Welcome to the Kent Downs Trust

The Kent Downs Trust charity champions the enhancement and conservation of the outstanding natural beauty of the Kent Downs landscape and making it open to all.    

The Kent Downs landscape is nationally recognised and protected because of its outstanding special and varied characteristics, from the simple lines of the gently sloping terrain to the rich tapestry of farmland, woodland, wildlife and small historic villages that decorate it.  Now, internationally recognised as an Aspiring Cross-Channel UNESCO Global Geopark due to its underlying Geodiversity – from the iconic White Cliffs of Dover to wildflower-rich chalk grassland and rare chalk streams.    

We believe that the health, educational and wellbeing benefits of being in natural beauty and amongst wildlife and nature, are for everyone who works, lives or visits the Kent Downs landscape but we know barriers prevent some people from accessing the countryside.    

We also know that nature is under threat at it meets new pressures of climate change and unprecedented population increase and the precious natural world in Kent needs our care and attention.   

Innovative and collaborative, our new charity will work with partners and communities to take action to help solve these problems.  We seek new ways to overcome barriers to participation through arts, education and wellbeing activities as well as protecting the distinctive natural and cultural qualities of the Kent Downs for current and future generations.    

In 2019 The Kent Downs Trust was awarded a Resilient Heritage Fund grant for its establishment phase.  This is now complete and has provided: 

  • Strategy and planning advice, community and partner consultation for increasing participation in the landscape for diverse audiences 
  • Consultancy for fundraising research and planning.  

The Trust is now taking forward this work and undertaking fundraising for activities to support our work.    

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.

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.

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 National Landscape 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 National Landscape 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.





The establishment phase of the Kent Downs Trust was made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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