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Sheppey: John Jones wants to install a heritage trail between Queenborough and Sheerness

By Chloe Holmwood

A series of signs could be installed across the Island as part of a new scheme to celebrate the rich history of Sheppey.

Plans have been lodged with Swale council for the creation of a new heritage trail in Sheerness and Queenborough, which aims to “make the Island’s hidden history visible”.

The Sheppey Heritage Trail would consist of 58 lectern signs, providing information on various sections of Sheppey’s history from its invasion by the Dutch in 1667 to “Dead Man’s Island”, where human bones can be found, off Queenborough.

John Jones next to Queenborough sea wall in front of Elephant Park

There would also be a 24-metre long “Sheppey at War” timeline information board commemorating the men who lost their lives on the 33 ships from Sheppey during the Second World War.

If the plans are given the green light by the council, the Sheppey Heritage Trail would be located at four sites: Beachfields in Sheerness, next to the path leading from the High Street to the seafront; Sheerness seafront, from the moat to the swimming pool; Queenborough seafront - the “Sheppey at War” timeline would go on the sea wall; and the Queenborough Castle site.

The heritage trail would include Beachfields, Sheerness

John Jones, the applicant, who grew up in Queenborough and now lives in Sheerness, said: “Through the Sheppey History Facebook page, I asked the question: ‘Do we want a Sheppey Heritage Trail?’

“The response was staggering. Hundreds of people answered saying they did.

“I am now waiting for planning permission for the trail and it would be a sad day if it was not granted.”

Sheerness beach

The 71-year-old added: “This is desperately needed on the Island. We have so much history but so little to show for it.

“Sheppey is the most forgotten historical site in Great Britain, and I think it’s time for that to change” - John Jones

“When someone walks along Sheerness seafront, the information should be available so people know 317 ships were sunk in the Thames Estuary during the Second World War.

“And in Queenborough information should be available so people know about the Wildfire III Mine Sweeper Base once situated there.

“Sheppey is the most forgotten historical site in Great Britain, and I think it’s time for that to change.”

To view or comment on the plans, visit www.swale.gov.uk/planning and search for 17/503254/FULL.

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