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Stone Age implements have been found in the area; as has the evidence of an Iron Age settlement at nearby Springhead. Extensive Roman remains have been found nearby, at Vagniacae (Springhead); and Gravesend lies immediately to the north of their road connecting London with the Kent coast – now called Watling Street. The Domesday Book recorded mills hythes and fisheries here.
In the Fort Gardens is Milton Chantry, Gravesend's earliest existing building of the late 13th century. It was refounded about 1321 on the site of a hospital founded in 1189. At the time it was supported by lands in Essex.

Whether you are looking for relaxation and the chance to unwind or for something more active including great hand's on fun for the younger family members then Kent is the place for you. With many award winning attractions featured together with the best known places to visit and many smaller less well known attractions.
Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
Gravesend Shopping
Featuring well-known High Street chain stores, including M&S, BHS, Debenhams, Boots The Chemist, Primark and Game and a good variety of independent shops, two shopping centres and a six-day Borough Market hall, Gravesend Town Centre boasts a wide range of good value shopping.

Visit the Gravesend Heritage Quarter and Gravesend's old High Street, then head for the ‘big name' stores in the main shopping street of New Road and the adjoining shopping centres at Thamesgate and St George's Centre.

On the edge of town, Imperial Business and Retail Park has larger diy, carpet, food and electricals stores and elsewhere across the borough there are local shopping centres, including Perry Street in Northfleet.

Further afield is the regional shopping and new events venue at Bluewater.

Check the Gravesend Directory
Gravesend Market
Gravesend has one of the oldest surviving markets in the country, its earliest charter dating from 1268. Town status was granted to the two parishes of Gravesend and Milton, the Charter of Incorporation being received in that year. The first Mayor of Gravesend was elected in that year, although the first Town Hall was in place by 1573: it was replaced in 1764. A new frontage was built in 1836. Although its use as a Town Hall came to an end in 1968, when the new Civic Centre was opened, it continued in use as the Magistrates' Courts. At present (2004) it is disused, and discussions are being held with a view to its future.
The Farmers Market is held in Gravesend High Street and is open between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm on the 2nd Friday every month.
The Farmers Market started in October 2007 on a trial basis and has been supported by Gravesham Borough Council.
Priority is given to producers whose business is within 30 mile radius of Gravesend.
Milton Chantry
The oldest building in Gravesend, Milton Chantry has a fascinating history. It was built by the Earl of Pembroke, Aymer de Valence, in 1322 to act as a family chantry chapel, and as chapel for a leper hospital, but after the English Reformation it became a tavern, before being used as part of a fort in the late 18th century. The building houses displays on local history and the heritage of Milton Chantry itself.
New Tavern Fort Gardens, Gravesend, Kent, England
For Directions see the Interactive Map
Gravesend Dining
Gravesham has an excellent and an increasing variety of great places to eat and drink. Whether you are looking for an inventive Indian Restaurant or fine modern Mediterranean cuisine with panoramic views of the River, an award winning Fish & Chip Restaurant or good food in the smart surroundings of a village restaurant, a traditional public house within a balls throw of a cricket pitch or a local café, then you will be able to find somewhere with great food, affordable prices and attention to service.

If you are looking for local, fresh and seasonal produce why not start by attending one of Gravesham's monthly Farmers' Markets at Gravesend, Meopham or Vigo, visiting a farm shop or making contact direct with local food producers in the Borough.
Check the Gravesend Directory
In 1380, during the One Hundred Years' War, Gravesend was sacked and burned.

In 1401, a Royal Grant was issued, allowing the men of the town to operate boats between London and the town; these became known as the ‘’Long Ferry’’. It became the preferred form of passage, because of the perils of the road journey

On the river front is recorded the archaeological remains of a riverside fort built at the command of Henry VIII in 1543. At Fort Gardens is the New Tavern Fort built during the 1780s and later extensively rebuilt by General Gordon between 1865 and 1879: it is now a museum, partly open-air under the care of the Gravesend Local History Society.

Journeys by road to Gravesend were once quite hazardous, since the main London-Dover road crossed Blackheath, notorious for its highwaymen. Stagecoaches from London to Canterbury, Dover and Faversham used Gravesend as one of their "stages" as did those coming north from Tonbridge. In 1840 there were 17 coaches picking up and setting down passengers and changing horses each way per day. There were two coaching inns in the New Road: the New Prince of Orange and the Lord Nelson. Stagecoaches had been plying the route for at least two centuries: Samuel Pepys records having stopped off at Gravesend in 1650.

Although a great deal of the economy of the town continued to lie with the shipping trades, the other big employees were the cement and paper industries.

During the period 1932-1956 there was an airport located to the east of the town. It began life as a civilian field, but during the World War II it became a Royal Air Force fighter station, RAF Gravesend and the city was heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe. In 1956 the site was taken over by the town council; the large estate known as Riverview Park was built on its site. At 03:35 GMT on Sunday 5th February 1939, Alex Henshaw took off from Gravesend Airfield at the start of his epic record breaking flight to Cape Town and back. He completed the flight in 39 hours 36 minutes over the next four days. His record still stands.

The Thames is half a mile wide at Gravesend. This is where ships take on board a river pilot for the journey upstream. It is a busy maritime community, with cutters and tugs helping to maintain a steady flow of river traffic. Gravesend is where the bodies of those who had died on board were unloaded before the ships entered London; but the name Gravesend is not a reference to its being the last resting place of these poor unfortunates, it is derived from ‘Grove’s End’ from the Old English ‘graf ’ meaning grove and ‘ende’ meaning end or boundary.
Much of the town was destroyed by fire in 1727. One of the many buildings that did not survive the fire was the parish Church of St George, and the building seen today was rebuilt in Georgian style after the disaster. The graveyard is more interesting than the church as this is thought to be the final resting place of the famous Red Indian princess, Pocahontas. Pocahontas was the daughter of a native American chieftain, who reputedly saved the life of the English settler, John Smith, in Virginia. She died on board ship (either from smallpox, fever or tuberculosis) in 1617 while she was on her way back to America with her husband, John Rolfe. A life- size statue marks Pocahontas’s supposed burial place in the churchyard.
A building of interest in the town, that did survive the 18th-century fire, is the 14th- century Milton Chantry. A chantry is a place set aside for saying prayers for the dead. This small building was the chantry of the Valence and Monechais families. It later became an inn and, in 1780, part of a fort. Milton Chantry is now a heritage centre with fascinating displays detailing the history and varied uses of the building.

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Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Kent, England. In England the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses a site because of its fauna, flora, geological or physiographical features. As of 2008, there are 98 sites designated in this Area of Search, of which 67 have been designated due to their biological interest, 21 due to their geological interest and 10 for both.

Below is a "Where's the path?" link to map pages of each area of Special Scientific interest in Kent. Here you will be able to view various maps of each location including Aerial, Satellite, Dual View and even old Ordnance Survey maps with a modern day Google map overlay, Cycle routes and much more.

Shorne and Ashenbank Woods

Shorne and Ashenbank Woods form a complex of ancient and plantation woodland, and include a variety of stand-types associated with Tertiary gravels, clays and sands. The site supports an important and diverse invertebrate fauna, especially its Coleoptera (beetles), Hemiptera (true bugs), and Odonata (dragonflies).
The woodland varies from pure sweet chestnut Castanea sativa coppice, in places heavily invaded by sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus, to a more mixed broadleaved community, consisting of mature oak Quercus spp., sweet chestnut, and hornbeam Carpinus betulus. Although holly Ilex aquifolium, and yew Taxus baccata are frequent in the understorey, dense aggregations of rhododendron
Rhododendron ponticum sometimes suppress the development of a shrub and field layer. Elsewhere bramble Rubus fruticosus, bluebell Hyacinthoides non- scriptus, dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis, and bracken Pteridium aquilinum dominate the ground flora, together with typical indicator species of ancient woodland such as wood spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides, wood sedge Carex sylvatica, and wood anemone Anemone nemorosa. The locally-scarce caper
spurge Euphorbia lathyrus also occurs, often in abundance in recently cut compartments.
At Randall Heath an open area of former heathland is now dominated by bracken with occasional ancient oak and sweet chestnut pollards. Within Shorne Country Park an old series of clay-workings has been landscaped to provide wildlife habitats including a network of shallow ponds, which are developing an increasingly interesting flora and fauna. These include the plants blinks Montia
fontana and wood small-reed Calamagrostis epigejos, both rare in Kent, and several nationally scarce insects including the ruddy darter dragonfly Sympetrum sanguineum, and the satin lutestring moth Tetheela fluctuosa. The site has been well-recorded for its insect fauna in the past, with both
Coleoptera (beetles) and Hemiptera (true bugs) being well-represented. Rare species include the beetles Mordella holomelaena and Peltodytes caesus. The woodland breeding bird community includes hawfinch, marsh tit and all three British woodpeckers.
Where's the path? Use the link below
Shorne and Ashenbank Woods Maps

Great Crabbles Wood

This site is representative of woods on North West Kent Tertiary sediments; these comprise a succession of strata over Upper Chalk ranging from Blackheath gravels to Woolwich loams and Thanet sands, which give rise to a range of soil types. Most of the woodland is mixed coppice under oak standards, with sweet chestnut as the dominant species. A number of scarce plants occur, including lady orchid Orchis purpurea and man orchid Aceras anthropophorum. Acidic Blackheath gravels form a ridge in the northern part of the wood; this slopes away gradually to the south east, with neutral Woolwich loams on the upper slope and calcareous Thanet sands underlying the southern half of the wood. Chalk outcrops in the south-east corner. The succession of soils is
reflected in the species composition of the tree canopy, shrub layer and ground flora.
Dry, open oak-birch woodland with a ground flora of bracken and bramble on the Blackheath gravels merges with sweet chestnut coppice under oak standards on the damper Woolwich loams. The oak standards are chiefly pedunculate oak, although sessile oak also occurs, especially on the ridge. Other coppice species present include hornbeam, ash, field maple and hazel, and the ground flora is dominated by dog’s mercury Mercurialis perennis and bramble. The woodland on
the calcareous Thanet sands is similar to that on the loams, but the scarce plant bird’s foot Ornithopus perpusillus has also been recorded. A strip of woodland along the southern boundary is dominated by hazel and ash coppice, with some field maple, sweet chestnut and hornbeam coppice under pedunculate oak standards. The shrub layer is varied and includes spindle, wayfaring tree and traveller’s joy, which are all characteristic of the calcareous soils. The diverse ground flora is dominated by dog’s mercury with ivy Hedera helix and several scarce species are present. These include lady orchid, man orchid, white helleborine Cephalanthera damasonium, bird’s nest orchid Neottia nidus-avis, wild liquorice Astragalus glycyphyllos and spurge laurel Daphne laureola.
Where's the path? Use the link below
Great Crabbles Wood Maps

Wansunt Pit

This site provides exposures in the Dartford Heath Gravel, a deposit which has been the subject of considerable controversy since the turn of the century. It has been variously attributed to the Boyn Hill Terrace, part of the Swanscombe sequence or to an older, higher terrace. The presence or absence of archaeological material in the gravel itself is questionable, but a working floor of Acheulian age has been discovered in loam overlying the gravel in Wansunt Pit. The question of whether or not the Dartford Heath gravel is equivalent to any part of the Swanscombe sequence, and what its relationship is to the Thames Terraces, is one of the more burning issues in the Thames Pleistocene studies, and therefore the exposures here are of considerable importance. Where's the path? Use the link below
Wansunt Pit Maps
More Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Kent
Kent Place Names
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If you have wandered through the Kent Downs whether on foot, by horse, bicycle or car will have, at one time or another, pondered over the meaning of place names of towns , villages or hamlets that we normally take for granted in our everyday lives. Places such as Pett Bottom, Bigbury and Bobbing conjure up all manner of intriguing images as to the activities of former inhabitants, while others such as Whatsole Street, Smersole or Hartlip appear completely baffling.
Although most place names may appear at first sight to be random elements of words thrown together in no particular order, most are surprisingly easy to decipher with some elementary grounding in Old English. Over the centuries most of the Old English words have themselves corrupted and changed to appear as we know them today.
Kent Place Names
Kentish Dialect
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Modern Kentish dialect shares many features with other areas of south-east England (sometimes collectively called "Estuary English"). Other characteristic features are more localised. For instance some parts of Kent, particularly in the north west of the county, share many features with broader Cockney.

A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms: in use in the county of Kent' by W.D.Parish and W.F.Shaw (Lewes: Farncombe,1888)
'The Dialect of Kent: being the fruits of many rambles' by F. W. T. Sanders (Private limited edition, 1950). Every attempt was made to contact the author to request permission to incorporate his work without success. His copyright is hereby acknowledged.
Kentish Dialect
Gravesend Parish Kent

Kent Parishes
Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales 1894 -1895


Gravesend, a town, a parliamentary and municipal borough, and a parish in Kent. The town stands on the river Thames, opposite Tilbury fort, and has stations on the L.C. & D.R., S.E.R., and London and Tilbury railway, 24 miles from London. The area of the municipal borough is 1256 acres; of the parliamentary, 3141 acres; population of the municipal borough, 23, 876; of the parliamentary, 35, 079. The Thames here is more than half a mile wide, and has a depth at low water of about 48 feet, and it begins to expand below, forming there the Hope, the last of its many reaches; yet it is supposed by some writers, for reasons of merely fancied changes of depth of channel, to have been forded at Higham, about a mile lower down, in the year 43, by Aulus Plautins, the lieutenant of Claudius. A rising ground occupied by the town is the nearest one to the sea on the river's bank, and to some extent commands the passage. Only a hytbe or landing-place was here at Domesday, but this bore the name of Gravesham, or the town of the grave, graef, or chief magistrate-seemingly an allusion to its being at the extremity of the jurisdiction of the chief magistrate of London-and that name has become corrupted into the modern one, Gravesend. The place belonged to Bishop Odo, and passed to successively the Cremilles, the Uffords, St Mary's Abbey, and the Earls of Darnley. A town of some consequence appears to have risen soon after the Conquest. The watermen of Gravesend so early as 1293 possessed exclusive right of ferry between this place and London. The French and Spaniards in 1380 burned and plundered the town, and carried off most of its inhabitants, and a grant of increased privileges of ferry was given to it by Richard II. to enable it to retrieve its losses. Outward-bound ships from about the 15th century lay here to complete their cargoes; early voyagers, as Sebastian Carbot in 1553, and Martin Frobisher in 1576, assembled here their little fleets, and the magistrates and city companies of London received here all distinguished strangers arriving by water, and conducted them hence in state up the river. William III. embarked here for Holland in 1691, and George L landed here.

The town suffered much damage by fire in 1727, and again to the estimated amount of £100, 000 in 1850. But the rebuildings which followed, and especially extensions and ornamentations consequent on great influx of visitors and residents from London, have wonderfully improved its appearance. The aspect of it as seen from the river is varied and pleasing, and the aspect within, after the interior has been seen, is not disappointing. The lower part, indeed, consists chiefly of narrow streets, but the upper part, on Windmill Hill, has fine ranges of houses, and the exterior parts, especially in the direction of Milton, have handsome squares and terraces. Windmill Hill takes name from a pristine mill erected on it in the time of Edward IIL, and commands a magnificent and extensive view. The Terrace gardens, on the site of what was called the Blockhouse Fort, and formed at a cost of about £20, 000, comprise beautiful walks and shrubberies, and are a favourite promenade. The Rosherville gardens, on what was previously a barren tract of chalk pits, on the estate of an enterprising person of the name of Jeremiah Rosher, are highly picturesque grounds of about 18 acres, constantly open for a small admission fee, and possessing a rich combination of attractions, variously natural and artificial. Abundant lodging-houses, salubrious air, cheap living, good bathing appliances, the stir on the river, fine rambling grounds in the neighbourhood, and ready communication by steamer and by railway with London, also draw hither a great and constant concourse of visitors. Gravesend now possesses three lines of railway-viz., the South-Eastern, London and Tilbury, and London, Chatham and Dover, running together nearly 150 trains per day to and from London, at very cheap fares.


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