Skip to main content
Close

Culture & Heritage in the Kent Downs

Ever wondered how the past has shaped the future of our county or walked past a historic site and wanted to know more?

We're working with ambassadors, organisations and businesses who can help answer these questions and bring the Kent Countryside and our local history to life in new and exciting ways.

You'll soon be able to enjoy history walks, nature discovery experiences, literary tours and hopefully visit the many incredible cultural and historic attractions along our routes and trails. Sign-up below and follow our social media channels to find out more, learn about our local history and support our ongoing work to protect nature past, present and future.

Be the first to find out...

Clear-view-Dover-castle

Fancy something a bit different?

Visit this page to see all of our upcoming experience themes or choose one of these:

Learn more about the past

With Kent's long and chequered past there's no shortage of history enthusiasts so we're working with some of them to develop new experiences that will help bring our landscapes past back to life.

Samphire Hoe

Samphire Hoe has an incredible history from the creation of the railway line with the then largest explosion in the world, the first coal mine in Kent and three different channel tunnel attempts. This new experience plans to bring this history to life with eyewitness accounts and even stories from their own family involvement. Ending with a hot lunch and more top tips on historical places to visit nearby this is a no miss for any history enthusiast.

Awesome Valley Experience

The proposed “Awesome Valley Experience” will expand on the family business at Chilton Magic Garden, which focusses on natural farming, tea production, forestry management and schooling. The experience is inspired by the ancient history that echoes in the valley and will connect visitors to the local ancestors who lived on the site over 2000 years ago by offering a range of themed activities inspired by the Anglo-Saxon era.

Trosley Country Park

Trosley Country Park is home to a rich variety of wildlife and is steeped in history. This new experience will encourage visitors to learn how to use a traditional wooden drop spindle to spin wool into yarn, understand how to prepare raw fleece for spinning and learn the basic techniques for spinning and plying to create your own small hank of yarn.

Out to the Woods

Out to the Woods is a community forest school promoting wellbeing, resilience and a love of our beautiful ancient Admiral woods based in Bicknor, Kent. They're exploring a history of Britain's ancient woodlands experience explaining why and how they are so vital for climate control, biodiversity and habitats with potential activities like coppicing or making an elder pencil or kazoo, it sounds right up our eco-street!

Palace Farm

Palace Farm is a small mixed arable and grassland farm which has diversified to provide accommodation and camping. They'd like to create experiences that introduce customers to the life of North Kent Downs villages past and present with a combination of self led or guided tours of the local area highlighting history, local businesses and industry along with a short introduction to map reading, wildlife identification and an insight into dowsing.

Brockhill Country Park

Brockhill Country Park is rich in wildlife, including marbled white butterflies, green woodpeckers and carpets of snowdrops. They are well known as a great spot for a family day out. Now they want to share their history too and are looking to develop small group tours of the area incorporating a campfire cream tea! Watch this space...

Outdoor Studios

Learn about the woodland environment and history through its natural materials with this upcoming experience from Outdoor Studios. With activities including foraging for items to make natural inks, studying and sketching ancient trees, creating standing structures and forms, and exploring hapazome and cyanotype printing using leaves and flowers, their artists will nurture your creativity and guide you in learning about and responding to a geologically and historically rich landscape.

Natural Pathways

Natural Pathways offers a wide variety of courses to engage young and old with the natural world and already welcome families, adults and corporate groups to learn about and explore the nature around them. They are looking to create new 'Tale of the Great Oak' experiences so visitors can immerse themselves in the culture, myth and folk lore around the Great Oak trees of our land and enjoy a wild foraged meal cooked on the camp-fire.

Find some Hidden History

Kent has a rich and colourful history dating back thousands of years with ancient people falling in love with our green fields and glorious beaches and who could blame them. Discover them for yourself with these walks, cycles and horse-rides.

North Downs Way National Trail

Whilst only officially designated a National Trail in 1978 this 153 mile route has plenty of tales to tell and you’ll discover history every step of the way. There are eight castles, three cathedrals, three archbishops’ palaces and numerous stately homes and gardens close to the Trail. It also passes fascinating Neolithic sites, Roman and Napoleonic forts and WWII fortifications plus the ancient city of Canterbury – home to the world-famous Canterbury Cathedral – and the historic seaside towns of Folkestone and Dover.

Read More at National Trails

Pilgrims Cycle Trail

Will outstanding views your 47 mile bike ride will take you along the path followed by generations of pilgrims. The cycle trail begins at the historic Rochester cathedral, past Anglo-Saxon graves and Roman house remains at Detling and finishes at Canterbury Cathedral. The longer route can easily be broken down and completed in sections so you have plenty of time to explore the history of the area.

Read More at Explore Kent

Chilham West Lost Landscapes Walk

One of the Chilham Heritage Trails this 4.5 mile trail heads west, through Shottenden, to the dramatic Mount and ancient Perry Wood, returning through acres of orchards. Highlights include a stone age burial mound shrouded in legend, a beautifully preserved water mill and a long lost manor house.

Read More at Explore Kent

Charing East Lost Landscape walk

This 6.4 mile trail, including a section from the North Downs Way, takes you south-east of the village and culminates with superb views near Charing windmill. One of the Charing Heritage Trails it's been carefully designed to take in the best heritage features of the area including a lost heathland, a woodland that’s been moved and a special map belonging to an anonymous contributor...

Read More at Explore Kent

Charing West Lost Landscape walk

This 5.5 mile Lost Landscapes Heritage trail explores the area south-west of Charing village, where vast modern sand pits give a glimpse back in time and contrast with ancient woodlands and buildings, including a ruin that may or may not be a chapel!

Read More at Explore Kent

Stour Valley walk

The Stour Valley Walk is a 58 mile (93 km) route through the Low Weald and North Downs, past numerous mills which have taken advantage of the river’s water power to support local industries. Take time to explore historic buildings in the centre of Ashford and Canterbury and follow the river through Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve and the Roman remains of Richborough Castle.

Read More at Explore Kent

Discover More Famous Landmarks

We already have a range of routes and trails that pass by some of Kent's most famous and lesser known historic gems just visit our activity page to find out more. Or for more inspiration and routes across Kent and the UK check-out some of our partners below.

Explore Kent

Discover 100's of pre-planned routes suitable for all abilities and activities with full information including route description, distance, parking locations, travel options and of course downloadable maps!

Produced in Kent

Discover wonderful artisan crafters busy making beautiful things for your home and garden. Soon you'll find workshops, courses and events on offer too as lockdown easing continues, we're soooo excited!

Visit Kent

The place to visit to find some of Kent's best attractions, local events, taste sensations and of course featuring all of the best and beautiful locations across our favourite county. You'll find inspiration and information to help make your next visit easy.

North Downs Way

With not 1 but 2 National Trails in Kent, the North Downs Way and England Coast Path, you're bound to find something to tickle your outdoor tastebuds. Plan your own itinerary and book some time for some of Kent's top attractions and perhaps a pub or 2 along the way.

Please Visit Safely

We want you to have a great time in the great outdoors so please see below for some top tips and advice to ensure your visit is safe and countryside-friendly...

  • Remember the Countryside Code
  • Check opening times and facilities before you go
  • Follow the latest Government Covid guidance
  • Take extra care on the coast
  • Access our public rights of way network
  • Make your trip sustainable

    The Kent Downs and North Downs Way is well connected by rail, bike and bus and you won't need to worry about finding a parking space either. Here are a few tips...

  • Go by Train, Southeastern have some handy tips on travelling with confidence. Click Here
  • Buy a family Discovery Bus Ticket for all day travel across the county and beyond. Click Here
  • Get on your bike, it's great exercise and environmentally friendly too. Find out more from Cycling UK.
  • Visit Kent Connected to find the best ways to travel for you and the environment. Click Here.
  • For more information on low impact travel to the Kent Downs Click Here.
  • You might also like...

    Sign-up to receive information about multiple Kent experience themes by completing our survey or choose your favourite below...

    Wellbeing

    Escape for some rest and relaxation in some of Kent's most beautiful places.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Arts & Crafts

    Find your inner artist and share in the passion and knowledge of local experts.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Pilgrimage

    Tread in the footsteps of Pilgrims as we take you on a journey of self-discovery.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Outdoor Activities

    Blow away the cobwebs in our gorgeous woodlands, grasslands and coastline.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Nature & Wildlife

    Learn more about the nature and animals around you, perfect for little and big ones!

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Family Fun

    Reconnect with the outdoors and your favourite people with family focussed activities.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Farming & Animals

    Visit a local farm, boost your nature knowledge, learn new skills and make memories.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Food & Drink

    Discover new tastes and treats from wonderful artisans across the county.

    Sign-Up for Updates

    Help us build experiences...

    Do you have an activity or business along our routes that you'd like to promote to Walkers and Cyclists? We have a package of support and help available so please get in touch.

    EXP logo (EN) low res
    EU flag English vertical RGB
    NDW New Black V2 Stacked (002)