Friends of Oare Gunpowder Works
About the Friends
The Friends of Oare Gunpowder works was established in 2008, the aim of this group is to enhance, maintain and promote the site, and to make this site accessible to all for education, learning, leisure and to share in the rich history.
The Oare Gunpowder Works was first established in circa 1719 and was one of three black powder factories operating in Faversham. The site at Oare represents a significant contribution to the history of gunpowder production in Britain and the history of Faversham; it is also considered to be of major national and regional significance.
The site at Oare closed to production of Gunpowder in 1934, the site was left in a derelict state until 1977, when Swale Borough Council took a 150 year lease on the site from the land owner Bretts, with the intention of creating a safe, interesting and peaceful public space with Industrial Heritage and wildlife value. When Swale Borough Council took over the site, the woodland and watercourses had been unmanaged and the building had deteriorated to a point of ruin.
In 2004 the site was awarded £1.2m of heritage lottery funding, and with the assistance of Groundwork Kent and Medway, English Heritage, Defra, Faversham town council, SEEDA, Brett environment trust and the forestry commission; the site was listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and the Lower Mill Pond a SSSI. And work started to sympathetically develop the Site.
The site was developed into a country park, with the various functions of the old Gunpowder works uncovered and presented in a sympathetic way in which through interpretation allows the site to be enjoyed as both a site for education and leisure and was opened to the public. A visitor’s centre was established within the restored cooperage.
The Friends of Oare Gunpowder Works group receives no income and does not charge a membership fee. We apply for funding from small funding streams and rely on donations from visitors who pass through the Visitors Centre to fund some of the work we carry out within the site, other funds have become available through us hosting the annual “Artists in the Woods” event This event invites local artists of different mediums to come together to display and perform. This event is normally attended by over 500 visitors to the Country Park.
We are a small but dedicated group of Volunteers who meet on the Second Sunday of every month to carry out a number of conservation activities within the country park. We have established a very good working relationship with Swale Borough Council, who fully support us in our activities.
We also have members of the friends group who support the Steward in the Visitors Centre, and others who give guided walks and talks.
We welcome and encourage new members, from all areas of the community; we have secured funding to enable members of the group to undertake all aspects of environmental management and training, with the aim of passing on this knowledge to sustain a base of well trained, well versed volunteers.
If you would like to join us or would like further information please email email@example.com or just turn up at 10:30 on the second Sunday of the month and you will be made very welcome. Further information is available from the visitors centre during opening times: you can follow us on our facebook site – Oare Gunpowder Works
The following photos were taken by Ella Stewart as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award.