Godstone Hill


Tupwood Lane

Upwood Gorse. Philip Webb for Queen Victoria’s Dentist 1873. Vaguely Norman Shaw.

Morden Castle

Nineteenth century earlier park, on highest point of North Downs, little sham castle, cottage in 1967

Godstone Hill

A22 Before the motorways the most important roadway through Tandridge District was that through the gap in the North Downs north of Godstone which has evolved to the present A22. This is the old Lewes Road the ancient road into Sussex. It was turnpiked in 1718 and by the early 19th century it had become the first recognised London to Brighton road. Coaches used it during the 19th but a motor bus service connecting Brixton to Whyteleafe (Sundays only) was established in 1912

Godstone Hill mine. Godstone Hill was the largest of the known stone mines in the area and it had more than one entrance. This quarry is known as The Main Series' by local cavers. It was originally accessed through the chalk pit but now via a man-hole on the west side of the A22 from which there is usually a small trickle of water. It was worked by the pillar and stall method leaving substantial pillars of unworked stone to support the roof and a complex system of galleries remains together with discarded stone and the trimmings stacked between the pillars. There have been roof-falls and pillars have cracked and craters or crown holes on the surface indicate collapses below. There were railway systems associated with the pits . The earliest, known to have worked in 1861, used plates from the Croydon Merstham and Godstone Railway to allow horse-drawn trolleys to remove the stone. At the innermost ends the trolleys merely ran along ruts in the ground. Digging went northwards following the dip of the rock but northern- most area was often flooded, sometimes two thirds of the mine from the 1860s. There are springs inside this mine near the iron tramways and this water can only escape to the north because the Gault clay below blocks any escape to the south.   Quarrymen marked the levels of flood water in the mine 1843-1876 and this has been analysed but does not seem to have a relationship with flows of the Bourne. A 19th account reports a stag being lost amongst the flooded arches underground. In 1905 the mines may have had the same owner as Quarry Dean.   By 1993 the mine had been used by mushroom growers since the early 20th. They cleared the area and, lime-washed walls using railway sleepers as pit props.

Arch Mine.  The entrance to this underground quarry was originally through a brick arch at the bottom of a chalk pit, which once existed in this locality and constituted the quarry yard.  In the 1950s the pit was filled with pulverised fuel ash but access to the arch was retained by installing a deep shaft equipped with climbing rungs.  Later the shaft was filled with rubble and when it was unearthed by Croydon Caving Club all the rungs were found to be destroyed.  Today only properly equipped caving clubs have access. The entrance is to be found on the hillside to the west of the A22. The interior of Arch quarry resembles Godstone Hill but there are larger expanses of unsupported roof and the activities of the mushroom growers are much more evident. French or Belgian names, dating to 1903, have been found inscribed on the walls Mushroom growing has been practised in worked-out galleries in the Godstone Mines and underground quarries. Cultivation was started at the end of last century by (it is believed) French or Belgium growers. This ceased but a new business, Hardmass, was set up which did not survive the 1930s. Experiments to set up a modern business principally by Col. Knowle after WWII failed and Col. Knowle wrote an account of his experiences. The quarries were chosen principally because they offered cheap available space. The mushrooms were cultivated in long ridges of compost made from horse manure which was coated with half an inch of stone dust (casing) from the mines, Explorers of the Godstone quarries still find traces of the industry. These includes walls which were lime-washed to sterilise the environment, water pipes and watering cans, corrugated iron sheets to protect the beds from drips and remains of the ridge beds themselves. It is also apparent that the mine itself has been modified or tidied up in places by the mushroom growers

Carthorse Mine The entrance to Carthorse is through a small square steel door set in a cliff face near the present warehouses. It is zealously protected by the owner and access is restricted. Carthorse was used to store wine, articles from the Natural History Museum and possibly material from London Hospitals during WWII. Today the quarry remains in the rather neat condition it was rendered during the war and there are few signs of recent roof-falls. There is abundant evidence pertaining to its war-time uses and also suggestions that mushroom growing occurred. A narrow bricked-up air- shaft may relate to this activity. It has occasionally been found to have up to 0.4 m of water in the lowest north-western comer of the workings

Viewpoint. The panorama stretches from the hills around Tunbridge Wells in the east to Leith Hill in the west, with the South Downs rising in the distance. Below lies Bletchingley, with Nutfield to the right, and far away, slightly to the left, is Chanctonbury Ring on the Downs above Worthing.  To the left a ribbon of road climbs Tilburstow Hill from Godstone and right of this crest a square-cut break in the trees marks Windy Gap

Gravelley Hill

Bluebell Cottage.  Pilgrim's Fort aka Fosterdown Fort. In the late 1880s the French were considered to be the potential aggressor and a plan was drawn up to construct a system of stop lines along the North Downs to the Thames should the Royal Navy fail to prevent a landing. This led to the construction of mobilisation centres plus ammunition and trench digging tools – trenches only to be dug by volunteers in case of war. 13 centres were built between 1893 and 1902 but they looked like forts. Foster Down was a circular infantry redoubt with a rifle parapet on a rampart covering a V ditch with a fence at its bottom. It was on high ground with underground magazines. Outside was a barn-like structure for storage and a caretaker's cottage.  The caretakers were the only people who ever manned them and the whole scheme was abandoned in 1905. In World War I it was used as a detention centre and was then bought by a Croydon Alderman who gave it to the Borough as a World War I memorial. It was then used as a field centre for Croydon children – with no sign of any memorial in it. During World War II it was used as a store. Then in the late 1900s it was sold off privately.

Pilgrim's Way


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