Netherfield is a linear village, that is to say it doesn’t have a discernible centre, and a linear village of some extremes – a small population spread out for over a mile along a high ridge.
Sometimes this can result in a place not having an obvious hub and therefore no heart, but that is not the case with this community.
Towards the west of the strip of properties that line the hilltop are the post office and shop, with an adjoining cafe which automatically creates a nucleus to the village. It could be argued that a cup of coffee, slice of cake and chat are as vital amenities to a community as the shop and post office combined, and this cafe – warmly and imaginatively painted on the outside with a warm and friendly welcome inside – serves a valuable purpose.
To the far east of the village stands St John the Baptist church, a relatively new building in comparison to other churches in the area, built in 1860 as a gift from Lady Webster to her husband Sir Godfrey.
The Websters were famed for a long line of eccentrics and Sir Godfrey was no exception, spending much of his life in the Brazilian jungle. Lady Webster’s gift of the church also showed her to be free spirited as she threw in an additional school house which still stands proudly next to the church – although hasn’t been used for education since the 1960’s.
However the school bell on the roof cannot help but charm, or – we suppose – bring on panic and alarm depending on your memories of school!
Between the church and cafe are the playing fields and village hall. A newspaper cutting in the notices window tells us that the hall recently had a free facelift due to the generosity of local builders – namely Westoaks General Builders and Decorators – saving the hall’s committee an estimated £2,500. If that doesn’t prove that this community up on the ridge has a thriving community spirit that what can?
Since the Netherfield Arms was converted from pub to residential property the only pub serving the village is the White Hart. Residents and visitors cannot be too downhearted though, because this is an excellent pub and hotel with a reputation for dining.
Sometimes an emphasis on food can take away from the feeling of a local’s pub where people stand around talking over a pint, but the owners have thought of this and a separate bar room to the front perfectly serves those who don’t wish to eat.
The hotel upstairs has four boutique rooms and the staff will go out of their way to personalise your visit. Rose petals on the bed, perhaps? Not a problem at the White Hart.
The pubs greatest asset is the south facing patio and glass-fronted outside dining area with wonderful views down to the valley and all the way to Bexhill and the sea over seven miles away.
Add to this fine food and accommodation, can there be a better destination for lunch, or a more significant celebration, in the entire area?
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