Tucked away less than six miles south of Gravesend lies a beautiful little village fast becoming a property hotspot.
Meopham may not be not the first word on everyone’s lips when they think of where to move next.
But whisper it quietly – that could soon change.
Rightmove recently revealed the top six villages in England with the highest year on year house price rises.
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Two places in Kent made the list, with Meopham accompanying Kings Hill as a place popular for homeseekers.
According to the online property portal, homes here now bear an overall average price of £502,769 – 9 per cent up on the previous year.
So what’s in Meopham?
The village is seven miles long as the crow flies, and its first known recording was in 788 during the reign of one King Offa.
It is also home to a cricket pitch. What’s notable about this? Well, former Prime Minister Sir John Major is a patron of Meopham Cricket Club. He stood on a soap box there during the general election of 1992.
The Cricketers’ Inn is only one of four pubs in the area.
Meopham also has several restaurants, cafes and shops, with five schools, so any new residents will be spoilt for choice.
Aside from the array of homes for sale, the village also provides stunning green spaces, including its 40 acre Camer Park Country Park, which is listed as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
KentLive spoke to people of Meopham to find out why homebuyers are so keen on the large village- and if they share the same desire for it.
‘It ticked all the boxes’
Jill Oliver, who is now retired from working in recruitment, has lived in the area for 31 years.
Since moving from Bromley, she says that Meopham “ticked all the boxes”.
“We settled in Bromley and were working in London and then decided that we wanted to become a bit more rural and Meopham ticked all the boxes.” she said.
“It was easy to get to the coast, it was easy to get to the motorway, it was just easy to get back to London socially.
“And then we had two children and decided that this was the perfect place to bring them up so we stayed.
“The schools are good, very good, in fact I think the primary school- it was the case that people were deliberately moving into the area or using addresses in the area to be able to get their children into the local school.”
“Generally people really appreciate living in the village because they appreciate the village. They want a community and everybody contributes to it.
“There’s lots of social activities, a tennis club, a cricket club, there’s a good gym, performing arts school, wine tasting.
“I think demographically we’ve got a young population with family, because of the primary school and then we’ve got a middling population because we have a secondary school as well.
“And then we have an aging population of people who’ve lived here all their lives, or a good part of their lives and don’t see any reason why they should move.”
‘There’s a real sense of community’
Hazel and Andrew Fothergill have lived in Meopham for 27 years now, after originally moving from Istead Rise, near Gravesend.
Hazel is now a retired teacher at the Helen Alison School, which is part of the National Autistic Society.
She said: “There’s a real sense of community.
“We’ve got a good infrastructure, we’ve got schools, we’ve got the medical centre, library, shops, so everything’s here that we need.
Now having left Helen Alison School, Hazel boasted about how truly “fantastic” it was to work there.
She said: “It was a fantastic team, best team of staff I’ve ever worked for, it was a challenging job because students were very challenging, but everybody supported everybody else and it was a fantastic atmosphere.
Hazel’s husband, Andrew Fothergill, added: “The location is very convenient, because it’s easy for London, it’s easy for country, easy access everywhere.
“Despite being on the main road, which is a bit noisy at times, it’s just a nice, friendly environment.
“Everybody around here, all five houses here, everyone knows each other and is friendly to each other, watch out for each other when people go on holiday.”
‘You’ve got a bit of everything’
Miles Cook, 22, is the manger of the local pub, Kings Arms, he has lived in Meopham all of his life.
He said: “It’s just a nice area really, everyone around here is really nice, there’s good people everywhere.
“You’ve got so many places to go as well, you’ve got the pub over the road, you’ve got this one, Bartellas which is a restaurant, the train station, an easy bus route.
“It is nice, you’ve basically just got a bit of everything, everywhere. I thinks that’s why people like it and then I think even the houses they look appealing.
“They pretty much let you do what you want with planning permission.
“You’ve got loads schools as well, you’ve got Culverstone primary, which is a nice school, I went there myself. You’ve got Meopham, that’s a really good school, they’re doing really well over there.”