will be determined by

what you want to grow and about eight

feet by four feet would be just right for a

beginner. Fork in some well-rotted organic

compost and rake it to a fine tilth. Avoid

using manure or artificial fertilizer. If you

your soil is clay based, try to improve the

drainage with gravel or grit.

There are many varieties of herb and

you may have personal favourites but

try to include sage, thyme, chive, parsley

and rosemary. Mints are also a must but

beware! They are very invasive and spread

everywhere if not controlled. Try setting

a large pot in the soil and filling it with

compost which will help confine the roots.

Garden centres always have a good selection

of plants if you don’t have time to sow seeds.

I have split this period into three: early

spring, mid spring and late spring.


Sowing under glass or greenhouse:

Tomatoes, courgettes, squashes, chilli,

aubergines, peppers, peas, broccoli, celery

and beetroot.

Sowing or planting outside: Sow parsnips,

radishes, early carrots and potatoes. Plant

out onion sets and shallots. Asparagus

crowns can be planted but remember they

won’t produce edible spears for at least two

years. It’s not too late to plant out garlic and

broad beans.


Sowing under glass or greenhouse: Brussels

sprouts, autumn cabbage and sweetcorn

followed by runner and French beans and


Sowing or planting outdoors: Provided

all risk of frost has passed, plant courgettes,

celery and celeriac.


Sowing under glass/greenhouse or outdoors:

Kale, purple sprouting broccoli, savoy

cabbage, swede and lettuce, with carrots and

beetroot towards the end of spring. Leeks

can also be planted out if grown from seed.

Top Tip!

Almost all vegetable seeds stand a better

chance of germination if sown in plug trays.

Planting out the seedlings in their “plugs”

gives them a much better chance of survival.


With warmer weather and longer

daylight hours, your plot will show

signs of weed growth and it’s important

to weed regularly otherwise all the hard

work of sowing and planting will be

lost if your plants have to compete with

weeds for nutrients.

It is worthwhile familiarising yourself

with the following weeds: couch grass,

dock, creeping thistle, bindweed,

buttercup, dandelion, mare’s tail,

nettle, chickweed and bramble. None is

welcome and don’t put any of them on

your compost heap.

After clearing away the remains of

last season’s crops, prepare the ground

for immediate composting so that it

will be in the right condition when this

season’s plants are ready for the soil.

In earlier columns I referred to

companion planting where certain

plants can be grown among vegetables

to encourage growth or deter pests.

In some cases, the flowers are used

as sacrificial plants to protect the

vegetables. Since the use of chemicals

for these activities is being discouraged,

now might be the time to conduct a

trial of your own. Generally speaking,

the companions should be planted at

the end of rows and removed in the

late autumn. There are a great many

combinations currently in use. Here are

a few suggestions:

• Beans: Nasturtium – attracts blackfly

– sacrificial plant

• Carrots: Spring onions amongst crop

discourages carrot root fly

• Cucumbers: Nasturtium attracts

blackfly and improves flavour of


• Potatoes: Chamomile enhances

flavour and attract pollinators

• Tomatoes: Basil improves growth and

deters pests

• Squash: Borage improves growth and

flavour, attracts pollinators

• Brassica’s: Chamomile aids growth

and enhances flavour

As can be seen, some of the

companion plants can also be harvested

for the kitchen. Badger


The CakeSpring 2022 35

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36 The CakeSpring 2022

Art Comes in Many Forms

and Always Tells a Story

Annie Watsham presents the numerous ways people can express themselves through art


Whether we’re

creating art


or viewing

the work of

others, it is a medium through

which we can communicate and

express our inner feelings and

our creativity. Art knows no

boundaries and essentially always

tells a story – it’s a true form of

communication, and humans are

wired to enjoy stories!

Whether you’re an existing

artist or a budding artist here’s a

brief precis:

Stillness in Spring by Hannah



Painting come in many different

formats in different media.

Still life, landscapes, seascapes,

abstract, portraiture and pop

art are types of painting genres

using oil, acrylics, watercolours

or indeed mixed media, including

collage. The surface that’s used

e.g. canvas, board, paper and

even wood, has a bearing on how

the finished painting will look.

This peaceful piece by local artist

Hannah Buchanan is executed in

oil on canvas board.


Sculptures are three-dimensional

art forms using materials such

as clay, stone or wood and are

essentially formed bit by bit into

a particular shape and structure,

as in the case of a clay sculpture,

or chiselled and carved from a

block of wood or a piece of stone/



Photography is the art of

producing an image of an

object on a photographic

film. The way the image is

captured with the use of light

differs from photographer to

photographer and can be used

for fashion photography, wildlife

photography, food photography,

wedding photography and



Jewellery design involves the

design of intricate pieces of

jewellery from metals, wood,

glass or plastic. Metals that are

primarily used for designing

jewellery are gold, silver,

platinum and copper. Jewellery

design also incorporates precious

and semi-precious stones for its


Art glass by Beverley Bunn


Kent artist Beverley Bunn

creates kiln-formed glass art for

both domestic and commercial

interiors and outdoor spaces,

from decorative wall panels

to practical light sconces and

splashbacks, garden wall art to

sculpture. With a background

in engineering, Beverley enjoys

pushing the boundaries of this

fascinating medium to achieve a

variety of textures, illusions and

movement in her work.


Printmaking is an artistic

process based on the principle of

transferring images from a matrix

onto another surface, most

often paper or fabric. Traditional

printmaking techniques include

woodcut, etching, engraving, and

lithography. Modern artists have

expanded available techniques to

include screen printing.

Feeding the Ducks by Carole Aston


Linocut is a printmaking

technique, a variant of woodcut

in which a sheet of linoleum is

used for a relief surface. A design

is cut into the lino surface with

a sharp knife, V-shaped chisel

or gouge, with the raised areas

representing a reversal (mirror

image) of the parts to show

printed. The lino sheet is inked

with a roller and then impressed

onto paper or fabric. The actual

printing can be done by hand or

with a printing press. Local artist

Carole Aston uses this technique

to great effect!


Ceramics cover any of the various

hard, brittle, heat-resistant and

corrosion-resistant materials

made by shaping and then firing

an inorganic, non-metallic

material, such as clay, at a high

temperature. Common examples

are earthenware, porcelain, and


Lace Emulsion

Etching on


Iron by Scarlett




Basically, an


artist can use

just about

any medium

for their art. Local artist

Scarlett Woodman often uses a

combination of constructive and

destructive processes including

painting, drawing, scratching and

burning and works mostly with

reclaimed building materials.

Whichever art form you choose

to use or view – there are no

boundaries – enjoy!

The CakeSpring 2022 37

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38 The CakeSpring 2022


Ask our

Friendly Experts

No fault divorce, what does this mean for me?

For many years complainers have

argued that divorcing couples

should be able to divorce without

apportioning blame. Resolution,

the body of family lawyers

committed to resolving family dispute in an

amicable way, have championed for a long

time for there to be no fault divorce. The

government has decided this is the right way

forward and the approach was made law by

the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act


Whilst it was thought the new

arrangements would come into practice this

autumn it is now understood no fault divorce

will start on 6 April 2022.

The benefits of the new system are that

you will no longer need to find a reason to

divorce your spouse, and this will remove

the need for there to be “blame” but that the

divorce process will start on the sole ground

of irretrievable breakdown.

It’s a commonly held misconception that

if one party is seen to have behaved badly

in the marriage that this will affect the

resolution of the finances, but this is in fact

rarely the case. It is fair to say “conduct” will

only be taken into account by the Court in a

very small number of cases. Removing blame

perhaps removes the need one party might

feel to focus on the future in a more positive

way rather than be backwards looking.

If the couple are agreed they can present

a joint application, which may be seen by

many to be a fairer approach. Even where

there is not agreement one party can apply

but the other will not be able to stand in

their way and try to prevent the divorce as

may have occurred in the past. This means

that the new process will be more certain and

straight forward for both parties.

There will be new terminology:

The Petitioner will become the Applicant

The Decree Nisi will be replaced by the

Conditional Order

The Decree Absolute will become the Final


The timetable for the divorce will also

change in that there will be a six month

“cooling off” period between the date the

proceedings are started and the grant of the

Conditional Order. The idea behind this is to

allow the parties time to:

• Reflect on the marriage and whether it can

be repaired

• Agree a financial settlement

• Sort out arrangements for children.

There will still be a period of six weeks

between the Conditional Order and applying

for the Final Order which will dissolve the




There really is no need to wait as in most

cases, even now, and particularly with online

applications the process is straight forward.

Moreover, under the current system there

is no lengthy cooling off period. Once the

Decree Nisi is granted the Petitioner can

apply for the Decree Absolute six weeks

thereafter, albeit there may be reasons why

your solicitor may suggest you wait.

However, if you think your spouse will

try to contest the proceedings or you do

not have a reason to start the proceedings

now (adultery, behaviour etc.) and would

otherwise have to wait two or five years then

it might be advisable to wait until the new

law comes into effect.


Associate Solicitor

Margaret Sculpher at

our Cranbrook office

is happy to help. She

offers 30 minute no

obligation, confidential,

initial meetings – please

do email her to make enquiries. As a

collaborative lawyer and member of

Resolution, Margaret will ensure your

matter is handled in a caring and sensitive

way, offering sensible practical advice.

T: 01892 502354 or E: msculpher@

bussmurton.co.uk – quote ‘Cake Magazine’

Clermont House, High Street,

Cranbrook, TN17 3DN

01580 712 215 or info@bussmurton.co.uk


The CakeSpring 2022 39



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40 The CakeSpring 2022

The Parish


Budget Precept

For 2022-23

Cllr Robin Beck, chairman of Policy and

Resources Committee, explains where your

money goes


It’s that time of year again

when I have the privilege

of reporting to you the

budget that has been set

for the period to April


No doubt, you will recall

that last year CSPC managed

to reduce our element of your

council tax by 0.09%.

Unfortunately, I cannot report

such good news this year. We

have had to raise the precept

by 3.71% which equates to

£4.99 per annum for a Band D

property which will pay £139.34

this year.

The total budget has

increased from £351,000 last

year to £372,000, a rise of

£21,000 is mainly attributable

to the Policy & Resources sector

which is responsible for 75% of

the total expenditure.

The principal costs can be

summarised as follows:

· Administrative costs 52%

· Contractual Obligations 24%

· Medical and Community

project 18%

· Other miscellaneous costs

and contingency 6%

It is important to highlight

that the professional costs

associated with the medical

and community centre are

now beginning to be incurred

and must be accrued for as the

project evolves

Sixty new houses have

been built in the parish last

year, which have contributed

approximately £8,000k

towards our income, and as

other projects are completed,

significant revenue will be

generated to contribute toward


I must acknowledge once

again the expertise of former

councillor, Brian Swann, whose

experience has been invaluable

“I must acknowledge once again the

expertise of former councillor, Brian

Swann, whose experience has been

invaluable in preparing the figures”

in preparing the figures.

To make the subject a

little more interesting, the

colourful chart above reflects

the expenditure of the various


The detailed information

relating to the figures can be

seen on the parish council’s

website. Obviously, should you

have any observations or wish

to discuss any particular aspect

please contact me through the

clerks at the parish office.

The CakeSpring 2022 41


Troy Scott-Smith

Trisha Fermor talks to returning head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle

It is clear for all to see that

he loves Sissinghurst Castle

and its stunning garden set

around the tranquillity of a

500-year-old property.

So much so, that he came back

for a third time to take up the

role of head gardener.

He told The Cake: “It is nice

to be back. I always feel so

comfortable here, it is so much

more than just a garden.”

Asked why he returned, Troy

said: “My successor had left and

Juliet Nicolson, [granddaughter

of Harold Nicolson and Vita

Sackville-West who made the

garden], asked if I would come

back and I couldn’t say no.”

His devotion to gardening and

plants was fired by a childhood

love of nature. Born and bred in

Yorkshire, he studied horticulture

at Askham Bryan College in York,

joining the team at Sissinghurst

eight years later in 1992.

As well as Sissinghurst, he

has gained experience at the

much-loved Bodnant

Garden in Wales and

at Courts Garden

in Wiltshire.

Before moving

back to Kent

There is a bond you get

with a garden when you

give so much time and

energy, you become very

entwined with it.”

last autumn, Troy was head

gardener at Iford Manor Gardens

in Wiltshire. Mainly created

by Harold Peto who lived at

Iford from 1899 to 1933, he

designed gardens for royalty and

aristocracy around the world.

Troy and his partner, Anne, and

children Rowan, 14, and Maiwen

12, both born at Bodnant, now

have a new home in part of the

castle. Before, they lived in one of

the cottages on the estate.

Their current home is just

a stone’s throw away from the

Delos garden, originally created

by Harold and Vita, which lost

its identity over the years. A

few years ago, Troy’s friend and

world-renowned garden designer,

Dan Pearson, offered to re-design

the Greek-inspired garden. The

huge scheme, involving the

removal of trees, shrubs and

plants and the installation of tons

of Kentish rag stone, is greatly

admired by Troy.

While his heart is definitely

in the garden - “I get a feeling

of real closeness to Vita and

Harold” - the family has bought

a small farm in Cumbria and is

converting an old barn into a

house, “for the long term”.

So what is next? He said: “I am

planning to tackle the conflict

between conservation and access

together with historical integrity,

garden management with a

recipe for each area and organic

status for the vegetable garden.

There is a bond you get with

a garden when you give so much

time and energy, you become

very entwined with it.”

His favourite plant? “It would

have to be a rose. The Gallica rose

‘Sissinghurst Castle’ is the best.”

Delighted to be back he added:

“It is probably the best job in


42 The CakeSpring 2022



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Carriers Road, Cranbrook, TN17 3JX | 01580 438003

Isabelleszumniak@hotmail.co.uk | www.issyszumniak.co.uk

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Property Conveyancing

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High Street


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