ADDINGTON HILLS is a park in Upper Shirley ,
England . It is
managed by the
London Borough of Croydon . It was part of the old
parish of Addington before the suburb of Shirley was developed in the
1930s. The site consists largely of woodland on a gravel bed, with
London's largest area of heathland at its heart. It is a Site of
Metropolitan Importance . In the mid-18th century, it was a noted
cricket venue used by the then-prominent Addington
Cricket Club .
It is a peaceful area with many pathways close to central
There is a viewpoint with fine views across
Croydon and across to
north London, including Docklands and Parliament Hill . It is served
Coombe Lane tram stop on
Tramlink route 3 . The park covers an area
of 130 acres (53 ha). The
London Loop path runs through the park. The
park is fully accessible at all times.
Addington Hills and neighbouring
Croham Hurst to the west and Shirley
Hills to the east form part of a chain of popular open spaces in
Croydon. The seasonal changes of the colourful heather, birch, oak and
pine and the variety of birds and other wildlife and the bracing
situation on top of the plateau attract visitors to the area at all
times of the year.
* 2 Facilities
* 3 Geology and topography
* 4 The site and its history
* 5 Wildlife
* 6 Habitats
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links
The first definite mention of
Addington Hills in a cricket connection
is a 1745 match there on Thursday, 23 May between Addington and London
. Little about the match is known except that Addington won. The
venue was used for important matches on at least four occasions
between 1745 and 1752, a period which coincided with Addington Cricket
Club having one of the strongest teams in
England during the careers
Tom Faulkner , Joe Harris , John Harris , George Jackson and
Durling . The last important match known to have been played there was
Addington v Dartford on 12 August 1752.
Addington Hills cricket ground
Addington Hills facilities include:
* Car parking - off Shirley Hills Road and Oaks Road, at the
junction with Coombe Lane
London Loop path
* Chinese restaurant
* Horse rides
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY
Addington Hills reaches 460 feet (140 m) above sea level on a plateau
of Blackheath Bed pebbles, which has been colonized by heather with
scattered groups of pines and mixed plantations. The plateau drops
sharply to the north, exposing the pebbles at the end of the gullies.
To the north-west the plateau has been broken into by a number of
steep valleys which are covered with birch to the west and oak to the
east. Below the Blackheath pebbles an outcrop of less impervious
Woolwich Beds was marked by a line of springs; these have disappeared,
possibly due to a lowering of the water table . Addington Hills
Coombe Park on its north, and
Coombe Wood on its south.
THE SITE AND ITS HISTORY
The area was originally called the hill of Pripledeane or Prible
Dean, a name meaning "Gravel Valley" that came from the Middle English
words prebel ("gravel") and dene ("valley"). The land was acquired in
four parts over a 45-year period. In 1874 the
Croydon Board of Health
purchased the first area following a public meeting; the lower area
towards Shirley was added in 1903; the birch wood from Oaks Road to
Coombe Lane was a gift from Frank Lloyd of
Coombe Park Estate (after
whom the nearby Lloyd Park was named), and finally the small pine
woods in the south-east corner were added in 1919 bringing the site to
its current size and forming the largest public open space in Croydon
at the time.
In 1963 a viewing platform was provided by Alderman Basil Monk as a
permanent commemoration of Croydon's 1960 Millennary Year. The
platform, which is north-west of the restaurant, is at the top of
steeply sloping ground and provides extensive views over
towards London. A low wall around the platform is engraved with
directional lines and inscriptions indicating the main view points,
Shooters Hill ,
Epping Forest ,
Fulham , the Town Hall and
skyscrapers of Croydon, and on a clear day the towers of Windsor
Castle . The nearby
Shirley Windmill can also be seen.
Addington Reservoir on the southern side of the Hills is the only
area that is fenced off and not open to the public. The reservoir was
built in 1888 and the Valve House was initially open to the public
with refreshments being served from the ground floor and a residence
above. An outbreak of typhoid in 1937 was traced to the reservoir and
the cafe was quickly closed and the area fenced off.
Below the reservoir on the Coombe Road frontage was once Broadcombe
Cottage, which was part of the
Coombe Park Estate. Broadcombe was the
old name for the tract of land alongside Oaks Road at the foot of
Addington Hills. Also in this vicinity was the Lamb Inn, according to
tradition the site of a fierce affray between smugglers and revenue
The heathland areas are dominated by heather and gorse , with some
bilberry and goldenrod . Drier spots are indicated by the occurrence
of bell heather . Fine-leaved fescues , wavy hair-grass and purple
moor-grass dominate the acid grassland areas with a mix of wood sage ,
heath bedstraw and other typical species.
Marsh violet and hard fern
London rarities) occur in the damper areas.
Burrowing bees and wasps occur in the bare patches of soil and the
bushy heathers and acid-loving grasses provide home to a wide range of
insects, spiders and other invertebrates, each well adapted to the
warm, dry conditions at ground level.
The invertebrate fauna plays an important part in supporting a range
of birds and reptiles – and all benefit from the varied mosaic of
open and scrubland habitats. In open areas, common lizards and
slowworms thrive. Green woodpeckers may be seen in the woods and on
the heath, and goldcrests among the woodland edges and in the gorse.
The northern area of woodland is by far the oldest, in particular the
very old oak pollards near Oaks Road. Other wooded areas are
comparatively recent, and the small pine plantations near the southern
boundary were only established during the mid-19th century.
Until the 1920s, there were only a few scattered oak, pine and birch
on the hills, which were then almost entirely covered in heather. Now
there is far more extensive tree cover, and heather is limited to the
slopes and ridges where it tolerates the harsh conditions provided by
the very dry and acidic poor soil.
* List of Parks and Open Spaces in
* ^ ACS (1982). A. Guide to First-Class
Cricket Matches Played in
the British Isles. Nottingham: ACS. p. 21.
* ^ Ashley-Cooper, F. S. (1900). At the Sign of the Wicket: Cricket
Cricket magazine. p. 36.
* ^ Buckley, G. B. (1935). Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket.
Cotterell. p. 30.
* ^ i.e mainly rolled chalk flints, see Outlines of the geology of
England and Wales, William Daniel Conybeare
* ^ Mills, A.D. (2010). A Dictionary of
London Place-Names. Oxford
University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780199566785 .
* ^ A B C Adapted from
London Biodiversity Partnership / London's
Heathland Heritage /
Croydon Council information board near the
Addington Hills car park.
* ^ A B Taken from
London Heathland Heritage website
Archived June 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine