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Gravesham ( GRAYV-shəm) is a local government district with borough status in north-west Kent, England. Its administrative centre and largest town is Gravesend, which was known as Gravesham in ancient times.

Gravesham was formed on 1 April 1974 by the merger of the Municipal Borough of Gravesend with Northfleet Urban District and part of Strood Rural District, under the Local Government Act 1972. It borders the Borough of Dartford and Sevenoaks District to the west, the Borough of Tonbridge and Malling to the south, the Medway unitary authority to the east and the Thurrock unitary authority of Essex to the north, via the River Thames.

Gravesham is twinned with Cambrai in Hauts-de-France, France and Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The present borders of Gravesham parliamentary constituency are almost the same as those of the borough.

Open spaces[edit | edit source]

Windmill Hill[edit | edit source]

Windmill Hill is one of Graveshams 24 conservation areas. The 'Windmill Hill Association' looks after matters related to the area and holds regular meetings to discuss local issues. W

Shorne Wood Country Park[edit | edit source]

Shorne Wood Country Park is located between Strood and Gravesend, in the English county of Kent. It was once part of a large estate, later passed to the county council to be used as a country park.

It has large areas of ancient woodland and heathland meadows. The former claypit is being returned to nature (with woodland and wetland areas).The wetland ponds have many species of dragonflies, which breed in the park. A large part of the park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with the designation Shorne and Ashenbank Woods.

The park also is accredited with a Green Flag Award by Natural England.

The country park has many colour-coded waymarked paths around the country park. These include; Purple Route - Easy 1.4 km, Red Route - Medium, Explorer Trail - 3.7miles, Heritage Trail - 2.2miles. A longer trail (the Darmley Trail - 6.2miles) has also been developed taking area outside of Shorne Wood park, including Darnley Mausoleum, Jeskyns (a one-time farm of 360 acres (147 ha), which is being turned into a greenspace area and country park by the Forestry Commission ), Ranscombe Farm and Cobham Hall. There is also a horse riding and cycle path route around the park. As well as a Sensory Garden for the less abled. Disabled visitors can also use 4*4 electro-scooters (called a Tramper), which can be hired from the visitor centre.

The park also has an eco-friendly visitor centre designed by Lee Evans Partnership and costing £1.6m. It as runner up in 2007 Kent Design Awards. It was the first structure to be constructed using Sweet chestnut in the UK. The mainly sweetchestnut structure, also used Oak thinnings were used from Park Wood, Kent near Appledore, as the window and roof joinery.

It is mostly powered by a wind turbine. The centre has a shop, display boards and cafe.

To the east of the park, are the Furzey Leas Lakes. Steps Lake is 0.5-acre (2,000 m2), and Long Lake is 0.65-acre (2,600 m2) These are used as angler permitted lakes, on Day Tickets (obtained from the visitor centre).

Since 2006, the park has had a Community Archaeologist as funded by the Heritage Lottery. Finds from the Stone Age (flint tools) to World War II items have been found. Most work has been taken place around the remains of Randall Manor. This was the home of Sir Henry de Cobham who lived there in 1360 to 1400. The house would have been similar to Ightham Mote but without a moat. The excavations show that it was a substantial timber-framed hall house with a stone built end. It had a garderobe and a separate kitchen making it a high status building. It had outbuildings and three fishponds. It was demolished in 1500 and the building materials re-used in the nearby Cobham Hall, now a girls' school.

More details of what was found in the park can be seen at the Kent County Council website.One of the '100 Walks in Kent' Book starts in the country park, before heading towards Owletts (a National Trust House), Cobham and Cobham Hall and then returning to the park.

Shorne Woods Country park is also home to a parkrun which is a free timed 5k event fully staffed by volunteers. The first Shorne Woods parkrun took place on 30 March 2013.

Cycling[edit | edit source]

To the south of Gravesend on the ancient site of Watling Street on 43ha of land adjacent to the A2, Cyclopark, a venue for cycling events and other activities has been developed. The site which features mountain bike trails, a road circuit, a BMX racetrack and family cycling paths was formally opened in early 2012.

Sustainable transport[edit | edit source]

The Saxon Shore Way, a long distance footpath, starts at Gravesend and traces the coast as in Roman times as far as Hastings, East Sussex; 163 miles (262 km) in total. The Wealdway also starts at the Town Pier, and continues almost due south over the Weald to Eastbourne in East Sussex where it links with South Downs Way, a distance of 80 miles (128 km).

Visions[edit | edit source]

  • Vision for Swanscombe Peninsula: The Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI community group gathered local opinions to find out what people want to see at Swanscombe Peninsula., November 2022

News and comment[edit | edit source]


A message to the people of Gravesham…, CPRE Kent, Dec 10[1]

Gravesham district launches website in response to Green Belt threat, CPRE Kent, Nov 30[2]

Gravesham residents form group to fight council's housing proposals, CPRE Kent.[3] Feb 10

Campaigns[edit | edit source]

Save Swanscombe Peninsula
Authors: Buglife, Nov 1, 2021

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Near you[edit | edit source]

Dartford - Malling - Medway - Sevenoaks

See also[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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