Chattenden shown within Kent
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|UK Parliament||Medway to be replaced 2007 by Rochester and Strood|
Chattenden is a small village in Hoo Parish, in the unitary authority of Medway in South East England. It was, until 1998, part of Kent and is still ceremonially associated via the Lieutenancies Act. It lies to the north of the A228 and the village of Wainscott, at the top of Four Elms Hill.
Chattenden means 'Forest Settlement' from the elements ceto and ham dun. It is recorded in 1100 as Chetindunam, and Chatindone in 1281.
Geography and ecology
Turning left on the A228 on the brow of Four Elms Hill, leads onto Kitchener Road, that eventually leads itself to the Great Chattenden Woods, designated as an SSSI, due to the diversity of insects, birds, plants and trees found there. To the south of Chattenden is Towerhill Wood, also known as Coxham Wood, with has Public Footpaths that lead into Lower Upnor, where the Arethusa Venture Centre and the Medway Yacht Club (MYC) are located. Along the A228, (which becomes the Ratcliffe Highway in Chattenden), was once a pub known as 'The Old George'.
Chattenden was once host to extensive barracks and training facilities for the Royal School of Military Engineering; Chattenden Barracks were vacated in the 1980s and have now been demolished. The MoD Military Land was designated in 2007 as a brownfield area for redevelopment for residential and light industrial use. A plan had been worked up for 5000 houses in a ₤1bn scheme. The Lodge Hill camp however is home to 85 singing male nightingales, which is over 1% of the entire UK population which stands at 6000. Natural England have declared this a SSSI.[a] Nightingales do a several thousand mile migration to West Africa and then return to the same tree making biodiversity offsetting[b] inappropriate for the species.
The Chattenden and Upnor Railway was built in 1873 and functioned for Chattenden Army Barracks until 1961. Originally built by the Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) which was then based at Chattenden Army Barracks and the Chattenden and Upnor Railway ran from Pontoon Hard by the River Medway and climbed steeply towards Chattenden. A spur led from Church Crossing to the Upnor Depot of the Royal Engineers and until 1895 there was also a railway track running from Chattenden to Hoo.
The Royal Navy also had its own Chattenden Naval Barracks, being situated near Towerhill Wood, where an MoD Royal Navy Radio Station is now left unused. The village of Chattenden was mentioned in a BBC Radio 4 Programme 'The Cost Of Housing' on the mismatch of housing stock, 20 Mar 2007.
A surviving First World War anti-aircraft emplacement on Chatterden Ridge is of historic importance: it may have been the first anti-aircraft emplacement in the world, and was almost certainly the first in Britain.
- Owen Sweeney of the Medway Countryside Forum said "... the blackthorn and bramble scrub, as well as the coppiced ancient woodland, was a wonderful habitat for the extremely shy bird, which spends 12 weeks or so on the 815-acre site before wintering in west Africa. "These are the remaining green lungs amid the sprawling development around: Medway is full,..."
- A scheme where sensitive land is developed in exchange for the provision of similar piece of habitat in the region
- "Medway Council – Local history: Medway in the 20th century 1901 – 2000". web.archive.org. 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Lieutenancies Act 1997". legislation.gov.uk. 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- The Place Names Of Kent, Judith Glover, 1976, Batsford. ISBN 0-905270-61-4
- Brian Matthews, The History Of Strood Rural District, 1971, Strood Rural District Council
- Carrington, Damian (Friday 29 March 2013 18.35 GMT). "Row over £1bn development plan on nightingale habitat site in Kent". The Guardian (Manchester: Guardian).
- Local authority site survey
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