History and Heritage
The borough of Ashford has a rich natural and man-made history. There are 2,395 listed buildings, 42 scheduled monuments, 43 conservation areas, 6 registered parks and gardens and two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). As a result, it has more heritage sites than any other borough in Kent.
Visit our building conservation page for more information about our listed buildings and conservation areas.
Ashford's history goes back thousands of years. There is evidence of settlement dating back as far as prehistoric times.
The town was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086. Here it was described as having a church, two mills and 21 'households', which was large by medieval standards. Even back then, Ashford was on its way to becoming a large and diverse borough.
The location of Ashford has had a big impact on its history and development. This is highlighted by Roman crossroads settlements at Westhawk Farm, drovers' routes in medieval times and today's high speed national and international railway lines.
These strategic communication routes have helped shape the borough's history. Farming and land industries in this rural area have also had a major impact, especially on the market and railway.
Ashford Heritage Strategy
The Ashford Heritage Strategy (AHS) was created to look after the heritage sties in the borough. It also looks to enhance these areas through a positive strategy of conservation and enjoyment for visitors.
It follows a set of aims to protect heritage assets, increase visibility and sustainably manage and develop the borough's heritage sites. The strategy also provides an evidence base for the Local Plan to 2030.
Ashford Heritage Trail
The Town Centre Heritage Trail [pdf] 4MB provides more information on the history of Ashford. The trail itself takes visitors on a journey through time as they discover many of the town's key sites, past events and famous faces. Highlights include Edwardian architecture in North Street, Victoria Park's Grade II* listed Hubert Fountain and a WWI Grade II listed war memorial tank.
The tour starts on the high street and works its way through the town, ending at Ashford Borough Museum. The free walk takes around 30 minutes and is suitable for all ages.
Museums and heritage centres
There are also themed museums and heritage centres to visit. These are used to preserve and promote the borough's rich history. For more information, please see museums and heritage centres.
Heritage events, commemorations and projects
We are always keen to hear about any historic themed events, commemorations or projects that are taking place across the borough. We can also offer support where possible.
If you are planning any heritage-related event or project, or have any general historical information that you feel may be of interest, please contact the Heritage Development Officer, David Robinson, on 01233 330219, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.