In July 2017, Kent CRP were invited to the launch of information boards at Paddock Wood station celebrating the Hop Pickers Line, a former branch line that ran between Hawkhurst and Paddock Wood.

Information and interpretation panel depicting stations along the Hop Pickers Line with information about its history

The boards made mention of an ambition to create a “Hop Pickers Line Heritage Trail”, a proposed walking and cycling route inspired by the line that would link the communities that it once served. The Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group were to be the driving force, galvanising community support for the project.

This year the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group approached us for help to move their proposals forward, we were delighted to work with them.



The Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group engaged with a variety of local partners to develop further information panels that have been placed along the route. Kent CRP helped to build connections between the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group and Kent Highways, enabling them to secure consent to site one of the information panels on Kent Highways’ land opposite the John Brunt VC public house, marking the start of the trail.


We also approached Kent Highways for permission to waymark a connection between Paddock Wood station and the start of the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Trail. This request went smoothly thanks to our existing relationship through Sustrans, who assisted with production of the signage.

The Hop Pickers Line Heritage Groups were also keen to see further information about the line displayed at the station. 


We continue to work with the Colonel Stephens Society and Southeastern to add a further history board at the station that will celebrate the Hop Pickers Line, the first project of the prolific railway engineer Colonel Holman F Stephens.

We would like to express our thanks to the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group, Southeastern, Kent County Council, Paddock Wood Town Council and the Colonel Stephens Society for their support with this project.