The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk; www.bromley.gov.uk
Spring Park is a remnant of ancient woodland and meadowland now within the West Wickham and Coulsdon Commons group of 6 areas managed by the Corporation of London. Spring Park was conveyed to the Corporation of London in 1926 and 1927 under the Corporation of London (Open Spaces) Act 1878, to be held in perpetuity and kept 'unenclosed and unbuilt upon . . . as open spaces for the recreation and enjoyment of the public . . . and shall as far as possible preserve the natural aspect of the commons . . . and shall protect the timber and other trees, pollards, shrubs, underwood, heather, gorse, turf and herbage growing thereon . . ' The woodland today is managed as sweet chestnut and hazel coppice with oak standards, the lower area managed as hay meadow and two rugby pitches.
Once part of the manor of West Wickham, C14th records show New[e] Park, West Field and Old Park on part of the site that Spring Park now covers. The manor was sold along with neighbouring manors of Baston in Hayes and Keston Southcort to Henry Heydon in 1469, and the estates remained in that family until 1580. The next owner was John Lennard, whose descendents owned the estate until 1928. In 1632 a map of the manor lands shows Spring Parke, Monkton Hide, Bourne Fielde and Weste Fielde. On the tithe survey of 1840 Spring Park Wood comprised 106.5 acres, with Richard Crittall who lived in West Wickham High Street occupying Little Kent Field as pasture and Kent Field as arable land, the fields formerly shown as West Field. The OS Map of 1861-8 shows Spring Park Wood as covering 107 acres. West Wickham Pumping Station was built in 1899 on the site, and there is a Keeper's Cottage in the southern part of the west side. The old Surrey / Kent boundary bank and ditch remains in woodland in the northern part of the west side, with a boundary stone erected in 1996 when the London LOOP was established, marking Corporation of the City of London, LB Bromley and LB Croydon.
In 1901 a house on the estate, Stramshall Lodge (built after 1894), was sold by H F Lennard to Arthur Gilbert Hordern together with 4.76 acres, the latter entering into an agreement 'not to erect any buildings except of the nature of those already built or being built' without Lennard's consent. From c1904 Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome rented Stramshall Lodge, and by 1913 it was owned by John Randall Thomas Nind, to whom Lennard sold a further 5 acres, stipulating he may only erect a Gardener's Cottage, greenhouses, summerhouses or sheds 'to be used and enjoyed with the adjoining residence'. On 11 June1924 an article in The Times reported that Sir Henry Lennard of Wickham Court, who was then chairman of the Town Planning committee of Bromley Rural District Council (the council having been formed in 1894), was offering the Corporation of London c.38 acres of woodland for preservation as public open space, noting that 'Spring-park Wood . . . is part of a great belt of picturesque oak and pine wood . . . possesses much scenic beauty, is famous as a resort of nightingales'. In May 1926 c.35 acres of the woodland was conveyed to the Corporation, all that remains of Spring Park Wood, and an additional 16 acres of the adjoining land formerly known as West Field was then conveyed in February 1927.
In 1927 Stramshall Lodge and its 9.6 acres of grounds became the first freehold property of the Invalid Children's Aid Association, founded in 1888. The ICAA had appealed for funds in 1925 'to establish and equip a home to accommodate children suffering from rheumatic heart trouble', and the Hospital and Home of Recovery for Heart Cases, shortened to The Heart Home, was opened by Lady Lennard on 6 October 1927. To accommodate its new function Stramshall Lodge required modernisation, and new buildings and open air wards were built, the facility providing around 80 beds.
In 1928 the Lennard Estate was finally sold. Between 1929-37 most of the houses in Woodland Way were built on 16.13 acres of former woodland north of the roadway, which was made up as a permanent road after 1935. In 1929 the Corporation agreed to give up frontage of their land in Kent Lane to make a 50ft wide road here. The adjacent Sparrows Den (q.v.) was purchased by Beckenham District Council in 1934/5, although public right of way to Spring Park Woods was not initially approved.
In 1948 the Heart Hospital, which had been damaged by a V1 bomb in 1944, was transferred to the Health Authorities under the 1948 NHS Act. In October 1957 Cheyne Children's Hospital, which had been founded in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea in 1875, moved to the former Heart Hospital in Woodland Way. The Cheyne Hospital eventually closed in 1989 and in 2003 permission was given to Laing Homes Ltd for houses to be built on the site. An ecological survey undertaken for Cheyne Hospital Trust in 2004 revealed the presence of active badger setts and Bromley Council agreed to acquire 3.6 acres of woodland for a nominal £1 purchase price on the basis of receiving from Laing Homes an Endowment of £25,000 against the cost of future maintenance. By 2006 houses in Cheyne Park Drive had been built. Part of the grounds had been sold to the Girl Guides for Heartsease Girl Guide Camp. Cheyne Wood is accessible from Spring Park and has remnants of the former landscaping of the garden, which comprised two levelled areas with ponds, one of the levelled areas having a rockery back, but these features now derelict and hidden in secondary woodland. Two of the derelict ponds have concrete floors and one has two small brick-bounded islands; they probably date from Nind's time, built between 1913-23.
Spring Park is so-called for the springs that rise among the trees and flow to the pond, restored in 1993 and 2004, which is on the approximate site of an old pool shown on OS maps of 1867 and 1894 although not marked on OS maps of 1904 and 1932. Spring Park now comprises 6.6 hectares of wildflower meadow and 14.2 hectares of mature broadleaf woodland, which has been managed as coppice woodland for centuries although commercial coppicing of sweet chestnut ceased in 1924. Today coppicing of sweet chestnut takes place on a 12-year rotation, and hazel coppicing on a 7-12 year rotation. Some areas of the woodland are mainly sweet chestnut coppice, with oak standards, small-leaved lime, some pollards, and ash, alder, birch, rowan, Scots pine, holly and blackthorn; hazel coppice is found in other areas. It still has oak trees planted at regular intervals to provide a crop of straight timber. Cheyne Wood is overgrown landscaped woodland, with sweet chestnut, holly and yew, and has a high yew hedge on top of an excavated bank crossing the original garden of Stramshall Lodge.
The meadow in Spring Park is used by a local rugby club for matches in the winter. To the north is Sparrows Den playing fields and to the south-west is Threehalfpenny Wood. The London Loop passes through Spring Park. A drinking fountain by Woodland Way commemorates Margaret Anderson McAndrew who lived at Wickham House from 1881-1935.
Paul Rainey, full survey of Spring Park and Cheyne Wood for LPGT Research Project, 2009: sources include A R H Baker, 'Some early Kentish estate maps', Archaeologia Cantiana 77, 1962; Beckenham Borough Council Minutes 1935, Beckenham District Council Minutes 1934-35, Bromley Rural District Council Minutes 1927-34, Corporation of London management plans, 2000-5; 2002-5, 2005-10; B F Davis, 'An early alteration of the boundary between Kent and Surrey' Archaeologia Cantiana 46, 1934; B F Davis, Field Names, West Wickham, Hayes and Keston compiled from Manor Records and other Documents, 1937, in Bromley Archives; Evidences of title, Wickham Court Estate [1870-1949], Bromley Archives; M Gregory, 'Wickham Court and the Heydons' Archaeologia Cantiana 78, 1963; M Gregory, 'The purchase of Wickham Court by the Lennards' Archaeologia Cantiana 79, 1964; Hasted, History and Topographic Survey of Kent, vol. 1, 1797; G W Himus and A Wood, 'A new section in the Lower London Tertiaries near West Wickham, Kent' in Proceedings Geologists' Association, 55, 1944; G Knowlden and J Walker, West Wickham. Past into Present', Hollies Publications, 1986; A L Leach, 'Geological and geographical notes on the Ravensbourne Valley' in Proceedings Geologists' Association, 27, 1916; 'New open space for London', The Times 11 June 1924; West Wickham Tithe Survey, 1840. 'Spring Park and West Wickham Common' Corporation of London leaflet (n.d.)