We would like to congratulate one of our Major Kent County Show Sponsors Hadlow College for their recent success. At the RHS Hampton Court Flower show Hadlow College won the “Best in Show”award and the Gold Medal in the Show Garden category for their garden design inspired by the Betteshanger Colliery. The designers Stuart Charles Towner and Bethany Williams both have studied for a BA (Hons) in Garden Design at the University of Greenwich and Hadlow College had an aim to design a garden which was inspired by the mining past of the area whilst transforming it into a sustainable park for community use. The garden combines a mixture of old and new aspects into the design such as using metal framework and coal pillars to represent the past but then using native plants and bright colours to contrast with the grey and blacks of the framework and the coal. The design shows how some plants can grow in hostile conditions giving the area an essence of new life. The garden links to a project currently being supported by the Hadlow Group for a regeneration in Betteshanger.

The regeneration project plans to create an area open to the public that keeps the heritage of the mining history but allows the 300 acre site to be used by the general public. The £40 million Betteshanger Sustainable Parks project will turn and old space into a commercial area which can be used by everyone whilst maintaining the heritage that the site has. To do this they are building a new £7.5m Betteshanger Country Park Visitor Centre, opening Summer 2016, including a Kent Mining Museum, a Green Energy Centre, catering facilities, conference centres, retail and cycling facilities. As well as this there will be lots of open land around the park for the general public to use for leisure activities, there will also be specific areas for cycling as new roads are being placed through and there will be lots of open area for events to be held. For more information on the project head to http://greenseam.co.uk/the-story/