Local history society hosts archaeology presentation
25th November 2021
Heritage expert Kate Clover from our master planning consultants Arcadis made a presentation to Stanford and Westenhanger History Society this month.
100 people attended the event at Lympne Castle to hear about the major archaeological studies that have taken place as part of the planning process for Otterpool Park and will continue as the project develops.
Studies have revealed many rich heritage features on the Otterpool Park site including Westenhanger Castle with its deer park, a military airfield and the former Folkestone racecourse. There have also been significant finds from the prehistoric period up to WW2.
Kate’s presentation focused on the main results from research, which has been ongoing since 2017. A variety of research methods have been used with over 650 trial trenches that have been dug, geophysical and lidar studies for imagery, historic records and database research. At this stage the team is assessing the likely significance of finds at the site.
Kate presented research which has revealed prehistoric finds including a sickle, arrowheads, part of a stone axe and pottery. She also talked about the many barrows, or burial mounds, on the site which date from early Bronze Age.
Much of the presentation focused on the exciting discovery of a Roman villa which was revealed by a geophysics study in 2017, and was followed up with trial trenching work in 2018.
Studies on this area so far indicate features including the foundations of a Roman bath house and underfloor heating. Other finds have included Roman coins, tiles and glass.
Research is also taking place on the history of Westenhanger Castle at the heart of the Otterpool Park site. Kate spoke about its origins as a mediaeval moated manor house, before being fortified in the 14th century. Its deer park is also likely to date from the mediaeval period and evidence shows that King Henry VIII expanded this during his period of ownership. Another significant find from this area of the site is evidence of a Tudor walled garden that is planned to be reinstated as part of Castle Park when Otterpool Park moves forward.
Plans for Otterpool Park seek to protect, celebrate and provide learning opportunities from the heritage that is uncovered. Research into the history of the site will continue. Designs include linking up heritage sites across Otterpool Park through a series of heritage trails.
Watch a recording of Kate’s presentation here.