New traffic island

A new traffic island has been established to replace the grass bank at the junction of Farthing Street and New Road Hill. The island is to protect the heritage lamp-post. It would make a very attractive entrance to the village if it were planted with bulbs for the spring.

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New traffic island

This is how it looks now!  The first photo was taken on 26th August and the one below was taken 6th September. This looks far too suburban for the entrance to Downe Village.

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Downe’s unusual stone

Downe stone

This stone has been in the village for a number of decades and was used to assist people. What was it used for?

It’s a mounting block used by horse riders to mount following a visit to the Forge. The Forge was almost opposite the stone which is situated at the village end of Luxted Road adjacent to Petley’s.


Luxted Road – Broken finger post



The finger post adjacent to the pond in Luxted Road has been vandalised. A report has been placed on Fix My Street with a request that it is either repaired or replaced ‘like for like’. The finger post was installed when the Village was considered for World Heritage Site status and it would be regrettable if it were taken away with no replacement. Downe remains on the World Heritage Site Tentative List.

Why has this wooden sign post been replaced with a metal totally inappropriate sign? This sign does not indicate where it leads to or how far the distance is! The original sign indicated that it was one and a half miles to Cudham. The sign is located next to the village pond which is in the Conservation Area and therefore should be replaced ‘like for like’.

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Children Drawn in to Darwin’s Countryside

Darwin'd wild pursuits around DowneOn the anniversary of when Charles Darwin first moved into his home at Down House, Kent – 17th September 1842 – author Ewa Prokop launches ‘Darwin’s Wild Pursuits Around Downe’, a story book for children.


Ewa said ‘People often focus on the exotic species Darwin discovered when on his Beagle voyage, but I have always wanted to highlight the amazing range of wildlife that could, and can still, be found in south-east England in an area Darwin knew well and studied intensively. The stories are based on many true facts gleaned from writings of Charles Darwin and his family as well as my personal knowledge of places Darwin investigated, which I helped to manage in my role as Countryside Projects Officer.‘

The book comprises fourteen short stories. Each story gives the reader a chance to eavesdrop on discussions between a wild, native animal and Charles Darwin, where he explains some of the scientific investigations he is doing. A Roman snail, Large Skipper butterfly and Wren are just some of the characters encountered.   On the website can be found ‘The Truth Behind the Fiction’ which reveals the facts on which the stories are based. Each story includes illustrations by the artist Diana Catchpole; the full suite of illustrations can once again be found on the website.

Aimed at children of 9-11 years of age, the stories can be read at home for pleasure or used in the school environment to support children in their learning of ‘Evolution & Inheritance’, a new National Curriculum topic. Lesson ideas associated with the book are available at

This project follows the publishing of Ewa’s book ‘Shropshire & Downe: Two Landscapes Darwin Held Dear’, in February 2014, and website, in late 2013.