The footpath [KM620] between Place Farm, Headorn, and Chickenden, Staplehurst, crosses a bridge, Place Farm Bridge, which contains traces of medieval work and the remains of an earlier bridge lie in the river.
In later medieval times, most of the early bridges associated with drove roads, and a number of the remaining fords as well, were replaced by substantial stone structures. Witney considered that several of these survive, particularly on the Beult, and their construction illustrates clearly the extreme hazards of flood. These survivors include a medieval bridge situated some 50 yards to the east of the footbridge on the public footpath [WC250] on Cherry Tree Farm, Frittenden. Witney noted that this bridge was approached by a long, cobbled ramp, such as existed at St Stephen’s bridge, Headcorn, in Hasted’s day (the 1790s).
Consulting an Ordnance Survey Map, it is obvious that the NE/SW alignment of these two bridges is consistent with the alignment of the drove roads shown on Witney’s map of drove roads [Witney, K.P., Jutish Forest, (1976), p.138]. While this alignment between the two bridges is not of itself conclusive evidence of the existence of an ancient trackway, it is strongly indicative of such a road. The line of alignment shown on the map does not necessarily represent the actual path of the trackway/road. If it is the remnants of an old drove road, it is likely to be one of these lesser ways. It passes through the hamlet of Sinkhurst Green, Frittenden, and to have as its likely destination Tolhurst, in the Knoxbridge area of Frittenden. Tolhurst is mentioned in a charter of 804.
The trackway crosses the areas known as Sinkhurst Green and The Brook. Roadside greens became particularly important as long as there were large movements of animals in the area. Almost without exception greens are situated either along the main drove routes on the ridge tops, or at principal cross-routes connecting the ridge-top drove ways. They occur, as in the case of Sinkhurst Green, on relatively level areas and at the junctions of through routes with local lanes. Greens would have had the double utility of providing over-night stopping off points for livestock passing through, as well as collection and dispersal points for flocks and herds belonging to local farmsteads. Green locations often also had the poorer soils that did not favour arable production.
The information on this page has been kindly provided by the Frittenden Historical Society.