NCRA NewsMail

8 February 2018

LOCAL CONSERVATION AREAS - Part 2 North Cray Village

The North Cray Village Conservation Area was designated in 1992 and came into being in 2008.

Its area is divided by the dual carriageway and on the western side includes Leafield Lane, the Old School and Schoolhouse (dating from 1860), Pear Tree Cottage (c1790), a pair of timber-framed cottages (16th or 17th century), the White Cross Inn (c1818), Loring Hall (1760) and Water Lane. On the eastern side of the dual carriageway it includes the Dower House (c1816) and the lower part of Bunkers Hill (but not the unprotected small hamlet at the top, at the junction with Cocksure Lane, where the oldest house is The White House dating from the 17th century and standing upon what was once North Cray's Green).

Local archaeological finds indicate continuous occupation from before Roman times, and the parish of North Cray was in existence before the Norman Conquest in 1066. As settlement developed along the valley of the River Cray, North Cray Road developed as the main route linking these villages of the Cray, which formed a small winding country lane prior to its widening and straightening in the 1960s. The construction of this dual carriageway involved the demolition of many of the old Village buildings. The most important of these was the former Village shop, originally a medieval hall house dating from c1400; this was later rebuilt at the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton and is now named the North Cray House. A surviving section of North Cray's old country lane linking the Crays is Leafield Lane.

Green spaces within the Conservation Area and around the existing built environment contribute to its ambience and rural character. These spaces, including private front and back gardens and the wooded areas within Leafield Lane and Water Lane, are important characteristics of what has survived of the old Village after it was divided into two by the dual carriageway. Mature trees within the Conservation Area and along the boundary of the North Cray Road form a visual barrier, helping to screen the area and minimise the impact of the road. Footscray Meadows and the River Cray to the west and open countryside with paddocks to the east (part of Bexley's precious Green Belt and Heritage Land) ensure that the area retains much of its rural setting.

The complete Area Appraisal and Management Plan for the North Cray Village Conservation Area can be seen by following this Link.