Beacon Wood has a varied and interesting history. During the Napoleonic Wars, beacons to alert London of any invasion attempts on the south coast were erected on the hill. In 1885, the EC Powder Company began manufacturing smokeless gunpowder at the site, taking advantage of its isolated position. From the 1930s until 1964, Blue Circle extracted four million tons of London clay from the site.
Beacon Wood travel, Kent tourism, US Tourist Attractions
Several relics of the site's industrial history can still be seen, such as the foundation blocks of the gunpowder buildings, gravel heaps from clay washing and the routes of the railway lines used to transport the clay. Rumour has it that the locomotives used here are buried somewhere in the park.
Beacon Wood attractions
The majority of the clay was extracted, leaving beds of sandstone, sandy clays, and fossils. The Woolwich beds contain areas of rock made up almost entirely of marine animal shells. Sharks teeth are often found along the cliffs in the centre of the pit. There are also good examples of fossilised animal burrows.South Island of New Zealand
The vegetation indicates the many past uses of Beacon Park over the years. The outer parts of site, which have not been disturbed, are covered in native trees like oak, ash and sweet chestnut with the occasional wayfaring tree and Beacon Wood travel spindle. Growing beneath the trees are bluebells, dog's mercury, wood anemone and stinking iris. Areas where clay was extracted have been colonised by silver birch and aspen. A number of seasonal ponds can be found in the lower part of the old pit, creating excellent breeding grounds for amphibians and colourful dragonflies.