HOPS AT DEAL'S "SECRET GARDEN"
Preparing for hops at Deal Castle's Captain's Garden (photo: Stephen Wakeford)
Preparing the hop garden in Deal's Captain's Garden. (photo: Stephen Wakeford)

Deal’s community hop growing project – the Deal Hop Farm – has been invited to grow hops at Deal Castle's historic Captain’s Garden. Ben Palmer, manager for the English Heritage Castle, said: “The Captain’s Garden has been an integral part of the historic site at Deal Castle and Deal’s own story for centuries. English Heritage is currently looking for long-term funding to make the garden safe, conduct an archaeological survey and restore the out-buildings on the site. In the meantime, we have invited the Deal Hop Farm to grow hops in the Captain’s Garden and bring a small part of the site back into community use.”

Steve Wakeford, of the Deal Hop Farm, said his members were very encouraged by English Heritage's early support for the Hop Farm project by growing hops in the kitchen garden at Walmer Castle. Now being given access to the important Captain's Garden site was a great privilege and there had been an enthusiastic response from members volunteering to prepare the allocated area for the hops. He added: "The Garden has been dormant for many years but has great growing conditions and wonderful wildlife. We are looking at ways that local residents can get involved with the project. As well as contributing to our community hop growing project we see great potential for further community use and the start of a fruitful dialogue to shape its future between English Heritage and the wider community in Deal and Walmer."

The Deal Hop Farm has organised a public open day at the Captain’s Garden (on Victoria Road directly opposite Deal Castle entrance) on Easter Monday (April 1) between 10.30am and 2pm. For more information, see Deal Hop Farm’s facebook page, or call 01304 372673.   (March 24, 2018)

 

SEEKING CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS FOR WALMER'S FREEDOWN "GEM"

People with an interest in conservation are being invited to join in vital work to maintain local chalk grassland of national importance. Often referred to a Walmer's "hidden gem", the Hawkshill Freedown just to the south of Walmer Castle is significant for its wildlife including rare butterflies and over 100 species of wild flowers. Equally important is its value as a prime example of seriously dwindling chalk grassland, some 80% of which has been lost in Britain over the past 60 years.

Ensuring that the Freedown is well managed relies on a small team of volunteers which includes local residents and several parish councillors. They meet - usually on the first Sunday of each month - to spend the morning on a range of activities to help maintain and improve the area for the public. As well as being a venue for community events and family activities, the open common is much appreciated by ramblers, dog walkers and those happy to simply sit and enjoy the view.

Walmer Parish Council, which owns the Freedown, says it would welcome some additional helpers willing to spend an hour or two each month, cutting, clipping and generally looking after the area. As well as meeting up with like-minded volunteers and learning more about conservation, there's the bonus of enjoying fresh air, healthy activity and stunning views of the English Channel. For more "no-obligation" information contact parish clerk Kirsty Holroyd at the Parish Office at 8 The Strand, Walmer or phone her on 01304 362363.   (March 20, 2018)

 

LOCAL AIR AMBULANCE IS BANKING ON NATWEST

NatWest bank branches across the South East have chosen the region's air ambulance service as their 2018 charity. A total of 99 branches will be taking part in fundraising throughout the year. The bank's regional director Kevin Guy said: “We’re delighted and very proud to be partnering and supporting this amazing charity during 2018. All of our branch teams are really keen to show their support and further help the communities we also serve.” Among the first to take up the challenge are two members of staff at the Horsham branch running the Brighton Marathon and a team of 10 from Orpington taking on the Three Peaks Challenge in June.

Julie Clare, head of corporate relations at Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance, said: “As an independent charity, we rely on fundraising and donations so every penny is truly valued. Our doctor and paramedic teams can deliver all the skills and equipment of an A&E department to critically ill and injured patients – wherever and whenever it is needed. None of us ever know when we might need to depend on this vital service which is why we are delighted to have been elected as NatWest’s chosen charity.” For more about the air ambulance see their website.   (March 18, 2018)

 

ALL SHIP SHAPE AS MUSEUM PREPARES FOR VISITORS

Deal's Maritime and Local History Museum opens for its 2018 season on Good Friday (30 March). Work over the winter months at the St George's Road building has resulted in a range of new displays and exhibits including:

  • A Royal Marines exhibition depicting the history of the Royal Marines at the Deal Barracks, focusing on the School of Music, the PT instructors, Commandos, Wrens, nurses and other women associated with the barracks, the Sergeants’ Mess Panto and more.
  • Tender Too, one of the ‘little ships’ that helped in the rescue of men from the beaches at Dunkirk during World War 2, displayed within a backdrop of the museum’s popular Dunkirk display.
  • A celebration of the former East Kent coalfield with an impressive collection of mining items and an interactive audio-visual presentation telling the story of this local mining industry.
  • A World War I trench scene, a Model Boat Room and the Saxon King, the last Deal galley remaining in the town.
  • For people with limited mobility, a new tablet computer is available on the ground floor and depicts the key displays upstairs.
  • Families are welcome - with a free pirate hat and quiz for youngsters, plus several interactive quizzes.

Opening times for the Museum in April, May, September and October are Tuesdays-Fridays 2pm-4.30pm; Saturdays 11am-4.30pm; and Sundays 12 noon-4pm. In June, July and August the times are Tuesdays-Saturdays 11am-4.30pm; and Sundays 12 noon-4pm. For more, see the Museum's website.   (March 17, 2018)

 
COUNCIL TAX FOR THE COMING 12 MONTHS

Dover District Council has agreed local Council Tax for the coming financial year which starts in April. The average total bill for a Band D property in Dover district for 2018/19 will be £1,727.47, an increase of 4.74% on the 2017/18 bill. The money is collected by the district council and includes sums for:

  • Kent County Council (£1,237.68),
  • Dover District Council (£182.34),
  • Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (£169.15),
  • Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (£75.51) and
  • the district's town and parish councils (an average of £62.79).

Whilst the county council, Dover DC, the police and the fire authority have all increased their demands, some parish and town councils have frozen their precepts and, even reduced them. In the local Deal/Walmer area: Deal Town Council and Sholden, Ripple and Great Mongeham parish councils there's no increase and Walmer Parish Council is asking for 0.4% less.

For details of the new council tax charges for properties in Bands A to H in each parish/town area, see Dover District Council's website.   (March 17, 2018)

 

ROYAL MARINES TO VISIT ON ST GEORGE'S DAY

The Royal Marines are back in Walmer and Deal on Monday 23 April (St George's Day. Their special visit is to take part in the launch of the Royal Marines Heritage Trail for the local area. The new Trail maps out a route linking notable buildings and locations associated with the Marines and their historic involvement with Deal and Walmer.

Starting at 3pm, The Collingwood Band of The Royal Marines, accompanied by a Troop of Royal Marine Commandos, will march from the Jubilee Gate of the former South Barracks, along The Strand to Deal Castle. The ancient fort on Victoria Road will provide the setting for the formal launch of the new Heritage Trail.

The Corps of HM Royal Marines will then exercise their "right to march through the town with fixed bayonets, drums beating and colours flying". The special privilege is due to their being granted the Freedom of Deal on February 14, 1945. Their route is along the seafront, past Deal Pier, into King Street and along the High Street to Deal Town Hall.

For more about the Royal Marines Heritage Trail, see their website.  (March 14, 2018)

 

BATTLES OVER EVENT TO MARK END OF FIRST WORLD WAR

The significance of this year's Remembrance Sunday on 11 November is to be recognised by an international commemoration of the end of the First World War. Local organisations and groups across the UK and also abroad are being invited to join in the Battles Over event to mark the day 100 years ago when the guns fell silent at the end of four year's conflict.

The organisers say Battles Over will comprise a unique series of events in the morning and evening involving organisations and communities and remembering the sacrifice of millions of men and women during World War One. Whilst it is expected many will devise events and activities that are especially appropriate to their locality, there is a basic programme for the day which includes:

  • 6am – Sleep in peace, now the battles over. Individual bagpipers will play Battle’s o’er.
  • 6.55pm – The Last Post. Buglers will play the last post at the Beacon site.
  • 7pm – WW1 Beacons of Light. After darkness has fallen, Beacons of light will be lit throughout the UK.
  • 7.05pm – Ringing out for peace. As beacons blaze around the country, bells in churches and cathedrals will ring out in celebration of the end of the First World War.

For more information and how to get involved, there are details on Dover District Council's website.  (March 14, 2018)

 

FLYING START FOR YEAR TWO OF DEAL HOP FARM

Deal’s own community hop growing project – the Deal Hop Farm – has added over 50 new members in a little over a week. Hop Farm enthusiast Steve Wakeford said: “We have had another fantastic response to our second season launch with over 50 new members since February 8. We now have 180 sites with over 300 people involved. This is the time plant hops and we are open for new members to join us."

The project organisers say that hops can be easily grown in back gardens and even in containers. They need plenty of sunshine, a well drained soil, shelter from the wind and something to support them. Expert advice is available if needed. The hops are harvested on a single day in September - ready to head for the brewery and conversion into a popular local ale.

Steve emphasised the need to get the hops planted by Easter, making early March the deadline for orders for hop plants. The first year cost is £20 which includes a hop plant (rhizome) and a starter kit. There will be information and rhizomes stalls at the Landmark Garden, Deal High Street, every Saturday from 24 February to 17 March. Membership forms and leaflets are available at the Lighthouse, The Green Berry, The Just Reproach, The Freed Man, the Landmark Centre, The Astor, Golf Road Centre, Deal town hall and online at the DealHopFarm facebook group.  (February 19, 2018)

 
"TON-UP" BEACH CLEAN
Deal beach clean on 18 February 2018 (photo: Steve Wakeford)

Over 100 people turned up to help local "green" group DealWithIt members clear litter and junk off part of Deal's beach on Sunday (18 February). Organiser Wendy Boorman, said: “For the first time, since we started the community beach cleans ten years ago, we had over a 100 people out on the beach clean. We are totally amazed by the response of the community. Deal really wants to do something about plastic, cares about its beach and enjoys being on it ... especially on a glorious February morning."

The enthusiastic volunteers collected over 70 bags and 47kilos of rubbish - with details recorded for the ongoing survey by the Marine Conservation Society. The haul included a substantial quantity of the small plastics items and fragments doing serious damage to the world's oceans and sea life. The next organised beach clean is on Walmer Beach on Sunday 4 March, starting from the Sea Café on Walmer Green at 9.30am.

DealWithIt has also launched a campaign to make Deal Plastic Free. It is asking all businesses, local authorities, groups and individuals to ditch at least three items of single use plastic over the next three months. The campaign is part of the Plastic Free Coastlines initiative around the UK started by the Surfers Against Sewage environmental group. For more details, see facebook or .  (February 19, 2018)

 
NATIONAL AWARD FOR WALMER PARISH COUNCIL
Walmer Parish Council receives a Local Councils Award.

Walmer Parish Council has been recognised as one of the best parish councils in Kent. On Wednesday 7 February, parish council chairman Cllr Pat Heath received a prestigious Local Council Award from Mr Terry Martin, the chief executive of the Kent Association of Local Councils (KAPC). The national award recognises the parish council's excellent management, its close involvement with the community and its enthusiasm for seeking opportunities to improve and develop.

Cllr Heath said he was delighted to accept the award. Walmer was one of only twelve town and parish councils out of a total of 316 in Kent to receive it. He paid tribute to the council's staff and elected members, saying: "It is testament to the hard work, energy and enthusiasm of our parish clerk Kirsty Holroyd and her colleagues along with the councillors and proves our commitment to the local community."

The council provides a range of services including management of open spaces at Hawkshill Freedown, York and Albany Close, the Drill Field and all weather pitch in Cornwall Road and allotments at Campbell Road. As well as considering more than 120 planning applications each year, the council also organises the Brocante, Kites on the Beach, Picnic on the Green and Walmer in Bloom. The council's finances are carefully monitored and fully audited with current budgets and accounts available for public inspection.

Presenting the award at the council's office on The Strand, KAPC chief executive Terry Martin said: “Walmer Parish Council and other local councils like it, are at the front line of the government’s localism agenda and are doing as much as they can to deliver services whilst being efficient and cost-effective. We congratulate them on their efforts and encourage other local councils to follow their example by striving to achieve the award too.”  (February 15, 2018)

 

IT'S "ALL GO" FOR DEAL'S ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNERS

February is proving a really busy month for Deal's local "green" group. Following a successful launch of their Deal Hop Farm 2018 project, members of DealWithIt will be running a "Seedy Saturday" plant and seed swap session on Saturday (17 February) and supporting a clean up on Deal beach on Sunday the 18th. The group is also working with Kingsdown Environmental Group to encourage local action on the national REfill project which is calling for more public access to drinking water and easy use of refillable containers rather than disposable plastics bottles.

The "Seedy Saturday" session is at the Landmark Centre Garden on Deal High Street from 11am to 1pm. People are invited to bring or donate seeds from last season and swap for different ones to try this year. There will also be stalls from Walmer WI, Deal SouthEast in Bloom, Deal Hop Farm and The Bay Trust; plus music provided by the Landmark Uke Club.

The Deal Beach Clean starts from Deal Pier entrance at 9.30am. Organised on behalf of the Marine Conservation Society, regular and new volunteers are invited to help remove and record junk from the local beach. Equipment and collection bags are provided. There's another Beach Clean on Sunday 4 March – this time at Walmer. As part of the Great British Spring Clean, volunteers are being invited to meet up at the Sea Café on Walmer Green at 9.30am. For more details, see the DealWithIt website.  (February 12, 2018)

 

TOWN'S BID FOR FLORAL HONOURS

Deal has, once again, been selected as a finalist in the Royal Horticultural Society's Britain in Bloom competition. The list of UK Finalists for 2018 has Deal entered in the SouthEast Coastal (population over 12,000) category. Last year Deal gained a Silver Gilt award - just short of the top Gold Award achieved by Newquay.

Now in its 54th year, the Britain in Bloom competition encourages cities, towns and villages to take action to improve their local environment. Judging will take place in August. For more details see the RHS website.  (February 12, 2018)

 

KCC BUS SERVICES - UPDATE

Kent County Council has scrapped its proposal to cull dozens of vital bus services. The decision follows pressure from angry bus users and the prospect of extra cash through central government allowing higher council tax levies and local retention of business rates. It means that original plans to cut £2¼million from its budget for subsidising bus travel have been reduced to £450,000.

The 78 bus routes that were under threat will continue to run and county councillors have promised to speak to local people and district and parish councils about bus services and possible solutions to little used services and how they operate.    (January 31, 2018)

 

COMING EVENTS IN DEAL AND WALMER - for the best local guide CLICK HERE.

 
This page was updated on March 24, 2018