Distinctive architecture can be seen in our historic villages and their churches, with a range of local materials used including, flint, Ragstone, timber and tile that add to the character and texture to the Kent Downs countryside.

These landscapes have been lived in for 1000’s of years, the village church being the heart of the community. Take a moment to reflect in one of the many historic and unique village churches that pepper the Kent Downs National Landscape.

Sheldwich – was first recorded in 784 and the name means a dwelling place on a low hill. St James Church, Sheldwich has been a place of worship since the 11th century. It contains fine 14th and 15th century monuments.

Badlesmere – the ‘mere’ refers to a pool, belonging to a person called Beadel. St Leonard’s Church, along with Badlesmere Court is some distance from the main village and is small, narrow and high, truly rural and peaceful. It has medieval bench ends, Georgian box pews and a two decker pulpit. Under one of the yew trees in the graveyard is an old churchyard cross made of Bethersden marble.

Eastwell – this ruined medieval church sits on the Pilgrim’s Way, an ancient pilgrimage route to Canterbury. Located in the grounds of Eastwell Park, the church collapsed after the installation of picturesque lake in the 19th century, as the chalk sucked up moisture and became unstable. Now, all that remains is a 15th-century tower and a 19th-century mortuary chapel. St Mary’s Church is believed to be the burial place of an illegitimate son of Richard III, Richard Plantagenet.

Walking routes

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