is one of Faversham's many 'secret' beauty spots, lovely at any time of year, but perhaps most of all when autumn brings out flaming tints, as seen in the photographs. In effect, this is a small country park - a stretch of typical chalkland countryside where you can walk at will. No ball games or picnics, however!
Unlike most of its kind, this park is administered by a private charitable trust, the Lorenden Parkland Trust. As well as interesting wildlife you will see a rough metalled track, reminding you of how all country lanes once looked before they were covered with tarmac early in the 20th century.
The brick-built bridge you may find a bit disconcerting. There's no water under it! Ah, but there was till about 40 years ago, and there was a lake downstream of it. You can see the dry bed of this, and walk over it. There was a weir at the end of this, and, in medieval times, a corn mill.
Why no water now? Unfortunately our needs for water - for domestic, industrial and agricultural use - have so depleted the aquifer (the underlying chalk 'reservoir') that the stream which fed the lake has dried up. Once upon a time it provided the main source of water for Faversham Creek. Upstream is what local people refer to - jokingly - as 'the source of the Nile'. This was the spring which fed the stream.
Lorenden Park belonged to the house called Lorenden which is out of view beyond the top of the ridge. This was one of the manor-houses of Ospringe, going back to medieval times, but was rebuilt in 1858 by George Murton, a Faversham grocer - who must have had a very successful business.
Originally the manor was known as Cades; and this name remained in use till the early 19th century but there is no known connection with Jack Cade. The house now accommodates a popular private school.
Map of Lorenden Park
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey
and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
Plan of Lorenden Park
Lorenden Park Trust
The land was put into trust by Robert Midlane Esq in 1991. The aims of the trust are to conserve the historic parkland estate, which dates back to the 12th century and to conserve the wildlife.
The public is invited to use the marked footpaths on the estate but are requested to keep their dogs under strict control; not to play ball games and not to climb trees all in the interests of nature conservation and the enjoyment of others. Anyone entering the park does so entirely at their own risk.
How to find Lorenden Park
To reach the Park, go up Brogdale Road, over the M2 and past the Brogdale Trust. The road then drops down to the hamlet of Whitehill, also in the parish of Ospringe, which despite its name lies in the valley bottom. The first Park entrance, at Whitehill, is about 2km from the centre of Faversham - a pleasant, undemanding walk.
However, there's positively no parking here and if you are in a car the best thing is to continue on to Painters Forstal (bearing right up a steep hill where the road forks). Here there's another entrance. There's no dedicated parking here, but you may be able to park - carefully and considerately, please - on nearby roads.
Both Whitehill and Painters Forstal are conservation areas, where special care is taken to conserve buildings and their environment. Whitehill, unlike Painters Forstal, has never had a pub, but for centuries it had a forge. The hamlet consists mainly of attractive listed buildings.
The 'big house' is Whitehill House, with a front clad in mathematical tiles - a local speciality. Today, it serves as a farmhouse. In the late 18th century, it was the home of Isaac Rutton, reputedly big in smuggling; a hundred years ago, it was the home of Henry S. Tett, a Faversham ironmonger and farm equipment dealer, who till the arrival of the motor car doubtless rode into town, or took a pony and trap.