North Downs Way Art Trail tags
Start postcode
Kent Downs AONB
Nearest train station

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How to get there

  • Section: 10 – Wye to Chilham
  • Nearest postcode: Mountain St (nearest sculpture) CT4 8DG or Taylors Hill, Chilham Village CT4 8BZ
  • What 3 words: grades.heats.masks
  • Where to start? Mountain St Car Park, Chilham, Chilham Village, Chilham Station or Wye
  • What to expect: Forests, historic towns and pretty hamlets.

Full Route: This sculpture is on section 10 of the North Downs Way from Wye to Chilham, 7.2 miles (11.6km) for more details, visit the North Downs Way website.

In a hurry?

It’s just 2.1 miles from Chilham Station or park at Mountain Street Car Park and walk the mile to the sculpture following the North Downs Way through King’s Wood.

Take your time…

On this stage of the North Downs Way you’ll witness the first sighting of Canterbury Cathedral a welcome sight for all walkers.

If you visit in spring, you’ll see the stunning displays of bluebells. The woodland glows vibrant orange, bronze and yellow as the beech tree leaves change colour in autumn.

Make a day of it

  • Eat & drink: The Church Mouse Tea Rooms for delicious homemade scones and cakes, The White Horse traditional pub, The Woolpack country inn and Badgers Hill Farm & Cidery, which are all conveniently located in Chilham.
  • Explore: Godmersham village and park, visited by Jane Austen, Eastwell Lake and the quaint village of Chilham.
  • Travelling with Mini-Explorers?​ Go Wildlife Spotting – seek out the forest’s large free-roaming fallow deer.

Coppice Oratory sculpture

Images © Valerie Bennett

The story behind the sculpture

This four-metre-high wooden sculpture is a key lookout point on the North Downs Way, a space for reflection for modern-day pilgrims travelling along the route through King’s Wood, near Canterbury and Ashford. Positioned in the 1,450-acre King’s Wood above Godmersham at the point where Canterbury Cathedral becomes visible to walkers.

The sculpture made from coppiced chestnut directly from the forest woodland faces towards the famous World Heritage Site and the first Cathedral in the UK, both just seven miles away in the distance. The intimate and accessible oratory is an inclusive space open to everyone and offers a place for reflection and rest along the trail.

About the artists​

Matthijs la Roi and Simone Tchonova are the eponymous architects of Tchonova + la Roi, a London-based architecture practice.

Their collaborative design process focuses on responding to distinct site-specific elements from the historical, political, cultural, social and natural surroundings. This applies both to the conceptualisation and materialisation of their work. The practice is highly interested in raw materials and the physical process of constructing.

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