Friends of the Downs
The Friends of The Downs was formed in 2010 by a group of Herne Bay residents. The Friends will be a focus for the future care and management of the Downs area, to ensure that the area is well looked after and continues to support its natural flora, fauna and wildlife for the benefit of local residents and visitors alike.
People have been walking, running, playing, dog-walking, kite-flying and just sitting on the Downs for hundreds of years. It's a nicely unkempt, tapering strip of land that runs east from Herne Bay to Reculver Country Park, sloping down from the sunlit uplands to the exceptionally shiny shingle of the north Kent coast.
Over a hundred years ago there seems to have been a small rush of people bequeathing or gifting some or all their land to the Herne Bay Rural District Council (later transformed by an evil spell into CCC); this was both intended and taken as a public-spirited, charitable act. At the time, entrusting their land to the Council would have felt as certain and secure as putting their money in the Bank of England. They believed the Council would do right by them.
Canterbury City Council recently gave themselves permission to do whatever they like with our land, with hardly anyone noticing, and certainly not by popular demand. In the autumn of 2008, the Council placed a couple of small ads in the back of the Herne Bay Gazette, announcing the "disposal of public open space". They ignored the complaints from the few people that noticed the ads. They then "de-designated" a slice of The Downs from being a Public Open Space. That means that it is no longer protected as an Open Space for all of us to use. The Council can do this again any time. Bit by bit, or in one fell swoop, they can take away the whole of The Downs. The best way to protect The Downs is to get it registered as a Village Green.