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Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

Craters that swallowed up trees at Paradise Farm in Hartlip near Sittingbourne could be dene holes

26 February 2014
by Hayley Robinson

Two holes which have swallowed up more than a dozen trees at a farm are believed to be deneholes.

They were discovered at Paradise Farm, in Hartlip, near Sittingbourne, after they swallowed up 13 apple trees in an orchard farmed by FW Mansfield and Sons.

It is believed the area might have once been a chalk mine and the cavities were shafts used by workmen which were later filled in.

One of the deneholes which swallowed up trees at Paradise Farm

One of the dene holes which swallowed up trees at Paradise Farm

The holes  are likely to have reopened due to the recent wet weather eroding the materials used to fill them.

Farm manager Jim Woodbridge said: “They are about 50 to 70 metres apart and about three-and-a-half to four metres deep.

“One is six to eight metres wide and the other about nine. One is spreading though because the ground is so saturated.

“One hole sucked in three trees from one side and two from the other. The other hole, eight trees went down it.

The chasm is several feet deep

The chasm is several feet deep

The aftermath left after the crater opened up at the farm

The aftermath left after the crater opened up at the farm

A wide shot of the denehole

A wide shot of the dene hole

“We have taped them off at the moment. In time, once the ground conditions are better, we will fill them in. It’s nowhere near as problematic as what we’ve seen in the media.

“We estimate the cost, to be about £1,000 which includes the loss of the tree, profit and top soil to fill them in because we want to replant over them.”

Brick manufacturer Wienerberger Ltd, which owns the site, says it is aware of the situation and an inspection has been carried out.

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A spokesman said: “The holes have appeared as a result of the recent extreme wet weather and are not unusual in such conditions.

“They are not directly adjacent to the public footpaths at Paradise Farm and as such pose no threat to the public.

“In conjunction with the current tenant, who has overall responsibility for the maintenance of the land, Wienerberger Ltd will continue to monitor the situation and take any action it deems necessary.”

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