Valleys and Downlands
Alkham Valley and East Kent Downlands
The Alkham Valley is in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a haven of peace and quiet nestling between the busy port towns of Dover and Folkestone. The Valley also boasts number of other designations, having Special Landscape Areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Conservation areas and 17 Grade ll listed buildings.
Situated at the northern end of the Alkham Valley, just three miles from Dover and within St Radigund’s Abbey Farm, are the remains of St. Radigund’s Abbey. The Abbey was built in 1191 and occupied by monks from Premontre in France. Today, the remains include the gatehouse (or tower), the nave, transept, chapter house, cellarer’s buildings and refectory which can be seen from the local footpath.
East Kent Downlands
The North Downs slope gently eastwards towards the English Channel between the White Cliffs at Dover and the Isle of Thanet.
This landscape supports a range of important habitats and wildlife such as areas of herb-rich chalk grassland, bluebell and wild flower rich ancient woodlands. Hedges are another special feature, dividing arable fields and linking many of the areas of woodland together.
This area also forms part of the former East Kent Coalfield. Developed during the 20th century, the grand vision was never quite realised but the remains of the collieries, the colliery villages and the East Kent Railway still stand.
The Miner’s Way winds its way through much of this part of East Kent, linking together pretty villages, small farmsteads, grand country estates and parklands and the remains of this area’s industrial heritage. These country estates include Fredville Park, famed for its grand parkland trees and in particular the Majesty Oak, Goodnestone Park where Jane Austen was a regular visitor, and Knowlton Court, set in 300 acres of parkland and once home to Sir Thomas Peyton, one of the Royalist commanders during the English Civil War.