Leisure => General Leisure => Topic started by: merc on August 20, 2008, 23:20:35

Title: Darland Banks, Gillingham.
Post by: merc on August 20, 2008, 23:20:35
I had a look around the Darland Banks and Ambley woods today...

On the way,just off the closed section of Star Lane i found this hole  ;D
I decided not to go inside,but it was big enough once you squeezed in the entrance.
I'm not sure if it was a natural hole or manmade,maybe remains of a Denehole (The ones i posted pics of on another post are in a nearby wood)
Just outside the entrance was bricks and tiles etc in the undergrowth.
(http://www.medwaylines.com/Church/Darland%201.JPG)

Inside
(http://www.medwaylines.com/Church/Darland%202.JPG)

Then i went up the hill to t
he Darland Banks...

I think i remember seeing a ropeswing here before ???
(http://www.medwaylines.com/Church/Darland%203.JPG)

and inside Ambley woods...
I looked everywhere but couldn't find that 1917 Bomb Crater.
I think Kyn's right...It's been filled in :(

This might be what remains of it  ???
(http://www.medwaylines.com/Church/Darland%204.JPG)
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: kyn on August 21, 2008, 09:37:38
Its now a large treeless flat area Merc, I should be going back in a few months so will post a pic if no-one beats me to it!
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: Dave Weller on August 21, 2008, 20:22:51
There was a 'man of the roads', living out there, it could be his hole. Did anyone look around the houses that are being built by the Waggon at Hale, I often found old pottery and clay pipes around the back, It is the best area to build on IMHO.
There are some interesting structures in the woods on the other side of the roundabout from the Waggon. I think an old Waterboard used it.
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: Roffensis on March 11, 2009, 10:28:42
HI! I was fascinated by the photos posted here. I knew for years that there are Deneholes on the Darland Banks, but I never found a single one!! Not for looking I might add!! These photos clearly indicate one!! Now I want to go and see if I can find this, where is it please? I was always intrigued by the circle of trees up on the banks, to the east side of Darland Avenue. Does anyone remember the old wooden stiles there leading to the ring of trees? And the Cuckoos? And loads of Acorns!! What intrigued me was the chalk pit in the middle of the circle of trees. Another Denehole is of course at Fort Amherst, where you can look up into it from below. Well worth seeing. Philip Ro
gers in his History of Gillingham goes into much detail concerning the Deneholes in Gillingham, including a plan of one. In those days you could look down onto the little farm with the Oasthouse, and the road at the bottom was a mere track. That was in the 60s. All you heard was Crickets. Wonderful!!

R
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: merc on March 11, 2009, 11:19:17
Hi Richard,
The Dene Holes up near the Darland Banks are down in Grove wood near Darland farm.

There are two near each other in the bit of the wood right next to the field:

Here: http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCC&cp=sjsp9gh1djf2&style=b&lvl=1&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=24348820&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

Also check out this post  ;)
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=775.0

The hole off Star Lane (closed off to traffic part) is also worth a look...i'm not sure if it was a Dene Hole or not though.

(http://www.medwaylines.com/Church/Darland%202.JPG)
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: paul_f on March 11, 2009, 22:32:24
Hi Richard,
The Dene Holes up near the Darland Banks are down in Grove wood near Darland farm.

There are two near each other in the bit of the wood right next to the field:

Here: http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCC&cp=sjsp9gh1djf2&style=b&lvl=1&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=24348820&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

Also check out this post  ;)
http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=775.0

The hole off Star Lane (closed off to traffic part) is also
 worth a look...i'm not sure if it was a Dene Hole or not though.



Apparently where that hole is there used to be a house, my girlfriends father remembers it (I also have a postcard with a picture of it).  I'll try and scan the card
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: bromptonboy on March 14, 2009, 07:08:40
I was not aware of the bomb crater in the woods at Darland, but when walking up there a few years ago after snowfall had made ground features stand out in the woods I found what I am certain was an artllery gun-pit. All dug out with the spoil used to creat a rampart all around with a definate entry point to the rear. It was well overgrown but the snow had brought into sharp relief. I'd never spotted it before. I went back recently and couldn't find it! I think it might have dated from the 1907 Chatham Siege Exercise that saw the 'new' fortifications put to the test. Apparently the area around Ambley Woods was a jumping-off point
for the attacking forces approaching Chatham from the east.

It would appear that 'someone' from the council Green Spaces Team is filling-in historic features without knowing what they might be destroying!
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: afsrochester on September 11, 2009, 13:44:37
Wow! Talk about coincidence! I was talking to my son about the self-same area this morning. I spent many a time in the early-mid 60's playing here and going down into the storage tanks. There was also a tall chimney there as well but that must have been demolished. I'm surprised that so much has survived.

Incidently, does anyone know of a narrow guage railway that ran close to here? It was over the other side of Pear Tree Lane to this site. Down an overgrown pathway there are rails that cross it in one part about halfway down.
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: kyn on September 11, 2009, 16:02:24
Track for the construction of Fort Darland?
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: rossco on September 11, 2009, 18:08:49
Im not entirely sure where the storage tank is but looking at a 1929-1952 online map theres Darland Brick Works one side of Pear Tree Lane with a quarry and tramway on the other.

You can view the maps here: http://extranet7.kent.gov.uk/klis/default.asp (http://extranet7.kent.gov.uk/klis/default.asp) (For some reason the link doesnt work properly in Firefox for me, I have to use Internet Explorer)
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: afsrochester on September 12, 2009, 08:40:13
Thank you Rossco for your post. Very Interesting. There doesn't appear to be any signs of the quarry left today. Indeed, I don't recall any even when I was a kid nearly 50 odd years ago.

Kyn. I never thought about that, although Fort Darland was a good distance from the track, on the top of the Darland Banks. I know there were several stories about when we were kids about tunnels running under the Darland banks supposedly leading to Fort Luton.
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: aitch on January 07, 2010, 20:18:51
As a child living in Eastcourt Lane we used to go up the Darland banks alot to play in the old army area and to go to the banks themselves and slide down them on an old car door, a lump of corrigated iron or if a car had been dumped and we could remove the bonnet this was "the bees knees" for speed and thrills had many a close shave to broken bones usually just had a few bruises and scratches - what fun we had.

Also Hoath lane had no street lights just white painted strips around the trees so car drivers could see them!!!!
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: afsrochester on February 09, 2010, 15:30:24
Oh Yes!  I know what you mean aitch! Many a time I went home with with cuts, bruises etc and got a clip round the ear for ruining my clothes as well to add insult to injury!

The 3 grass "sledging runs" I remember were about 200 yards along from the site of the old gypsy camp at the top of Ash Tree Lane, the second being just along from the line of bushes that was the boundary line between Chatham and  Gillingham, (roughly in line with Hunters Way) and third being on the "2nd" Banks as we called it, between Star Lane and Hoath Lane by the Power Cable poles at the top of the Banks. Wonderfully happy childhood
 memories!
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: Rex on April 04, 2010, 21:32:50
Oh Yes!  I know what you mean aitch! Many a time I went home with with cuts, bruises etc and got a clip round the ear for ruining my clothes as well to add insult to injury!

The 3 grass "sledging runs" I remember were about 200 yards along from the site of the old gypsy camp at the top of Ash Tree Lane, the second being just along from the line of bushes that was the boundary line between Chatham and  Gillingham, (roughly in line with Hunters Way) and third being on the "2nd" Banks as we called it, between Star Lane and Hoath Lane by t
he Power Cable poles at the top of the Banks. Wonderfully happy childhood memories!

absulutly correct, afsrochester, i also went wizzing down the banks on the corrigated iron and car bonnets and doors,  who knows, we probably all bumped into each other at some time..
great fun, you couldnt get away with these days...not with all these safety laws, haha
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: The Rook on April 05, 2010, 07:45:58
I just though I'd say that I also did all of the antics described above, too. You could easily spend the whole day up there. I remember when the hadn't built the top-end of the Gillingham Business Park, so it was even bigger than it is now.

I remember the bomb crater. It was THE place to ride your BMX. They filled it in about 1994ish at a guess?
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: Dave Weller on April 05, 2010, 23:40:13
There is a Denehole in Capstone country park with a discripton notice board.
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: merc on April 11, 2010, 11:32:23
There is a Denehole in Capstone country park with a discripton notice board.

The noticeboard is quite good, but the Denehole looks like it has been filled in quite a bit unfortunatly.
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: medwayboy on June 07, 2010, 14:30:24
Had a walk around Darland banks this morning and took a few photo's


(http://i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx270/stroodboy/Darland%20banks/DSC_0070.jpg)

(http://i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx270/stroodboy/Darland%20banks/DSC_0062.jpg)

(http://i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx270/stroodboy/Darland%20banks/DSC_0054.jpg)

(http://i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx270/stroodboy/Darland%20banks/DSC_0048.jpg)

(http://i762.photobucket.com/albums/xx270/stroodboy/Darland%20banks/DSC_0030.jpg)

Both have rubbish down them as you can see and seem to be
partly filled
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: davidt on May 06, 2011, 20:27:43
I walk along the Darland Banks quite often at lunchtime as it's a great place for stretching your legs after being stuck at a desk all morning. I was wondering, as I was walking the other day, about the history of the place. I know it's a nature reserve now, but I would think that's a fairly recent development. I have a few old postcards of the area, some dating back around 100 years and it seems to have been a public space for some time. Does anyone know anything of the history of the area? A lot of the tracks look well worn so I'd think they've been there for some time. I also notice that a lot of it seems to be divided up into fields - was it a farm at some point? Anyone out there know?
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: davidt on May 17, 2011, 19:32:14
I tried adding this to an existing topic, but got no responses, so I thought I'd try a new more specific topic:

I've been wondering about the history of the Darland Banks. I know it's a nature reserve now, but I would think that's a fairly recent development. I have a few old postcards of the area, some dating back around 100 years and it seems to have been a public space for some time. Does anyone know anything of the history of the area? A lot of the tracks look well worn so I'd think they've been there for some time. I also notice that a lot of it seems to be divided up into fields - was it a farm at some point?

Since my original post I've been wondering if it was anything to do with the defences of the old fort.

Alternatively perhaps it's just a case of the slope being too steep to be of any practical use so it just became a publicly used area - i.e. common land. The bits at the top and the bottom are reasonably flat though.

Anyone out there know?

I've attached a couple of scans from my postcard collection.

(http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae226/davidt131/th_Darland.jpg)
Title: Re: Darland Banks,Gillingham.
Post by: davidt on May 17, 2011, 19:34:29
I don't know why the images are so small, so I'll try adding them again.

(http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae226/davidt131/Darland.jpg)
Title: Re: Darland Banks, Gillingham.
Post by: henandderek on January 21, 2018, 09:54:50
I lived in Audley Avenue from 1956-1961 when only about 8 houses were built on either side of the road. Many hours were spent playing on the open ground which led to the banks. Family walks down to the oast houses at the bottom were often a feature of weekends. I got into BIG trouble for walking along the banks to Chatham Grammar School one day as we were not allowed up there unsupervised-bad people might be spying on young lovers in the bushes! A small boy who lived across the road told his mother he wanted to play with 'henandderek'. My mother told her my name is actually Heather, but he couldn't manage it. Happy memories. :)
Title: Re: Darland Banks, Gillingham.
Post by: Dave Smith on January 21, 2018, 15:14:45
henanderek. Before WW2, during the Summer, my mother, elder sister & I would walk- we walked everywhere in those days-from Cornwallis Ave., up Woodlands Road & Darlands Avenue to have a picnic on the banks. On the way we always called in at a " corner shop" (not on a corner) which was a converted - downstairs-house on the right to buy a treat. My sister always had a Tiffin bar & I a Crunchie bar. Bliss! sitting in the sun admiring the view & running up & down the banks. I don't think there were any houses at the back of Darland Ave. & the Darland houses only went about half way up. It's funny but, although Gordon Barracks are shown on my map as being on the left, I don't remember ever seeing any soldiers there; no sentries, no nothing!
Title: Re: Darland Banks, Gillingham.
Post by: henandderek on January 26, 2018, 03:06:22
I remember soldiers from the Gordon Barracks walking at a smart pace up Darland Avenue. I also remember my father holding a Sunday School at the gypsy camp: sometimes he took me, but I was quite scared (which on reflection, is sad.) Another memory I have of those years is that I realised one day I was well able to walk up Barnsole Road from school and so save the penny bus fare for my own needs and purposes!
Thank you to the lady who replied to my 'henandderek' name. As I can't see that post here I have no idea how you made that contact..haha
Title: Re: Darland Banks, Gillingham.
Post by: Lyn L on January 26, 2018, 08:11:45
I have to admit it was me who sent that message  :) I sent you a PM  ( the little bubble type box under your name )

I sent it that way  because the 'name' thing was off topic  :)