I visited the village of Yalding on the 22nd March to sing in a concert. It was a delightful spring day and the walk from the road to the north door of the church, though short, was spellbinding. Worn-out cobbles formed the path walled in by a high bank, in which is lodged the entrance to a family tomb.
The church itself dates from the 13th-15th centuries, is a grade I listed and is very much alive today. The interior feels dominated by pillars that divide the nave into a central, north and south aisle, although one can still peer through the gloom to the high altar in the chancel at the east end. An area in the northwest corner of the church, in between two pillars in the North Aisle, was concerted in 2003 into a choir room, toilet zone and kitchen/bar, and has been done with great taste. During my concert there is was a pleasure to see the church alive with people young and old, the bar being a very welcome feature for some, for whom the choral music was perhaps a little mesmerising.
A walk around the church afforded much pleasure. Spring was starting to show itself in between the grade II listed tombs, and the blossom on the two magnolia trees, whilst not an extraordinary sight in mid-March, provided a delightful contrast with the grey headstones and flourishing greenery. The prospect from the south side of the churchyard over the River Beult was truly a sight to behold, thankfully now flowing normally after the terrible floods that blighted the residents of Yalding over the recent festive season.
Yalding is a delightful village with two pubs, Indian restaurant, library and post office, and I encountered many hikers exploring the Medway valley during my time there. The community was as friendly as one could ever wish and the view of such history, greenery and a blue sky brushed my the tops of many Kentish oast houses bade for a delightful afternoon and evening.