Tenterden - Northiam - Bodiam
Kent & East Sussex Railway

The Heritage Buildings Fund

Preserving the railway’s precious buildings

A grant of £21,000 has enabled the Kent & East Sussex Railway to establish a new Heritage Buildings Fund to help safeguard our most historic and invaluable buildings and secure their future.

First priorities

The fund’s first priorities are vital restoration work to two iconic structures: the weatherboarded Tenterden Town station building (housing the booking office, ticket hall and gift shop) and the former Chilham signal box (also situated at the station).

Built respectively in 1903 and 1895, these two iconic, mainly wooden, structures have so far withstood the ravages of both time and weather but are now showing signs of significant decay which could become irreversible if not tackled soon.

Appeal target

The initial generous £21,000 grant has been awarded to the K&ESR by a charitable trust which quietly directs some of its grant making to charities protecting precious heritage assets. However, with early estimates indicating that the full restoration costs could easily exceed £40,000, we are seeking to raise a further £25,000 to ensure all necessary work can be undertaken within the next 12 months.


We have secured two prominent Tenterden figures as Patrons: former Mayor of Tenterden and Coronation-appointed Baron of the Cinque Ports, Tenterden, John Crawford, and current Mayor of Tenterden, Cllr Sue Ferguson, who is also a local business owner. Both shown here with K&ESR General Manager, Robin Coombes (left)

K&ESR General Manager Robin Coombes, Mayor of Tenterden Cllr Sue Ferguson and Baron of the Cinque Ports, Tenterden, John Crawford

Make a donation

  • Donations can be made by making a single payment or creating a regular standing order through CAF Donate which, if you are a UK tax payer, will also enable the K&ESR to collect Gift Aid
  • By sending a cheque made payable to ‘Kent & East Sussex Railway’ to K&ESR, Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE. Please write 'HBF' on the reverse of your cheque. Download the appeal leaflet or the Gift Aid form
  • By texting HERITAGE to 70480 for a £20 donation (texts will be charged at your standard message rate)

Business support

A suite of business support packages has also been created, offering specific benefits:

Bronze - £1K

Four freedom tickets on the railway to enjoy a day at K&ESR on any operating day of their choice (excluding special events such as Santa). If the donor wishes, on one leg of the journey they can be joined by a Trustee to explain more about the history of the line and its operation as a living museum.

Silver - £3K

Two complimentary tickets to dine on the Wealden Pullman Sunday Lunch service at a date of your choice (dates subject to availability), or two complimentary tickets for a ‘Behind the Scenes’ exploration of the railway and its operations in the company of a K&ESR guide.

Gold - £5K

Exclusive use of the historic Family Saloon for up to 12 people on a suitable operating train. Travel ‘Downton Abbey’ style in the splendour of this turn-of-the-twentieth-century carriage.

  • Guests will be accompanied by a steward and served Prosecco (or non-alcoholic beverages if preferred) and canapés during the 21-mile return trip between Tenterden and Bodiam.

    All donors – individual and businesses – who donate at least £1k will be recognised on a donor wall outside one of the station buildings as a lasting reminder of their generosity and contribution to maintaining these historic structures. They will also be mentioned in publicity material about the progress of the Appeal.

    To enquire about the three special donation packages, please email: fundraising@kesr.org.uk

    Donations from businesses – including for these packages - need to made direct to the Kent & East Sussex Railway Company Limited (Account No 00010228, sort code 40-52-40) by BACS, quoting ‘Heritage Buildings Fund’ as a payment reference.


    Some complex restoration work will have to be undertaken by specialist external contractors, but the conservation plan allows for some tasks to be undertaken by volunteers. Anyone interested in offering their skills and time should email: infrastructure@kesr.org.uk


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