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Darenth Parish Council

Resident Thoughts on Environmental Development Opportunities for Darenth

By Ellen Mote Darenth Parish Council

Monday, 20 January 2020

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Darenth Parish Council Contributor

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Local resident, Mr Peter Shaw shares his thoughts below on potential environmental development opportunities for Darenth. Please feel free to share your views via the website.

Thank you.

"Darenth is a village rich in history and is set withing a pleasant rural landscape. It has a Country Park with a SSSI status and mature woodland. The long and extensive village green runs along both sides of the B260 Road to Green Street Green and presents an attractive feature within the village.

There are several countryside pathways criss-crossing the surrounding fields and the adjacent woodland provides good pathways throughout. A pleasant riverside walk can be found alongside the River Darent and the fishing lakes, through which the Darent flows, are highly regarded by fishing enthusiasts with the village and surrounding area.

The Church of St Margaret's, build around 940AD, is the 3rd oldest church in Kent and the 6th oldest in England. It enjoys a tranquil setting off Darenth Hill Road. The buried site of a Roman Villa lies not far away towards the river. Whilst within the boundaries of the Country Park lies the site of a Saxon Burial Ground.

We are fortunate in Darenth to enjoy a diverse rural environment which is important for wildlife and also for providing environmental and recreational enjoymnet for local residents. The area would benefit from a proactive approach to environmental management. This is particularly important as environmental decline is now of national concern.

Suggested Considerations:

Greens - The greens have great visual impace and to some extent define the village. The maintenance of the greens is principally confined to mowing the grass. Trials have been carried out to test the practicality of leaving selected areas for wildflower development, this followed consultation with Kent Wildlife. These trials proved quite successful and further development of this initiative could be environmentally beneficial.

Greens, Tree Planting: The mature trees along the green are reaching the end of their life and several have now been felled. Some replanting has been carried out and more needs to be done. The choice of tree should take into account their visual and environmental impact. A tree planting scheme provides the opportunity for community involvement which would hopefully encourage a long term feeling of pride and "ownership" especially among participating school children.

Hedges: The most notable hedge in the village is the one running down the B260 from opposite Greenlands school. This hedge was created during the devastating outbreak, some years ago, of Dutch Elm Disease. The dead trees were cut down and saplings not affected by the disease were reduced in height to approximately 6ft, (the flying beetle carrying the disease only attacks elm above the height of 15ft). This action prove to be very successful and we now have a thick hedge ideal for nesting birds. The removal of dead trees had the additional advantage of exposing a beautiful view across the fields to the woods beyond. The hedge is cut annually by a local farmer.

Paths: Darenth is fortunate to have public footpaths giving ready access through surrounding countryside. These can get overgrown with weed or crops and become impassable at certain times of the year. A dialogue needs to be maintained with local land owners, Kent County Council and pathway organisations to ensure these pathways are maintained and not lost through default.

Woods: The woods are a valuable resource. Maintenance is carried out under the auspice of the Dartford Borough Council Ranger service. Scramble bikes, especially at weekends, are a problem and not only cause environmental damage but also deter the general public from enjoying woodland. A strategy for making the woods more public friendly and less attractive to scramble bikers should be considered.

Country Park: This park is well used and appreciated by the public. It is managed by DBC Ranger Service and has SSSI status. The Parish should continue to take an active interest in this important asset.

Community: The residents of Darenth should be encouraged to respect and enjoy the natural surroundings of the village. If a sense of pride and appreciation exists, antisocial behaviour will hopefully diminish and feelings of wellbeing increased.

The thoughts and observation expressed in this article are intended to encourage further debate. As concerns for the environment continue to rise nationally it seems appropriate that Darenth should address how it manages its local environment and how they might ensure best practices are applied and that opportunities for enhancement are properly investigated".

Peter Shaw

13 November 2019

 

Contact Information

Ellen Mote

  • 01474 707030

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Darenth Hall, Ladywood Road, Darenth, Dartford, Kent

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