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Come On My Guided Walk to Discover Some of Guildford’s Hidden History

Published on: 21 Jun, 2012
Updated on: 16 May, 2020

Local historian David Rose.

By David Rose

Come on a free guided walk next Saturday, June 30, 2012, that I am leading to look at an aspect of Guildford’s history that, surprisingly, few people seem to be aware of.

An area to the west of Guildford was a medieval deer park. Place and road names such as Stag Hill, The Chase, Deerbarn Road, and so on, are a reminder of this. However, at Manor Farm, not far from the modern Surrey Sports Park, is part of a moat that once surrounded a hunting lodge that was the visited by royalty on numerous occassions.

The deer park was quite literally a venison farm. It was created in 1154 by Henry II. The park covered about 1,620 acres, and included what today we know as Onslow Village, Westborough, Park Barn, parts of Woodbridge Hill, Guildford Park and The Mount.

The deer park was one of 13 such parks within Windsor Forest. It would have been surrounded by a ditch and a large bank with wooden posts on top. And in fact, you can still see some traces of this ditch and the banking today.

Meet at the Park Barn Centre in Park Barn Drive (not far from Kings College). There is plenty of parking. The walk starts at 2.30pm. We will follow public footpaths near the playing fields of the Surrey Sports Park (with some good views all around if you have not visited it yet) and on to the site of the royal hunting lodge. Another footpath will then be taken along the edge of Strawberry Grove (an ancient woodland) where traces of the deer park’s ditch and mound can be seen – right next to the modern Surrey Research Park. We will make our way back via the research park (well worth a look in itself) and past the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The walk is just under two miles in length and we aim to be back by 4.30pm.

John Nordon’s 1607 map of Guildford Park.

The walk is one of a number of events that are part of the Westborough and Park Barn Community Fun Day. Events are centred around the Park Barn Centre.

I will also being giving an illustrated talk with vintage pictures from my collection of Westborough, Park Barn, Stoughton, Rydes Hill, and so on, at the centre at 1pm. This again is free. Why not come to the presentation and then come on the walk!

The event also includes a car boot fair (10am to 1pm), a jigsaw puzzle sale and competition, and Surrey Wildlife Trust’s morning nature walk on Broadstreet Common for families.

The day is being organised by Park Barn and Westborough Community Association in association with Guildford Borough Council.

More details from me, David Rose, on 01483 838960, or community safety warden Richard Musgrove on 07876 578431.

How the hunting lodge may have looked. Illustration by Boris Fijalkowski reproduced in Helen Chapman Davies’ book Guildford’s Hidden History.


The remains of the moat that once surrounded the royal lodge or manor house near today’s Surrey Sports Park.

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Responses to Come On My Guided Walk to Discover Some of Guildford’s Hidden History

  1. Les Ames

    June 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Hello Dave.

    Much enjoyed the tour and chat today. Thankyou very much indeed.

    Your enthuisiasm for your subject and local knowledge shines through.