Kent is known as the "Garden of England" because of its agricultural influence, extensive orchards and hop-gardens. Distinctive oast houses are common in the countryside, although many have been converted into residential dwellings.
The White Cliffs of Dover, immortalized in popular song and verse, are cliffs which form part of the British coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France. The cliffs are part of the North Downs formation. The cliff face, which reaches up to 350 feet (110 m) high, owes its striking façade to its composition of chalk (pure white lime) accentuated by streaks of black flint. The cliffs spread east and west from the town of Dover, an ancient and still important English port.
The cliffs have great symbolic value for Britain because they face towards Continental Europe across the narrowest part of the English Channel, where invasions have historically threatened and against which the cliffs form a symbolic guard. Because crossing at Dover was the primary route to the continent before air travel, the white line of cliffs also formed the first (or last) sight of the UK for travellers.
The Kent & East Sussex Railway was opened by Colonel H.F. Stephens, the railway engineer, in 1900. At its fullest extent, it ran nearly 22 miles[35km] from Robertsbridge on the Tonbridge to Hastings main line to Headcorn on the main line between Tonbridge and Ashford, Kent.