Kings Wood

Kings Wood is in Sanderstead between Limpsfield Road and Kingswood lane. The wood was named following a misunderstanding, the small adjacent wood was owned by a Mr King, but in 1871 surveyors of an early ordnance survey map incorrectly called the larger wooded area after him and changed its name from Sanderstead Wood in the process. If you thought it was named after a Prince who proposed to his bride in the wood then you are sadly wide of the mark. Had he tried to go down on one knee recently his size nines might have disappeared down a large puddle!

Beware of horses and large puddles

It had been very wet before we visited, but please don’t let that put you off. Most of the paths were wide and usable thanks to the grid system that was used to design the wood and which is clearly displayed on markers throughout the wood and on the noticeboards as shown below.

The grid system ensured wide paths for the shooting of game and riding. The Keepers Cottage still exists but not for any gun sport, it is now a private dwelling. In the past it was part of the kennels where the parks department kept and trained their security dogs.

The route of Bridleway 155, the start of which is shown in the above picture, marks the boundary between Sanderstead and Selsdon. It is joined from the north by Kingswood Way and then down into Kingswood Lane. The wood is a part of Sanderstead while the houses are in Selsdon. To enable home owners to access their properties the rights through the bridleway are modified to allow their vehicles in addition to walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

This boundary also has historical importance as Kingswood Lane in the late 18th century linked Limpsfield Road to Old Farleigh Road. The route was used by troops to convey their equipment and later in the war years many trees were cut down by the army. A flying bomb landed in the wood and a left a crater that, despite the woodland regenerating, can be still be seen.

Close to the bomb site we come to the edge of the wood and an area that is now part of the Selsdon Park Hotel Golf course. In 1809 Selsdon Park, Selsdon Farm and Selsdon Woods was purchased by William Coles, but unfortunately a year later he went bankrupt and the property was sold to George Smith, an MP, and director of the East India Company. He turned the farm house into a mansion that would later become the hotel. He also re routed the Farleigh Road away from his property.

In the background you can see the top of Selsdon Park Hotel ( now renamed the De Vere Selsdon Estate Hotel).

Returning to the centre of the wood you will find the pond that was restored in 2002.

Kings Wood was next to land on Limpsfield Road that in 1960 was used to build Atwood Primary School. During excavations about 20 holes were discovered containing pottery, timber supports and flooring that dated back to around 200BC. This suggests an iron age settlement that had a route to Kings Wood. We made our way back to the main road with my assistant leading the way.

Near the road entrance acorns were in abundance on the woods floor.



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