The pretty market town of Faversham lies to the east of Swale roughly halfway between Sittingbourne and Canterbury. It is mentioned in the Doomsday Book and by the 1900s the area became the centre of the nation’s explosives industry and manufactured gunpowder for the battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo. Nearby, Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park gives a fascinating insight into the past, combining heritage and nature.
There are over 400 listed buildings in Faversham, recording its extraordinary industrial past and alongside Faversham Creek, the range of independent shops, inns and tea rooms and the surrounding countryside this has helped the town develop a growing visitor economy. Famously, the town is home to Britain’s Oldest Brewer – Shepherd Neame has been brewing beer since 1698 although history suggests that the drink has been produced in Faversham for several centuries before that. The Brewery has a Visitor’s Centre and offers guided tours which, importantly, include tasting sessions!
Faversham occupies a key position on the road network in Kent, where major east-west and north-south routes converge. It is also the terminus for HS1 rail services on the North Kent line. As such it is a popular residential location and it is increasingly taking advantage of this with the development of new, small business parks, which offer attractive working environments from which to operate.
Not far from Faversham is Brogdale Farm – home of the National Fruit Collection – which not only offers visitors a great day out but also reflects the areas strong links with fruit production. Local produce is increasingly important in the development of micro businesses in the area, helping create a distinctive, local food and drink industry.