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History and heritage

Historic landscape

Mighty Oaks

Jubilee Oak on the High Street was planted c.1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Many of the large oaks in Crawley were there long before the town was built. 

New Towns Commission

The New Towns Commission planted many unusual trees around Crawley as the town was being built. You can see a Paulownia or foxglove tree at Furnace Green Parade

There is also a huge Catalpa bignoides or Indian Bean Tree in St. Mary's Drive by the railway bridge. 

Manor Royal has a long line of upright Hornbeams along Manor Royal Road. 

Sussex Giants

One of the biggest trees in Sussex is a huge pollarded lime on the Worth Way, east of Worth Church. It measures 23m tall (75 feet) and 252cm (26 feet) in diameter at the girth. 

You can see great collections of unusual trees, such as giant redwoods, at sites such as Broadfield House, Tilgate, Worth Park and Goffs Park.

Tilgate Park

The tree collection at Tilgate includes 10 different species of Oak. Tilgate Park is home one of the oldest trees in Crawley which is the oak beside the path which runs from the car park to the walled garden. 

It is estimated that this tree is 250 years old. The crown of the tree is 38m (125 feet) wide. 

The 1987 storm

The area south of the main lawn in Tilgate Park was destroyed by the 1987 storm and was later replanted with young native trees. However nature took over and the area regenerated naturally, doing better than the trees that we planted.

Goffs Park

Goffs Park is Crawley’s oldest park with evidence of a settlement dating back to at least the 1300s.

Goffs Manor, situated in the south-eastern corner of the park, dates back to c1450. It was a farmhouse until the 1930s but before its conversion to a public house, the house was owned by the actor Peter Vaughan.

Over the road from the manor is Goffs Park House, built in 1882. In the mid-1900s the house was acquired by Crawley Urban District Council for use as council offices.

Goffs Park Estate was built upon during the 1950s, leaving over 20 hectares of public open space.

Worth Park

Worth Park covers eight hectares and once formed part of the Forest of Worth, which stretched from Slaugham to Worth.

The Worth Park Estate was purchased in c1816, the house and garden were later remodelled. The park was turned into a high status Victorian pleasure garden and landscape, constructed by James Pulham and Son.

In 1915 the estate was broken up and sold. The council bought the house and gardens in 1963. The house was subsequently demolished and a block of flats were built. 

Memorial Gardens

After World War I, the local community raised the funds to purchase the land for the Memorial Gardens in memory of those who lost their lives during the Great War. The epitaph gates at the top end of the park list those members of the community. 

Southgate Park

Originally a large part of the Tilgate Estate, the playing fields were once farm land and worked by Malthouse Farm.

Hawth Woods, located within the park, date back to the 16th century when it was used for sourcing charcoal and iron ore. The wood still contains many pits associated with the mining of the ore. 

Tilgate Park

Tilgate Park was once home to a country estate and mansion known as the Tilgate Estate. Tilgate Lake was thought to have been constructed in the early 17th century for the iron industry. 

The park was purchased by the council in 1966, when renovation work started so it could be opened to the public, which it did in 1978.

The Walled Garden is one of the remaining features of the Tilgate Estate, with the original walls still in place.

The Nature Centre was created in 1966 when interest in the duckling breeding for the lakes arose. The council started developing land, bought from the Forest Commission, to create a public 18-hole golf course which was opened in 1982.