Far from the madding crowd into Kent – bucolic today, but imminently severely endangered
This unobserved peninsula can be viewed from the Sportsman Pub perched on the junction of Faversham and Oare Creek, and the Hollow Shore Yacht Club. The access lane runs from the western end of Faversham (just opposite the village school). Its curious course runs alongside a disused gravel pit which is now a fishermen’s lake with open pasture, viewed from the Saxon Shore Way footpath much loved by bird watchers on their way to Faversham where the Creek can be crossed by the town bridge.
The return Creekside path passes the town’s sewage works but soon is lost in Creekside pastures all the way to the Sportsman Pub, now a Michelin 2-star restaurant, and a bevy of beach huts with stunning views over the Swale as it flows into the sea – with its extensive oyster beds – and Horse Sands where knowing yachtsmen run ashore to prepare and paint their hulls.
Inland, the charming orchards and undulating pastureland is attracting nurserymen who bring in guest labour to supplement UK students. Locals live in bucolic locations and a network of public footpaths provide opportunities for the curious to explore. Graveney, where a Saxon boat was discovered, has a village school and historic church, and is an interesting settlement which borders acres and acres of open country, providing us townies with a space to breathe in the salty air. A series of hillsides give travellers panoramic views.
In the last year or so, new residential developments are adding hundreds to the peaceful Victorian town which now boasts a fast train link into Stratford, St Pancras and imminently Crossrail.
The very nature of this historic settlement with its ancient original street patterns and markets, once a medieval port with cross-channel links and trade far beyond in wool, hops, beer, fruit… once the garden of Kent… is about to be trashed and lose its very character – as has already happened in the rest of North Kent, a planners’ nightmare.
Now this is seen as a prime site for a vast solar park to join the estuarial wind farms in supplying the ever-growing population, no doubt attracting even more acres of prime countryside to industrial and distribution congested habitats.
A single set of power lines bestride the open countryside creeks, supplying the National Grid from cross-channel sources.
Quietly, Cleve Hill Substation slid in behind a wooded hill in open land while we awaited the ramifications of this. Now we know the secret of the planners’ dreams.