Hosey Common

 

Hosey Common

Hosey Common lies on the east side of the B 2026 road, about a kilometre to the south east of Westerham. It consists largely  of young woodland, which covers a shallow dry valley containing disturbed ground, numerous track ways, and an embanked causeway. In a west-facing eastern escarpment overlooking the valley is a series of entrances to underground building-stone quarries. Three distinct tunnel systems, which may once all have intercommunicated, have long been known, and gated as important winter bat hibernation sites.  Kent Underground Research Group collaborate with bat specialists in monitoring the security of the bat gates, and have access outside the bat hibernation season.

Bracken Wood

Underground Stone Quarries  There are  six distinct areas of known tunnelling, of which the two northern systems are interconnected. From north to south, the orthernmost four systems have about six, ten, three, and eleven  approximately east-west galleries, the longest running into the hillside about 70 metres. The east-west main galleries in each system are interconnected by north-south cross passages. Three longer north- south tunnels link systems 3 and 4. The tunnels are high enough to stand upright in wherever the floor is exposed,  All the tunnels are driven eastwards from the escarpment into the 'rag and hassock' beds of the Hythe Beds formation. Two superficially dark brown beds of a sandy variety of Kentish Rag appear to have been quarried for local building purposes, one at floor level and the other midway up the working faces. The dark brown colour proves, on closer inspection, to be iron staining on joint faces. Although the quarry tunnels are surprisingly numerous and extensive, they tend to give a false impression of the volume of stone taken to surface, as at least two thirds of the material excavated appears to have been left underground as unusable quarry waste. Even in terms of total material excavated as a fraction of stone in situ the extraction ratio is low, as the pillars are wide with few 'eyes' between the stalls. There was no rail transport option for taking stone away from Westerham until a branch line was opened to a terminus on the far side of the town in 1881. The stone was almost certainly all used locally. The quarries were probably worked in the middle years of the loa, century, and closed as a going concern by the 1890s.

Bat reserve

Hosey Hill

Charts Edge 7-acre hillside garden restored. large collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias; specimen trees and newly- planted mixed borders; many rare plants; majority of plants labelled; Victorian folly; walled fruit garden;  rock garden. New water gardens and cascade. Fine views over Downs.

 

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