Welcome to the Parish of Chilham 

Photo 'View over Chilham Lake to Julliberrie Down' by Tessa Codrington

We hope you enjoy your visit and that you will come to see our villages one day. 

Photo 'View of Chilham Castle lake'  By Garry Stafford June 2002

click on photo to enlarge

Introduction

The Parish is situated in the valley of the River Stour, between Ashford and Canterbury in the County of Kent in the United Kingdom.
The parish is made up of three villages with a total estimated population of 1592 in 647 households.
The total area of the three villages is 6.9miles (1786 hectares or 4415 acres).
The Parish comes under the jurisdiction of the Ashford Borough Council and is part of the Ashford Parliamentary Division, but falls within the Canterbury area for the purposes of Postal and Telephone services. There is a Parish Council with responsibility for local affairs.

The ancient and historic Parish of Chilham lies in the attractive valley of the River Stour and is bounded on the north, south and west by the North Downs. Situated at a narrow and naturally defensive point in the valley, there is evidence that the Parish has been inhabited since prehistoric times. 

At Julliberrie Down on the south-east boundary excavations have indicated that the long barrow on the summit dates from the Neolithic period around 1700 BC, although the name is attributed to a Roman tribune said to have been killed in a nearby battle over 1600 years later. There is also evidence of Roman settlement on the site of the present day village of Chilham, and certainty the village was an Anglo-Saxon stronghold in the centuries following the Roman occupation. The oldest written reference to the settlement appears in the Domesday Book (ADI085), shortly after it passed into the hands of the invading Normans. The Keep at Chilham Castle dates from the Norman period whilst the present-day village, centered on the Castle, Church and Square, is largely medieval in origin and of great architectural interest. Chilham’s historic heritage is complemented by the beauty of its rural setting. Here is some of the finest scenery in East Kent; much of the surrounding down land which rises steeply to a height of some 11O to 150 meters (360 to 500 feet), is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, whilst part of the Julliberrie Down is a Site of Special Scientific Interest - the habitat of a rare species of moth. More than a tenth of the total area of the Parish is under woodland, much of it on the Downs, and whilst it this suffered severely in the great storm of 1987 many fine stands of mainly broadleaf varieties remain.

Contrasting with the Downs but scarcely less appealing are the rivers, lakes and water meadows along the Stour Valley, not least the attractive conservation and amenity area created by Mid Kent Water from the old gravel workings east of Chilham Village.

Text from Chilham Parish Appraisal1996