Most new visitors to Tenterden are unaware that the town was once an important ship-building centre, with access to the sea near Camber. Now 10 miles inland, it is hard to imagine that a large part of Romney Marsh and the Rother Levels were underwater as late as the 15th century. As a Cinque Port, the town was self-governed and exempt from taxes (though, sadly, not now!) and as a centre of the wool trade, with weaving being an important industry, the town became a prosperous market town. Many buildings from this period still exist in a very good state of repair. Throughout the Georgian and Victorian period, the town remained well-cared for and, today, we still have the wide, elegant and tree-lined High Street that has been there for centuries. This walk will show you some of the treasures from the past that can still be seen throughout the town. We start at the Tenterden Gateway, the town’s information centre in the High Street. Then make our way to the nearby Tenterden Museum where there is a wealth of information on the local architecture, and is full of artefacts of the town’s history in the ship-building, wool, tanning and brewing industries. The next stop is Tenterden Town Station. The railway didn’t come to the town until 1903 and it always struggled to make ends meet. Eventually the line was closed in 1954 by which time there was practically no traffic on the line. However, in 1974, a few intrepid enthusiasts managed to re-open the East Sussex & Kent Railway and, over the years, the line has been extended all the way to Bodiam with a regular steam train service for 7 months of the year. The station buildings have been lovingly rebuilt and, of course, the magnificent steam trains are always a joy to behold. Then we will walk the length of the main shopping precinct and you will hear the history behind many of the houses and shops which date back to medieval, Georgian and Victorian times. Of particular note, are the 15th century church of St Mildred, the Town Hall and 14th century timbered Wealden Hall House (now The Lemon Tree Restaurant). We will also walk around the back of the shops to discover a medieval lane leading off into the countryside and find where the old theatre once stood. Making our way back to our starting point, we will pass by the Victorian Soup Kitchen, the Zion Baptist Church, Pittlesden Gatehouse (reputed to be the oldest house in Tenterden) and the site of the Georgian Workhouse and Elizabethan Poor House.