Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
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
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.
New Tavern Fort Gardens, Gravesend, Kent, England
For Directions see the Interactive Map
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 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.
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
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
Great Crabbles Wood
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
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.
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.
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