Penshurst Conservation Area covers some 32 hectares and contains 32 listed buildings. It was first designated in 1976 and reviewed in 1991, although an earlier study of the whole village was carried out by the Planning Department of Kent County Council in 1969.
The focal point of the Conservation Area is the centre of the village where the church, public house and entrance to Penshurst Place are within close proximity, as is the road junction between the B2176 and the B2188.
The Conservation Area takes in not only the heart of the village, but also the curtilage and park of Penshurst Place and the area around Elliots Farm to the south east of the river Medway where the land rises up Rogues Hill.
All of the Conservation Area, apart from a tiny section in the south east, falls within land designated as Green belt, the Greensand Ridge Special Landscape Area, as well as lying within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A significant amount of the hectarage of the designated area is occupied by open fields and Penshurst Park, the built environs being relatively small.
The centre of the village adjacent to the road junction has a high proportion of listed buildings, although the modern residential estates to the west of the junction also fall within the area.
The River Medway flows through the south east corner of the Conservation Area and the open land is served by numerous drainage ditches that encourage the growth of marginal water plants.
The main attraction, and the reason that most visitors come to Penshurst is, of course, Penshurst Place, which apart from opening as a stately home, also hosts other events on an occasional basis. The rest of the village centre is primarily geared up to cater for the visitor and has tea rooms, antique shops and a public house.
Penshurst also has a church, primary school, village hall and telephone exchange and a small garage and general store, which together add to the character of the village. There is a modern housing estate to the south west of the Conservation Area, but otherwise the residential properties tend to be individual houses or cottages located on minor roads that link Penshurst with the surrounding villages.
The Conservation Area was designated primarily because Penshurst is such an interesting example of a medieval village, tightly concentrated around the church and great house. This original settlement is still evident and highlighted by the additional development on Rogues Hill which was originally the site of an outlying farm. The 19th Century developments are
architecturally valuable and they too are worthy of preservation.