The word ‘Perry’ has several connotations; in Old English, it seems to have meant both ‘wanderer’ and ‘one who lives by a pear tree;’ it may also have been an old word for ‘sprite’ or ‘fairy,’ in which case ‘Fairy Wood’ is an entirely appropriate name for the area of woodland near to Selling.
Perry Wood is part of the chain of Kent Downs, declared an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,’ and walking the wood, it is easy to see why. Following the ascending route out of the car-park and over the road leads to the top,which affords fantastic panoramic views across the county from the famous wooden ‘Pulpitt’ called ‘Popsy’s View.’
Encountered later on the route, the area known as ‘The Mount’ was once apparently an important communicate point, as it formed part of the semaphore chain linking London to the ports of Kent. It was also the site of the Perry Wood or Shottenden post-mill, which dated back to 1596, and which was demolished in the 1920’s.
With several marked routes for walkers to follow according to levels of hardship required, the long, circular route takes the robust wanderer past the ‘Rose and Crown‘ pub; shortly afterwards, for those of a more adventurous disposition (or impecunious wallet), there is a picnic table strategically placed at the top of a steep climb.
The undulating forest floor is a popular spot for mountain-boarding and -biking.
View location on the Ordnance Survey map here.
You can download a pamphlet from Kent Downs called ‘Memories Trail’ here (PDF), which includes maps of the paths and trails to follow, as well as some of the significant places along the way. And if you keep a sharp lookout, who knows, you might even see some of the fairy-folk too…