Oast houses were used to dry hops. The hops were heated from below and the moisture escaped from the 'bells' at the top. The wind turned the 'vanes' which placed the vent holes 'downwind' allowing the damp air to be sucked out. Simple but ingenious.
A hop 'garden' in April. Hops are used to give flavour to beer - so their welfare is of grave importance!.
A small hop plant in early April.
Hops, almost fully grown in August nearly ready to be harvested. This used to be done using thousands of Londoners who would make the journey to Kent each year into their holiday. For a history of Kentish hops and hop picking click here
An October view, shortly after the harvest
A misty February morning.
A preserved Oast at the museum of Kent life near Maidstone.
Still at the museum, a reconstruction of the kitchen from the popular TV series, The Darling Buds of May.
Many of the pictures on this page were taken on or near the Tanner Farm caravan site, which is in the heart of Kent. This is one of the most tranquil and relaxing sites ever!
This view from the Whitbread Hop Farm was taken shortly before a massive thunderstorm and downpoar!
Grapes are grown throughout Kent - this vineyard is in Biddenden.
The distinctive 'bells' - so reminiscent of Kent.
Hops were once harvested by hand. Trainloads of seasonal workers would arrive from London - for many it was their holiday. These pickers huts can still be seen today (October 2002) from the road between Lamberhurst and Goudhurst but have probably not been used for many years. Sadly many hop gardens in the area are being ploughed up.
Many oast houses are now private dwellings.
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