Lyminge Today

Aerial view of LymingeLyminge looking north along the Elham Valley (©Will Wright – Amazing Aerial Views)

 

 The trend that began in 1887 with the new railway continued and gathered pace in the 20th Century. First the bus and then increased private car ownership made it easier to live in the country and commute to the surrounding towns to work. The main line from Folkestone to London, that linked with the branch line to Lyminge, made it possible for some even to commute into London. Electrification of the Kent Coast line as far as Folkestone in 1961, together with some trains that ran fast to London with few stops, made long-distance commuting more common. As we entered the 21st Century, it was the case that the majority of people who lived in Lyminge did not work here. This trend only intensified with the opening of High Speed 1 in November 2007, which reduced the journey time between Folkestone West station and London St Pancras to as little as 52 minutes.

 

 By the census of 2011, the population of Lyminge stood at 2,717 and it is estimated it may have increased by a further 200 or so since then, roughly double the number of a century previously. Many people have been attracted to move to Lyminge because it has a good range of facilities, such as a primary school, and initially one, more recently two doctor’s practices. But even as the population has grown, the economic basis of the community has shifted. First cars, and now the internet, give access to greater choice outside the village and we can buy much of what we need elsewhere. Where once there were three butcher’s shops, a green grocer’s, two bakeries, a hardware shop, clothes shops, a news agent and two banks, now there are none of these as stand-alone businesses. We are fortunate in Lyminge that we still have a combined Village Store and Post Office, and this business has now taken over in one place many of the services that were once spread over multiple shops. Lyminge is now a place where the great majority of people who live here only spend their leisure time. The nature of our community is very different now from what it once was, although it is also fair to say that the houses that make up our villages are still set in a sea of green, just as they have always been.

 

EtchinghillEtchinghill, viewed from Tolsford Hill (©Rob Baldwin) 

Sibton ParkSibton Park: Holiday Property Bond apartments and in the foreground the village Cricket Ground (©Rob Baldwin)

New housing has enabled the community to grow. In the 1960s, the Silverlands development extended over the fields in the area roughly delineated by Canterbury Road, Brady Road  the High Street and Church Road. These roads were already bounded by older houses. It was the fields behind these houses that were now built on, largely with bungalows. These were designed in the optimistic post-war period of the 1950s with low density and great attention to green space. Building in this area was completed in the 1990s with larger family homes in a development that takes its name from the neighbouring 17th Century farmhouse of Mount Pleasant. More family houses were also created in the redevelopment of the site of the Elham Poor Law Union Workhouse in Etchinghill, which had become a geriatric hospital in 1947 and was demolished in 1990. At the time of writing in early 2022, more new houses are planned for either side of the golf course that now occupies the space between Lyminge and Etchinghill. We can be sure that the pressure for new houses will not go away and our community will probably continue to grow in the years ahead.

 

Lyminge today is a very different place from the village of one hundred years ago.  The internet may enable more people to work from home than was ever possible in the past, and the Covid pandemic has encouraged more people to do so.  But the trend to work elsewhere that began in the 20th Century is still there, and it remains the case that as a community, Lyminge is essentially a dormitory where the population rest and relax.  The village halls, the clubs and societies and the other amenities are designed to support this.  The Parish Council continues to work hard to support them, either directly where these assets are owned by the Council on behalf of the community, or through grants to the bodies that run them.  In this third decade of the 21st Century, much has changed about the built environment, the population and the economic base.  The Parish of Lyminge is still changing, but this is just what has always happened.  The brief sketches of the history of Lyminge included on this website demonstrate that change is nothing new.  But it is also fair to say that residents and visitors alike can enjoy a beautiful and varied natural environment across the parish that retains much of the beauty it has always had.  And you can also still see the spring at St Eadburg’s Well in Well Field that flows from the chalk as it has always done, and which attracted the first Mesolithic hunter-gatherers to Lyminge as much as 10,000 years ago.     


This page is managed by Lyminge Parish Council Historic Environment Working Group