Beautiful local nature reserve, Jubilee Country Park, with Bishop’s hunting ground, farmland, golf course and WWII Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Site.
Tour at 10.30am (Max 40 per tour) Duration: 90 mins
Walk/tour, Public realm/landscape
Discover the hidden history of beautiful Local Nature Reserve Jubilee Country Park on a walk led by Jennie Randall, local historian and author, from the Friends of Jubilee Country Park. Hear fascinating, often humorous, tales of past times.
The earliest recorded landowner of the area which now forms Jubilee Country Park was the Bishop of Rochester in the Domesday Book of 1086. Successive Bishops held Thornet Wood (except during the Commonwealth) until 1845, leasing it out to tenants to generate income. The Bishop retained rights to fell timber and hunt.
In 1780 Bickley Hall was built nearby for the Wells family, wealthy shipbuilders from Deptford, who rented and sublet fields for arable or pasture until 1841 when John Wells was declared bankrupt. In 1861 the Bickley Park Estate was purchased by property and railway developer George Wythes.
In 1914 Wythes Estates Ltd began construction of the West Kent Golf Course which remained there until 1940 when the clubhouse was destroyed by a parachute mine. During World War II, the area was used as a heavy anti-aircraft gun site.
After derequisitioning in 1960, planning applications to build houses on the area were fiercely opposed by the local community. In 1977 the land was bought by Bromley Council, named to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and opened to the public in 1981.
Friends of Jubilee Country Park
If you’re interested in discovering even more about Jubilee Country Park’s history, Jennie Randall has written two books,
Jubilee Country Park – Its History and Heritage (£5) and Not Forgotten – The Crooked Billet (£4). These will be on sale at the end of the walk or by contacting 07840 542261. All profits go to the Friends of Jubilee Country Park.
In 2003, the Friends of Jubilee Country Park was set up. Our aim is to protect and conserve the park for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Join us on guided walks, at talks and at community and social events. You may also like to get involved with wildlife surveys or join our weekly conservation work party. It’s great fun and no previous experience is required.