Darenth Country Park, established on the former grounds of the Darenth Asylum, is a remarkable project resulting from the "Changing Places" National Millennium initiative, welcoming visitors since its inauguration in 2002. This beautiful park is situated on the northern edge of the North Downs, overlooking the picturesque Darent Valley. Notably, it hosts the Arrow Riding Centre, catering to disabled riders.

The landscape of the park resembles a river valley, with the prominent Chestnut Driveway marking its lowest point. It is also home to a scheduled ancient monument, which, despite minimal remaining evidence today, once served as a site for ancient Saxon burials. Over time, archaeologists have unearthed a total of 12 graves, each yielding precious Saxon artefacts such as spearheads, brooches, and a perfectly preserved glass bowl dating back to AD450. The renowned "Darenth bowl" can be viewed at the Dartford Borough Museum.

Within the park lies a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with chalk grassland, a habitat of national and international conservation significance. The rich diversity of wildflowers in this grassland attracts a wide array of wildlife, including birds, bees, butterflies, and various insects. The Watling Street Thistle, an exceedingly rare plant found at only three locations in the Southeast of England, also thrives here.

Darenth Country Park boasts a traditional orchard graced with over 150 apple, pear, plum, cherry, and cob nut tree varieties. The larger traditional apple types, such as "Kentish Fillbasket" and "Golden Pippin," flourish at the upper end of the orchard. Towards the opposite end, you'll encounter modern dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties like "Discovery" and "Red Devil." The park's Countryside Rangers and dedicated volunteers actively manage the orchard, fostering a wildflower meadow understory to support biodiversity.

The orchard serves as a vital sanctuary for birds, bees, bats, butterflies, and perennial flowers, including the exquisite pyramidal orchids. Additionally, the park features horse grazing paddocks, with Dartford Borough Council overseeing the management and a local farmer cutting hay for the horses at the Arrow Riding Centre.

Renowned artist Andy McKeown collaborated with local schools and community groups to create the captivating sculpture on-site. This artwork symbolises the emergence of new life and growth from the decline of old industries or past land use.

Darenth Country Park offers a network of both paved and unpaved paths, including cycle routes. A convenient picnic area is situated adjacent to the car park.

Grid Reference: TQ565 726

For detailed mapping, OS Explorer 162 covers the entire site.

Opening Times:

Darenth Country Park will be unlocked at 6:45am
Locking will commence at the following times during the year: Start - 7th 8th - 15th 16th - 23rd 24th - End
April 19:35 19:45 20:00 20:10
May 20:25 20:35 20:45 21:10
June 21:10 21:15 21:20 21:20
July 21:20 21:15 21:10 21:10
August 20:45 20:35 20:20 20:05
September 19:45 19:30 19:10 18:50
October 18:40 18:40 18:05 17:50
November 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00
December 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00
January 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00
February 17:00 17:00 17:15 17:30
March 17:40 17:50 18:05 18:20

Outside of these hours, a vehicle release service will operate for which there will be a charge.


  • By car: Gore Road Dartford. (Between the B260 and the A255)
  • By bus: 96, 428 or B fast track takes you to Darenth Hospital. The park is a 5 minute walk from there.