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Borough of Tonbridge and Malling

Shown within Kentmarker

Status: Borough
Region: South East England
Admin. County: Kentmarker
- Total
240.13 km²
Admin. HQ: West Mallingmarker
ONS code: 29UP
- Total ( )
- Density


/ km²

Ethnicity: 98.3% White
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Leadership: Leader & Cabinet
MPs: Jonathan Shaw, John Stanley
Tonbridge and Malling is a local government district and borough in the Englishmarker county of Kentmarker.

Tonbridge and Malling borough covers an area from the North Downs at Burhammarker and Snodlandmarker in the north to the town of Tonbridgemarker in the south. The River Medway flows in a north easterly direction, through the borough towards the Medway Gap.

The district was created under the Local Government Act 1972, on April 1, 1974. It was a merger of the urban district of Tonbridge, together with Malling Rural District and the villages of Hadlowmarker and Hildenboroughmarker from Tonbridge Rural District.


Ancient times

The area has been occupied for thousands of years. The Neolithic people left behind much evidence: megaliths such as Kit's Coty Housemarker at Aylesfordmarker and the Coldrum Stones at Trottiscliffemarker; and the Long barrows at Addingtonmarker being examples. Bronze and Iron Age finds are also plentiful. So too is Romano-British: evidence is to be found all along the Medway Valley.

The immediate district of Tonbridge is omitted from the Domesday Book; however most other settlements in the Borough are included. Castles were built at Tonbridge, Allingtonmarker and West Mallingmarker in the 13th century. Religious houses: Malling, Aylesfordmarker and Tonbridge were built: one such was St Mary's Abbey dating from 1092. Aylesfordmarker Priory on the banks of the Medway, was built in the 13th century.

Medieval manor houses can still be seen: Ightham Motemarker and Old Soar Manormarker being two of them.

19th century onwards

Description of the district

"Tonbridge district can be divided in two distinct areas, which were divided at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the woods and heaths of the ragstone (1) ridge from Great Comp to East Mallingmarker. Northwards lies the well peopled Holmesdale with the market town of West Mallingmarker as the principal centre of population, an area now crossed by the railway and motorway (M20); southwards of the ridge is the heavy clay of the Wealdmarker and valley of the Medway"
    • extract from Kent Dr Felix Hull (An Ordnance Survey Historical Guide 1988)
    • (1) Known as Kentish ragstone - geologically speaking Upper Greensand - and much used in church building throughout the county.

The modern district

Generally speaking, the district is mainly agricultural - orchards, and livestock in the main - although the proximity of the railways and the motorway means that there is a good deal of commuting from some of the more built-up villages. The new settlement of Kings Hillmarker is also a magnet for such commuting, since it provides a good deal of employment opportunity.

A remnant of the once flourishing hop-growing industry is provided by a tourist attraction at Beltringmarker: once the Whitbread Hop Farm, it puts on frequent weekend exhibitions and shows of varying kinds. Here twenty-five of the finest examples of Victorian oast houses, once used for preparing hops for brewing.

At East Mallingmarker is a Research Station designed to "benefit research development and dissemination of useful results of such research in matters directly affecting horticultural crops generally with particular emphasis on the fruit, hop and nursery stock industries" (taken from website).

Many of the villages are located on the Tourist Trails designed, perhaps, to show the District more as being "scattered with picturesque villages, orchards and bluebell woods" instead of being a hard working area.

Local government


Tonbridge & Malling District Council is based in Tonbridgemarker and Kings Hillmarker. The District is divided for political purposes, into 26 wards, including seven in the town of Tonbridge (called Cage Green, Castle, Higham, Judd, Medway, Trench and Vauxhall wards). Outside the town, councillors serve wards covering the following villages or groups of villages, many of which have parish councils also (see below) :
  • Aylesford
  • Blue Bell Hillmarker & Walderslade
  • Borough Green & Long Mill
  • Ditton
  • East Malling,
  • East Peckham & Golden Green
  • Hadlow, Mereworth & West Peckham
  • Hildenborough
  • Ightham
  • Kings Hill
  • Larkfield - two wards: North and South
  • Snodland - two wards: East & West
  • Wateringbury
  • West Malling & Leybourne
  • Wrotham

Civil parishes

The lower tier of local government is the civil parish. In this district they are as follows:

In the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker, the area is covered by the larger Tonbridge and Malling Parliamentary Constituencymarker and part of Chatham and Aylesford Parliament constituencymarker.


In the 2001 census the population was 107,561.


Four railway routes operate through the District. The Hastings Line (stations at Hildenboroughmarker and Tonbridgemarker); and the High Speed 1 Eurostar sevices are the two main-line routes. The Maidstone East Line and its stations serving Borough Green & Wrothammarker, West Mallingmarker, East Mallingmarker and Barmingmarker; and the Medway Valley Line (Hallingmarker, Snodlandmarker, New Hythemarker, Aylesfordmarker and Wateringburymarker) are the two branch lines within the Borough.

The District also has many road routes passing through it. There are two motorways: the M20 and the M26; three west-east major roads (A20; A21marker and the A26 road. Three other important roads are the A227, A228 and A229.

In addition there are long distance footpaths, among them the Greensand Waymarker, the Medway Valley Walkmarker, the Wealdwaymarker and the Eden Valley Walk

Youth radio station

Tonbridge & Malling has an encouraging number of youth projects and organisations including Cupid FM, the first ever youth radio station or project of its kind within the area. The project received funding and support from Kent County Council and Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, and during 2006 setup a studio and online broadcast which came to a close in November of that year. The station was run by local teens and music was populated by the latest chart hits. Currently, there are no plans to re-invent the Cupid FM brand for future broadcasting, however a new mini site will be launching at the end of 2007 highlighting the projects success.


Kent History Illustrated Frank W Jessup (KCC, 1966)

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