White Horse Wood Country Park
Set in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, White Horse Wood Country Park offers beautiful countryside, local history and panoramic views. Perfect for a picnic or walking the dog, you’ll also be able to explore the medieval ruins of Thurnham Castle.
White Horse Wood is set within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and offers beautiful countryside, local history and panoramic views.
The site hosts the medieval ruins of Thurnham Castle, which are easily explored. Within the park boundaries there are also traces of an Iron Age settlement, providing even more historical interest.
A Site of Nature Conservation Interest, over 20,000 trees have recently been planted here including oak, ash, silver birch, wild cherry and crab apple. 5 hectares of land has also been seeded to create an area of open grassland. The improvements will in time create an important habitat for a variety of unusual flora and fauna, further boosting Kent's natural heritage.
If you are using satellite navigation to visit White Horse Wood Country Park, please only use the park name and not the postcode above. Access to the country park is via the southbound carriageway of the A249 at Detling Hill, there is no access through the villages of Detling or Thurnham.
Plan your journey using public transport on Traveline
Pay and display:
- Monday to Friday: £1 per day
- Weekends and bank holidays: £1.50 per day
The parking height restriction for White Horse Wood Country Park is 2m (6ft 5).
Free parking for season ticket holders.
The car park is flat and has a hard standing surface. There are height restrictions at this site.
All users, including Blue Badge holders, must pay and display or have a valid season ticket.
Visitors on motorbikes do not need to pay for parking.
Closes: dusk or 9pm (whichever is earlier)
Closed on Christmas Day.
The park is home to the ruins of Thurnham Castle. A Motte and Bailey castle built in the reign of Henry II in the 12th Century, it is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM).
Documents from 1215 refer to the lands within the walls of the castle, which may indicate that the site was already in ruins by this time.
The site formed part of the Detling Air Field, which was active during World War One and World War Two. After this, part of the airfield was still used for training and later became the Kent County Showground.
Creating the park
Kent County Council bought the site in 2000 and the public woodland was created as part of the Millennium Projects Scheme to celebrate the turn of the century.
This park is managed by the Kent County Council Kent Country Parks team.
Read the Kent County Parks strategy 2017 - 2021 (PDF, 1.6 MB) which sets out the aspirations for our Kent Country Parks service over the next 4 years.
There are no facilities to purchase food and drink at White Horse Wood, however, it is a beautiful site for a picnic.
Barbecues are unfortunately not permitted at this park.
Flying drones is not permitted at country park sites. This is to keep the public safe (walkers, cyclists, horse riders) and to avoid significant disturbance to wildlife and ground nesting birds.
Please do not fly drones under any circumstance.
The Ash Project
A major public artwork by Ackroyd & Harvey commissioned by The Ash Project is now sited in White Horse Wood Country Park, in the heart of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These monolithic sculptural works by the internationally renowned artists are both a celebration of ash trees and memorial to the devastating effects of ash dieback on the most common tree in the Kent Downs. Visit the artwork on site until September 2020.