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Latest Posts

Read about Atticus Marinus and his ship "Fides", and her last voyage carrying goods from The Farleighs here

Local quarrying during the Roman occupation

Posted on 26th October, 2020

Dr Simon Elliot, our own distinguished archeologist, has written a fascinating article about local quarrying by the Romans during their occupation. To read it, click here

I have the great pleasure in working at and for the Big Cat Sanctuary.  The sanctuary is based at Smarden, Headcorn, Kent and is home to approximately 50 cats, both large and small.













The animals are from a variety of previous situations, they can be rescued from private collections or previously from the circus industry, or they can be retired cats from zoos and collections that cannot keep them for different reasons. 


CAT4We are part of the European Breeding Programme which holds all the records of the various breeds of cats and issues permission to breed ethically if the gene pool requires and allows it.

This enables extremely endangered breeds, for example the Amur Leopard being the most endangered cat in the world, to be bred in captivity in an organised way to promote the gene pool effectively of this species going forward.  There are many organisations that are helping to reintroduce these rare species back into their own habitat but this must be done in the correct way. 

The Amur Leopards have indeed bred at the sanctuary and their offspring have gone on to have offspring themselves which hopefully will enable sometime in the future reintroduction for these beautiful cats back into the wild.  There are less than a hundred in the wild so we need to do all we can to save them from extinction.



We have been seen on tv with Giles Clarke, rearing two cubs from different situations but who are now all grown up and huge ambassadors for their breeds and education about conservation.  Meet Maya and Willow now!

























Cats are given the best care from our team of keepers and this includes setting the enclosures up correctly for their specific habitats, feeding them in a way that they would eat in the wild and giving them enrichments which keep them occupied in finding their food or stretching, jumping, climbing, hiding, smelling just as they would in the wild.












We are not open to the general public enabling the sanctuary to be a peaceful environment for the cats and thus successful in breeding programmes. We have two handsome Snow Leopard Cubs born to Laila and Yarko last year and they have grown so fast!  Meet Khumbu and Koshi!















All our funding comes from generous donations from members of the sanctuary and the public and through personal experiences booked directly with the sanctuary.  These can include encounters with a hand feed, a ranger day which shadows one of the keepers during a typical day, photo workshops with our expert resident photographer, all for beginners through to experienced!  We also have lodges on site, which are for an overnight stay with all the trimmings and include very immersive tours of the cats.  A truly unforgettable bucket list experience!


The sanctuary also donates to a variety of conservation programmes to enhance their work and has outreach and in-house education programmes for children and schools to further the conservation message to the youngsters.


On a personal note I have worked on Front of house helping and welcoming all our experience holders and now have helped set up the new onsite shop and online shop. At present we are unable to open due to the current situation and rely on donations as the cats still need feeding and we all miss the cats greatly as the sanctuary is truly a family of devoted staff and volunteers.


You can find further information by visiting The Big Cat Sanctuary on Facebook or our website:  Thebigcatsanctuary.org.







Posted on 21st May, 2020

Do you provide care for somebody living in Kent and Medway?

Help to Care is a free mobile app designed to help you to spot the signs of a problem and find the right information and advice if you’re worried about someone’s health and wellbeing.

Download today on your app store to access:

·      Over 40 advice and guidance articles

·      Links to services to support you and the people you care for

·      Training videos on different conditions

Visit www.designandlearningcentre.com/overview-of-our-work/helptocare/ to find out more or download for free on your app store.


The day West Farleigh School closed...

Posted on 12th December, 2019
Wendy Butler sent in this lovely reminiscence, photo and letter (see Pip Wakefield's obituary by Tim Hill in "Friends and Neighbours" on this website). 
PS.  We'd love to hear any stories or school photos from other ex-pupils [editor@thefarleighs.co.uk].
Whilst my sisters and I were sorting out our late mums belongings we came across this photo. It was accompanied by a letter from Miss Wakefield and Miss Whittle (excerpts below).
Four out of five of us attended the school between 1966 and 1976 and all agree they were idyllic years.  Sitting by the pond in the summer making our tapestry pyjama cases.
Growing veg in our gardens. Competing to see who could get the straightest lines and sieving the soil like our lives depended on it!! Ready for the day our gardens were judged. 
Playing kiss chase on the playground and hanging like monkeys from the bars fixed to the wall, are they still there we are wondering. So many happy memories, I could go on and on :)
I don't know if there are any past pupils still living in the village. We lived in Charlton lane for around 25 years and whenever I visit Kent I always have a drive around the village and 
Best wishes
Excepts from the letter from Misses Wakefield and Whittle:


Posted on 19th October, 2019

A plea from local dog walkers……to all dog walkers


Please clean up after your dog.


The sheep fields in Charlton Lane have long been a facility for the football pitch and dog walkers. The Sports Club utilise the field to train youngsters and also to play local teams.  As dog walkers we are extremely grateful to those allowing us to walk our dogs here.  Our dogs can run freely and safely, and we feel safe due to the visibility and security of the fields.  Dog walking is a great social activity and many of us in West Farleigh have got to know one another by exercising our dogs.

Unfortunately, there are a small minority of dog owners who do not clear up after their dogs.  This is unacceptable for a number of reasons –

  • It can pose a health risk to those playing on the football pitch, especially children.
  • Crops can be ruined by dog faeces.
  • There are disease-causing bacteria and parasites in some dog faeces, and these can be passed on to sheep.
  • It is extremely unpleasant for anyone who happens to step on it.


Some might argue that dog faeces are ‘totally natural’ or that there is “no difference between sheep and dog poop”.  This is not the case.  Sheep are herbivores and their droppings can be made into manure, whereas dogs are carnivores. Dog waste is an environmental pollutant, and if it’s left on the grass it decays and bacteria will seep into the soil.

In response to reports by the Sports Club of dog waste being left on the football field, local dog walkers met to discuss the issue.  It was agreed unanimously that the disposal of bagged dog waste should not be the responsibility of a member of the Sports Club. Dog walkers should dispose of the bags themselves.  In an attempt to encourage all dog owners to clean up after their dogs, it was agreed that the dog walkers would provide signage and put an article in LifeLine and on the village Facebook page to this effect.  It was suggested that the Sports Club be approached, to see if they would consider securing some gaps to the fencing of the football field with chicken wire to prevent smaller unaccompanied dogs access to the pitch.


Back to the plea…….


It is a great spot to walk dogs, but now it’s become a case of pick it up and take it home, or we all lose the facility. So, please help…..



Sam Wilson, son of Megan and Chris Wilson of St Helens Lane, West Farleigh, has won a Bronze medal in the World Freestyle Canoe Championships.



The championship was held in Sort near the Spanish Pyrenees.

The finals were on the 4th July. Sam won his medal in his “Squirt Boat”.



A very flat canoe, which can be twisted, turned and rolled. Points are given for tricks, stunts and manoeuvres. like this!



Sam started canoeing in the Scouts, doing most of his early training at Yalding, gaining his BCU awards for canoeing. He is also a member of WAM  (White Water Action, Medway, also based at Yalding.





Now 22, he works and trains at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.



Congratulations Sam.



Kent Fallen

Posted on 22nd March, 2019

Remembrance Sunday - 11th November


At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month there will be a two minute silence to remember those who died in the First and Second World Wars.


As some of you may be aware and as previously mentioned in West Farleigh's Life Line, there is an extraordinary website called www.kentfallen.com which provides brief biographies of those who fell during both Wars, including where they grew up, their profession, family, and final resting place.


Once you have entered the Kent Fallen website, just click on the Search button and then enter your place of interest, for example West Farleigh, and the results will be returned.


Special thanks to everyone at Kent Fallen for their hard work in firstly collating the data and secondly for publishing it, not forgetting the efforts in maintaining the site.

Action Against Hunger Car Treasure Hunt

Posted on 28th February, 2019

Car Rally / Treasure Hunt

14thApril 2019



Action Against Hunger

My name is Sarah Hunter and I live in Charlton Lane, West Farleigh.  I am an undergraduate student at the University of Nottingham, studying architecture in my second year.  On top of my studies, this year I decided to join the society ‘Karnival’.  As part of this, I was presented with the opportunity to take on the challenge to climb up to Everest Base Camp, to raise money for Action Against Hunger.  I couldn’t say no!  So that is exactly what I am doing.

This September, I will be trekking 5,380m up Mount Everest.  However, I can only do this providing I raise £3,000 for Action Against Hunger.  They are such an amazing charity that so many people have never even heard of!  They save the lives of malnourished children.  They ensure that everyone can access clean water, food, training and healthcare.  They enable entire communities, in nearly 50 countries worldwide, to be free from hunger.

I am holding another event in West Farleigh to raise money.


Car Rally / Treasure Hunt - Sunday 14thApril 2019

Time:                   12noon 

Starting Point:    The Tickled Trout

Finishing Point:   Football Hut, Charlton Lane

Cost:                    £20 per car (maximum of 4 people per car)


There will be places to stop during the rally for refreshments.  At the end of the rally there will also be refreshments made available at the Football Hut.



Tickets must be purchased in advance. We may have to restrict the number of cars, so you are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.  As I am in Nottingham, please email or telephone/text my mum for tickets (email: janehunter01@gmail.comor 07928 036800). 


The car rally is not a race! It is intended to be a fun day for all the occupants of the car to take part and enjoy. 

There will be a raffle at the end of the rally. I know this is cheeky, but if anyone has an item they could donate for the raffle it would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the quiz on 25thJanuary 2019.  An amazing £452.86 was raised – thank you so much.  In particular, I must thank Pete Hards for helping me with the quiz, and also Sue O’Donnell for her help at the church.

Finally, I do hope you will be able to join me at the car rally.  It should be a fun day for neighbours to meet up and it is for a really good cause.  I will notify the Farleighs website (www.thefarleighs.co.uk) with the starting point as soon as I have an idea of how many cars will be taking part.  I look forward to meeting you there.



Is 70 the new 50

Posted on 21st February, 2019

Is 70 the new 50?


Jacky Taylor has some thoughts…………….




 When I left the office for the last time in March 2014 – I hopped, skipped and jumped from Vauxhall to Victoria for my final commute. I had spent the most rewarding 25 years of my working life helping setting up and working at the National Literacy Trust an amazing charity which still goes from strength to strength, but it was now time to let it go.


I had plans to declutter my home, get more engaged with village life, be more proactive in the WI and generally be a nuisance to everyone I could, especially my husband who had retired two years previously and was leading quite a sedentary life at home, apart from tending his precious lawn that is.


Unfortunately, decluttering and housework are not at all appealing to me my desire to declutter after 5 years has made very little progress. I’ve filled a few recycling bins with clothe but still there is so much tucked away that I can’t face – a job for my children after my clogs have finally popped.


There is only so much housework one can do but I embraced having time to be more experimental with my cooking, something I have always enjoyed and continue to enjoy.


I did find that village life moves in circles throughout the year – and although I still really look forward to helping plan events I found I needed something to stretch my brain.  Luckily for me a regular in the Good Intent asked me if I could type! So I started doing bits and pieces of legal secretarial work for a local retired solicitor – a completely new area for me but one which I relished – and I got paid too.  Then my friend needed some help with her the book-keeping side of her business and before I knew it I was doing two small but rewarding pieces of work.


The WI side of my life got busier too as I undertook the Chairman’s role of the Hall Committee which I am very proud to say culminated in successfully applying for grants and a new kitchen was installed.


During this period, my husband contracted cancer and I felt that extra income may be useful if things didn’t work out well but I am delighted to say Ron has come out the other side. In the meantime, I some of my ‘home work’ seemed to be drying up so I thought if I can do this what else is there for me out there, so I put my CV on a recruitment website, not expecting to hear anything as an over 65.


Low and behold I got a phone call, would I be interested in a part-time role at an international security company based in Hermitage Lane. Would I – oh yes!


I was interviewed and duly offered the job. That was 3 years ago.  Yes, it did become a bit tiring but I knew that I had a decision to make.  I could still be involved with village life and give up work or I could cut down on my commitments in the village and continue to work, which is what I did. 


It has worked out really well, I have re-joined the choir, still help at village events and I am enjoying going to work.


I have even been offered the opportunity to help launch a new product at work which will benefit so many elderly people and their families.


Oh no its not all work and no play makes Jacky a dull girl. I have regular days out with the girls when anything can happen – normally involving alcohol and hot tubs, outings with my husband and so on.  I can honestly say, as I approach 69 – life is great and I hope to carry on working for another few years yet.