High Elms Country Park

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Coordinates: 51°21′04″N 0°04′30″E / 51.351°N 0.075°E / 51.351; 0.075

High Elms
Site of Special Scientific Interest
High Elms Cuckoo Wood.jpg
Cuckoo Wood
Area of Search Greater London
Grid reference TQ446625
Interest Biological
Area 69.1 hectares
Notification 1981; 37 years ago (1981)
Location map Magic Map
Formal flower beds
The Old Pheasant Drinking Pond
The ice well
The fives court, build in the 1850s

High Elms Country Park is an extensive 250-acre (100 ha) public park on the North Downs in Farnborough in the London Borough of Bromley. It is a Local Nature Reserve,[1][2] and together with the neighbouring Downe Bank, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.[3] The park surrounds High Elms Golf Course, and has extensive woodland, chiefly oak and beech, chalk meadows and formal gardens. It also has a cafe, a visitor centre, nature and history trails and car parks.

The rangers of the Bromley Countryside Service, who manage borough owned parks, are based at the park.[4]

There is access from High Elms Road and Shire Lane.


The history of the High Elms estate can be traced back to the Norman Conquest, when it was given by William the Conqueror to his half-brother, Odo, bishop of Bayeux. In the early nineteenth century it was acquired by the Lubbock family,[5] and in 1840 the astronomer and banker, Sir John Lubbock, 3rd Baronet inherited it on the death of his father.[6] He built a grand new mansion in the Italian style.[5] He became a friend of Charles Darwin, who moved in 1842 into the nearby Down House on the other side of the village of Downe, and Lubbock's son, the fourth baronet, also called John Lubbock and later Baron Avebury, was a close friend of Darwin and frequent visitor to Down House from his childhood.[7]

In 1938 the estate was sold to Kent County Council and the house became a nurses' training centre. In 1965 the area became part of the London Borough of Bromley, and the estate was transferred to the new borough. The land then became public open space, but in 1967 the mansion burnt down.[5]

Listed buildings[edit]

There are the following Grade II Listed Buildings in and around the park:

Eighteenth century Gate Piers and Wrought Iron Railings[8]
Cuckoo Lodge[9]
Eton Fives Court, built about 1840[10]
Grotto, constructed between 1885 and 1896[11]
Ice Well, constructed about 1850[12]
Old Lodge, early nineteenth century cottage[13]
Outhouse at the Clock House, probably a granary with a horse gin, early nineteenth century[14]
Stone Garden Shelter 1913[15]
The Clock House, early nineteenth century stables of High Elms converted to a house[16]


Bromley Council has established the Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE) at the park, with environmental programmes for schools and public events in the school holidays.[17]]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]