Fiver Fest Faversham is getting ready to return 12th – 26th June this year.
Despite this being only the second time Faversham has taken part in the Fiver Fest initiative, the first Faversham event which took place in October last year was a great success. With over 70 local businesses taking part, Faversham’s Fiver Fest was one of the largest in the UK.
We believe that this year’s event will be even bigger and better than the first, and this is largely due to receiving much more support and sponsorship this time around. Over the coming days we will be introducing you to our wonderful sponsors and telling you more about them and their businesses.
We are absolutely delighted that this year’s event is being supported by Faversham Town Council. We feel especially grateful for their support as we have learnt from the event’s national organisers, Totally Locally, that it is rare for town councils to get involved or lend support until several events have successfully taken place.
Faversham Town Council backing this event will enable us to effectively promote Fiver Fest Faversham to a much wider number of shoppers and visitors. It will also help support Faversham’s independent businesses after the effects of multiple lockdowns.If you run a business locally and would like part please click here for more information and to download your application form
I think we can all agree that Faversham is full of wonderful, innovative, and creative independent businesses. Behind a lot of these are some brilliant female entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into a successful business. From bra fitting to handmade pizza, we have such a varied selection of services and products that we can all enjoy, right on our doorstep!
Boho + Bloom
When it comes to planning and styling an event, Leah is your go-to girl! Her ever growing prop hire collection is an eclectic mix of boho, disco, wild and one-of-a-kind pieces perfect for weddings, hen do’s, birthdays, window displays and corporate events. Leah launched her own company last year, but in short space of time she’s been featured on Channel 4, The Independent, The Wedding People Podcast and Festival Brides! If you have an idea in mind, Leah can bring your vision to life in her own bespoke way!
The Bra Boss of Kent
Joanna has worked in the lingerie industry for over 10 years, working for well-known brands such as Gossard and Panache. Last year she decided to take the ‘plunge’ and renovate her summer house into a lingerie boutique right here in Faversham. She offers one to one bra fitting appointments in a peaceful, quiet, and private space. She specialises in Sports, Maternity + Nursing and Mastectomy bras, but also offers a good selection of everyday bras too. She stocks bras from A – KK cup and 28 – 44 back. She’s here to support the ladies in Kent, one bra fitting at a time!
Julie is the award-winning florist that teaches. She runs classes and shares hints and tips from the trade, which enables her students to gain the skills and confidence to create flower arrangements for their home, business or that special occasion. She’s runs some fantastic classes online via her social media and You Tube channel where you can enjoy classes such as ‘Flower Hour’ and how to create a beautiful floral wedding display all on your own – with Julie’s expert help of course!
Rosie is the owner of Rosebud Bakes and is here to fulfil all your sweet-toothed needs! From brownie and blondie tray bakes to bespoke birthday cakes, all her creations are delicious! Rosie started Rosebud Bakes in June 2019 after years of being harassed by her family to take the plunge and set up her own business. According to Rosie, she’s been baking since she could hold a wooden spoon! She loves creating beautiful, bespoke, and most importantly, delicious cakes for all occasions.
Sophie Jayne Yoga
Sophie has been practising yoga since she was 14 and fell in love with it from the very first class. Since 2016, she has gone on to teach yoga and meditation in Faversham and the surrounding areas and absolutely loves it. Whether you are a total beginner or advanced, Sophies classes are for all abilities and she offers different levels of difficulty for each pose, and there’s absolutely no judgement on how well you can stretch or downward dog! If you fancy a relaxed and friendly bit of “me time” this is the class for you!
Beauty @ Your Door
If you love being pampered but struggle to find the time to get to a salon, Hannah is here to help! Hannah is a Fully Qualified mobile beautician with nine years’ experience, who offers beauty and massage treatments in the comfort of your own home. From luxurious pedicures to eyelash tints, there are so many lovely treatments to choose from and are all at really great, affordable prices too. It’s so important to set aside some time “you time” for yourself and this is the perfect treat!
Workspace on the Farm
Workspace on the farm is a vibrant co-working community for creatives, freelancers and remote workers nestled within beautiful farmland in Hernhill. This fantastic space is run by the wonderful Jo, who has created a calm and inspiring place for people to work productively. It’s a great place to be able to meet other like-minded people, have a coffee and bounce ideas off each other. It’s also perfect if you have young children, as there is a nursery (FarmWorkPlay) adjacent, which means you can work knowing that they are being cared for and having a great time in a safe environment
There is a new pizza place in town! Down at Standard Quay, Papa Bianco offers fresh handmade pizza, homemade garlic bread, tiramisu and you can then wash that all down with a cocktail or two! Hannah set up during lockdown and hasn’t looked back! She’s already expanded her menu and has some amazing weekly specials too! You have a choice of dining in the fabulous restaurant or you can take away if you’d prefer to.
Wasted Kitchen/Mighty Fine Things
Katy is the brains behind Wasted Kitchen and Mighty Fine Things. She is passionate about big flavours, local produce and ensuring that no food goes to waste. Wasted Kitchen offers lovely homemade food such as bento salad boxes, freshly made soup and sausage rolls and these can be delivered straight to your door! All of these are made from scratch, have minimal packaging and are obviously full of lovely local ingredients. If you love a condiment, Mighty Fine Things specialises in sauces, vinegars, mustards and much more! You can also treat yourself to some delicious Coxy’s Liqueurs in some fantastic flavours such as Spiced Damson Shrub or Morello Cherry!
Hope runs Bindfulness.com a website packed full of beautiful gifts, cards and handmade books. Including Hope’s original Cyanotypes of botanical specimens collected in Kent. Printed on card and fabrics in Prussian Blue, the signature colour of this process
Up until this year Hope also ran hugely popular Bookbinding Workshops, which will return as soon as social distancing rules allow.
If you are stuck for ideas of what to get the men in your life, we’ve put together a short list ideas all available in Faversham. Shop local this Christmas, you’ll be amazed at what you can find on your doorstep
Barley Mow Gifts and Interiors – Barley Mow is currently open for click and collect. The shop stocks a range of gifts for him, including dad gifts and gifts for men with hobbies.
Brogdale Collections – You may be surprised to learn that Brogdale offers a range of rural courses throughout the year including gardening, foraging and cider making – a perfect Christmas present idea for someone who loves anything to do with nature and the outdoors. Details on their website
Creekside Vinyl – A music lover’s dream. Currently open for click and collect, Creekside Vinyl has a wide selection of Vinyl across all genres, they also sell record vouchers if you aren’t sure what he likes. He’s not got a record player? Don’t worry they sell those too
Edible Culture – A must visit for gardening fans. Edible culture is currently open and can supply the men in your life with tools, gift boxes and gardening vouchers
Joe’s Bows – Set in the beautiful Edwardian gardens of Mount Ephraim, Joe’s Bows offers a range of experiences including falconry, archery, axe throwing and laser clay shooting. Find out more on their website
Macknade Fine Foods – For the serious food lover Macknade is offering gift cards (from £5) and a range of food and drink Hampers which can be delivered or collected. Check out their website for more details
Mad Cat Brewery – Based at Brogdale Farm, Mad Cat brews a very popular range of all types of beers using local hops. You can now buy direct from their website https://www.madcatbrewery.co.uk/shop/. Perfect for gifts for the beer lover in your life.
Tiddly Pomme at Brogdale Farm is a great spot to shop for men! It has a terrific selection of beer, juices and ciders (they produce their own very popular Woolly Pig Cider using Brogdale apples on site) along with a wide selection of food and fruit related items and gifts. For up-to-date information visit their Facebook
The Hobby Shop – For the man who can’t quite grow up! The Hobby Shop stocks everything from Model railways, Scalextric, model kits, jigsaws, board games and Lego. Visit their website for the full range.
Top Hat and Tales – A must for book lovers, books and vouchers available here, check out their website, you’ll find there is much more than books available here
It’s easier than you think to support local shops and businesses this Christmas. Here are some great ideas for Christmas presents shopping in Faversham.
Despite another lockdown meaning many shops and businesses having to close their doors again, there are still many ways to continue to shop locally and support Faversham’s businesses.
Many of us miss strolling down West Street, wrapped up in coats and scarves and popping into all the shops for our Christmas shopping. And it’s such a shame that we won’t be able to enjoy the wonderful Faversham Christmas Markets again this year or the fabulous Lights Switch On. However, now more than ever, it’s important to continue to shop local and keep Faversham’s thriving businesses up and running. Plus, with all the amazing and unique gifts on offer from Faversham businesses, who needs Amazon..?
With a lot of local shops going online and starting up delivery services, it can be tricky to know where to start with your local Christmas shopping. Firstly, a quick shout out to the Facebook Page ‘Christmas Shopping in Faversham’, where local people and shops are posting info on how to buy their goods online. Worth a quick look!
We’ve rounded up just a few of the brilliant item available.
Here are just some of the fantastic offering of gifts in Faversham.
Records – Creekside Vinyl
The perfect gift for any music lover – a record! Creekside vinyl has a brilliant range in stock with everything from Radiohead to Beethoven. On their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CreeksideVinylFaversham) they post regular ‘virtual browsing’ updates to give you a taste of what they have in store (almost as good as flicking through the stacks of albums yourself). But if you can’t find what you’re after just give them a call – they offer a call and collect service.
Books – Top Hat and Tales
Top Hat and Tales has a brilliant range of books of every description available online to order. Along with a wonderfully curated selection of gifts and accessories, customers can enjoy click and collect from the shop in West Street or they will deliver locally. Visit their website to order
Edible Culture – Potted House plants and all things horticultural!
Edible Culture, based on Canterbury Road in the grounds of Abbey School, are currently fully open and a great place for Christmas shopping. They are stocking houseplants, pots, wildlife accessories and gift boxes (picture). They also have a terrific range of Christmas trees decorations. https://edibleculture.co.uk
Chilli oils and rubs – ChilliChupShop
For any food lover who likes their spices check out ChilliChupShop’s Etsy page. They have a huge range of products all centred around the chilli all made here in the UK and would normally be selling at Faversham markets.
Gift Cards and Hampers – Macknade
For the serious food lover Macknade are offering gift cards (from £5) and a range of food and drink Hampers which can be delivered or collected. Check out their website for more details
Bra Boss – Bras and fittings
Although Bra Boss has had to close for lockdown, you can still order online bralettes and briefs, plus a gift voucher would make a fab present. You can choose how much to put on the gift voucher which can cover the cost of a private fitting and maybe a new bra to go with it. Check the website for further details.
Notebooks – Bindfulness
Bindfulness has a delightful range of handmade notebooks which would make a beautiful gift. The cover and first page feature original Cyanotype prints of leaves and flowers. Check out the website (https://bindfulness.com) to order online!
Prints and cards – Sherbert and Spice
Faversham based designer Sherbert and Spice has a range of cool prints available to buy on etsy – a great present idea or stocking filler. Christmas cards are also available to buy.
Gifts and Cards – Barley Mow
Barley Mow offers a whole range of unusual gifts, cards and decorations all available for click and collect. Visit their facebook page for more.
Fawn and Thistle, unique gifts and cards
Local illustrator Kirsten McNee is based at Creek Creative and has fabulous range of cards, prints, homewares and gifts, all featuring her charming and quirky illustrations.
This is a great gift for anyone who loves all things Faversham. Local designer Jess Illo has this print, as well as similar prints for Whitstable and Canterbury, available on her Etsy shop. She also offers personalised prints – check it out here
– Drawn By Freya
Beautiful illustrations of local buildings and scenes by Faversham-based architecture graduate and illustrator. You can buy her Faversham Christmas cards and gift tags via her Etsy site.
You can also commission Freya for bespoke, beautiful illustrations of your home or workspace. Lovely idea for a Christmas gift!
Natural beauty, health and home products – Apotheca
Apotheca has a great range of natural beauty products, remedies, essential oils, candles, incense, and much more. You can also buy a gift voucher for the treatments they offer – everything from acupuncture to hot stone massages. Check out their website or Facebook for more info.
Country Practice at Brogdale Farm
also sells beautifully packaged gift vouchers which can be redeemed against their range of relaxing health treatments for the body and soul. https://www.countrypractice.co.uk/
Gift Vouchers for courses and events at Brogdale Collections
Brogdale is home to the largest collection of temperate fruit trees in the world and their orchards are stunning. We’re so lucky to have them on our doorstep. They run a schedule of rural courses throughout the year including gardening, foraging and cider making – a perfect Christmas present idea for someone who loves anything to do with nature and the outdoors. Details on their website www.brodalecollections.org
Gloves – Top Hat and Tales in West Street
Warm and snuggly lamb’s wool fingerless gloves perfect for the upcoming wintry weather. Find these and other similar bits and pieces on the Top Hat and Tails website.
Socks – Luvies Boutique
Luvies boutique are still trading on their Facebook page by posting products such as these cute bumblebee bamboo socks, so you can drop them a message to order online.
Board games – The Hobby Shop
It isn’t Christmas without family board games and the Hobby Shop in Preston Street has a fantastic range. Game of Thrones Monopoly, Sherlock Cluedo, Harry Potter Trivial Pursuits, Strictly Come Dancing the board game… plus all the classics. Everything is listed on their website which is super easy to use to order online!
For four-legged members of the family – Ollie Bongo’s Pet Essentials
Ollie Bongo’s has a great range of festive treats for your furry friends and will deliver locally – check out their Facebook page for further details. It is also worth noting that Ollie Bongos is open over lockdown, so feel free to pop in to check out what they have in stock and for other pet essentials.
Gifts for small people
There are plenty of childrens gifts available in Faversham
Sweets – Jilly Pop Sweet Shop
For stocking fillers and sweet treats Jilly Pop Sweet Shop based on East Street has gone online and has a variety of gifts on offer. Check out their website for more info
Lego Harry Potter Calendar – The Hobby shop
The Hobby Shop has a great range of toys and games on its online shop, including Lego, Playmobile, and much more. This advent calendar is perfect for any Harry Potter fans and includes 24 wizard-related items waiting to be constructed.
Huckleberry Woods Micro Animal Farm
The perfect present for little people – animal days and walks with micro pigs, donkeys, sheep, and alpacas. You can view the full range of available activities on their website.
Falconry Experiences – Joe’s Bows
Set in the beautiful Edwardian gardens of Mount Ephraim, Joe’s Bows offers falconry handling and bow and arrow experiences, as well as other outdoor activities. Find out more on their website
Eat, drink and be merry
Takeaway bottles of wine – Vino
Vino on Court Street is open for collections, so get in contact if you’re after takeaway bottles of wine or bubbles! They also offer free delivery in Faversham. Check out their wine list on www.vinofaversham.co.uk or their Facebook for contact details.
Craft beers from Mad Cat Brewery
Based at Brogdale Farm, Mad Cat brews a very popular range of all types of beers using local hops. You can now buy direct from their website https://www.madcatbrewery.co.uk/shop/. Perfect for gifts for the beer lover in your life, or just to stock up for Christmas!
Takeaway meals – The Yard
The Yard, in Jacob’s Yard off Preston Street, is offering hearty seasonal takeaway dishes for those evenings you just don’t fancy cooking. Menus change regularly so be sure to follow them on Facebook to keep up to date. With dishes such as caramelised shallot, bacon & apple sausage rolls, roasted veg and cheddar tarts, and chorizo, lentil & parsnip stew.
Takeaway Pizza – Papa Bianco
Currently on offer at Papa Bianco on Standard Quay from Monday to Wednesday is a starter, two pizzas and two deserts for £30 (or £40 with a bottle of wine…) perfect for a cosy night in. Make sure to call up to book your order as deliveries get booked up fast! https://www.facebook.com/papabiancofaversham
These are just a few suggestions of some of the fabulous Christmas gift ideas from Faversham businesses.
Click and Collect – Allport Cars
If you would like to shop local but are isolating or unable to access businesses for collections. Allport Cars are offering a “click and collect” service in the Faversham area. To make arrangements, contact AllPort cars via Facebook.
We are very lucky to have some beautiful dog walks on our doorstep here in Faversham. Take a read below and discover some of the best places you can take your furry pal for a day out!
I’m going to start off with my favourite dog walk – Harty Ferry. It might be one of my favourites because I am very lucky enough to be a short 3 or 4 minute drive away, so for me it’s right on my doorstep and very easy! Secondly, and more importantly, it’s absolutely stunning and such a great place to take your dog!
You can find Harty Ferry at the end of a winding country road, past the lovely Three Mariners pub in Oare, and past St. Peter’s Church and some beautiful houses along the way too. Once you get to the end of the road (you just keep going straight until there’s no more road) there’s plenty of free parking in quite a generous sized car park – but be warned this can get full up very quickly and you may have to park along the road at peak times. When you come out of the car park and face the waterfront (oh did I forget to mention it’s situated on a stunning nature reserve overlooking the Swale Estuary?!) you have the choice of two different pathways, left and right. It’s a bit of an unwritten rule that dog walkers go left, and the birdwatchers tend to go right, so we tend to naturally take a left. Once you go past the first gate, the whole walk is great for off the lead walks. There’s a nice path for us humans to walk along, enabling you to take in the views of the surrounding nature reserve. Often, you will see cows, sheep, swans, all sorts of different birds, butterflies, frogs and if you’re very lucky, occasionally seals too!
Our dog Molly loves to run alongside us down the verge, through the long grasses and more often than not, jumping into the little plunge pools of water to cool down. Please be aware that there are lots of opportunities for your dog to get their paws wet and probably muddy too, so it may be good to come prepared with a couple of towels in the car to dry them off at the end of the walk. If you’re keen for a long walk, the path takes you along part of the Saxon Shore Way, which is a coastal circular loop of about 10 miles. It’s a great opportunity to pack up a picnic and take in the scenery along the way.
Harty Ferry is a really relaxing, interesting and tranquil walk. There’s plenty of space for everyone if it’s a slightly busier day, however, some days you may not see another person the whole time. If you do bump into people, it’s often they will have a dog too, and a great opportunity for the dogs to play and make new friends!
The scenery is next level stunning. I have been there during some beautiful sunsets on a summers’ evening, or first thing on a sunny, hazy morning and you feel like you could be abroad somewhere exotic with equally stunning views.
Plenty of free parking with no time restriction.
Safe for your dog, as there are no cars or busy roads during the walk.
A fresh water well (named George Oare-Well so I’ve heard!) at the start/end of the walk, so you can fill up your water bottles and re-hydrate!
Things to be aware of:
The car park can fill up very quickly at peak times and the road leading up to the parking area can be very uneven with large potholes – make sure your car has good suspension!
This walk is open to the elements! There is no shelter if it starts to rain and it can get quite cold and windy at times. When getting ready to go to Harty Ferry, I will always say that whatever the weather is like at home, it will be more extreme on the walk. For example, if it’s a tad chilly at home, it will be freezing at Harty Ferry! Wrap up warm and wear sturdy walking shoes.
Bring your own refreshments. Apart from a fresh water well, there isn’t anywhere to get tea or coffee if you are accustomed to a hot drink on your walk. Be prepared and bring a flask and some snacks if you’re going for a long walk!
“Loop de loop” starting at Upper Brents and finishing on Ham Road.
This walk was a lockdown discovery that we didn’t realise was also pretty much on our doorstep! We start the walk along Front Brents, just by the new creek bridge opposite the brewery. Walking along the Faversham creek, you will pass the fabulous Albion Taverna (cheeky margarita anyone?!) as well as some cute little houses until you get to a little path which leads you through Brents Bank community garden and along Upper Brents. During April/May time, there are some stunning wild flowers which all come out to bloom and look absolutely beautiful, as well as a huge Willow tree which you see lots of children playing on. As you get to the end of the footpath, you can cross over just where Quayside Tyres are and it takes you round to some fields that lead you to a lovely walk along the creekside.
From here, you can walk in a huge “loop” along and around the creek. You can take your dog off the lead and there’s a HUGE space for them to run and play. At times there are livestock in the fields, so please be mindful and pop your pooch on a lead if need be. The scenery is so interesting as the path takes you past Standard Quay, the Oyster Bay House (which is a grade two listed building) and the shipyard, which are all on the opposite side of the creek. Keep your eyes peeled for an abandoned pirate ship named ‘Revenge’ which has been left stranded in the creek for many years!
Like with most walks, you may decide to reach a certain point and then turn back, however with this walk you are able to complete a full circle. The walk will lead you right around the creek and past a lovely pub called the Shipwright Arms. We discovered this pub during one of our many “lockdown walks” so unfortunately it was closed every time we ventured past, but it is on our list of ‘must visits’ to enjoy a drink in the pub garden and have a little rest.
A really interesting walk with lots of things to see and keep an eye out for (like abandoned pirate ships!)
Will wear your dog out if they are full of beans – there’s plenty of space for them to run, play and sniff!
There’s a couple of really lovely places to stop for a drink and a snack (The Albion, Shipwright Arms and Cafe by the Creek).
A few options where you can make the walk shorter if you wish to or have time constraints.
Things to be aware of:
Again this walk can be open to the elements and get quite windy and cold, so wrap up warm.
At the start of the walk alongside the creek (opposite the Oyster Bay house) the path is very uneven and an open invitation for twisted ankles – watch your footing.
There can be livestock in the fields at times, so please be aware of this and keep your dog on a lead.
Willpower is a must, if you pop in to The Albion at the start of the walk you might just decide to stay there and eat tacos instead!
Through Standard Quay, past the Iron Wharf boatyard and through Abbey Fields
The great thing about dog walking in Faversham is that within a few minutes from the centre of the town, you are immersed in the glorious countryside and this walk is just a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle. We start this walk at the Standard Quay, which hosts some quirky little antique shops such as Aladdin’s Cave, cute cafes, fishmongers, butchers and a new mouth watering pizza restaurant called Papa Bianco’s.
If you carry on walking past all these lovely places you will come to the Oyster Bay House (as previously mentioned in the last walk) and you can cut through the Iron Wharf shipyard. Hop over the water via a little bridge and you are then in the midst of fields, open space and lots of fresh air! The first section of this walk is parallel to the previous “loop de loop” walk, so you will also pass the abandoned pirate ship (but you will be much closer to it on this side!)
You can continue on forwards (this will take you to the Saxon Shore Way) but if you would like a smaller route, you can turn right. This will take you along next to a pretty river and over a bridge round to Abbey Fields. During spring this is such a beautiful walk when the fields are FULL of rapeseed oil plants and other wildflowers all in bloom.
I would say about 80% of this walk can be off the lead or at least away from any cars and busy areas, however, the last part of the walk is along a road or back in pedestrian areas, so it’s best for the pups to be on the lead. Halfway down the Abbey Fields road, there is a little cut through, which will take you past Gordon Square and alongside the Queen Elizabeth Grammar school, past St Mary of Charity church near Abbey Street, and voila – you are pretty much back to the start of the walk near the Quayside!
This lovely walk takes about an hour (give or take) so a great chance to stretch your legs and take in the beautiful surroundings closer to Faversham town centre.
A quicker, shorter route closer to the centre of Faversham.
You pass some lovely local businesses in Standard Quay where you can get a cup of tea to take with you on the walk!
The area by the river is really pretty, and if your dog fancies a paddle, they can have a cool down swim.
Things to be aware of:
The last section of the walk is heading back towards Faversham, so you will be near roads and other pedestrians, so best to pop your dog on the lead for this part.
Victory Wood is situated in between Faversham and Whitstable and has beautiful views over the Isle of Sheppey and the Thames Estuary. We have been here a few times and have discovered there are multiple routes you can take to explore with your dog, so every time you come you can do a different walk to keep things interesting.
There is free ample parking and you are right next to the start of the walk, which is enclosed, so safe to let your dog off the lead if you wish to. The path you take is totally up to you. Some lead you through the beautiful woodlands, or if you prefer to stay in the open, there are plenty of routes that you can follow.
Free parking with plenty of spaces
Lots of different route options to choose from
Stunning scenery to enjoy
Things to be aware of:
You will need to drive here as it is not walking distance from Faversham.
Can get very muddy when there has been wet weather (from experience!)
No shelter if it rains
Very few dog waste bins along the route – please remember to pick up and dispose in a bin.
Oare Gunpowder Works country park
Oare Gunpowder works is a beautiful little walk tucked away along The Western Link road and not far from Bysing Wood road. For a while we didn’t even know this walk existed until a friend mentioned it, and we have now been many times to wander and explore.
This enchanting walk is filled with plenty of heritage which you can read about as you walk around, as well as a visitors centre which also houses a lot more information about the site if you wish to learn more. As the name of this walk suggests, this area was a very important area for the Gunpowder industry in Faversham in the late 17th century up until 1934. You can still see a lot of the remains of the buildings and mills dotted about – which is now home to lots of birds, insects and creatures who live in the wetlands and plants which now thrive in the woodlands. Occasionally, there are live walk and talk sessions that take place in the country park, where you can learn more about the species that live in the woodlands and wetlands and if you’re lucky, spot some of them too!
If like us you are naturally drawn to water, there are a couple of lakes and a wetland known as “the leats” which is a system of waterways that lead up to Lower Mill Pond. Here you can sometimes spot frogs, toads and newts. It is a great place to pack up a picnic and have a leisurely walk around discovering new and interesting parts of the woodland.
A really interesting place to visit, with lots of heritage and wildlife.
Free, generous parking area and toilets.
Great to bring the children as there are loads of things to look out for and to keep them entertained along the way.
Things to be aware of:
When the car park closes, they lock the gate so please ensure you leave by the requested time otherwise you may get locked in.
Best to keep your dog on a lead here in case there are other people walking around on the pathways or if there are people fishing in the lakes.
The visitor centre may be closed and the nature walks may currently be postponed due to the current pandemic, so please check beforehand if you are interested in these.
It’s been a tough year for businesses in general, and with Lockdown 2.0 there’s no sign of things getting easier this year. Many of us what to shop local and support our fantastic local independent traders through these tough times, but what if you can’t?
Ideally, spending money on products and services is the best way to keep independent businesses running, but there are many more ways you can help and support your local high street and beyond.
Recommend. A personal recommendation is without a doubt one of the best ways to support local businesses. Shoppers who have a personal recommendation are far more likely to buy.
Like social media posts. If you see a local business share a post on social media, give them a like. This really helps the algorithms and gets the post in front of more potential buyers. It only takes a split second of your time.
Comment and share. Commenting and sharing a post really helps get businesses in front of more buyers. The more you can do this, the more it helps.
People often ask for recommendations for services and products online. Tag a local business and recommend them.
If you had a great service or bought a great product, write a review. We are too quick to write bad reviews on poor service. Writing positive review (it doesn’t matter where) not only really helps local businesses to shine and for new customers to be reassured that they are dealing with a trusted, reliable business (plus it feels nice).
If you host a blog, why not write a piece about the your favourite local businesses? Recommend to your followers that they try them when they can. The mentioned businesses will most likely share your blog, getting you both in front of new audiences.
With Halloween just around the corner, we bring you the definitive guide to Faversham’s most haunted places. Are you brave enough to explore some of them?
Want to hear about ghostly goings on and local hauntings? Here are some of the scariest places in Faversham, Kent, this Halloween…
You’ve probably heard of Pluckley, the Kentish village said to be Britain’s most haunted place.
But think there aren’t some spine-tingling spooks in our very own historic market town of Faversham? Think again. As we come up to Halloween, let’s take a look at some of the town’s most haunted places and their ghostly occupants…
Follow Diana’s Walk in Bysing Wood
If you go into the woods today… you might see a headless ghost.
For generations, locals have told stories about Diana, a ghost who wanders through Bysing Wood (the wood on the outskirts of Faversham) with her head tucked under one arm.
Legend has it that Diana was the daughter of the family who owned Syndale Manor (now known as the Judd’s Folly Hotel). And her fiance was the son of the vicar of Davington Church.
Every evening after evensong the couple walked from Davington, through Bysing Wood, back to Diana’s home in Syndale.
But one night tragedy struck when they were attacked – and Diana was decapitated.
Although her fiance escaped with minor injuries, shortly that time he was found hanged, close to the place where Diana had met her own grisly end.
Apparently Diana has haunted the woods ever since, and wanders the same route she took all those years ago carrying her head under her arm. That’s why locally we know that route as ‘Diana’s Walk’.
Go Dutch at the Shipwright’s Arms
Fancy popping to a local pub for a Halloween pint – and getting a bit of ghoul-spotting thrown in for free?
As you’d expect from an inn that was built over 300 years ago, the remote and atmospheric Shipwright’s Arms has a few tales to tell.
The pub sits on the Saxon Shore Way at Hollowshore, at the junction of Oare and Faversham creeks, and you can well imagine the days of pirates and smugglers navigating their way past the mud flats at night.
But it’s one sailor in particular – the captain of a Dutch boat in the 19th century – that makes this place a particular haunting hotspot.
Apparently one cold winter’s night his boat ran into trouble on the Swale. And the captain managed to climb to shore across the mudflats, somehow managing to reach the door of the inn. But the landlord had already taken last orders and was worried about letting pirates or smugglers in.
When he did open up the next morning, he found the captain slumped dead in the doorway, having frozen to death overnight.
Fast forward two centuries and customers and staff sometimes talk about the temperature dropping suddenly, as well as strong smells of tobacco and rum.
Some people say they’ve seen a “thick set bearded sailor” with red eyes, dressed in a thick coat and peaked hat – at times even blocking the door. There are also reports of loud knocking on the door in the night, too. Pub goers who’ve had one too many, or a genuinely ghoulish encounter? You decide.
Take ghost calls at the Fleur de Lis
Based in the heart of Faversham, the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre has a lot going on: it holds the tourist information centre, a museum/gallery space and the Faversham Society, too.
Parts of the Fleur de Lis are housed in a 15th century former public house, and as you’d expect there’s more than a bit to delight ghost-hunters.
“The White Lady” is its long-term resident who’s keen to make her presence felt with spectral sightings – and apparently staff sometimes see her standing at the top of the building’s stairs.
There’s a chance that if she can’t be seen, she wants to be heard. One of the exhibits at the Fleur de Lis is an old-fashioned Strowger telephone exchange, and there are reports that this has rung – even when it’s not connected to any working lines. Perhaps she’ll leave a message and we can get back to her?
Brew up spooks at Shepherd Neame
Britain’s oldest brewer, the historic Shepherd Neame, is said to be another local haunting hotspot. The company was founded in 1698 and has been brewing on the same site for over 300 years.
There are tales of a ghostly cat making its way through reception, and an old malt kiln with its own ghostly group of monks who gather to haunt there. It’s rumoured that some staff are too spooked to enter certain rooms or parts of the brewery site.
Given this, it was no surprise that when psychic Derek Acorah came to Faversham to investigate spooky goings on for his TV series “Ghost Towns”, he headed to Britain’s oldest brewer on his visit.
A good way to soak up the atmosphere at Shepherd Neame is with a brewery tour. Although they’re currently suspended due to the pandemic, we hope they’ll be able to resume soon – and until then perhaps you can try one of its Halloween-themed brews, the aptly-named Spooks Ale?
How did the Great Storm of 1987 affect Faversham? Local resident Liz Jeffery, a teenager at the time, remembers that wild, windy weekend…
The Great Storm on 15 October 1987 was the worst storm to hit the South East of England for 300 years.
In just a few hours, hurricane-force winds as strong as 120mph took down an estimated 15 million trees – many that had been standing for centuries.
Telephone lines went down; water, electricity and gas supplies were cut off; miles of rail and road networks were blocked. The hurricane also had a more tragic consequence, claiming the lives of 18 people in England (several of those in Kent).
Despite it all, the storm also showed a community spirit in Faversham that’s still around, 33 years later. Here are my teenage memories of that fateful night…
No warning of what was to come
Thursday 15th October 1987 had been a typical autumn day. It had been raining for days, and that evening felt dull and dank.
Still, to the teenage me, Faversham Carnival was due to take place that weekend – and so the rain didn’t matter. Walking home from school, the sight of the Forrest Fair setting up on Faversham Rec was enough to lift spirits even more.
That evening was just like any other. I’d have probably called my friends, making plans to meet over the weekend. I’d have probably watched TV, including that now infamous weather report by Michael Fish in which he said: “Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!”.
And then I’d have gone to bed as normal. Amazingly, given what went on to happen outside, my family and I slept pretty well that night.
That evening was just like any other. I’d have probably called my friends, making plans to meet over the weekend. I’d have probably watched TV, including that now infamous weather report by Michael Fish…
And then I’d have gone to bed as normal. Amazingly, given what went on to happen outside, my family and I slept pretty well that night.
At 5.30am my dad’s alarm clock went off as usual for work. But he only had to look out of the window to see something wasn’t right, and that it would be far too windy to cycle his normal route from Bramley Avenue to his job at BOC Transhield in Oare.
As he made his way by foot through our estate, he met the milkman on his rounds – and they chatted about how they must be mad working on such a morning.
Dad says that as he walked along the A2, it felt like trees were falling down all around him. He remembers watching a huge tree fall through the back of a house, its root ball almost as big as the property itself.
Turning the corner down into The Mall, he had roof tiles speeding past his head. Not surprisingly, at this point he decided to turn back for home!
Waking up to scenes of devastation
When I woke up, along with the rest of my family, we tried to take stock of what had happened overnight.
Alongside feeling pretty excited about being off school that day, I noticed that our house was one of the lucky ones: the storm had taken off a few roof tiles but had otherwise untouched it.
But out in the garden, the fence was down – as were everyone else’s fences in our road. In fact, standing in the garden we had a clear view to the A2 in one direction, and the railway line in the other.
I also noticed the large leylandii hedge that had stood behind our house. The wind had lifted each individual tree up by its roots and hurled them at least 10m away.
Amazingly, our neighbour’s avary with its precious bird collection had made it through the night – something that our cat must have been disappointed about as it had spent the night on top of it.
Cleaning up Faversham
Venturing out of our street to explore the town in the days afterwards, I noticed the devastation everywhere and it seemed like nowhere was left untouched. It was obvious that the town would face a huge clean up operation in the days and weeks to come.
Walls and fencing were down. Some roofs had no tiles left, and chimneys had collapsed. Windows were broken and so many cars damaged.
The fair they’d been setting up in the Rec for that weekend had ended up in the tennis court area – caravans and all. It was a miracle no one was killed during what must have been a terrifying night.
It was a miracle no one was killed during what must have been a terrifying night.
Trees, trees everywhere
And of course, there were trees lying everywhere – trees blown down or uprooted everywhere from the small residential streets to the Rec. The most important collection of trees locally – the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale – didn’t escape the devastation, either.
Some fruit trees were blown over, and others ripped from the ground. Although the team at Brogdale were able to pull many back into an upright position, the only way to save some precious varieties was by propagation (growing new plants from a branch or seed). Local records show that it was thanks to specialist expertise that these varieties survived – and Brogdale is still one of the largest fruit collections in the world.
Faversham community spirit
At home, we had no electricity for several days, and the phone lines were down for a week. Even my school was closed for a few weeks as the gym roof had blown off!
The devastation in the town had caused so much suffering, and it must have been hard for so many local residents – as elsewhere around the south of England and north of France.
Yet as a child with no responsibility, I have to admit I felt such freedom. We had huge fun running through each others’ back gardens, almost like we had a big private park to play in all day. It was a sad day when the adults started putting the fences back up and our playground had gone.
And there was real community spirit, too. We all had a reason to talk to strangers, everyone had a story to tell and everyone in the town offered a helping hand.
And there was real community spirit, too. We all had a reason to talk to strangers, everyone had a story to tell and everyone in the town offered a helping hand.
Friends helped other friends fix their cars, board up their windows and clear fallen trees from roads and driveways. The sound of chainsaws echoed around the streets all day, every day.
One neighbour had a gas cooker so cooked for everyone. We had a gas fire in our home so other neighbours without heating would come and warm up.
As we slowly rebuilt our surroundings, that sense of community carried on. And one act of community spirit bears fruit to this day. The trees lining Upper St Ann’s Road didn’t survive the storm, so one local resident replanted them.
Decades later, I can go and collect conkers from these horse chestnut trees with my own children thanks to that act of kindness. It’s the little thoughtful touches like this that makes Faversham such a special community to be part of – even in the toughest times.
Did you know that the fictional pirate Captain Jack Sparrow was actually based on a real life Faversham pirate?
We kid you not, the trickster captain of the Black Pearl in the massive “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise was based on a local Faversham man named John (Jack) Ward.
Jack Ward was born c1553 in Faversham, to an impoverished family. Much of his life was spent working in the local fisheries. He was known locally as an out-and-out wastrel who spent much of his time getting drunk, he would “sit melancholy, speak doggedly … [and] repine at other men’s good fortunes”.
In 1588 Ward found work as a privateer, plundering the Spanish Fleet under licence from Queen Elizabeth I following the Spanish Armada’s failure to invade England.
Following King James I coming to the English throne, the war with Spain ended and these licences were revoked. However, for Jack and his fellow privateers the rewards had been so large, they refused to give up their livelihoods and continued to plunder Spanish ships. As such they were considered pirates.
Around 1604, Jack Ward was believed to have been pressed into service aboard a ship named the Lyon’s Whelp. He wasn’t there long however, as Ward and his colleagues quickly deserted and stole a small 25-ton ship from Portsmouth. Ward’s comrades elected him Captain and they sailed to the Isle of Wight and captured another ship named the Violet. And so it came about that Jack and the crew no longer just targeted Spanish ships, now any ships were fair game.
Over the next few years Ward and his crew captured a great many ships, and fitted them out as war ships. He headed to Tunis which he hoped to make his base.
Tunis was nominally ruled by a pasha appointed by the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul but, by the time Ward arrived in 1605, the real power lay in the hands of Uthman Dey, leader of the janissary soldiers (janissaries being the Sultan’s household troops and bodyguards) garrisoned in the city. Wily and ruthless in equal measure, Uthman Dey had created a powerful guild of corsairs, and they preyed on shipping across the Mediterranean. Dey recognised that Ward was a skilled pirate and allowed him to use Tunis as his centre of operations, just so long as he got a share of the loot.
Ward so ingratiated himself with Uthman Dey that he was given a large plot of land in Tunis, where set to work building himself a mansion on a scale and opulence that would have been unthinkable in his native England. One compatriot who visited the place described it as “a very stately house, far more fit for a prince than a pirate”.
From Tunis Ward built a fearsome reputation and went on to capture many vessels from various European States. In the spring of 1607 Ward took a fleet of four ships and spotted a large Venetian ship named Reniera e Soderina and, after a three hour fire fight, the ship was surrendered to Ward and his men with an alleged haul of £2m. This led to rumours in London that the Venetian authorities were close to declaring war on England if Ward was not stopped. The English Ambassador in Venice assured the council Ward would “meet with a warm reception if he comes into these waters”
Eventually, Jack Ward asked to be pardoned by James I of England, this was rejected and he reluctantly had to be given a safe haven in Tunis. Jack and his entire crew then converted to Islam and Ward was renamed Yusuf Reis, yet was more commonly known as Captain Yusuf Asfur (Captain Jack Sparrow) due to Jack’s fascination with the small birds in Tunis.
So there you have it, the inspiration behind one of the of the most well known pirates to appear on film, and arguably, one of actor Jonny Depp’s best know characters was based on a local Faversham lad!
We are absolutely delighted to announce that Faversham will be taking part in a nationwide shop local initiative called FIVER FEST, we hope to get as many local businesses involved and help residents and tourists see the wide range of diverse independent businesses Faversham has to offer.
The event will run from the 10th – 24th October 2020, here is a little more about what it is and how you can get involved.
WHAT IS FIVER FEST?
The Fiver Fest is part of a nationwide volunteer-led organisation called Totally Locally which supports small independent businesses to come together to create a more vibrant, stronger and resilient town by encouraging the community to think and act locally.
Fiver Fest is being organised by InFaversham.co.uk (the website about local businesses for people who shop in Faversham).
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Businesses taking part put on special £5 offers over 2 weeks, to show the diversity and value of what they sell, and to say thank you to the communities that support them.
Businesses come together to support each other, share each others offers, create maps, do trails, work on PR – everything to get people moving around the town, and discovering their local independent shops.
This is not about just selling £5 things. It’s an opportunity for you to get people through the door who haven’t ever stepped foot in your shop, or who haven’t been for ages. What you do when they get there is up to you.
Don’t worry if you don’t sell a lot of your special offer. It’s not about that (your offer may not be right for everyone). The idea is to get people engaged with the campaign and talking about our local businesses.
Offers should be something with a £5 spend to tie in with the £5 message (don’t use discounts like £5 or 5% off), Businesses not on the high street such as services, fitness etc can offer introductory services to get new clients on board. Make the offer for something brill, not just old stock you are trying to shift.
Don’t worry if you are stuck for ideas, we are here to help, ideas are what we are good at so get in touch and we will help you to find a fantastic £5 offering.
WHAT WILL I GET OUT OF IT?
Apart from a fantastic opportunity to engage and take part in helping to revive the town, you will be part of a National Campaign and get all the promotion, PR, and media opportunities that go with it.
You will get posters to put in your window, trail maps of all the businesses taking part to giveaway, merchandise (optional purchase) like our lovely tote bags (how about putting together a fab goody bag?) to promote the campaign. Lots of local media coverage via Faversham Fiver Fest Facebook pages, Instagram and Twitter plus promotion on InFaversham website and Facebook page. Oh and of course sharing and mentions on everyone else’s social media who takes part and gets involved. It’ll be a blast.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BE INVOLVED?
It’s absolutely free* and open to all independent businesses in Faversham.
WHERE DO I SIGN?
Just fill in your details on the attached form, and return to [email protected] and we’ll do the rest!
* We are asking for a voluntary donation of £5 to take part to help cover printing costs. We stress this is voluntary because we want as many businesses to take part as possible.