The Wooden Horse

The horse, in Riders Wood,  was carved in December 2017 by Steve Andrews to commemorate the gift of Moore Meadow by Miss Pauline Moore.

Pauline taught riding, and the seat above her old sand school is dedicated to her as well.

In 2008 Pauline, a staunch supporter of BWT from the beginning, opened the new paths.

A Tribute to Pauline Moore by Peter Willson

Born over Barclays Bank in Maidstone in 1923 where her father was a Bank Manager, Pauline moved with her parents to Sutton Street, Bearsted in 1925 where she remained for a further 86 years, over 50 of which were spent running her own highly successful and respected riding school.

Leaving school in 1940, the same year her father died, Pauline turned to the land for a lifelong passion of the countryside, animals and rural pursuits joining the Land Army in 1942. Pauline learnt to ride herself at an early age. After the war, in 1946, saw the humble beginnings of Bearsted Riding School on a cinder track around an apple orchard behind Sutton House where Pauline lived. Her mother raised £100 which bought her first pony, horse box and stables, all erect erected by Pauline herself together with a hay store on the back of the house using ex-war material. Pauline, who was not adverse to mucking in, later learnt to shoe all her own horses to help keep the cost down.

Besides running her riding school, Pauline was Chief Instructor at the annual Tickham Hunt Pony Club Camp for over 30 years and was a founder member of Maidstone and District Riding Club holding shows and competitions on her land with everybody welcome. Pauline rented land locally at Gore Cottage, Snowfield, Barty House and many areas in Bearsted. In the 1950s Pauline kept up to 100 poultry to supplement her small income from the riding school.

When Pauline’s mother died in 1967 she could at last afford to buy a good competition horse and she bought Delphie, a chestnut mare to compete at shows and take hunting on Wednesdays with Tickham and Ashford Valley Hunts. In 1973 Pauline sold Sutton House and used the money to build a bungalow on the land, which she moved into in 1975 and named ‘Broadacre’. This had beautiful views across her land where she could stand and enjoy her horses grazing, birds signing and dogs playing.

In 2003 aged 80, Pauline gave up her riding school licence and turned her home into a small but very friendly livery yard. Right up until last year Pauline could be seen out early every day feeding the horses, driving her famous red tractor “Thomas” around the land harrowing and topping the fields and in late afternoons walking her dogs. You could set your watch by her and the horses certainly knew when she was coming. Pauline especially liked children spending time at the stables. She firmly believed that working with horses and learning how to care for them properly provided all the required skills to help anyone in life no matter what they chose to do.

Pauline was anxious that her land had given so much pleasure to so many people did not fall to developers after her death. In 2005 (after discovering a few years earlier that the Woodland Trust would only accept her land with a bursary for 5 to 10 years after her death) she decided to leave her land to Bearsted Woodland Trust instead. She later joined the management team of the trust, and made invaluable contributions at all the meetings, with her carefully prepared notes.

Pauline sets out to canvas for votes for BWT in the People's Millions competition.

One of her wishes was that a hedge be planted around her land, so she could see it grow in her lifetime. This wish came true, and in November 2011 over 200 volunteers, with Pauline leading from the front as ever, turned out to plant over 3,000 small trees around borders, along the Ashford Road and the Roundwell. A week after the planting she wrote a personal note, and I quote: “In 1968 I had saved enough money to buy a 12-acre field from the previous owners, who had tried, and failed, to get permission to build. This treasured land has given me so much happiness to both young and old in the past and present. Oh! What happy, happy days we had on this loved and treasured land.”

 

Over 200 friends packed Holy Cross Church in September 2012 for Pauline's funeral. A slow moving procession began at her home in Sutton Street and headed to Bearsted Green before finishing at the church for the funeral. Speeches were made by her cousin Ian Bruce-Russell who grew up with Pauline from childhood, Justin Byrd a lifelong friend, “Pauline was my mentor in life, someone I admired dearly. Pauline meant so much to us all, she inspired us through her love of life, animals and all that is true and right” and myself. The service was not a sad occasion, more a celebration of a wonderful life.

Many tributes were paid to Pauline in the press, but one that I think demonstrated just how dedicated she was about protecting the open spaces in our villages. “One lasting memory of Pauline will be her determination to protect Bearsted. The effort and fight she put into stopping KIG was astounding, though in such bad weather, when most people wouldn’t venture out, Pauline, at over the age of 85, attended every public meeting; even after slipping on the ice and having to be taken home she still continued her fight to win.” Also right up to her death she was campaigning and writing to Maidstone Borough Council trying to protect Junction 8 from development!

 

Pauline was interviewed in 2005 for an early BWT newsletter by Arlene Broadhurst. (We include the interview here because it adds to Pauline's obituary)

Pauline Moore came to Bearsted as a two-year old child in 1925. Her father bought Sutton House and a small piece of grazing land. Previously the property was described as a "Gentleman´s Pleasure Farm" and included buildings and an oast for drying hops (some from the land she now owns). Sutton House, in Sutton Street, is situated in a part of the village known as Roundwell. At that time, Walter Thomas Fremlin of Fremlin´s Brewery lived at the many-propertied Milgate Park and owned a large part of Bearsted. After his death, the land was divided and all the houses and cottages were sold. The land that ran from Bearsted turning to Mote Hall and the Church Landway (now the Bearsted Woodland Trust) was also split up.

Pauline´s land was used for farming and shows traces of a sand quarry said to have been used for making glass for the Crystal Palace. Until quite recently, caves, thought to be linked underground to her land, could be seen at the Caves Cafe on the Ashford Road at Hollingbourne. No caves are open now, but she remembers being ticked off for creeping too far into one of them. The Ashford Road was considerably widened around 1920. The 700 year-old oak tree must know!

After school and war days in the land army, Pauline started a very small riding school in 1946. She had an old horse and a borrowed pony and taught riding until 2004 when she gave up teaching with great regret. Her ponies were grazed on nearly every piece of land in the village, including the BWT land adjacent to Holy Cross Church.

The land adjoining her home was sold to her about 1964. The owners had tried unsuccessfully to obtain building permission. The sandy soil made good going for the horses, and especially for equestrian cross-country and competitions. She says, "It was all wonderful fun and so good to have horses grazing near home." She would like to think that much pleasure has been given to many riders, pony club and riding club members and hopefully, that good instruction has provided much happiness on the land.

Pauline remembers floods of 3 feet in depth coming through her house in 1967, her friends in Gore Cottage rowing their boat to Cross Keys (a situation which helped no end to stop the proposed building!) and the hurricane in 1987 when only the oaks stood firm. She also remembers Doug and Rene Terry´s lovely market garden on the east of the Church Landway and dog walks across their land to the lake and field owned by Michael R. Ireland-Blackburne of Mote Hall. Milgate Park, when farmed by the Betts, was used for hunter trials twice a year and now gives pleasure to golfers. Sadly, she remembers many homes spoilt by bad planning. Preservation of all our open land is much in her mind. And she wishes it to remain so, for the pleasure of the present and the future community.

As Pauline says, "The horses are still around and so am I"