‘A perfect way to spend Sunday morning’- walks, talks and Trail activities

Since the Grand Opening we have been delighted to see many visitors exploring and enjoying The Trail activities such as seasonal trails, walks and talks. We have also been pleased at the useful feedback received so far that will help us improve the Trail as the project continues for its second year – a year full of more fun events and activities!

Halloween Hunt

Throughout October half-term this year we ran a Halloween hunt. Nine spooky skeletons crept into the gardens of the Deepdene Trail. Families hunted them down and used the letters they held to discover the name of one of Deepdene’s treasures. Many visitors then headed back to Dorking Halls Café to collect Halloween treats.

“Fun Halloween trail for kids, lots of informative boards about the history of the site, and space for kids to explore and enjoy the woodland and wonderful views from the Terrace. Full credit to all the local volunteers who have been involved in creating, promoting and maintaining the Trail!”

Visitor to the Trail

Dorking Museum guided walks

Dorking Museum have taken on delivery of fantastic guided walks of The Trail since the opening in September. Visitors can book on an advertised public tour or book a private group tour. The dedicated volunteer walk leaders guide visitors from The Trail entrance through the Gardens, up the Terrace and for an exclusive look inside the Hope Mausoleum illustrating the walk with stories from Deepdene’s past.

Commonly fully booked, the next tour will visit the Deepdene on January 8th 2017 – book your place now!

museum-guided-walks
Dorking Museum volunteer leading visitors into the Hope Mausoleum.

 

Talks

We have been spreading the word about The Trail through talks to groups and societies such as the Friends of Holmwood Common, public talks hosted generously by Dorking Library, and inspiring others to give talks based on Deepdene’s history.

img_20161122_173630
Talk at Dorking Library

 

Walk for Health Christmas Special

27th November 2016 we embarked on a seasonal celebration of healthy walks on the Deepdene Trail with Mole Valley’s Walk for Health Coordinator Estelle Holmes. Families joined us for a frosty Sunday morning walk of the Trail with a few facts thrown in by Activity Coordinator Gail and a chance for the little ones to try out the Trail’s new Winter Woodland Bingo. It was a great success ending with delightful drinks, mince pies and craft activities for the kids at Dorking Golf Club.

“A perfect way to spend Sunday morning and even the weather cooperated!  Gail was so knowledgeable it added another dimension to a trail we had already explored a little and she balanced giving information in an interesting way with the need to keep on the move. The refreshments at the Golf Club were a perfect finish to the morning. . . with lovely activities for the younger ones to enjoy while mums and dads had a few minutes of peace.”

Visitor to the Trail

Why not try our Winter Woodland Bingo for yourself? Visit our website to download the bingo sheet and have a go!

Advertisements

The Deepdene Trail is now open!

Saturday 10th September we opened The Deepdene Trail to the public for the very first time on our Grand Opening Day!

Due to open at 10am, eager visitors, dressed for the predicted rain were at the entrance looking for maps and guidance by 9.15am. Our amazing volunteers who had given up their Saturday to help out were on hand to welcome them as we put finishing touches on our decorations.

entranceVisitors’ enthusiasm throughout the day kept smiles on all our faces as we ignored the rain and laid on music, face painting, guided tours and story telling.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Costumed actors brightened up the Gardens and local artists recreated the views from the Terrace.grotto-view

The young winners of our Children’s Art competition ‘My Dream Garden’ were on hand to accept their prizes from our partners, the Dorking District Fine Arts Society, as their works of art went on display at Dorking Halls.

Over 200 visitors slogged through the storm to visit the freshly restored Hope Mausoleum specially open for the event and admire the Thomas Hope inspired settee on display inside.

inside-mausoleumOver 500 people arrived on the Trail during the day to discover and explore.  They were greeted by our fabulous, enthusiastic volunteers – if you are one of them a huge thanks to you!

The day was a huge success, feedback has been enormously positive, The Trail is getting good media coverage and many more activities are planned for the coming year.

The Partner’s Private View on Friday was attended by over 120 people who listened to Lord Fellowes of West Stafford describe Thomas Hope’s accomplishments and declared the Trail open by revealing our new Coade stone lion in the centre of the Deepdene estate Gardens.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you haven’t visited The Trail yet then do see www.deepdenetrail.co.uk , download the new App or pop by the Council Offices to pick up a map.

Children’s ‘My dream garden’ art competition launched

Design your own Dream Garden

This week we launched our children’s art competition ‘My Dream Garden’ in partnership with Junior Youth Voice. We have challenged the young people of Mole Valley to help us celebrate the opening of The Deepdene Trail in Dorking on 10th September by designing their own Dream Garden.

There have been gardens in Deepdene for over 300 years and each owner dreamt up their own new styles for the garden. One famous owner, Thomas Hope, added a Temple and statues of Egyptian Gods and lions. We look forward to seeing what exciting new designs our competitors come up with.

 

 

Judging, Winners & Prizes

Entries will be judged by a panel including representatives from Youth Voice, Mole Valley District council and a local artist.

There will be 3 winners chosen from each age group: 4-7yrs, 8-11yrs and 12-16yrs.

A special prize will be given to the School who sends in the most entries.

All 9 winners and a representative from the winning school will be invited to attend the Grand Opening of The Deepdene Trail on 10th September 2016 at Deepdene Gardens to receive their prizes.

Individual prizes have been sponsored by Dorking Decorative Arts Society as part of the 2016 Heritage Open Days celebration (www.heritageopendays.org.uk ). The 9 winning individual entries will also go on display at Dorking Halls from the 10th of September . They will also be featured online at www.deepdenetrail.co.uk .

How to enter

Do you know a budding artist? Then encourage them to draw/paint/create a collage or create on their computer their own Dream Garden design on an A4 or A3 sheet of paper.

Post or drop off the entry to:

My Dream Garden: The Deepdene Trail, Mole Valley District Council, Pippbrook, Reigate Road, Dorking, Rh4 1SJ Or email it to: thedeepdenetrail@molevalley.gov.uk

All entries must be received by 7th June 2016, please only enter one drawing.

Don’t forget to fill in your details: NAME, AGE, SCHOOL, ADDRESS, EMAIL, PHONE

For full T’s & C’s see our website http://www.deepdenetrail.co.uk or contact us at thedeepdenetrail@molevalley.gov.uk

This competition is run by The Deepdene Trail in partnership with Junior Youth Voice and Youth Voice. The Deepdene Trail is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.kids art1

 

Locals explore work on the new Deepdene Trail

Our second set of ‘behind the scenes’ walks for visitors revealed the recent changes to the Deepdene Trail as we prepare for it to open in September 2016. The walks were illustrated by stories from the past provided by Project Manager, Alexander Bagnall and Activity Plan Coordinator, Gail Mackintosh.

Both walks in February this year started with our visitors walking from the centre of town out across the Cotmandene to the Deepdene Gardens. Illustrated along the way with images and tales of the Deepdene’s owners’, Charles Howard and the hero of our project – Thomas Hope.

tour 23.2.16 7b

New Paths

The visitors were amongst the first to use the newly laid paths into the Gardens, currently still closed to the public without a project guide, as work vehicles continue to use the site. The location of the entrance mirrors the entrance way shown in early paintings of the Estate in the 18th century and the driveway used in the Hotel era of the House in the 1920s-30s.

tour 23.2.16 3
Visitors using the newly laid paths into Deepdene Gardens – not yet open to the public

Visitors were excited to hear about the new works about to start to repair the Grotto and Embattled Tower that feature prominently in the Gardens.

 

tour 28.2.16 2b
Visitors learn about the different phases of the Grotto’s history 

 

The Terrace

Our adventurous walkers were then first to use the new trail just opened up by our amazing volunteers – the Friends of Deepdene. The Friends had incredibly only taken a few weeks to reopen ancient routes up the hill to join the existing paths to the Deepdene Terrace. The views from the top were fantastic, one way looking down the flight of flint steps into the Gardens and the other taking in the fantastic panoramas of Chart Park.

tour 23.2.16 10b
Standing on the site of the now lost Temple on Deepdene Terrace.

The Mausoleum

 

From there an exciting scramble took us down to the Deepdene Trail’s hidden gem – the Hope Mausoleum. Visitors discovered the sad tale behind its construction in memory of Thomas Hope’s young son who died, aged only 7 and that Thomas Hope is himself laid to rest inside Mausoleum’s vaulted chamber.

The Mausoleum conservation work is almost complete with and the restored Mausoleum will soon be revealed.

Many thanks to our visitors for supporting the project and to our expert stone masons PAYE for letting us onto site whilst they worked.

We hope to arrange a special visit to the Mausoleum once it is complete. You can keep up to date by Signing up to the Deepdene Trail Newsletter and keeping an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.

Our call for memories

In November 2015 we began a ‘Call for Memories’ about the Deepdene Estate, Dorking. We aim to gather stories and memories about the Deepdene Estate. These memories will form part of our records and interpretation of the ever-changing life of this great landscape.

frosty view

News so far

We have already been contacted by former Southern Rail employees who used to work in the house in the 50’s and 60’s, locals who lived in the new housing that spread across the Estate and even descendants of those who worked for one of the House’s last owners before it became a hotel.

These generous individuals have told us little snippets of their experiences of Deepdene – how there was a Southern Railway Home Guard made up from workers at Deepdene in World War Two, how a large computer was transported in pieces up to Deepdene House and how the large marble fireplaces were the only heating for the House in the 1950s.

As well as these stories shared in passing and via email we will also be recording memories as part of an Oral History Project in partnership with Dorking Museum.

The project

brass
Brass plate from Deepdene House fireplace, the House was demolished in 1969.

An initial meeting for those who had a story to tell or wanted to learn how to help collect memories from others was held at Dorking Museum in late December last year. We were delighted to meet locals with memories to share and potential interviewees. A particular highlight was the arrival of a visitor with an actual piece of Deepdene House, a brass plate from one of Deepdene House’s fireplaces!

 

We were delighted that a group of volunteers signed up to learn about collecting, archiving and interpreting Oral Histories. These volunteers will be trained up by an expert from the Oral History Society in interviewing, editing and transcription techniques. The mix of audio and video recordings will then be archived with the support of Dorking Museum to preserve these memories for the future. A mix of the memories and stories will also be displayed in a variety of ways as part of the project including on the new project website (coming soon!) and at events such as our launch in September 2016.

Look out for updates on our progress in our quest for memories over the next few months.

museum event
Visitors to Dorking Museum at our evening meeting December, 2015.

 

 

Visitors take a look behind the scenes

 “I was surprised at how much there was to see and hadn’t really appreciated [The Deepdene Estate’s] significance nationally.”
Visitor Feedback

November walks

Throughout November we ran our first series of behind the scenes walks for visitors showing them our plans for the new Deepdene Trail that explores the Deepdene Estate and will open in September 2016. The walks were illustrated by stories from the past provided by Project Manager, Alexander Bagnall.

Five walks were held: two shorter walks exploring the paths, old and new, of Deepdene Gardens and three ‘Hard Hat Tours’ that extended the walk to take in the mysteries being uncovered at the Hope Mausoleum.

nov 2015 walks blog (3)
Alex leading the group in Deepdene Gardens

 

The shorter walks were run with Mole Valley District Council employees and Kuoni Travel employees, the ‘Hard Hat Tours’ were open to the public. We had a fantastic response, the ‘Hard Hat Tours’ were fully booked and we have a waiting list for the next set to be announced in the New Year.

 “The enthusiasm of Alex was wonderful and I was sorry his talk wasn’t longer.”
Visitor Feedback

Cotmandene

The walks all took in the panoramas from the heart of the Cotmandene that in the past would have revealed to visitors their first view of the Deepdene Estate. Visitors also discovered the remnants of the 19th century kitchen gardens of the great Deepdene Estate still surviving on the Cotmandene.

Deepdene Gardens

Moving into the Deepdene Gardens we took visitors on a scramble through the new entrance to the gardens revealed by the hard work of the Friends of Deepdene volunteers. Over the next 10 months this will be transformed into an accessible entrance way.

After trekking through the tree and rhododendron-lined paths the route opened out to reveal the Deepdene Gardens. Alex delighted the visitors with stories about the garden’s, and estate’s, historical owners especially Regency arbiter of taste, Thomas Hope. He also highlighted how the landscape has changed through time from its earliest creators into the era of World War Two.

nov 2015 walks blog (2)nov 2015 walks blog (1)

Hope Mausoleum

For the adventurous walkers on our ‘Hard Hat tours’ we then descended down to Chart Park and the Deepdene Trail’s hidden gem – the Hope Mausoleum. Visitors discovered the sad tale behind its construction in memory of Thomas Hope’s young son who died, aged only 7 and that Thomas Hope is himself laid to rest inside Mausoleum’s vaulted chamber.

The Mausoleum was not at its best as we are in the process of conserving and reconstructing the damaged architecture. The works aim to be completed by February 2016 and the Mausoleum will be a key feature of the new Deepdene Trail when it opens in 2016.

nov 2015 walks blog (4)

“A buried treasure. . .”
Visitor Feedback

Look out for more walks next year!

Many thanks to our visitors, staff and Kuoni Travel for supporting the project and to our partners including Dorking Golf Club who also supplied our visitors with welcome refreshments.

Another set of behind the scenes tours will be announced in the New Year so keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates.

 What surprised you the most about the Deepdene Estate? – “That it existed!”