The surrounding area of Ashford Kent
Hill, flat Marshes, large towns and villages
Ashford cannot be said to be one of the most picturesque towns in Kent, but one thing's for certain, it has some beautiful countryside and villages around and about.
To the North
Stretching along the horizon runs the North Downs with it's steep hillside running southwards.
Nestled away in the valleys are the Villages of Wye, Hastingleigh, Crundale, Chilham, Challock and more.
Wye is home to the London Universities Agriculture and Fisheries Campus and it's from there that many scenic, often challenging, walks can be started and finished.
The views from the top of the hill at Wye stretches across the Romney Marshes as far as Fairlight near Hastings (some 30 miles away). Can be a bit blowy up there though!
Challock has a Gliding Club and is surrounded by some great little walks. The Club has a small Cafe open at the weekends and it's quite fun watching them all take off and land.
Slightly further away is Canterbury, always a nice place to visit, especially the Cathedral.
Without a doubt this area is probably the most 'pretty' around Ashford.
To the East
This goes down to the coast, with Hythe being about the closest beach to get to., It's only 14 miles and much quieter than nearby Folkestone. You can buy fresh fish from the small 'Port' and enjoy a walk along the Royal Military Canal, built to defend us from Napoleon (and others!).
Between Ashford and Hythe is Folkestone Race Course where Horse Racing is held on a regular basis all year round.
Lympe Park Zoo (part of Howlett's) also just Ashford side of Hythe houses many wild creatures in generous surroundings.
Then there's France of course!
To the South
The Romney Marshes dominates the south of Ashford. The often bleak atmosphere gives it quite a spooky feel and with the history of smuggling, makes it spookier still!
It's hard to imagine when you're on the Coastline at Dungeness that London is only some 65 miles away.
Rye is the main town on the Marshes. Once surrounded by sea, the town nestles on a small hill and has some wonderful Architecture.
A big tourist attraction is the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway which follows the coastline for 13.5 miles.
Beside the tourists, it also operates School Runs between the towns.
To the West
There are some quaint villages between Ashford and Paddock Wood / Maidstone.
Pluckley, said to be the most haunted village in Britain, is where they filmed the TV series 'The Darling Buds of May' and has now become quite a tourist attraction.
Leeds Castle, said to be the most beautiful Castle in England is situated just off the M20 at Junction 8. Many outdoor Concerts are held there plus it's a centre for Hot Air Balloon shows as well.
The County Town of Kent, Maidstone is only 16 miles, but a very busy town centre.
A fine day out though, is to take a River Medway trip on the many commercially run Boats. The trip down the Medway Valley to places such as Yalding is very scenic and the stopping places always have a fine Kentish Ale sold in the many 'olde worlde' Public Houses.
You won't get bored around Ashford!
Photo - www.english-nature.org.uk
Two contrasting views of the area and only ten miles apart.
Top; Wye Downs, ideal locations for good walks and Below; The Romney Marshes, sometimes bleak with an isolated touch. But good for Cycling - no hills!
Recent History around the Coast near Ashford
During WW2, the coastline between Folkestone and Fairlight, Hastings was obviously a prime place for possible invasion.
Dad's Army fans will know that their uniform boasted the Kent Invicta!
All along this stretch are Pill Boxes and from earlier times, the Martello Towers, built to defend against a Napoleonic take over bid.
The Royal Military Canal was also built at that time, but during WW2 it was also seen as a good defence situation.
At Hythe you can see what looks like a sideways turned cereal plate.
This is in fact, an early device to spot Aeroplanes flying over the Channel.
A Home Guard soldier would sit almost inside the Bowl and listen for the amplified sound of a Plane, then phone through to the appropiate place.
Later of course, came Radar and the bowl became redundant.
Many small boats sailed to Dunkirque from the Kent Coast rescuing thousands of soldiers who were stranded on the Beach there.
The Battle of Britain reigned overhead in 1940 and many fields in the Ashford area have craters where Aircraft dropped their surplas over Kent on the way home.
A very interesting read is on the English Heritage webiste here