Our campus holds a unique space in Canterbury’s history. We sit in the outer precinct of St Augustine’s Abbey, an ancient monastery that is a key element of Canterbury’s UNESCO World Heritage site, which includes the Cathedral and St Martin’s Church.
For hundreds of years, monks tended this land, creating vegetable and herb gardens, orchards, vineyards and hop-gardens, and we are proud to be the current guardians of this space. We celebrate these traditions through our own heritage hops and orchards, and encourage biodiversity through careful management of our green spaces, protecting our wildlife and preserving the site for future generations.
We’re proud of our deep roots within Canterbury and we’ve chosen to honour the centuries-old traditions that have taken place on our site in a more unusual way - making our own beer!
St Augustine’s Abbey was an ancient Benedictine abbey, which was a home and sacred space for Canterbury’s monks for almost a thousand years, from 598 to 1538.
Architectural remains of the abbey are still visible above ground on our campus today. The gable end wall of the old monastic brew and bakehouse inspired us to get together with the Canterbury Brewers and Distillers to brew and develop our very own iconic green hop ale.
Our ale is a little taste of the history of Canterbury Christ Church University in a bottle. Each year the fresh batch of beer is made from heritage hops grown on campus and picked by our community, and is given a new name with an original bottle design created by our students.
Join us in September for the next harvest!
We take a green heritage approach to managing our campus, which means a sympathetic management of green spaces and wildlife within heritage sites.
Our campus occupies an area of the St Augustine’s Abbey site which contained the monks’ vegetable and herb gardens, orchard and vineyard, as well as the brew and bake house.
This green heritage approach underpins our ‘Bioversity’ initiative, which celebrates our unique position and our links to history. Instead of simply recreating the historical features of the site, we aim to give our green spaces a modern twist with a nod to antiquity. For example, in our orchard we grow an apple thought to have been introduced by the Normans, called Cat’s Head, but also rare Kentish varieties that need conservation for future generations.
Like the ancient monks, we have a hop garden, herb garden, and a ‘nuttery’ (for our Kentish cobnuts), but also wildflower strips to support native pollinators such as bumblebees and butterflies, which face endangerment in our current environment.