Faversham creek, an ancient limb of the Cinque Ports, runs off the Swale Estuary in East Kent. The creek begins in a basin where the freshwater chalkstream of the Westbrook meets the tidal water entering from the Swale.
Faversham Creek Trust was founded in 2011 by local people to preserve and regenerate the Creek and safeguard its future. Our mission is to fight for the Creek as a genuine heritage project whereby the skills of boatbuilders and other maritime trades could be passed on to young people; traditional boats such as sailing barges and other traditional working craft would find a haven here, for overwintering; and where the Creek could be a resource for all the community.
Our purpose comes under three main areas of focus:
- Maritime heritage: preservation of skills, trades and creek-side sites; restoration and mooring of historic ships & boats
- Accessibility and usability of the creek: campaigning to restore navigability of the creek basin by securing an opening bridge & dredging; improve water quality
- Enjoyment: leisure use such as rowing, festivals and educational walks & talks
The basin, which is where the Trust has its home in an old building formerly used for gas purification, is really the last section of the Creek where these activities can be supported and find a home, given the extensive housing development along the banks further downstream.
One of the first things we did was the restoration of the Victorian Purifier Building in the Creek Basin, which now hosts the community building of St Ayles Skiffs, resulting in the significant growth of Cinque Ports Rowing Club which has recently taken part in the Great River Race on the Thames. In 2014 our heritage work was recognised at a national level by receiving an English Heritage Angel commendation for rescuing the Purifier Building and preserving its heritage.
We continue to campaign to secure a restored opening bridge into the basin with restoration of the navigation.
Our vision is that the Basin of the Creek, currently silted up and neglected, will be a centre of boatbuilding training and a place where visiting barges and smacks will again moor. Local communities, families, schoolchildren and tourists will visit to learn about historic boats such as the Saxon Graveney boat and the majestic Thames Barge.
It will restore Faversham as a maritime port with a thriving waterway and boatbuilding industry, on a par with Maldon and St Katherine’s in London. This is something that East Kent would hugely benefit from.
We are a member-led charity with 258 members.