Case Study - Swanscombe Heritage Park

Tucked away in North Kent, not far from Bluewater Shopping Centre, is Swanscombe Heritage Park – one of Britain’s most important heritage sites and Kent’s best kept secret. Well known among archaeological circles, the site is where Britain’s second oldest human remains were found. The area is also designated as a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest. Suffering from a legacy of neglect the site became a hidden gem surrounded by urban development. That is until now…

Problems with fly tipping and illegal motorcycling had plagued the site, spoiling the natural environment. In 2001, the Swanscombe Action Group was formed to work on plans to renovate the site and preserve it as an important heritage location for future generations. Members of the Swanscombe Action Group include; Dartford Borough Council, English Nature, Friends of Swanscombe Heritage Park, Groundwork Kent & Medway, Kent County Council, Kent Thameside Delivery Board, Kent Wildlife Trust, Lafarge Cement UK, Land Securities, Rail Link, Countryside Initiative, Swanscombe & Greenhithe Town Council, Craylands Community Primary School

In 2003 the project received part funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, with support from Kent County Council as the accountable body. In 2005 work begun to transform Swanscombe Heritage Park and it is now finally receiving the attention it deserves as one of Northern Europe’s most important archaeological sites.

Extensive on-site works have improved access, pathways and educational signage. A new sculpture at the improved entrance to the park marks a major milestone and the culmination of much hard work by the Swanscombe Action Group members.

The sculptures design is based on a 400,000 year old hand axe discovered in the park. The sculpture uses both ancient and modern materials and light effects to symbolize a meeting of the past with the present, reflecting the historical significance of the heritage site.

Involving local people every step of the way has been crucial to the project’s success. Local residents, schoolchildren and businesses have been consulted and have contributed thoughts and ideas throughout the Park’s development. Pupils from Sweyne Primary School became ‘Park Planners’ for the day and decided what they would like to see in the Park, various local community groups were visited and asked their views on how they felt the Park could be best improved and pupils from Craylands School have followed the progress of the Park throughout.

Our website is:

www.swanscombeheritagepark.co.uk

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We want to know what you think about Swanscombe Heritage Park.  

If you live near, have visited before or know of the park, please click on the link below and fill in the questionnaire.  Please return it by email to [email protected] or post to Groundwork Kent & Medway.

* Swanscombe Heritage Park Questionnaire*

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Burnt out car at Swanscombe Heritage Park before regeneration works

Swanscombe Heritage Park

New entrance and sculpture

Swanscombe Heritage Park 

Sculpture is transported to the Park and erected

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New paths and information boards throughout the park

Swanscombe Heritage Park     Swanscombe Heritage Park

with pupils from Craylands school at opening event

Swanscombe Heritage Park

cutting the ribbon to officially open the park

Swanscombe Heritage Park     Swanscombe Heritage Park

 

Groundwork Kent & Medway
48 Canterbury Street
Gillingham
Kent ME7 5UN

T 01634 855166
F 01634 855177
E [email protected]