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Five Acre Wood Project

Snodland Station Improvements

Towards the end of 2019, Five Acre Wood students had a few weeks to go back to school and come up with ideas to make improvements to the front of Snodland Station. The students cooked a Christmas dinner for Kent CRP and the station Manager of Southeastern and presented their ideas.The ideas from the students were then all combined and a plan developed.

The next step was to measure the area and calculate the materials needed for the project and the costs involved.

Construction Week

Work began on developing the area over a week in May. The students spent the first three days clearing the weeds and grass so construction could take place. By Friday the 17th May the planters were in place and the bark chipping spread.

The construction students joined in with the project and were tasked with creating 5 smaller planters. The next stage was to line and fill planters to help preserve them before filing the planters with 8 tonnes of top soil in preparation for planting.

Planting Up

The final part of this project for this academic year was to plant up the area. A group of students went shopping at the garden centre to choose suitable plants and herbs to grow, making sure they didn't go over their allocated budget. Finally, the area was planted up and the front of Snodland Station was transformed.


Opening Ceremony

On Friday September 20th, an opening ceremony was held. This was to celebrate the hard work of all those involved in making this project a success. This included inviting guest from  the local community, Five Acre Wood School, Southeastern, The Snodland Partnership, ACoRP, (Now Community Rail Network), Kent County Council and BJA Civil Consulting Ltd who ether gave up their time or helped to fund the project. Students art work has also been displayed in the ticket office.

The work doesn't stop there for Five Acre Wood Students. They have now officially become Station Adopters and will maintain the area. They also have big plans to tackle the allotment area behind platform 2 to grow their own food. We look forward to seeing the how that develops over the next year and congratulate the school for all the amazing work on this project.

One Year Later

Despite Covid19, Five Acre Wood Students and Staff have worked hard to keep the area weed free and welcoming for visitors. Students visit the area to collect seed and take cuttings to grow new plants.  Students with sensory needs also love the feel of the plants such as the fennel growing in the herb planter. Meanwhile, wonderful art work by the students have been displayed in the ticket office to brighten up the bare walls.

The area is being respected by the local communities, with a huge reduction in littering and residents have commented on the significant difference it makes as you approach the station. Plans for developing the allotment area have been delayed but are part of the exciting plans ahead.

In November 2020, the Snodland footbridge was repaired and given a face-lift. Inevitably, part of the garden had to be removed to allow for the work to be carried out.  In May 2021, once the restrictions had lifted, it was possible to replant the area.

On Friday 21st May, 30 Students from Five Acre Wood Snodland, visited the station throughout the day to plant new shrubs. Bam Nuttall kindly paid for the replacement of plants and along with Network Rail, were on hand to give advice and support on planting the shrubs.

The garden is now acknowledged as one of the best kept gardens on the Southeastern network.

Station garden at Snodland

Thank You

This project has only been possible due to the passion and support of all those involved. Kent CRP would like to thank BJA Civil Consulting Ltd for their support and time in volunteering during the construction week and donation of some of the materials.

Community Rail Network, Kent County Council and Snodland Partnership for providing additional funding for the project.

Sustrans volunteers for helping with the construction and planting stages.

We would also like to thank the local community and of course Southeastern for allowing the project to go ahead.

Finally a huge thank you to all the students and Tutors from Five Acre Wood who have given up many hours to work on this project.

Highlighting Hidden Disabilities - Celebrating Differences

Did you know that in the UK around 14 million people have a disability? (70% of those are invisible).

In October 2021, the students wanted to brighten up the bike store next to their station garden with some artwork, so they created a wonderful sunflower mural.

The Sunflower Mural was installed in January 2022 and aims to help raise awareness of hidden disabilities and that everyone is different.

All students have disabilities, most of them hidden. The whole school (160 students) produced a range of designs before selecting those for the mural.

The sunflower is the symbol for hidden disabilities and appears on the sunflower lanyard which Southeastern provide to recognise passengers with hidden disabilities.

A group of people stood either side of a mural depicting a collage of pictures of sunflowers.
Southeastern logo

Travel Training 2023.

In July of 2023 we took two small groups of students with their tutors to the Travel Safe Travel Smart rail safety centre at Margate.

The learning began when we met at Rochester station, with reminders to keep behind the yellow line on station platforms, to let people off the train before boarding, and coaching on the use of the display screens to check which platform our train would be leaving from and the time it was due to arrive.

Once at the centre Nicola Dooris and Catherine Lamb led sessions designed to raise awareness of the dangers of tresspassing, facilities available to make your journey easier and how to get help from railway staff and British Transport Police.

Audience appropriate videos from the wide range of educational resources available at the TSTS reinforced the messages to keep off the tracks and stay behind the yellow line in a fun and friendly manner. These positive behaviours are key to staying safe from the dangers of moving trains and the electricity that powers them. 

Students were also reminded of the need to have a valid ticket for their journey, to use departure boards and platform matrix displays to check train times and platforms, to look for railway staff and help points if they need assistance and how to get help from the British Transport Police through the 61016 service or Railway Guardian app if they ever feel at risk when travelling by train.

Sign for Travel Safe & Travel Smart Safety Centre. Logo features an image representing a member of platform staff calling out a yellow platform edge marking and a rail track.A model railway layout with platforms, sidings, level crossings, a blue engine, model cars, peoples and buildings. The model depicts a variety of poor and unsafe behaviours around the railway and is used in a "how many dangers can you see" context.


The Travel Safe Travel Smart team gave away a few freebies and we made sure everyone received a  61016 card.

On the journey back students were asked if they felt scared about using the railway. Everybody said that they now knew how to use the railway safely, understood the dangers of tresspass and were confident how to get help and assistance should they need it.

Our thanks go to Network Rail and Southeastern for their help organising the trip, and to the tutors and students of Five Acre Wood for participating in the learning.