Betteshanger Park

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Betteshanger Park
Fowlmead Lake in Fowlmead Country Park - geograph.org.uk - 1251116.jpg
Fowlmead Lake in Betteshanger Park
Coordinates 51°14′12″N 1°22′06″E / 51.2367°N 1.3683°E / 51.2367; 1.3683Coordinates: 51°14′12″N 1°22′06″E / 51.2367°N 1.3683°E / 51.2367; 1.3683
Area 365 acres (1,480,000 m2)
Created 2007 (2007)
Operated by Kent County Council,
Status Open 7 days a week, dawn until dusk
Website www.betteshanger-park.co.uk
Betteshanger Park is located in Kent
Betteshanger Park
Betteshanger Country Park shown within Kent (grid reference TR35285399)

Betteshanger Park (formerly "Fowlmead Country Park" and "Betteshanger Country Park") is a park near Deal, in Kent, England. It covers the site of a former colliery spoil tip.

History[edit]

Entrance to Betteshanger

This 365-acre (1,480,000 m2) park is situated on the site of a former spoil tip of the former Betteshanger Colliery, one of the largest collieries in Kent. The colliery opened in 1924–30 and closed in 1989. The spoil tip was located to the north east of the former colliery.[1] The original area (before the spoil tip) was known as Foulmead Marsh and the community (with help from Dover District Council) chose the name of the new park to be Fowlmead (Fowl – "bird", Mead - "meadow").[2] In May 2015, it was announced that the Hadlow Group had acquired Fowlmead and would be rebranding the park as Betteshanger Country Park, as part of the wider Betteshanger Sustainable Parks regeneration program.[3] As of 2017 the organisation's website gives the name of the park as Betteshanger Park.

Fowlmead Country Park and Nature Reserve was initially developed under the management of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) [4] with £18.8 million funding from English Partnerships, as part of the National Coalfields Programme(NCP).[5] It was opened in May 2007 by Sir David Bellamy, in association with Sport England .[6]

The existing visitor centre was part-funded by SEEDA and Sport England. The surface material of the entire park (shale from the colliery) was mixed with recycled green waste and fertiliser to create a rich topsoil and 130,000 shrubs and trees were planted.[7]

There is already an abundance of wildlife (including short-eared owl, marsh harrier, kingfisher and various species of dragonflies),[8] which can be seen within the park's developing natural habitat (beyond the cyclists' middle section), including a lake.[9]

Activities[edit]

Cycle Paths and Footpaths

The park provides many activities including walking, cycling, fossil hunting, duathlon (running and cycling), orienteering and geocaching.

Families can also enjoy the play area (close to the visitor centre and car park).

The park has a smooth 3.5 km tarmac road race/time trial cycle circuit which can be divided into a 1.5 km circuit, a two kilometre circuit or the full 3.5 km circuit. The circuit is six metres wide and eight metres wide on its finishing straight. British Cycling, the UK's national governing body for cycling have described the circuit as among the best outdoor tarmac road cycle circuits in the UK.[10] There is also a long mountain biking track around the park. Various cycling and running competitions are held at the Country Park [11] including a Guinness Book of Records record attempt twenty-four-hour Mobility Scooter Endurance Challenge by the Red Wheelies (Mobility Scooter Formation Team).[12] They completed 77 laps (154 miles), smashing the previous record of 88 miles.[13]

Waiting Miner Campaign[edit]

Waiting Miner in Dover before the move

The park also became a major battle scene over a statue of a miner. The "Waiting Miner" statue was commissioned by the Central Electricity Generating Board and was moved from its original site (outside Richborough power station) when the coal-fired plant was decommissioned. Each of Kent’s mining communities (Betteshanger, Chislet, Snowdown and Tilmanstone), each had their own recommendations for a new site for the statue, but these were ignored and eventually it was resited outside the National Coal Board’s office in Dover, which is where it has remained ever since. The Coal Board Offices eventually closed down in 1987, leaving the Statue isolated on the seafront in Dover. In 2001, Dover District Council launched the Coalfields Heritage Initiative Kent (CHIK) project. Which was to record and preserve the Mining Heritage of Kent. Which included the creation of the Miner's Way Trail (a 30 mile cycle-route linking all the coal mining villages in East Kent) [14][15] In September 2006, the Move The Miner Campaign was started.[16] The campaign committee then decided between Aylesham Village Square (another former Mining community) or on the A258 at the entrance to Betteshanger Park. The Country Park on the coal field spoil heap was chosen as the winner.[17] The next stage was to obtain planning permission and persuade everyone to agree to the new site. On Thursday 29 July 2010 saw the statue move.[18] The campaign group then were granted £5000 funding from The Coalfields Regeneration Trust for seating, information boards and the plinth around the statue. The park then held the Kent Miners Festival, which took place over the Sunday and Monday of the bank holiday weekend, 29–30 August 2010.[19] The event was so popular that it has become an annual event with the venue changing from year-to-year.[20] The 2015 Festival returned to Betteshanger.

Location[edit]

Situated from along the A258 between Deal and Sandwich.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Betteshanger Country Park" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Betteshanger Country Park is Coming". Betteshanger Country Park. Betteshanger Country Park. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  4. ^ http://www.seeda.org.uk/news_&_events/press_releases/2007/20070326.asp
  5. ^ "Coalfields projects - Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)". Homesandcommunities.co.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Fowlmead Success". Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Miscelleaneus Habitats - Nature reserves: Fowlmead UK". Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Morris, Tony (22 September 2008). "Fowlmead C.P - is that "Cycling Park"?". blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Lloyd, Mel (4 August 2011). "Frolics at Fowlmead". sandywildlife.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mountain Bike Community". Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "London National Youth Series Plus Seniors Race At Fowlmead Country Park In Kent". Cycling Weekly. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Mobility Roadshow". Mobility Roadshow. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Scooting stars set record pace". Thisiskent.co.uk. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  14. ^ http://www.dover.gov.uk/kentcoal/
  15. ^ "Welcome to the White Cliffs Countryside Project Page - Miners Way Cycle Trail". Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  16. ^ [2][dead link]
  17. ^ "Miner's statue to move from Dover". BBC News. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "The Miner's Statue has been moved to Kent coalfield". BBC News. 30 July 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  19. ^ [3][dead link]
  20. ^ "Previous Festivals". kentminersfestival.org.uk. Retrieved 20 September 2015.