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High Elms Country Park


High Elms Country Park

Formal flower beds

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.


  • History 1
  • Listed buildings 2
  • BEECHE 3
  • Gallery 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External sites 7


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, 2nd Baronet inherited it on the death of his uncle.[6] He built a grand new mansion in the Italian style.[5] He became a friend of Charles Darwin, who lived nearby at Down House, and Lubbock's son, the third 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

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.[17]


See also


  1. ^ "High Elms". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Map of High Elms". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Natural England Citation, Downe Bank and High Elms
  4. ^ London Borough of Bromley, Countryside Service
  5. ^ a b c High Elms Golf Club, Historic High Elms
  6. ^ , Oxford Online Dictionary of National Biography, 2004Sir John William LubbockTimothy L. Alborn,
  7. ^ R. B. Freeman, Charles Darwin, A Companion, 1978, Darwin Online, Sir John Lubbock
  8. ^ British Listed Buildings, 4 Gate Piers and Wrought Iron Railings, Bromley
  9. ^ British Listed Buildings, Cuckoo Lodge, Bromley
  10. ^ British Listed Buildings, Eton Fives Court, Orpington
  11. ^ British Listed Buildings, Grotto at High Elms Country Park, Orpington
  12. ^ British Listed Buildings, Ice Well, Orpington
  13. ^ British Listed Buildings, Old Lodge, Bromley
  14. ^ British Listed Buildings, Outhouse at the Clock House, Bromley
  15. ^ British Listed Buildings, Stone Garden Shelter at High Elms Country Park, Orpington
  16. ^ British Listed Buildings, The Clock House, Bromley
  17. ^ London Borough of Bromley, Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE)

External sites

  • London Borough of Bromley, High Elms Country Park Local Nature Reserve
  • London Borough of Bromley, Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE)
  • Natural England, Nature on the Map, Downe Bank & High Elms (SSSI)
  • Gardens of Kent, High Elms Country Park
  • London Borough of Bromley, High Elms Trail
  • Hidden London, High Elms
  • High Elms Golf Club, Historic High Elms

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