Kent Life - - Countryside Life -

When this soil was mixed with waste from Lon­don’s chim­neys (brought up the creek by barge), it formed a self-fir­ing brick, which was per­fectly suited for the build­ing trade. In the in­dus­try’s hey­day there were at least 14 brick­works around the town. Faver­sham’s dis­tinc­tive, yel­low bricks fed the huge ex­pan­sion of Lon­don in the Vic­to­rian era and helped fuel our In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion. It’s no won­der it was nick­named ‘the town that built Bri­tain’.


To­day Stone­bridge Pond is a tran­quil oa­sis where peo­ple tend their al­lot­ments and chil­dren feed the ducks. How­ever, from the mid-16th cen­tury this area was the cra­dle of Bri­tain’s ex­plo­sives in­dus­try. Once again, Faver­sham’s unique ge­og­ra­phy fu­elled an in­dus­try that em­ployed hun­dreds of lo­cal peo­ple. Cru­cially, Faver­sham had a re­li­able wa­ter source. The West­brook River was strong enough to power a se­ries of mills, which could grind and blend raw in­gre­di­ents into ex­plo­sives. Nearby Bys­ing Wood grew a re­new­able sup­ply of alder, which was used for mak­ing char­coal; the cliffs at Tanker­ton were mined for cop­peras, a min­eral that con­tains sul­phur and salt­pe­tre (made from uri­ne­soaked straw) was im­ported into Faver­sham town via the creek. But this was un­de­ni­ably a dan­ger­ous in­dus­try. In 1916, an ex­plo­sion at a fac­tory in Uplees killed 108 peo­ple. The blast was so strong that it shat­tered win­dows along the seafront as far away as Es­sex.


The long flat marshes of North Kent have long been a source of lit­er­ary in­spi­ra­tion. The route of this walk takes you out to a land­scape in­deli­bly linked to Charles Dick­ens, in par­tic­u­lar the windswept marshes where young Pip meets the es­caped con­vict Mag­witch at the start of Great Ex­pec­ta­tions. More re­cently, Gary Bud­den set Hol­low Shores in and around Faver­sham and the creek. This col­lec­tion of short sto­ries evokes lost leg­ends and lo­cal tales of mon­sters, both real and imag­ined.

Con­tinue along Court Street. Turn right into Church Street and pause by the church en­trance

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