Perhaps it is a visitor’s mistake to treat the three separate locations of Guestling Green, Guestling and Guestling Thorn as one entity, but arriving for the first time it can be difficult to distinguish absolutely between the three.
All located along the busy A259, and too easy to motor through without consideration, the trio of settlings that we shall call “Guestling” make up a place that needs a little extra effort in order to uncover its secrets.
The junction of Chapel Lane to the south is most certainly Guestling Green, marked by a few cottages – including a wonderful thatched example. There used to be a pub here, and indeed the building still rather mournfully bears a sign reading “The Hope”, but that hope was extinguished at one point and it is now permanently closed.
Residents now have the choice of heading further south still to the White Hart, a Beefeater than is more suited to families on day trips to the coast, or heading instead to the eccentric Three Oaks Pub in nearby Three Oaks.
North of Guesting Green you pass the large primary school before reaching the isolated village hall. However, taking this opportunity to turn down Church Lane you are led to Guestling’s place of worship – St Laurence’s. Although generally closed unless there is a service (every Sunday morning) the graveyard is well worth a wander and it is also where a trio of popular footpaths set of to a number of destinations useful and attractive destinations.
One of these is Guestling Wood, managed by the Woodland Trust. Containing its own network of rides and paths, the wood has received special funding over the past fifteen years to develop a diverse environment which has subsequently attracted a wide range of wildlife. A favourite sanctuary amongst local residents, it is well worth seeking out for yourself.
Guestling is also home to Buckswood School, a sprawling country manor which every summer is transformed into the much-revered Buckswood Overseas Summer School (BOSS), a place for students from all over the world to come and learn not only the English language but the UK’s culture, too.
It is therefore worth considering that despite the trio of Guesting Green, Guestling and Guestling Thorn being places most might simply drive through, for thousands of people from all corners of the globe it is a place where BOSS ask them “Every summer has a story. What will yours be?,” and will remain their introduction to Britain.
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