Borough of Ashford

The Borough of Ashford is a local government district with borough status in Kent, England. It borders five other Kent districts, as well as East Sussex to the south-west. Ashford Borough Council's main offices are in the town of Ashford. The borough was formed on 1 April 1974, by the merger of the then Borough of Tenterden with Ashford urban district as well as the Rural Districts of East Ashford, West Ashford and Tenterden. Covering 58,000 hectares, it is the largest district by area in Kent.

The Borough is divided into 39 civil parishes, centred on the villages as well as the historic town of Tenterden.[1]

From the 1960s onwards Ashford has experienced phases of rapid urban growth, creating new suburbs such as Stanhope and, more recently, Singleton. Today's urban growth is partially shaped by the de facto corridors[2] created by the M20 motorway, the High Speed 1 line and several other rail lines which converge on the town's railway station; this has contributed to particular development pressure on, and the development of, greenfield sites in and adjacent to the town, especially, but not exclusively, to the south and west—for example at Sevington.

Borough of Ashford
Coat of arms of Borough of Ashford

Coat of arms
Ashford shown within Kent
Ashford shown within Kent
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyKent
StatusNon-metropolitan district, Borough
Admin HQAshford
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyAshford Borough Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet (Conservative)
 • MPsDamian Green
 • Total224.18 sq mi (580.62 km2)
Area rank75th (of 317)
 (mid-2018 est.)
 • Total129,281
 • Rank176th (of 317)
 • Density580/sq mi (220/km2)
 • Ethnicity
95.0% White
1.5% S.Asian
1.4% Black
1.3% Mixed Race
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code29UB (ONS)
E07000105 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTR005425


Expansion and growth

In 1961, the populations of the districts which make up the present borough were: Ashford U.D. : 28,000, East Ashford R.D. : 10,610, West Ashford R.D. :10,734, and the Borough of Tenterden : 7,626 giving a total of 56,970. Forty years later the population had almost doubled: the 2001 census recorded a population of 102,661. Ashford Borough Council predicts that the population will reach 141,100 by the year 2021.[3]

The 2011 census reported Ashford as having:

  • 117,956 residents
  • 47,787 households (an increase of just under 6,000 since 2001)
  • 83% of residents describing their health as 'good' or 'very good'
  • 13% of residents describing their health as 'fair'
  • 16.8% of those over the age of 16 having no qualifications
  • an unemployment rate of 2.6% of all economically active people aged 16–74 (an increase since 2001 of 0.2%)

Economy and Infrastructure

Village sign along the Greensand Way in Ashford borough

The area's economy, once strongly dominated by agriculture and associated activities such as brewing and food production as well as some quarrying of ragstone and brick manufacture, evolved into a centre for rail engineering in the 19th century, and is now primarily light industrial and commercial, with the notable exception of Hitachi's rail depot. The borough's local plan ("Local Plan to 2030") continues to plan for new housing in and around the town, such as the development at Finberry.[3]

From the historic town centre, roads radiate out in the following directions: NW to Charing and Maidstone and SE to Hythe and Folkestone (A20/M20 in each direction); south to Hamstreet, Lydd and Romney Marsh and then westwards to Hastings (A2070); SW to Tenterden and NE to Wye and Canterbury (A28) and finally north to Ashford's historic port at Faversham (A251).

Historic buildings and landscape character

There are more than 400 listed buildings in the district. This includes 33 churches listed in the highest grading in the national listing system (Grade I) as well as many oast houses and pubs dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, along with some even earlier buildings such as the Black Horse at Pluckley built in the 1470s as a dry-moated farmhouse by the Dering family (see also: Little Chart).

Well-known examples of Grade I listed buildings include: the Archbishop's palace at Charing, Chilham Castle and Godinton House, as well as more domestic examples such as the row of 17th century Flemish weavers' cottages which stretches the full length of the south side of Biddenden High Street.

See also the listings: Grade I listed buildings in Ashford (borough) .

Beyond the town of Ashford, most of the borough's land area is rural, with fields, woodland and fruit orchards. Much of the woodland is coppiced.[4] Changes in rural land use over the past century mirror those in the rest of the present County.[5] The north-east of the borough, including the villages of Wye and Chilham, is within the Kent Downs AONB, whilst the south-west, including Rolvenden and the Isle of Oxney, is part of the High Weald AONB. In addition to these national landscape areas, the borough has many smaller Local Nature Reserves such as Hothfield Common.


  1. ^ Mills, Stephen. "Maps - Ashford Borough Council". Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Ashford, Kent". Map of Ashford. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b Pettit, Carly. "New Local Plan to 2030 - Ashford Borough Council". Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Coppicing in the Kent Downs AONB" (PDF). January 2016.
  5. ^ Yates, Nigel (2001). Kent in the Twentieth Century. Boydell & Brewe. pp. 71 ff. ISBN 9780851155876.

External links

Coordinates: 51°08′47″N 0°52′03″E / 51.1465°N 0.8676°E

1943 Ashford by-election

The Ashford by-election of 1943 was held on 10 February 1943. The by-election was held due to the appointment as Chief Justice of India of the incumbent Conservative MP, Patrick Spens. It was won by the Conservative candidate Edward Percy Smith.

Ashford Borough Council elections

Ashford Borough Council in Kent, England is elected every four years. Since the last boundary changes in 2003, 43 councillors have been elected from 35 wards.

Boughton Aluph

Boughton Aluph (pronounced Bawton Alluf) is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Ashford in Kent, England, and is about 5 miles (8 km) north of Ashford on the A251 road. There are two villages within the parish: Boughton Aluph itself, and Boughton Lees.

The civil parish shares its council with the smaller locality of Eastwell.

The place-name 'Boughton Aluph' is first attested as 'Boltune' in the Domesday Book of 1086, as 'Boctune' in the related Domesday Monachorum, and as 'Botun Alou' in the Close Rolls of 1237. 'Boughton' means 'town or settlement where beeches grew'; the village was held by one Alulf in 1211-12, the name being a variant of the Old German 'Adalulf'.

Boughton Corner

Boughton Corner is a small settlement in the parish of Boughton Aluph. It is located on a crossroads of the A28 road north-east of Ashford Kent, England.

Brook, Kent

Brook is a small village and civil parish in the Ashford borough of Kent, England, centred 4.5 miles (7.2 km) ENE of Ashford.


Challock is a mostly wooded, large village and civil parish in the Borough of Ashford, Kent, England.

The village name derives from the old English 'Cealflocan' - calf enclosure.

A clear nucleus of the village is centred 8 miles (13 km) south of the port of Faversham and 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Ashford. It dates from around AD823.

Challock contains a boundary to one of the highest points on the North Downs: the 700-foot (210 m) contour is close to the village centre. Snowfall in January and February is occasionally heavy, when counter-prevailing north-easterly winds exist in those months.

Challock is at the crossroads of two major roads: the A251 from Ashford to Faversham, and the A252, which links Maidstone to Canterbury. Prior to the construction of a roundabout, the crossroads was a notorious accident hotspot for drivers coming from Chilham and Ashford, due in part to the Halfway House public house which stands close to the corner.William the Conqueror gave the manor of Challock to Battle Abbey, and it remained in the Abbey's possession until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the 16th century. A smock mill stood to the north of the village until 1906 when it was destroyed by a storm - the mill had not been working for many years prior to this event.

The parish church is dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian; it has fine wall paintings by celebrated local artist John Ward and his friend Gordon Davies. There is also a Methodist chapel in the village. A Goose Fair is held in September each year.

The showjumper William Funnell was born and raised in the village.

Crundale, Kent

Crundale is a mostly rural village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent in southeast England. The village covers a section of one of the dual escarpments of the North Downs at this point, about halfway between Ashford and Canterbury.


Hothfield is a village and civil parish in the Ashford Borough of Kent, England and is 3 miles north-west of Ashford on the A20. It is completely split in two by Hothfield Common.

Hothfield Common

Hothfield Common is a 56.5-hectare (140-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest north-east of Ashford in Kent. It is also a Local Nature Reserve, and is part of the 86-hectare (210-acre) Hothfield Heathlands nature reserve owned by Ashford Borough Council and managed by Kent Wildlife Trust.


Kingsnorth is a mixed rural and urban village and relatively large civil parish adjoining Ashford in Kent, England. The civil parish includes the district of Park Farm.

Maidstone line

The Maidstone line is a railway line in Kent, England. It diverges from the Chatham main line at Swanley Junction and proceeds down the Darenth valley to Otford junction (where the Bat & Ball line divides towards Sevenoaks). It continues via Borough Green & Wrotham and Maidstone East to Ashford, where it joins the South Eastern Main Line.


Newenden is a small village and civil parish in area and population in the Ashford District of Kent, England.

Reading Street, Ashford

Reading Street is a hamlet approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) south east of Tenterden in Kent, England. It is situated on the B2080 road between Tenterden and Appledore at a point where a bridge crosses the Reading Sewer, and tributary of the River Rother. The population of the hamlet is included in the civil parish of Wittersham.

Its church, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, was originally moved from the nearby hamlet of Ebony in the 19th century.


Sevington is a contiguous suburb of Ashford, Kent in England. It is mostly business/market use and was once a very small rural village so keeps a community civil parish council for its few suburban streets.


Shadoxhurst () is a civil parish and a village on the remnant forest the Kent Weald, near Ashford in Kent, England between the Greensand Ridge and Romney Marsh.


Smeeth is a mostly agricultural land use village and civil parish, centred 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Ashford in the Ashford Borough of Kent, England.

Stanhope, Kent

Stanhope is a small urban civil parish and neighbourhood of Ashford in the Ashford Borough of Kent, England. It is a residential estate built in the 1960s on the southern edge of the town. It is currently the subject of phased re-development and its population, as such, grew by 235 in the ten years from 2001 accompanied by a mixture of new and replacement housing.

Stocks Mill, Wittersham

Stocks Mill is a Grade II* listed post mill in Wittersham on the Isle of Oxney, in Kent, England which has been preserved.

Westwell, Kent

Westwell is a village and relatively elevated civil parish with a population of 740 (2001), centred 4 miles (6 km) north of Ashford in Kent, England, in the Borough of Ashford.

The Pilgrims' Way runs close to the village on the Downs and was travelled by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. The M20 motorway and High Speed 1 pass through the long south-west outskirts of the parish.

Other settlements
in Ashford Town
Sport, arts and leisure
Twin towns
Towns and villages in the Borough of Ashford, Kent, England
East Sussex
Isle of Wight
West Sussex


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