Residents turn overgrown Henry VIII castle into vibrant community garden

Residents have turned a historic but overgrown section of Deal’s seafront into a vibrant community garden. The remnants of Sandown Castle, built more than 450 years ago by Henry VIII, were a “terrible mess” five years ago according to nearby residents John and Linda Ford. When the couple complained on social media, fellow users suggested that if they didn’t like it they should do something.

Now, more than 20 volunteers meet up to three times a week to cultivate the historic site. But they want help making the wider public aware. I visited last week – and have asked councils to provide signage from the busier parts of the seafront.

The area looks incredible now. It shows what can be achieved when communities come together and work for a common cause. Yet it’s important that all residents as well as visitors see this place – and that everyone knows our stunning seafront doesn’t end at the pier.  I’m trying to see if there is anything we can do to get more support for that part of town.

Deal is now home to several community gardens, including Captain’s Garden at Deal Castle and the Landmark Garden. The Sandown Community Castle Community Garden has been supported by the Rotary Club, The Lions Club and Dover District Council.  To get involved, email Lisa and John at