Tonbridge and Malling

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Coordinates: 51°16′59″N0°21′00″E / 51.283°N 0.350°E / 51.283; 0.350


Tonbridge and Malling District
Tonbridge and Malling UK locator map.svg
Tonbridge and Malling shown within Kent
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South East England
Non-metropolitan county Kent
Status Non-metropolitan district
Admin HQ West Malling
Incorporated1 April 1974
  TypeNon-metropolitan district council
  Body Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
  Leadership Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)
   MPs Tracey Crouch
Tom Tugendhat
  Total92.71 sq mi (240.13 km2)
Area rank150th (of 317)
 (mid-2019 est.)
  Rank169th (of 317)
  Density1,400/sq mi (550/km2)
98.3% White
Time zone UTC0 (GMT)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code 29UP (ONS)
E07000115 (GSS)
OS grid reference TQ6386756441

Tonbridge and Malling is a local government district with borough status in Kent, England. Tonbridge is the largest settlement but the authority is based in the modern development of Kings Hill.


Tonbridge and Malling Borough covers an area from the North Downs at Burham and Snodland in the north to the town of Tonbridge in the south. The River Medway meanders north-east through the borough towards the Medway Gap, having in the west of the area received the River Eden. The castle-passing Eden Valley Walk is also mostly in this borough.

Administrative history

The district was created on 1 April 1974 by the merger of the urban district of Tonbridge, together with Malling Rural District and the civil parishes of Hadlow and Hildenborough from Tonbridge Rural District.

History and architecture

Ancient times

The area has been occupied for thousands of years. The Neolithic people left behind much evidence: megaliths such as Kit's Coty House at Aylesford and the Coldrum Stones at Trottiscliffe; and the Long barrows at Addington being examples. Bronze and Iron Age finds are also plentiful. There is evidence of the Romano-British civilisation 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, Allington and West Malling in the 13th century. Religious houses: Malling, Aylesford and Tonbridge were built: one such was St Mary's Abbey dating from 1092. Aylesford Priory on the banks of the Medway, was built in the 13th century.

There are surviving medieval manor houses including Ightham Mote and Old Soar Manor.

19th century onwards


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 Malling. Northwards lies the well peopled Vale of Holmesdale with the market town of West Malling as the principal centre of population, an area crossed lengthways by the railway and motorway (M20); southwards of the ridge is the heavy clay of the Weald and valley of the Medway [1]

Kentish ragstone geologically speaking is the Upper Greensand Ridge, used in church building in Kent.

Modern borough

Hadlow Tower is in Tonbridge and Malling Borough Hadlow Tower, Hadlow, Tonbridge & Malling, Kent, UK.jpg
Hadlow Tower is in Tonbridge and Malling Borough
Fairlawne House is in this borough Fairlawne House - - 1363808.jpg
Fairlawne House is in this borough

The land included is mainly agricultural – orchards, and livestock in the main – although major business parks and buildings within 30 miles (50 km) coupled with the railways and the motorway means a majority of working residents commute to work in the more built-up villages and Tonbridge. The new settlement of Kings Hill can be regarded as equally tied in with the economy of Maidstone to that of parts of Kent further to the western extremity.

A remnant of the once flourishing hop-growing industry is provided by a tourist attraction at Beltring: once the Whitbread Hop Farm, it puts on weekend exhibitions and shows. Tonbridge and Malling has 27 listed buildings in the highest category of the national system, Grade I. This includes eight churches, five reduced structures left over from St Mary's Abbey or Malling Abbey, West Malling and four manor houses, mostly built by lower social ranks than the titled nobility.

Ightham Mote is in Tonbridge and Malling IghthamMote.jpg
Ightham Mote is in Tonbridge and Malling

A diverse materials and appearance construction is Ightham Mote which is recognised in the highest category of the UK's architecture listing system, Grade I, though no longer in private hands. East Malling Research Station disseminates results of research into matters affecting horticultural crops, with particular emphasis on the fruit, hop and nursery stock industries.

Many of the villages are beside long-distance walks with tourist accommodation enabling tours of the orchards and bluebell woods.


Housing ranges from mid-rise in relatively small areas of towns to low-rise housing, generally with gardens in the villages and most parts of the towns.

Local government


Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is based in Kings Hill, with an area office at Tonbridge Castle. The borough is divided for political purposes, into 26 wards, including seven in the town of Tonbridge (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):

Following the 2015 elections, the political makeup of the council is the following: 48 Conservative, 4 Liberal Democrats and 2 Independents

Civil parishes

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

Tonbridge, being the former area of Tonbridge Urban District Council, is an unparished area.

In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the area is covered by the larger Tonbridge and Malling Parliamentary Constituency and part of Chatham and Aylesford Parliament constituency.

The council has 45 Conservative and 7 Liberal Democrat councilors as of March 2012. [2]


In the 2011 census the population was 120,805.


Six railway routes operate through the borough.

The South Eastern Main Line on the route London – Tonbridge – Ashford International – Dover crosses the west of the borough with stations at Hildenborough and Tonbridge.

The Maidstone East Line on the route Victoria – Maidstone East – Ashford International – Canterbury – Thanet with its stations at Borough Green & Wrotham, West Malling for Kings Hill, East Malling and Barming crosses the north of the borough.

From Tonbridge, the Hastings line services run to Tunbridge Wells and Hastings, with some through services from Hastings to London, and the Redhill to Tonbridge Line services run to Redhill: through services on that line to Guildford have been discontinued.

The High Speed 1 line with Eurostar services crosses the north of the borough, but there are no stations here, although southeastern high speed commuter services to / from London St Pancras call at Snodland during the morning and evening peak periods.

The Medway Valley Line links the North Kent Line at Strood with the South Eastern Main Line at Paddock Wood railway station. Stations are at Snodland, New Hythe, and Aylesford on the Strood – Maidstone West section of the line in the north of the borough and Wateringbury on the Maidstone West – Paddock Wood section of the line in the south of the borough. Beltring and Brandbridges Halt is close to the borough boundary. Trains on this line now run through from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge, but through services from Maidstone West via Strood to London Bridge have been discontinued.

The borough has road routes passing through it. There are three motorways: the M2, M20 and the M26; three west-east roads (A20; A21 and the A26 road). Three other roads of similar stature are the A227, A228 and A229.

In addition there are long distance footpaths, among them the Greensand Way, the Medway Valley Walk, the Wealdway and the Eden Valley Walk.[ citation needed ]

Youth radio station

Tonbridge and Malling has 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 set up 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.

Freedom of the Borough

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the Borough of Tonbridge and Malling.


Military Units


See also

Related Research Articles

River Medway River in South East England

The River Medway is a river in South East England. It rises in the High Weald, Sussex and flows through Tonbridge, Maidstone and the Medway conurbation in Kent, before emptying into the Thames Estuary near Sheerness, a total distance of 70 miles (113 km). About 13 miles (21 km) of the river lies in Sussex, with the remainder being in Kent.

Snodland Human settlement in England

Snodland is a small town in the borough of Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, England. It lies on the River Medway, between Rochester and Maidstone, and approximately 27 miles (43 km) from central London. At the 2011 Census, it had a population of 10,211.

Rivers of Kent

Four major rivers drain the county of Kent, England.

Medway Valley line Railway line in Kent

The Medway Valley line is the name given to the railway line linking Strood and the Medway Towns with Maidstone West and onward to Paddock Wood & Tonbridge. High Speed services also link between Maidstone West, Aylesford, Strood and London St Pancras International. The section from Maidstone West to Tonbridge passes through some of Kent's most picturesque countryside along the narrower sections of the River Medway.

Maidstone West railway station

Maidstone West railway station is one of three railway stations which serve the town of Maidstone, the county town of Kent, England. It is on the Medway Valley Line, 42 miles 36 chains (68.3 km) from London Charing Cross via Strood and situated between Maidstone Barracks and East Farleigh. The station and all trains that call are operated by Southeastern.

New Hythe railway station

New Hythe railway station is on the Medway Valley Line in Kent, England, serving the village of New Hythe. It is 38 miles 3 chains (61.2 km) down the line from London Charing Cross via Strood and is situated between Snodland and Aylesford. The station and all trains that call are operated by Southeastern.

Tonbridge and Malling (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Tonbridge and Malling is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2015 by Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative. The constituency is located in Western Kent, in South East England.

Chatham and Aylesford (UK Parliament constituency)

Chatham and Aylesford is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Tracey Crouch, a Conservative.

East Peckham Human settlement in England

East Peckham is a village and civil parish in Kent, England on the River Medway. The parish covers the main village as well as Hale Street and Beltring.

A228 road

The A228 road is an important transport artery in Kent, England. It begins at the Isle of Grain and runs in a south-westerly direction to connect eventually with the A21 trunk road at Pembury. It serves existing communities and new and proposed housing developments and commercial enterprises. The most influential force on the recent upgrading of the road has been the development of Kings Hill near West Malling.

Elections to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in Kent, United Kingdom are held every four years. Since the last boundary changes in 2003, 53 councillors have been elected from 26 wards.

Ditton, Kent Human settlement in England

Ditton is a large village and civil parish in the borough of Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, England. The village is 4.6 miles (7.4 km) west-northwest of Maidstone and 1.8 miles (2.9 km) east of West Malling. The parish, which is long and narrow, straddles the A20, with farmland to the south and industry to the north. It lies in the Medway Valley, on the northern edge of the Kent Weald, and adjoins the ancient parishes of Larkfield, Aylesford and Barming.

Ryarsh Human settlement in England

Ryarsh is a village and civil parish in the local government district of Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, England. It is home to around 1,000 residents. Ryarsh is west of Maidstone and north of West Malling and Kings Hill.

River Bourne, Kent

The River Bourne rises in the parish of Ightham, Kent and flows in a generally south easterly direction through the parishes of Borough Green, Platt, Plaxtol, West Peckham, Hadlow, and East Peckham where it joins the River Medway. In the 18th century the river was known as the Busty or Buster, the Shode or Sheet, but is not known by these names nowadays. A bourne is a type of stream, while shode means a branch of a river.

Elections to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council were held on 5 May 2011. The whole borough council were up for election. Parish council elections and the national Alternative Vote referendum were held on the same day.

An election was held on 2 May 2019 to elect all 54 members of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council. Parish council elections were held on the same day.


Kent History Illustrated Frank W Jessup (KCC, 1966)

  1. extract from Kent Dr Felix Hull (An Ordnance Survey Historical Guide 1988)
  4. "Tonbridge crowds cheer Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment". BBC News. 19 June 2011.