Village stalwart and benefactor Pauline Moore cut the ribbon to offilcially open the newly restored Bearsted Woodland.
The grand opening on Saturday marked the completion of a five-year restoration project, transforming 16 acres of formerly derelict land into accessible countryside.
It was an emotional moment for the hundreds who turned up, and there was further joy when landowner Mrs Moore, of Sutton Street, announced she was to bequeath 10 more acres to the Bearsted Woodland Trust.
Mrs Moore, who first came to Bearsted as a two year old in 1925, said: “before I did this my problem was who would be a safe and trusted owner. One absolute concern was that it should never ever be built on.
“I know it will be looked after, just as your land here has been looked after.”
Woodland Trust vice chairman Peter Willson said the project’s success was as much down to the commitment of villagers and trustees, as funding from the National Lottery and Biffa waste services.
He pointed to the huge numbers that had turned up.
“Just look at this” he said, “it’s a dream come true.”