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 MinnisStelling 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 WoodElham Park Wood and Park Wood within Lyminge Forest. Other woodland areas nearby are Covert Wood, Atchester Wood, Covet Wood, Madams Wood and numerous others. 

Places to stay

The George Inn does have some hard standing and grass spaces for Motorhome Owners to park and to stay overnight, although this is limited to those eating in the pub. Find our details on Search For Sites

Great Field Farm is just up the road, a very short walk from The George Inn. It is an excellent base for walkers and cyclists, being close to many signed walking and cycling routes. Hosts, Macolm and Lewana Castle, can offer a free local pick-up and drop-off service for those without transport. The farm comprises forty five acres (15 hectares) consisting of arable farmland, paddocks and pretty south facing gardens. The arable field has a nature strip around the perimeter where guests are welcome to stroll, and where you are quite likely to see wildlife such as deer, hares, pheasants, badgers, foxes, many types of birds and butterflies. The Farm aims to minimise the environmental impact of activities. They have installed a 50kW ground mounted solar array which feeds Sunset Lodge, Apple and Hazel Barns, The Cottage and the main Farmhouse and are “zero energy”. Ground Source Heat Pumps provide all the heating and hot water for Sunset Lodge and Apple and Hazel Barns.

Elmfield Farm is just down the road from The George Inn. The farm is used mainly for sheep and hay making. There are donkeys, alpacas, a few sheep, some pigs, ducks and chickens for guests to meet. Visiting children (and adults!) are always welcome to help feed the animals. There is a play area in the farmyard and plenty of space to explore across the fields and in the woods. On the edge of the farmyard, there are 4 cottages - each cottage has its own patio and lawned garden area. Clay and Straw cottages are end of terrace cottages built from Straw Bales each sleeping 6.  Dilly and Gilt cottages are traditional detached brick bungalows which sleep 4.  Hosts Andrew and Harriet Wishart.pride themselves on providing a warm welcome, and bake fresh cakes for your arrival.

Heathwood Lodge is set in a very rural area known as Wheelbarrow Town in the village of Stelling Minnis, nearby to The George. The lodge itself is set within lovely grounds amounting to six acres. Wildlife is in its element.  You may well see foxes, pheasants, rabbits and badgers.  On clear nights the stars are amazing due to low light pollution.  Owls and seasonal nightingale are often heard in the adjacent woodland. Hosts Joss and Robert Hubble offer bed and breakfast at Heathwood which is a first class base for walking and hiking. It is perfect for cyclists as a touring base with secure bike storage. It is a secluded area for tent campers with outside loo and hot water washing facility. It is an excellent base for touring golf breaks. Uniquely, the lodge offers:horse holidays with two or three stables available and the chance for the owner rider to experience at their own pace, riding in great rural countryside including woodland. The many routes that come under the Forestry Commission are immediately adjacent, and are available in woodland:areas such as West WoodElham Park Wood and Park Wood. Other woodland areas are Covert Wood, Atchester Wood, Covet Wood, Madams Wood and numerous others. There are also the actual roads and tracks around the Minnis Common land in Stelling Minnis which offer gentle and interesting walking, hiking, cycling and horseriding.

The Lodge Treehouse is just down the road from The George, at Lymbridge Green. Jo and David wanted a change of lifestyle and career so, in 2012, they started their campsite and home dog boarding to supplement income from sheep and hay. They are passionate about nature and have planted hedges and trees and continue to do so.  Their Treehouse is designed to reflect the uniqueness of Kent and to offer views on the special nature of its landscape. The oast-shaped roof covers an interior of simple rich wood and sleek white, with big double doors that frame the countryside. Sheep's wool is used as insulation. There’s a waterfall shower en suite, but the standout feature of the treehouse is the jacuzzi bathtub. Outdoors, under the long awning, you can lie back and reflect on life letting the hot water foam around you. Out on the deck is seating which is perfect for enjoying views of peaceful fields or the sunset. The treehouse has been designed with all modern conveniemces for those who just need to relax and feel the weight of the world drop away. You can often see birds of prey and at certain times of the year, nightingales have been heard which is quite rare. However, if you want a little more activity, you can always drop in to David and Jo’s house that you’ll see behind the treehouse and help out with the sheep and chickens on the smallholding. 

Clavertye Shepherd's Huts are situated on a family run arable farm on the outskirts of the historic village of Elham, not far from Stone Street and Stelling Minnis..The huts are set in stunning locations. One is set in a ten acre private woodland and the other on the valley hillside with beautiful views. The huts are aimed at people who want a wild, tranquil escape. They are half a kilometer away from the nearest road and dwelling. The woodland shepherd's hut is set in a sunny glade with mature oak trees. During the spring, anemones, orchids, primroses, bluebells carpet the woodland floor. The woodland hut sleeps two adults and two young children. The valley shepherd's hut is set in calcareous grassland which hosts wild flowers such as egg and bacon, orchids, bluebells and cowslips. Also during May the wild broom flowers a beautiful yellow. The valley hut sleeps only a couple and baby or toddler in a travel cot. The two shepherd's huts have hand built bespoke kitchenettes, composting toilets and good size showers. Hot water and the hob and oven are run by gas. LED lights and fridge are run by solar power. There is a cosy wood burner with all wood supplied. You can relax, take in the views and listen to the skylarks and buzzards above. Dogs are welcome and will enjoy the fabulous walks here.

 

 

 

What to do

You do not have to go far from The George Inn to be able to explore the countryside, coastal paths, white cliffs, rolling downland, mind-expanding marshes and sweeping beaches as well as sleepy villages or heritage-packed cities and towns. The Explore Kent website is full of useful local information and handy links to other websites and maps to download. Activities include walking, cycling and horse riding but also many other opportunities to get involved outdoors with the natural environment. 

Kents’ long distance trails. such as The North Downs Way, provide wide horizons, stunning scenery, rich history and an exhilarating sense of freedom.

There are many walks, cycle trails and opportunities for horse riding in nearby Lyminge forestEasy access trails are available for people with pushchairs, wheelchair users or for those who prefer flatter surfaces with no stiles or gates. These are perfect for the whole family to walk together and enjoy the Kent countryside no matter what age or ability. Kent Health Walks are short, local walks designed to help you to get active, get outdoors and meet new people. Led by friendly volunteers, they are especially good for people who are recovering from illness, or who just need a bit of extra motivation to take more exercise. There are winter walks to suit all abilities - an opportunity to get friends and family together and spend time in the great outdoors.

There are also opportunities to get involved through volunteering to help manage the numerous special habitats and landscapes in our area. This could include helping to plant trees, put up fences, protect local wildlife, or take part in surveys or biological recordings to help with conserving and enhancing our natural environment.