Conservation Areas

Hook Green

The Parish is fortunate enough to have four designated conservation areas. Moving from north to south along the A227, these provide a welcome visual break from modernity. Beginning at Hook Green, through to The Street, on to Meopham Green and, at the south eastern extremity, the village of Harvel together provide the settings for the oldest parts of the Parish. Originally, each of these was a separate hamlet, but through ribbon development (with the exception of Harvel) were joined into one village. They have, however, kept their own identities through the conservation area scheme.

Apart from The Street, the others are based around a village green, and with their numerous mature trees and open green spaces, they contribute to the rural nature of the parish. Altogether they contain many listed buildings, while many of the older buildings are of note and architectural merit, linking the villages to their agricultural past.

All these listed buildings and older dwellings in the conservation areas display the range of materials and styles typical of south-east England. These include oak and elm timber framing, timber cladding (weather board) and the use of flint for walls, particularly seen at The Street. Clay peg tiles usually made locally, feature on many roofs but later were usurped by Welsh slate. Peg tiles are also seen often as wall hangings, while brown stock bricks feature in many 19th Century buildings with a softer red brick seen slightly later. Most of the older houses have large gardens.

Today, Hook Green hosts the Village Sign, and is mostly surrounded by modern developments. The main road, however, affords excellent views of seven listed buildings, of which the Old Forge, which contains part of a 14th Century timber frame building, is the oldest there.

The Street conservation area encompasses a wide stretch of land on either side of Wrotham Road, (A227) which includes the Parish Church of St John The Baptist, dating from the 14th Century. Adjacent to it but unseen from the road is the former Manor House of Meopham Court. This area is believed to be the oldest part of the Parish, thought to have been settled in the 8th century by a Jute named Meapa. Iron Age and Roman remains have also been found nearby. This conservation area contains seven more listed buildings including the George Public House and the former Post Office and Village shop, both now closed. They would have formed a focal point of this original hamlet, where there was once an Open Market. In modern times, the Farmers’ Market can be found regularly in the nearby School campus – a link with the past brought up to date. The Street remains architecturally very interesting, despite the heavy traffic along this very narrow stretch of the A227 main road.

Meopham Green lies about three-quarters of a mile further to the south and is the third conservation area astride Wrotham Road (A227) and the approach faces the Village War memorial. On the far side of the Green stands the fine listed smock Windmill which was built in 1801. There are several buildings of historical note that appear on the local list of importance, including the two restaurants The Cricketers and The Kings Arms, Mill House, Wellington House, Basque Cottage, Oast Farm and Pitfield Lodge, but only Barnside at the northern end is currently listed.

Finally, Harvel conservation area, while relatively small, provides a haven of tranquillity away from the A227 and its constant flow of traffic. Alongside Harvel Green is an attractive duck pond; within the conservation area are three 16th century timber frame hall houses, these are Forge Cottage, Crickfield Farm and Old Pond Farm and there is a traditional Kent Oast house nearby. The Tithe Map of 1840 shows the area surrounding Harvel Green much as it is today.

In addition, a large area to the east of Meopham is included in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.