ASHFORD KENT
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Set amongst beautiful ‘Darling Buds of May’ countryside and picturesque villages, a host of beautiful gardens and historic houses, National Trust properties, nostalgic steam railways, award-winning vineyards, windmills and small unique attractions are waiting to be discovered. Head for Ashford Town Centre and County Square Shopping Centre for top high street stores and to the Ashford Designer Outlet for brand names at big discounts. Browse in the many antique, gift and specialist stores in Tenterden.

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.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Shopping in Ashford
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Ashford is well catered for when it comes to shopping. As well as the much improved town centre, there is the large MacArthur Glen Outlet Centre, with its white tent-like canopy, just across the railway bridge. In the town centre, the County Square indoor shopping mall is impressive. Just the other side of the road is the Park Mall Shopping Centre. Undercover: In the centre, the County Square Shopping Centre is wholly indoors, and the Park Mall Shopping Mall is largely sheltered. The Designer Outlet is technically outdoors, although the walkways are all sheltered.
Parking: The town centre is well served with multi-storey & other car parks, which are well signposted from the ring-road. The Designer Outlet has its own pay-and-display parking.

Check the Ashford Directory
Godinton House
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Godinton House and Gardens
A lovely brick manor with roots dating back to the 14th century. Godinton was for centuries the home of the Toke family. Much of the present house owes its form to work undertaken by Captain Nicholas Toke beginning in 1627. The interior offers much of interest, from the medieval great hall with its hammerbeam roof to the 17th century great chamber with profuse Georgian panelling.
Godinton House/Godinton Park Ashford TN23 3BP Telephone: 01233 620 773
For directions check the Interactive Map
Ashford Town Cricket Club
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Officially born on 30th January 2008, Ashford Town Cricket Club is the product of a merger between former Kent League champions, Ashford Cricket Club and their local rivals, Old Stacians Cricket Club. With a combined history of over 200 years, thousands of cricketers, a respectable number of 1st class and international players, sixteen senior league titles, eighteen senior cup wins and countless junior trophies, ATCC’s relatively sparse honours has much to live up to.
We’ve already been through a lot in our short history, both good and bad – from the highs of promotions to the lows of having to rebuild a flooded clubhouse, there have been times when it has been all too easy to lose perspective. But thanks to an immeasurable amount of dedication, hard work, generosity and goodwill we are now in the privileged of being able to offer our local community one of the finest facilities in the county.
So whether you are looking for a friendly community focused cricket club for players of all ages and abilities or you just need a great venue for your event, we are proud to be open to all. So why not come and see us?
Ashford Town Cricket Club Stacians Park, Steeds Lane Kingsnorth, Kent TN26 1NQ
For directions check the Interactive Map
Swimming in Ashford
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The Stour Centre boasts some of the finest pool facilities of any leisure centre in East Kent.
The 25-metre main pool, leisure pool and learner pool combine serious swimming with relaxation, fun and thrills for the whole family, all set in a stunning modern environment.
The leisure pool has two 50-metre flumes, a raging river experience, water jets, cascades and two poolside jacuzzis.
Little ones can have safe fun in our circular teaching pool, and there's even a bubble pad for the babies to splash around on.
Please be aware that during busy periods such as the school holidays we operate a band system to control the volume of users in the pool.
The main pool is widely used for school swimming lessons during term-time so please check the relevant timetables.
The Stour Centre Station Approach Ashford Kent TN23 1ET
For directions check the Interactive Map
Ashford Golf Club
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We are located off the A20 to the west of Ashford, close to junction 9 of the M20 with ample car parking.
We enjoy our golf on a mature parkland course. The course was first laid out in 1926. With many feature pine and oak trees, narrow fairways and small greens it provides a good test for golfers of all abilities. Visitors frequently compliment us on the quality of the course and invariably enjoy their visit.
The club is owned by its 600 or so members and celebrated its centenary in 2003. We encourage all golfers, with active junior, ladies and veterans sections and a full schedule of competitions and fun events.
Matt Flight of MJF Catering Ltd provides our excellent catering service, fully attuned to the needs of the hungry golfer.
Mark Lawrie, our PGA professional is a fully qualified class AA PGA coach and offers a full range of clothing, equipment and repair service.
The club provides a full social programme, including themed evenings, quizzes, and music and dancing.
Membership is open to all. Joining fees are currently suspended. Subscriptions are fixed from 1st April in the current year through to the end of March of the following year.
Visitors are always welcomed. Societies generally play on Tuesdays and Thursday. Green fees may be booked online. Our annual Open Week is a well established feature of golf in Kent.
Ashford Golf Club Sandyhurst Lane Ashford Kent TN25 4NT
For directions check the Interactive Map
Town Centre
Ashford’s high-speed ‘javelin’ train service means that central London is just 38 minutes away, and for the more adventurous, Paris, Brussels and Lille are just a couple of hours by Eurostar. Benefit too, from the area’s wealth of top quality accommodation ranging from first-class hotels and cosy B & Bs to self-catering in traditional oast houses and modern holiday parks.

The town consisted of a small medieval gathering of buildings with the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin at its centre. Close by was the Six Bells, the Chequers and the Court House, a number of ale houses, shops, craftsmen's premises and cottages.
Ashford Borough Museum
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Dr. Wilks Hall was originally the Ashford Boys grammar school built in 1635 & named after the sponsor "Norton Knatchbull". No.18 is our Railway section on the ground floor. We cover the history of Ashford Borough from Neolithic to present day.A lot to see and very educational for all ages. All run by volunteers,open from April to the end of October. Free entry.
18 Church Yard Ashford, Kent, Ashford TN23 1QG
For directions check the Interactive Map
Hamstreet Woods
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Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve
This is a hidden little place at the back of a housing area which although nicely hidden and obviously mostly used by locals. The paths are nicely described on the plan near the gate.
For directions check the Interactive Map
Leisure Time
Enjoy first class sporting facilities at the Julie Rose
Stadium and Stour Centre. Golf lovers are spoilt for choice with 9 holes at London Beach and 18 at Tenterden. Learn about nature conservation and sustainability at the Singleton Environment Centre. Then for some sustenance try the delicious fare at the World’s Wonder in Warehorne.
For directions check the Interactive Map
Stour Valley Arts
We work in partnership with artists and arts organisations, scientists and health professionals, environmental organisations and stakeholders to create high quality art that engages the public in the natural environment.
We believe that art has a stake in the stewardship of nature as do scientists, politicians and commercial organisations, and that we can more directly engage with the public and bring these stakeholders together through creative exploration.
King’s Wood, Challock, Kent
King’s Wood is a 1500-acre forest in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Challock, Kent. It is managed by Forest Enterprise for conservation, recreation and timber production.
The forest is an ancient woodland site with both broad-leaved trees and conifers: species include sweet chestnut, beech, Corsican pine and Douglas fir. It is home to a huge diversity of flora and fauna, including fallow deer, adders, nightjars, green woodpeckers, lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers, foxgloves, bluebells and woodspurges.
Since 1994, SVA has commissioned artists to make sculptures within the forest and also other kinds of artworks. Artists who are particularly responsive to the nature of this working forest are invited to spend long periods here. As a consequence of their close and sympathetic involvement with the forest, they often use natural materials found in the immediate area, and engage with seasonal and growing cycles.
Sculptures that have been built using natural materials gradually change, even though, for some, the process will be longer than for others. All will eventually become part of the natural forest cycle of decay and regeneration. Day to day, they are transformed by light, weather and seasonal occurrences. Colours and surfaces are alternately dulled and brightened by rain, sun, frost, etc. Weather also affects the visibility audio qualities of particular works.
As well as sculptures marked on the map, visitors may see the ‘ghosts’ of previous sculptures now being reclaimed by nature. You might also spot experimental pieces made during SVA’s education workshops.
For directions check the Interactive Map
The Sinden Theatre
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The Sinden Theatre is located within the grounds of Homewood School in the heart of the Weald.
Opened in 2004, the venue is named after its patron, actor and former local resident, the late Sir Donald Sinden CBE.
The theatre was created from a pre-existing school hall when Homewood achieved Arts College status in 2003, enabling funds to be made available for conversion to a 231 seat theatrical venue to take place.
The Sinden’s 231 seats all have unrestricted views of the stage, and we have disabled access.
The Sinden provides facilities for both the school, which has a strong Performing Arts Department, and for a wider audience in its role as a professional receiving theatre serving Kent and East Sussex.
As well as hosting many school productions The Sinden provides a wide diversity of entertainment for the area, from Standup comedy to high drama and music. Artistes who have appeared here include Steven Berkoff, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Phil Cool, the Reduced Shakespeare Company, The Fureys & Davey Arthur, Sunny Ormonde and of course Sir Donald Sinden.
A regular on-site Saturday morning theatre school ‘The Academy’ put on two or three shows each year.
The Sinden frequently offers its facilities to local charitable organisations at special rates. Among those to host fund-raising shows have been Macmillan Cancer Relief, Canterbury Oast Trust, Cancer Research UK, The Red Cross and the Tenterden Lions.
Homewood School & Sixth Form Centre Ashford Road Tenterden Kent TN30 6LT
For directions check the Interactive Map
Dining in Ashford
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There are a large selection of eating places in Ashford, covering all four corners of our gastronomic globe to tempt even the most discerning connoisseur. Whether you want to relax over a cappuccino, enjoy a light lunch, have a fun family meal or indulge in a taste sensation, Ashford caters for every occasion.
Check the Ashford Directory
Willesborough Windmill
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A very interesting and informative look at local history at The Willesborough Windmill.
A good look at this local windmill where freshly milled flour is readily available.
Mill Lane, Willesborough, Ashford TN24 0QG
For directions check the Interactive Map
Julie Rose Stadium
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Nestling beneath the beautiful North Downs with stunning views along the Stour Valley and across Conningbrook Lakes, the Julie Rose Stadium makes a dramatic backdrop for a wide range of events from world class athletics to triathlon. The stadium is now regarded as one of the finest athletics facilities in the country, and is home to Ashford Athletics Club.
The Julie Rose Stadium Willesborough Road Ashford TN24 9QX
For directions check the Interactive Map
Historic Houses
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Discover a fascinating clock collection at Belmont House and Gardens and a 14th century fortified Manor House at Westenhanger Castle. Take time to stroll around the beautiful, colourful gardens of Godinton House and Beech Court Gardens, then head to Biddenden Vineyard for wine and cider tastings. Soak up theatrical history at Smallhythe Place, enjoy a tour of nearby Chapel Down Winery and discover the stunning bluebells and wisteria at Hole Park Gardens.
History & Heritage
Celebrate Ashford’s railway heritage at the borough museum, see corn being ground at
Willesborough Windmill and learn about farming
methods at Brook Agricultural Museum. Visit Stocks Windmill, Kent’s tallest post mill and enjoy the views from Cranbrook’s Union Mill. See history come alive at Woodchurch and Tenterden Museums and view Morgan three-wheeled cars at Rolvenden.
Ashford Photographic Club
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Ashford Photographic Society is a well established and friendly club that caters for photographers of all abilities and interests, embracing all forms of photography, from darkroom to digital.
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Club nights
One of the major appeals of photography is that we never stop learning; be it from listening to other photographers talk about their work and how they approach it, or by having others comment on our photography. Our programme is arranged with this in mind and we invite both external speakers and judges to keep things fresh and fair.
You also get the opportunity to network with like-minded people and there is always another member only to willing to help you out with any questions that you have.
Workshops and social activities
In addition to our regular Friday night sessions, we run a series of workshops, covering topics such as: mounting prints, basic and advanced camera skills and image processing in Lightroom and Photoshop.
We arrange photographic outings throughout the year too, visiting places of interest and local events that offer photographic opportunities. Please see our news pages for more information.
We meet every Friday evening, from early September until mid May, at: Givaudan Sports and Social Club, Kennington Road, Ashford, TN24 0LT
For directions check the Interactive Map
Wye Tennis Club
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Welcome you to the Wye Tennis Club web site. Wye is a great example of a friendly, welcoming grass roots, community club. We have several objectives. The principle objectives being to make tennis accessible and affordable to all who would like to join us and participate in this wonderful game. Tennis is a game that provides, fun, friendship and fitness. It is a game that is played by boy, girl, husband, wife, young and old. It is a non contact sport and can be taken up at any stage in life, even into your sixties!
We at Wye offer sessions for everyone. We are fortunate to have the choice and services of three coaches who between them coach a weekly average of 240 juniors and 60 adults. We have Ladies mornings, Seniors mornings, and Club nights. We cater for all standards and abilities from the social player to the serious league standard player. We have at present 16 adult teams competing in various leagues as well as ten junior teams. We also run two scholarship courses whereby our most promising juniors receive weekly coaching which is paid for out of Club funds.
Our membership fees are amongst the lowest in the country. A family membership is £195, Adult under 60 years of age, £100, Over 60 years of age, £90 and a Junior or Student is £38. This is the only money you pay, for the subscription includes, on-line court booking, provision of tennis balls, floodlighting, tea, coffee and squash as well as free wi-fi. Also all visitors are encouraged to make themselves a drink whilst at the Club. It is a Club that has few dos and don’ts. We rely on the integrity and respect that our members have for our Club to ensure that everyone enjoys themselves responsibly.
Our facilities are also available to non members at just £5 per hour, per court. This has proved very popular with casual players particularly from the village. We have no interest in asking people of their ethnic background or what their ability is. We only wish you to join our club and reap the benefits of fun, fitness and friendship. If there is any further information that you seek, then please telephone me on 01233 666026.
Our courts are located at Wye playing fields, by the village hall, Bridge Street, Wye TN25 5EA
For directions check the Interactive Map
History
No one can be quite sure when the first settlement was made in the area. Roman remains have been found locally at Westhawk. It is believed that the town's real origins lie in the ninth century when the country was invaded by the Danes in 893AD.
By 1600 Ashford was well established as an important and flourishing market town. Ashford was aided in this by its location, with roads to the port of Faversham and to Canterbury, Hythe, Romney Marsh and the Weald.

Ashford offers the best of a flourishing market town with its historic buildings, yet all the vibrancy of a modern international gateway with Ashford’s international Eurostar station. It lies on the Great Stour river, the M20 motorway, and the South Eastern Main Line and High Speed 1 railways. Its agricultural market is one of the most important in the county. Ashford is a relatively common English placename: it goes back to Old English æscet, indicating a ford near a clump of ash-trees.
Records show that for several centuries the settlement or town of Ashford was known as "Essetesford". The 16th century writer Philpot believed that "Essetesford" stood for "ash trees growing near a ford", while Lampard, a 16th century local historian, suggested that it meant "a ford over the river Eshe.

Towns and Villages Nearby

Wye
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Historic village at the foot of the Downs with many historic buildings, several restaurants and pubs. A centre for walking, you can see marvellous views across countryside to the coast from Devil’s Kneading Trough, a deep coombe nearby.
Wye
Hamstreet
Known as the ‘Gateway to the marsh’, where clay hills meet the flatlands of Romney Marsh. Note the many weatherboarded buildings, 11th-century parish Church of the Good Shepherd and Hamstreet Woods. In the early 1990s maps of the village appeared on UK postage stamps.
Pluckley
Most famous for the TV series The Darling Buds of May, which was filmed in the area, and for being the most haunted village in Britain, with 12 ghosts. There’s a post office and general stores, Farm Shop (see my town), ancient St Nicholas’ church and two pubs, The Dering Arms and the Black Horse.
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Brook Agricultural Museum
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Museum is sited in a magnificant and historically important 14th century barn, an early 19th century oast house and part of a Victorian stable block which houses modern toilets, an offics/store-room and an education room with audio-visual facilities.
Most of the site, which also includes a secure grassed area suitable for picnic meals, is fully or reasonably accessible to disabled visitors, but this does not include the first floor of the oast house. The collections concentrate on the agriculture of Kent, mainly in the period when horses and oxen provided the power on the farm.
Included in the collections are large items such as wagons, seed drills and reapers, smaller equipment associated with farming and allied crafts and a wide range of small tools and other relevant items.
We have a small handbook to help visitors who wish to look round on their own and also an audio tour provided on an MP3 player for use by those who would like some help other that that of a person al guide. Many, but not all, of our volunteer helpers can provide personal guided tours, and these are always arranged for group visitors.
The Street, Brook Ashford TN25 5PF Tel: 01304 824969
Bought Aluph & Eastwell
Eastwell is famous for the beautiful ruined St Mary the Virgin church, which is in fine peaceful landscaped surroundings with a scenic churchyard and a lake. There are two churches, All Saints and St Christopher’s, a village green, shops and The Flying Horse inn. Eastwell Manor is a delightful place to stay or have a wedding.
Eastwell

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Kent Towns & Villages
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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.

Gibbin's Brook

This area of marshy grassland on peaty soils has developed from an acidic valley bog and still retains many features characteristic of a bog. The site is also notable for its invertebrates, particularly moths. The marshy grassland contains patches of relict bog vegetation such as purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, bog moss Sphagnum species, heath-spotted orchid Dactylorhiza maculata and bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata. The cessation of grazing and increased nutrient inflow from the surrounding farmland have probably contributed to the change in character of this site.
Another important feature of the site is the alder carr. The ground flora contains a number of fen plants, including opposite-leaved golden saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, marsh marigold Caltha palustris and yellow flag Iris pseudacorus. On the sandy soils in the east there is dry acidic grassland with bracken and gorse. In places around the perimeter of the site there are hedgerows of oak, birch and hawthorn. The site also contains a small pond and stream. The invertebrate fauna is varied and includes two local moths; the white-barred clearwing Synanthedon spheciformis, recorded from the alder carr, and the silver hook Eustrotia uncula which is associated with the marshy grassland.
Gibbin's Brook Maps

Hothfield Common

Hothfield Common contains the best example of a valley bog in Kent; the associated heathland, though fragmented, forms a good example of the vegetation type. Both of these habitats are scarce in Kent. The entomology has been well studied and an outstanding assemblage of over 1,000 species of insects has been recorded, including several notable species found nowhere else in Kent. The common also has an interesting breeding bird community. Acidic bog communities have formed in four small valleys at Hothfield Common where springs emerge at the junction of the sandy Folkestone Beds and the impervious Sandgate Beds. Changes in management since 1940 have resulted in scrub encroachment and the loss of true bog conditions in all except one valley. Elsewhere various types of marshy grassland and fen are now present, although recent management has attempted to reverse the encroachment by scrub in some areas. The areas of true bog are dominated by bog mosses Sphagnum species; twelve species have been identified including two for which this is the only locality in Kent. Several species of flowering plant are present which are very scarce in Kent, including bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum, marsh St John’s wort Hypericum elodes, round-leaved sundew Drosera rotundifolia; flea sedge Carex pulicaris and cotton-grass Eriophorum angustifolium. The relict bogs are now dominated rushes Juncus species, grasses especially purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea, and mosses, and in the northern valley, greater tussock-sedge Carex paniculata.
Some remnants of the former plant communities remain, including some Sphagnum moss, and bogbean Menyanthes trifoliata in the northern valley. Invasion of the bogs by birch and sallow has been a serious problem since grazing ceased about 1940, but attempts are now being made to prevent further encroachment. The majority of the common was formerly a patchwork of heather- dominated heathland and acidic grassland. Invasion by birch and bracken following the cessation of grazing and serious fires have resulted in the loss of most of the grassland, and about half of the heathland. The remnants are of interest, however, since these plant communities are uncommon in Kent. The heathland is dominated by heather Calluna vulgaris, with cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix and purple moor-grass being generally frequent. Several uncommon plants also occur, including petty whin Genista anglica, dwarf gorse Ulex minor and heath rush Juncus squarrosus, and there is a good lichen flora which includes several Cladonia species.
The acidic grassland is especially notable for the presence of several 'spring ephemeral' plants, such as whitlow-grass Erophila verna and bird’s-foot Ornithopus perpusillus, and eight species of clover have been recorded, including the scarce clustered clover Trifolium glomeratum. These are now restricted to small patches of grassland beside the roads, but bracken control is being carried out, with the intention of re-establishing the grassland. Much of the site now colonised by bracken and woodland. Of the latter, most is fairly recent but the Tolls on the east side of the common were planted with a variety of trees including beech, oak, Scots pine, sweet chestnut and Wellingtonia during the nineteenth century. Silver birch is predominant elsewhere, but some oak, sallow and other species also have become established. The woodland supports a good breeding bird community, including woodpeckers, treecreeper and tree pipit. Draining the common on its western side are a series of small streams, and there is also a small pond. All three British species of newt have been recorded in the pond.
The common has outstanding entomological interest. The insects associated with heathland and bog are of special importance in view of the limited amounts of these habitats in Kent. Bugs, moths, Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) and flies are especially well represented, with several species which are nationally rare, including the bee Lasioglossum semilucens and two species which have only been recorded in Kent at Hothfield; the bug Pachybrachius luridus and the cranefly Tipula holoptera. Several other species also have here their only locality in Kent.
Hothfield Common Maps
More Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Kent
More about Ashford
Situated at the confluence of the East and Great Stour, Ashford is an important touring and shopping centre. Medieval, Tudor and Georgian houses have survived, despite development. As a market town, Ashford has for centuries been a local communications hub for surrounding villages and has stood at the centre of five railway lines, (Ashford to Ramsgate (via Canterbury West) line, Ashford via Maidstone East Line, South Eastern Main Line, Kent Coast Line and the Marshlink Line) since the 19th century and with the opening of the International Passenger Station is now an important European communications centre, with new lines running between London and the Channel Tunnel (via the Channel Tunnel Rail Link).

The Borough of Ashford lies on the eastern edge of the ancient forest of "Andredsweald" or "Anderida". This originally stretched as far west as Hampshire and formed the basis from which the Weald is formed. It is likely that the town originates from an original settlement established about AD 893, although a Roman road passed through here from the iron making area to Canterbury. It is listed in the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086, as having a church, two mills and a value of 150 shillings, under its original Saxon name of "Essetesford" (or "Eshetisford," "Esselesford", "Asshatisforde", "Essheford"). The manor was owned by Hugh de Montford, Constable of England at the time. Writer Philpot believed Essetesford stood for "ash trees growing near a ford", while Lampard, a 16th century local historian, suggested that it meant "a ford over the river Eshe or Eshet", which was the old name for the tributary of the River Stour between Lenham and Ashford.

Its closeness to London has always made Kent a strong influence on the capital, and vice versa. Thus by the end of the 16th century Cade (of Cade’s Rebellion) was credited by William Shakespeare in HENRY VI, part 2 as being from Ashford. The play includes an Ashford butcher called "Dick" who looks forward to removing officialdom after the rebellion and says: first thing, let’s kill all the lawyers.

Ashford’s importance as a growing agricultural and market town was confirmed in 1243 when it was incorporated, and by the end of the 16th century it had risen to become an important market town, primarily for livestock. The market was held in the High Street until 1856 when local farmers and businessmen relocated to Elwick Road and formed a market company that claims to be the oldest surviving registered company in England and Wales. There is still a regular street market in the town, although the market company has relocated outside the town and is used by some 5,000 farmers.

Parts of the parish church date from the 13th century but was substantially restored in the 15th century with many alterations since. In 1638 a free grammar school was founded here, it was built on the churchyard’s west side, and remained there until 1846, now used as a museum.

The Joint Services School of Intelligence was based at Templer Barracks in Ashford, until the barracks were decommissioned in 1997 and then demolished to make way for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.[6] In 1982, Prince Andrew, Duke of York was involved with the "School".

Essentially a modern town, little is left of the old Ashford, apart from some half-timbered buildings in Middle Row and around the churchyard in the town centre. A number of old buildings were removed to make way for the controversial ring road around the centre, built in the early 1970s. Three modern shopping centres are located in the town: Park Mall, County Square and the new Designer Outlet. Bank Street and High Street are traffic-free shopping thoroughfares. As of 2005, Ashford is adding about 800 new homes each year.

Ashford was one of the towns that became a hub when the roads were turnpiked in the second half of the 18th century.[citation needed] Today it is at junctions 9 and 10 of the M20 motorway to London, Maidstone and Folkestone. Operation Stack on the M20, usually implemented in response to industrial action in Calais, brings Ashford to a halt several times each year,[citation needed] and on 29 November 2006 is estimated to have cost the town £2 million. Local and central government have spent 12 years studying the problem, but have yet to implement a solution. Other main roads are the A20, which parallels the motorway; the A28 to Canterbury and Tenterden; the A251 to Faversham; and the A2070 to Romney Marsh and Hastings.

In the 1970s the A292 Ashford Ring Road was created around the town centre and is popular with boy racers. The road was conceived to relieve congestion along the previous main thoroughfare in the town centre, the narrow East Hill. There is work under way to convert the Ring Road to two-way operation to minimise the "race track" feel and help bring the isolated town centre back into the rest of the area. There are plans for a fast public transport link between the town centre and the suburbs and main amenities, called "SMARTLINK".

The South Eastern Railway's London to Dover mainline opened between 1842 and 1844, and the company established its locomotive works here. The railway community had its own shops, schools, pubs and bathhouse, and much of the area retains the look of a "railway town", however the works closed in 1981. Ashford became a junction with a line to Margate that was opened in 1846; in 1851 the Marshlink Line to Hastings was opened, and on 1 July 1884 the final connection, from Maidstone, was made.

The Ashford International station opened with the Channel Tunnel in 1994. It now serves Eurostar trains on the high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link that opened in 2003, with trains to London, Brussels, Lille, Paris and connections to the rest of Europe. It is planned that direct services to Brussels will be withdrawn and that frequencies to Paris will be reduced when Ebbsfleet International railway station, in Dartford, opens late in 2007. Local firms, residents and politicians are amongst those seeking a less drastic change in the Eurostar timetable. With the introduction of domestic train services along the new line to St Pancras and Stratford in East London, it is expected to pull the outer limits of the London commuter belt to the town and beyond, as travel time from Ashford to London is reduced from 83 to about 37 minutes.

London Ashford Airport is based at Lydd, approximately 17 miles (27 kms) from Ashford, with regular flights
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
Kent Parishes

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

ASHFORD PARISH

Ashford, a town and a parish in Kent. The town stands on the Esshe or Esshet river, the western branch of the Stour, and has a station on the L.C. & D.R. and S.E.R., 54 miles from London. It was anciently called Esshetford, from its situation on the river, and it belonged to Hugo de Montfort, and passed to successively the Asshetfords, the Criols, the Leybornes, the Anchors, the Smyths, and the Footes. The original town is situated on an eminence, on the N bank of the river, and has a High Street of considerable width, about half a mile long. A new town, called Alfred or Newtown-Ashford, was built by the railway company, adjacent to the station, and includes extensive workshops, constructed at a cost of upwards of £100,000, and about 200 dwellings and a school, used as a church. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury; value, £456. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Rochester. The parish church, in the old town, is a spacious structure, in fine Perpendicular English, built or restored by Sir John Fogge in the time of Edward IV., comprises nave, transept, and three chancels, with a lofty tower, resembling the Bell Harry Tower of Canterbury Cathedral, and contains a figured font, the tomb of Sir John Fogge, a brass of the Countess of Athole of 1375, and some fine monuments of the Smyths of Westenhanger, one of whom was the Saccharissa of Waller. An ecclesiastical college was founded by Sir John Fogge as a pendant to the church, but was dissolved in the time of Henry VII. A church, in the Second Pointed style, was built in the new town in 1867. There are chapels for five dissenting bodies and Roman Catholics; police station, the headquarters of Ashford Division Kent County Constabulary; mechanics' institute, assembly rooms, and reading-room; four-arched bridge, market-house, corn-exchange, and a head post office. There is also a neat cemetery, with two chapels. A fine swimming bath was built in 1867, which has an area of nearly one acre of water. Ashford Cottage Hospital, a red brick building, was erected in 1887 by W. Pomfret Pomfret, Esq., of Godinton House. Whitfield Hall, now taken by the Ashford Institute, was erected to the memory of Mr Henry Whitfield in 1874, and is used for public meetings. New sewerage works were completed in 1888 at a cost of £14,000. A great stock market is held every Tuesday, and fairs on 17 May, 9 Sept., and 12, 13, and 24 Oct. There are two banks, and two weekly newspapers are published. Wallis the mathematician, Glover the antiquary, and Milles the herald, were natives. The ‘headstrong Kentish man' of Shakespeare, also, is ' John Cade of Ashford.’ The Osborne family, Dukes of Leeds, are said to have originated here; and the Keppels, Earls of Albemarle, take from the place the title of Baron. Area of parish, 2850 acres; population, 10,728.

Ashford Parliamentary Division, or Southern Kent, was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 67,820. The division includes the following:— Ashford—Appledore (part of),Ashford, Bethersden, Bilsington (part of), Bircholt, Bonnington (part of), Boughton Aluph, Brabourne, Brenzett (part of), Brook, Brookland (part of), Challock, Charing, Chart (Great), Chart (Little), Chilham, Crnndale, Eastwell, Ebony (part of), Egerton, Fairfield, Godmersham, Hastingleigh, Hinxbill, Hothfield, Ivychurch (part of), Kennardington (part of), Kennington, Kingsnorth, Mersham, Midley, Molash, Orlestone (part of), Pluckley, Romney, (New, the part in the county), Romney (Old, part of), Ruckinge (part of), Sevington, Shadoxhurst, Smarden,Smeeth, Snargate (part of), Stone-in-Oxney, Warehorne (part of), Westwell, Willesborough Wittersham, Woodchurch, Wye; Granbrook—Benenden, Biddenden, Cranbrook, Frittenden, Goudhurst, Halden, Hawkhurst, Horsmonden, Marden, Newenden, Rolvenden, Sandhurst, Staplehurst; Tenterden, municipal borough; New Romney, corporate town; Romney Marsh (such part as is not included in the St Augustine's division).
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