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Cliffe Woods shown within Kent
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
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|EU Parliament||South East England|
Cliffe Woods is a small suburb on the Hoo Peninsula in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It was, until 1998, part of Kent and is still ceremonially associated via the Lieutenancies Act. It forms part of the parish of Cliffe and Cliffe Woods.
It was once just a hamlet and is situated next to Higham. The old woods rise to meet Chattenden and the Ratcliffe highway, just before Hoo, and still retains much of its rural character, but has of late been built upon. The modern estate now situated just back from the B2000 road was built on a clay subsoil, and many of the houses had to be underpinned after having been sold, because they were noticed to have moved slightly, built on a hillside.
A petrol filling station was one of the few village shops here as early as 1925, and was rebuilt in the 1960s. Even then some of the properties in the woods did not have their own water supply, and had to visit the garage to collect their water. In the mid-1990s, the petrol station closed, and was not reopened; however the estate saw a community center, doctors' surgery and pharmacy open.
The railway station was never busy and very quaint. Trains came from Waterloo at least hourly and were mainly of the old slam door type with drop down windows located with a leather strap. There was a pub just on the corner from the railway, and it was usually quiet in the early 60s.
In the 1950s and 1960s View Road was a bumpy unmade track and was lined with trees. There was a small one room hovel/house/shed halfway up on the right, with someone living in it. There were several very large plots nearer the top just at the base of the hill to the woods. At least one was purchased before or during the war and used unofficially for living in until it was compulsorily purchased in the late 1960s. The owner believed that there was council interest and could never get planning permission for a proper house. The original plots were demolished about 1968/9.
At least some of the plots had electricity (from the early 1950s at least), mains water and a septic tank. Most people had a paraffin stove used for cooking and also lighting when the electric failed. The petrol station was still the only shop in the early 1960s.
In the early 1960s, at the top of View Road there were woods stretching almost to the river, with wild cobnuts, and chestnuts too. There were wild damsons in the area, and apple trees were planted and mature by the 1950s.
- "Medway Council – Local history: Medway in the 20th century 1901 – 2000". web.archive.org. 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Lieutenancies Act 1997". legislation.gov.uk. 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
Media related to Cliffe Woods at Wikimedia Commons