Yesterday we provided refresher training on a counterbalance truck at a garden centre just outside Maidstone in Kent. We have trained on this site on a number of occasions in the past and it is always a pleasure to return to this lovely, flagship garden centre.
Maidstone is the county town of Kent and the river Medway runs through the centre of the town linking it with Rochester and the Thames estuary.
Kent has been referred to as the Garden of England for hundreds of years. It is host to gentle hills, fertile farmland and cultivated country estates with fruit filled orchards that cover the area. Penshurst Place, Sissinghurst Castle and Hall Place Gardens are all well known for the scenic views they offer and are definitely not to be missed.
Kent was the first and most successful area for hop farming in the UK. Throughout history, well over half the hops produced in the UK have come from Kent. Kent has strong, fertile and well-drained soil and a mild climate. Setting up hop gardens was an expensive business and Kent farmers were among the richest at the time so could afford to do so.
Kent was also well located to attract workers down from London. For 4-6 weeks in September, during the hop harvest, tens of thousands of Londoners would take a holiday from the city and come down to the Kent countryside to pick the hops.