About us and around us
The George Inn has a fascinating history. It has been a free house since around 1715. With its huge inglenook fireplace, log fire, old beams and wooden and tiled floors, the atmosphere is cosy and friendly. It is equally popular with locals, passers by and visitors alike - it's a 'proper pub'. Once discovered, customers return time and time again.
The George Inn sits on its own out in picturesque countryside of the Kent Downs, and in the eastern half of the North Downs, which stretch from the London/Surrey borders to the White Cliffs of Dover. The landscape here is protected and is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Situated on Stone Street, this historic pub is on the old Roman Road into Canterbury, just down from Six Mile Bottom, and close to the lovely rural village of Stelling Minnis. Stelling was an Old English word for a shelter or cattle fold. A minnis was ancient common pasture land cleared from the wooded upper slopes on the high clay caps of the Kent chalk downland. In the 17th century, most of these minnises were incorporated into the manorial lands and the commoners excluded. However, commoners retained access to Stelling Minnis and a village grew to take its name.
Stelling Minnis Common comprises 124 acres (50 Ha) and is privately owned by the Trustees of the estate of the late Lord Tomlin of Ash and is one of the last remaining manorial commons in Kent. The Minnis is managed by volunteers drawn from the local community to act on behalf of the owners. Their work is guided by a management plan produced by Kent Wildlife Trust to enhance the biodiversity of the Minnis and promote the well-being of local waresidents and the wider community.
There are several active ponds on the Minnis providing a mix of open water, aquatic and marginal plants attracting dragonflies, damselflies, frogs, toads and newts. The habitat is mainly acidic grassland and heathland featuring a reduced variety of plants such as western gorse (Ulex gallii), heather, fungi — including some fly agaric — and many lichens. The associated woodland consists of broadleaved old English species such as oak and birch, and typical natives of the North Downs, such as yew and holly.
This habitat is home to wildlife such as badgers, foxes, voles, shrews and weasels, and pipistrelle and long-eared bats. Jays, green and great spotted woodpeckers are frequently seen, and rarer sightings include yellowhammers, chiffchaffs and tree pipits. Many butterflies, such as the comma and hedge brown thrive here. Also found are turtle doves, nightingales, grey and red-legged partridges, and barn and long-eared owls.
Grazing has continued here for hundreds of years as an important element of subsistence farming. Today, Kent Wildlife Trust recommends it as a proven successful way of maintaining the habitats of heaths. This is because it is selective and tends to favour the less aggressive flora. Hoof prints open up small pockets that can be colonized by seed and it produces a net reduction in the nutrient content of the area grazed. Without grazing, this habitat and the wildlife it attracts would be replaced by common shrubs of little interest.
There are roads and tracks around the Minnis Common land in Stelling Minnis to explore and also woodland:areas such as West Wood, Elham Park Wood and Park Wood within Lyminge Forest. Other woodland areas nearby are Covert Wood, Atchester Wood, Covet Wood, Madams Wood and numerous others.