Manor Park Country Park

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Come and visit Manor Park and explore the impressive variety of habitats and landscapes.

Park summary

Green Flag Award
  • About the park

    Through careful management, nature has reclaimed a good part of these former manor house grounds, which have a variety of habitats and facilities to enjoy.

    Map of Manor Park (PDF, 1.1 MB)

    Once part of the 18th century estate created by Thomas Douce, Manor Park is now an attractive location with an impressive variety of habitats and landscapes to explore. Together with the facilities and play area, this makes the park a good destination for a family day out.

    Manor Park's 52 acres are divided into 4 sections:

    • the lake is a haven for wildlife such as swans, moorhens and dabchicks
    • the Abbey Field and Chestnut Paddocks are grazed fields with plenty of wildflowers in summer
    • the Ice House field, on the far side of the lake, takes its name from the structure used to store ice taken from the lake over winter for use in the manor house's kitchen
    • Douce's meadow is an area of open grassland where the excellent play area is situated, along with picnic tables and plenty of space for ball games.
  • Find us

    St Leonard's Street
    West Malling
    ME19 6PE

    Telephone: 03000 41 47 47


    Plan your journey using public transport on Traveline

  • Parking and season tickets

    Pay and display:

    • Monday to Friday: £1.50
    • Weekends and bank holidays: £2.00

    Free parking for season ticket holders.

    Blue Badge holders may apply for concessionary parking by calling 03000 41 72 72.

  • Park opening hours

    Opens: 9am

    Closes: dusk or 9pm (whichever is earlier)

    Closed on Christmas Day.

  • History

    Douce's Manor

    The land that now forms the park once belonged to the 18th Century Douce's Manor (formerly St Leonard's), which still overlooks the park from the opposite side of St Leonard's Street.  

    Douce's Manor remained a family home until 1916.  Since then it has been used for many functions. It was once a convalescent home for young women and during WW2 it was occupied by airmen operating from West Malling airfield (now Kings Hill).  A bar called the Twitch Inn was created within the Georgian wine cellar at this time, and it's still possible to see the names of the air aces of the day etched on the walls.  

    After the war, the manor house went through further changes of use, including a hotel and restaurant, and a training centre for Commercial Union. In  2004 it was sold to a property development company to be converted into housing. 

    The lake

    The park's most prominent feature is the 19th Century man-made lake, formed by the damming of the Ewell stream at the north eastern side of the park. The exact date of construction of the lake is unknown, but it is shown on the 1870-1872 OS map so is likely to have been built during the early to mid-1800s.  

    It may have been stocked as a fishing lake, perhaps used by either the manor house or the adjacent abbey (north of the park).

    The ice house

    The remains of an ice house is located near the edge of the water in Ice House Field, adjacent to St Leonard's Street.  The ice house chamber is believed to have been constructed shortly after the manor house, between 1776 and 1789, for keeping ice from the lake for use in the manor kitchens.  

    During WW2, the field where the ice house is situated was used as a prison camp for interned Germans.

    The ice house was listed (Grade II) by English Heritage in 2010.

    Creating the park

    Kent County Council purchased the 52 acres that now form Manor Park Country Park in 1973, with the help of a grant from the Countryside Commission. The park opened to the public in 1976.  

    The play area was added in 2008, and the café and toilet block opened in 2009.

  • Park management

    This park is managed by the Kent County Council Kent Country Parks team. Contact the Kent Country Parks team.

What's on

  • 30 Oct

    Manor Mystery

    Come to the park and follow our self-led trail with a Halloween theme, ending with a close encouter with one of the parks spookiest residents!

All events at our parks


  • Eat and drink

    Café opening hours

    Due to unforeseen circumstances the cafe is temporarily closed. 


    A picnic area is available.

  • Walk


    A variety of walks of different lengths can be enjoyed. You can wander along the lake and back via Douce's Meadow, Abbey Field or Chestnut Paddock, or take a short stroll through the park to West Malling town centre, where there is a variety of shops and historic buildings.

    You can also use the park as a base to explore the wider area. Two public rights of way run through the site, and this path network can be used to create your own circular walks outside the park. Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 148 will help with your route planning

    Map of Manor Park (PDF, 1.1 MB)

    Dog walking

    Dogs are free to roam at Manor Park but must be under close control at all times. 

    They are not allowed in the play area and must be on leads around the car park, play area and café. 

    Dogs are not allowed to swim in the lake. 

    At certain times of the year, Chestnut Paddock and Abbey Field are grazed by cattle. Signs will be put on gates to forewarn you to put dogs on leads at these times.

    Dog bins can be found alongside all surfaced paths on the site.

    Easy access paths

    There are 284 metres of surfaced path that form a circular route between the café, play area and lake, these have a loose stone fill surface but do involve some steep gradients.

    There are also 2 public footpaths that cross the park as well as unsurfaced routes throughout the park which have gates to access the different areas.

  • Play

    The play area is in Douce's Meadow, which is a short distance from the café and toilets.

    There is a play area in the park that can be reached by the surfaced pathway. It is on level ground and surrounded by a fence but can be accessed through a stepped gateway. The play area has a bark surface which can make the ground underfoot more uneven.

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01 Oct

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Outdoor Learning

At Kent Country Parks we offer outdoor learning for all ages and abilities, whether you are visiting one of our outdoor learning centres, or we are bringing our outdoor learning expertise into your setting or environment.

More information for schools and group settings