People are at the core of everything we do. From the landowners, to whom we can offer advice and funding, to the public on the street looking up at the chalk scarp and wondering what is up there.

People

We hope to help them all make a connection. For those who want to learn, we can offer training in hands-on, traditional country skills or identification and survey of those key species we are all working to help.

Many people love to get outdoors into the fresh air and where better to do that than the magnificent Kent Downs? The benefits of feeling the sun on your face and the wind in your hair are well documented. An ever-increasing number of studies report that observing nature, and participating in physical activity in green spaces, plays an important role in positively influencing human health and well-being.

Natural England’s report (2009) in their Walking the Way to Health Initiative found that if everyone was given equal access to green space, the estimated saving to the NHS would be £2.1 billion per year. Exercising indoors was found to yield no significant benefits for mental health, when compared with the outdoor environment.

Outdoor activities, with project’s such as ours, reap the benefit of Nature’s Medicine and have the potential to not only help people avoid excess pharmaceutical use, improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, but also decrease social isolation, improve practical skills and knowledge, while at the same time enhancing our local environments.

Interested in training?

Would you like to learn more about the training opportunities we can provide?

Contact us about training

The Team

Hilary Hunter

Hilary Hunter

Outreach Officer Hilary Hunter, hailing from the rocky coast of the Emerald Isle, loves Mother Nature and loves to share the wonders of wildlife through all sorts of media.

William Moreno

William Moreno

Project manager William Moreno. Will can usually be found on his knees in a meadow with his camera. Having lived in the area for many years, Will’s passion for his natural environment includes a healthy knowledge of the Kent flora and fauna.

Matt Pitts

Matt Pitts

Habitat Connectivity Officer, Matt Pitts is a farmer’s son who knows his chalk from his cheese. Matt’s relaxed demeanor soon puts landowners at ease.

Our Partners

Our thanks go to our partners, without whose help this all would have been a lot more difficult.

  • Kent Wildlife Trust
  • Kent and Medway Biological Research Centre
  • Kent Downs Area of Natural Beauty
  • Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
  • Gravesham Borough Council
  • Medway Valley Countryside Partnership
  • Natural England
Groups

Groups

Our local community groups are real “Chalkland Champions”, coming together to care for their local woodlands and wild spaces. Old Chalk New Downs aims to help these groups with their sterling work through funding, training and recruitment of fresh helpers!

Our list is growing, but here are some of them:

  • Bredhurst Woodland Action Group
  • West Kent Downs Countryside Trust
  • Kent Pond and Tree Wardens
  • PROW wardens
  • Walderslade Woodlands Group
  • The Shoreham Society
  • River wardens
  • TAG volunteers
Schools

Schools

Selected schools have already begun a pilot outdoors education programme, but others are welcome to join in too. This scheme will engage the children with their heritage and introduce them to the delights of nature, while grounds improvements will bring the charm of chalk to their playground.

  • Hartlip Primary School
  • Bredhurst Primary School
  • Burham Primary School
  • Halling Primary School
  • Vigo Village Primary School

are already taking part.

Colleges

Colleges

A Student Bursary Scheme offers a helping hand to those wishing to pursue a project on our pet subject – Chalk Downland habitats and species. Contact us for more details.

  • Hadlow College
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • DICE
  • Greenwich University

all encourage their students to take part in what we hope will build a bank of knowledge for future studies.

© Old Chalk New Downs, 2018