In 2015, AOC Archaeology was commissioned by the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group (the parishes of Paddock wood, Goudhurst, Cranbrook and Hawkhurst), with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, to produce an Historic Environment Assessment of the Paddock Wood to Hawkhurst branch railway which was closed in 1961.
This iconic rural steam railway was known for bringing considerable numbers of hop- pickers each September from London’s crowded East End for their annual hop-picking “holiday” in the local hop gardens.
The Group is pleased to announce the publication of this report, which is now available online at: www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/residents/planning/conservation-and-heritage/local-heritage-assets and as hard copies at the relevant Council offices and libraries throughout the Borough.
It makes for fascinating reading and informative reading for anyone interested in the railway, hop-picking and related features along the line, but it also has the potential to unlock further interest and interpretation of this important part of the area’s heritage.
The Group has established important links with Tower Hamlets in London’s East End where some older residents have been happy to contribute their memories of hop-picking.
The Group is planning area workshops as future events where local residents will be able to contribute stories of the railway or of hop-picking, or develop ideas for taking the project forward.
For further information please contact Yolanda Laybourne, Chairman and Press Officer for the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group on 01424 215790/07972 559606 or firstname.lastname@example.org