Bird Walk at Oare Sunday 20th January

RSPB expert Alan Johnson will lead a family-friendly Bird Walk on Sunday 20th January at OARE nature reserve

DSC_1111Meet at Oare Reserve Car Park at 1.00pm

The walk will be approximately 1 – 1.1/2 hours, with a stop in a hide.

All welcome, including children, but no dogs please.


ODLogo O&A

Please contact if you would like to come.

Open Dawes: public launch at the Exchange Cafe!

We’ve very excited to announce that Open Dawes will be publically launched at the Exchange Café on Friday 1 July at 3.30pm.

Come along to find out more about the new Open Dawes community venture, and perhaps hear a couple of musical surprises!

The Exchange Café will be open as usual for hot and cold drinks and snacks, children’s activities and goods for sale or exchange.

Further details on the launch document here (PDF).

Get the date in your diaries now: see you there!

In the footsteps of rebels: Bossenden Wood walk

History came alive this weekend in Bossenden Wood, as David Shire led a tour of the the site of the battle, the last armed uprising on English soil as John Thom, the self-styled ‘Sir William Courtenay’ led a revolt in the Kent countryside.

The local area still bears the evidence of the events of 1838, such as Courtenay Road, formerly Black Bull Lane, whilst the Red Lion in Dunkirk has portraits of Courtenay adorning its walls.

The tour followed the path up to Bossenden Farm, turned sharply right to circumvent the farm following the bridalway, and then doubled back to the woods, and the site of the region where the Canterbury militia engaged Courtenay and his band of rebels hiding in the woods. There we were, in the woods with Courtenay and his band of followers and the armed force sent from Canterbury to deal with him: as the breeze ruffled the leaves, it felt as if the forest still whispered about the events of the time to itself.

Hernhill churchyard plaque
Naming of the Dead: a plaque in Hernhill churchyard: Wikimedia

Along the way, we learned about aspects of rural life as well, the management of forests, the practice of coppicing and the usage of wood from hornbeams; walkers also learned about socio-political events surrounding the uprising in 1838: local villages involved in smuggling, corruption in the Church, the exercising of political might, class divisions with the rich protecting their wealth whilst the poor rebelled against the conditions of their lives,  (proving the old adage ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same,’ perhaps!). The walk also embraced the story of gunpowder manufacture, the etymology of place-names and the history of Denstroude as a place for those suffering from the Black Death who were evicted from Canterbury.

With thanks to David Shire, who led the tour and illuminated the history of the area with fascinating tales at specific areas along the route, and really brought the drama and impact of the events alive to everyone.

Thanks also to Miriam for organising the event: hopefully, the first of many!

There’s a short film from Digital Kent about the Battle of Bossenden Wood  here.

New venture: Open Dawes!

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new community venture, Open Dawes, aimed at providing a broad range of workshops, activities and events for the local community, in particular its children and parents or carers.

Aiming to provide local access to arts activities, as well as to support the educational development of pre-school and primary children, Open Dawes is a visionary, forward-looking project with the welfare, education and recreation of the community at its heart.

You can read more about Open Dawes in its mission statement on the DCA website here.