Welcome to the Kent Downs Trust

It’s hard to imagine just how many people have lived in, visited and loved the landscape of the Kent Downs.  The natural beauty of the area give a timeless and inexhaustible pleasure, from the simple lines of the gently sloping terrain to the rich tapestry of farmland, woodland, wildlife and small historic villages that decorate it.  Yet time is the ever-busy sculptor of the land around us and more than ever before, the precious natural world in Kent needs our care and attention, as it meets new pressures.

Despite the peaceful views of the chalk downland around us, we are faced with unprecedented population increase (a predicted 25% by 2031), climate change, species declines and uncertainties regarding on-going investment in the environment.

A new opportunity to support the Kent Downs

In light of these considerable challenges , we are delighted to announce the formation of the Kent Downs Trust, a new charity, as an additional and lasting commitment to this area we know and love.  The Trust looks forward to helping to champion all that the Downs have to offer and to enabling a greater wealth of initiatives with many more people, as we move through these challenging times.

The Kent Downs Trust will seek to undertake a range of new initiatives to benefit the physical, natural and cultural heritage of the Kent Downs and there is an exciting opportunity to contribute by becoming one of our first Founding Benefactors.

Become a Founding Benefactor

There is currently an exciting opportunity to contribute significantly to our work by becoming one of our first founding benefactors.  If you care deeply about the Kent Downs landscape, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help us to conserve it for the future.

To learn more about becoming a Founding Benefactor, please contact Sally Evans at Sally.Evans@kentdowns.org.uk


As well as the landscape, we’re passionate about people.  We want the activities we support to include a diverse range of groups and individuals, encouraging new people to experience new things.  To this end, we’re currently carrying out some research work to make sure that Diversity and Inclusion are embedded in all that we do.

Meet the Trustees 

Caroline Arnold – Chair of Trustees 

Caroline is the currently the Director of Bore Place, a beautiful historic venue in Chiddingstone in the Kent Downs and home of the Commonwork Trust.  Bore Place offers well-established programmes in education, sustainability, organic agriculture, horticulture and health and wellbeing.

In the past, Caroline’s roles have included Senior Manager in local government, Executive Director of an environmental charity in London, Defra Advisor and University Lecturer and Researcher. These roles have involved working in the areas of sustainability, environment, waste/resource management, as well as supporting vulnerable people.

Richard Haynes

Since 2004 Richard has made a major contribution to conservation of the Kent Downs landscape and the communities and wildlife it supports.  During this time he has been involved with two major Landscape Partnership Schemes including the Medway Valley of Visions and the Up on the Downs Scheme in Dover, a £2.4 million project which he both developed and managed to completion.  He now manages the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, actively overseeing on-going management of this iconic landscape.

Vincent Rapley

Vincent is currently the Bursar at a large independent prep school in Kent.  He has lived in Kent for much of his life and feels strongly that its natural beauty should be accessible to all.  With a a lifelong interest and qualification in education his career background has primarily been in the world of finance, including fund-raising at Oxford University.  He aims to help the Trust to secure a sound financial footing and develop widespread sustainable and worthwhile benefits from its work.

Paul Bristow

Paul is currently Director, Strategic Partnerships at Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, museums and libraries. He leads on a diverse range of priorities and has a particular focus on culture, place and the economy.  He led the development of the Arts Council’s first position statement on culture and rural communities, as well as delivering major investment programmes for culture, tourism and the creative industries. He is a walker, cyclist and volunteer Scout leader is a regular visitor to the Kent Downs, and is passionate about the area and its future.

Nick Johannsen

Nick is Director of the Kent Downs AONB Unit and a Fellow of the Landscape Institute. Nick has been working in wildlife and landscape conservation in Kent for nearly 30 years now; he was closely involved in creating Samphire Hoe near Dover, establishing the National Nature Reserve at Dungeness and now leads the Kent Downs AONB team which combines the strategy and delivery across this beautiful landscape. Nick is an Ex-Officio Trustee seeking to ensure that the new Kent Downs Trust and the Local Authorities partners in the Kent Downs partnership work closely and collaboratively.


Trustees of the Kent Downs Trust. From left to right: Richard Hynes, Caroline Arnold,  Vincent Rapley, Paul Bristow

The official purposes of the Kent Downs Trust

To promote for the benefit of the public the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical, natural and cultural environment of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and its setting in particular but not exclusively by:

  1. Carrying out work to improve the landscape, environment and built heritage;

1i. Supporting traditional skills and promoting all arts inspired by the Kent Downs AONB and its setting.

  1. To advance the education of the public in particular in the conservation, protection and enhancement of the physical, scientific, natural and cultural environment of the Kent Downs AONB and its setting.

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