Loose Village, Kent

As I've said in other recent posts since coming back to the UK from Singapore we've been staying back in Kent in my old hometown. Although Maidstone is really just another town like many others around the UK and, in my opinion, nothing very special, around it are some beautiful villages and lovely countryside. My parents live close to the village of Loose, pronounced like lose, so when the weather has been kind we've gone on quite a few walks in the village and close by. If I'm honest I'm probably walking parts I've never done before or at least not since I was a young child.

Loose is a special place for me as I have a lot of childhood memories associated with it. These range from links to the church from my primary school days as well as my involvement in the Brownies and Guides when I was growing up. Loose church was the place I learnt to ring church bells and did so there (and other churches in the area) for many years from my early teens. I also associate it with friends that lived there when I was younger and times we spent paddling or fishing in Loose stream etc. as a child up to enjoying a few drinks there in the village pub's beer garden with friends on a sunny summer afternoon on the day we finished our A-Level exams. It was also the place where I got married just under five years ago. So all of these things combined make it a nice place to be, particularly when the sun is shining. 

Loose originated in Saxon times but really developed during the Industrial Revolution when it and other villages in the same area were all homes to paper mills powered by the Loose stream. You can see that stream in the photo below. Loose village has a very steep hill (Old Loose Hill) leading you out of it and back to the main road. It doesn't matter how many times over the years I've climbed it I still get out of breath by the top. In the 18th and 19th centuries landlords of the village pub at the bottom of the hill kept horses that were hired out to help haul loaded carts up the hill. There are still a number of large stones dotted along the side of the road on the hill where ropes would have been tied around to help relieve the horses of the weight of the carts.

For a small place Loose even manages a few claims to fame including one of its vicar's, Richard Boys (who is buried in the churchyard) who was previously the junior chaplain on St. Helena's during Napoleon Bonaparte's exile on the island. The viaduct which takes the main road over the village, in fact if you didn't know the village was there you could nearly miss it, is attributed to Thomas Telford and was built in 1830. The illustrator, Ralph Steadman has lived there for many years and still does. 

Whilst we sat in the village pub's beer garden I loved the look of these clouds

A snake was not something I was expecting to see in the village stream!

I've actually lost count of the number of walks we've done around the village since we got back. For anyone who knows the area though we've taken quite a few different routes in both via the Loose Road and also through the valley and on footpaths I don't even recall! Fortunately where my parents live means we can do some nice circular walks of various lengths and the pub in the village makes a very convenient stopping point for some refreshment. There are plenty of birds to see and hear as well as horses and sheep in nearby fields. One thing I spotted on one walk that I would have expected to have been far more likely in Singapore was a snake swimming in the stream! I was lucky to see a snake in Singapore but my husband never managed to so I guess at least he's now seen one in the UK.

Nice to see sheep, something you didn't see in Singapore
Loose stream

It's a very picturesque place and when the sun is shining and the weather is good absolutely lovely! Go see for yourself, take a stroll around and stop for a drink or something to eat at the village pub too.