Examples of our past projects

Orchards Project — Phase Two
Education and Community

Following the planting and development of our orchard in spring 2014, school children and community groups had the chance to visit the orchard to find out about apples and to take part in art workshops.


Pupils from five schools from the ages of 4 to 16 took part in activities on visits during the autumn term 2014. They worked with an artist to create a giant pear sculpture from willow and to make smaller willow pieces which were joined together to create plant-like structures. On a second visit the pupils looked at autumn seeds and carried out some apple tasting to decide which varieties they enjoyed most.


A group of secondary pupils developed ideas for an interpretation panel which could be placed in the orchard to help visitors learn more about its history and restoration.


Community groups supporting families in Merstham also took part in the project by visiting the park for activities during the October half term.


This Project was support by Shanly Foundation, Councillor Kelly’s allocation of the Councillors Community Award , The Netherby Trust, Councillor Gardener’s allocation of the Councillors Community Award, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Councillor Newstead allocation of the Councillors Community Award, Kimberly-Clark, The Wates Family Enterprise Trust.

The Walled Gardens & Orchard

Wild Things Play Trail (Kids Need Mud Project)

A new exciting play trail has been created around the Pleasure Gardens area of the park. Constructed mainly from natural materials from around the park itself, the trail includes a log scramble, a musical tree, a fairy tree, a seesaw and various climbing structures. The aim is for children to engage with the environment in a different way:


«Scramble while you ramble, wonder while you wander, run wild and let your thoughts
run free»


All of the features were created by volunteers.


Click here to download the Wild Things Leaflet


The play trail was created by our dedicated Gatton Park volunteers, Richmond Fellowship, The Colebrook Centre Canon UK, Barclays Corporate, Employability, ESRA, Reigate & Banstead Volunteer service, Woodfield School and the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.


This project was supported by The Bellinger Donnay Charitable Trust, Councillor Grant-Duff’s Allocation of the Councillors Community Awards and Councillor Newstead’s Allocation of the Councillors Community Award

The Parterre

Orchard Planting

During 2013 an area of Gatton Park (recently used as a sand school for horse riding) was transformed into an orchard and outdoor education and learning space. In years past this area was part of an extensive kitchen garden and orchard area. We created a new orchard using old Surrey apple varieties and those which were known to have been grown at Gatton in the past. The orchard has a contemporary feel by the incorporation of fruit trees trained to a variety of different shapes to add interest for our visitors and develop the educational use of the park. The planting was carried out by local community groups working with vulnerable adults.


In the autumn of 2014 a schools project will focus on the orchard and apples, linked to the topic of harvest. The pupils from 5 local schools will also be working with an artist to create fruit sculptures which will be placed in the orchard. A local secondary school will be involved in designing an interpretation panel for the orchard. During half term we will have two local groups supporting young people and families in the area, who will also have a chance to visits for activities.


This project is supported by Community Foundation for Surrey’s Orchid Environmental Trust Fund, The Shanly Foundation, The Netherby Trust, Councillor Newstead’s Allocation of the Councillors Community Award, Councillor Kelly’s Allocation of the Councillors Community Award, Councillor Gardener’s Allocation of the Councillors Community Award, Kimberley Clark, Sutton and East Surrey Water and Wates Family Enterprise Trust

London Schools 2013

This project aims to work with ten inner city primary schools bringing 300-350 school children on educational visits to Gatton to experience learning outside the classroom in the beautiful surroundings and open countryside offered by Gatton Park, and to take ideas back to their home schools to develop further.


Teachers will be able to choose one subject from our well established and very popular environmental curriculum enrichment programme. The project will be aimed at those primary schools where children are considered most disadvantaged and who are most ‘in need’. The year groups and therefore age of the children will be determined by each school as the classes they think will most benefit.


The project will target schools from the southern Inner London Boroughs; Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham.


This project is supported by Mark Loveday Charitable Trust, Four Winds Trust, CLA Charitable Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company.

Pulhamite Pond Restoration 2012/13

Work on this project has started this winter, to coincide with the centenary of its original completion and will be finished in the spring of 2013. Its principal aim is to restore this wonderful example of James Pulham’s work back to its former glory and make it more accessible for visitors.


The pulhamite pond is the centrepiece of the imposing Edwardian rock garden that James Pulham created for Sir Jeremiah Colman in 1912. This garden was the first part of the estate that the volunteers began to restore in 1996 and this work will finish off the restoration of this much loved area.


Our aims are, firstly, to make the pulhamite structurally sound and stop any further deterioration, secondly, to line the pond with clay to make it water tight and re-lay the paths around the pond and finally, to plant up the pulhamite bog beds. This work will also create a magical space for education, theatre and recreation.


This project has been supported by The Pilgrim Trust, Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, Surrey Gardens Trust, the Sir Jeremiah Colman Gift Trust, Councillor Rodger Newstead

The Parterre

Explore and Discover

The Explore and Discover project welcomed fifteen local groups supporting disadvantaged children and their families, providing themwith a day of fun learning together at Gatton Park during the summer of 2012 – winter 2013. Under the guidance of our experienced staff and volunteers they explored the park and enjoyed geo-caching or a treasure hunt as a fun tool to learn about the natural heritage, environment and importance of Gatton Park.


A diverse range of groups benefited from the project including Surrey Deaf Children’s Society, women and children from the local Women’s Refuge, local families on low-incomes and young people with autism.


This project is supported by Community Foundation for Surrey through the Dancer Fund, The Blakemore Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity & Bellinger Donnay Charitable Trust.

Parterre Restoration Project 2010/12

This project, which was completed in December 2012, had two key aims, firstly to restore the Victorian parterre to its former glory and secondly to improve our volunteering and community engagement.


The first phase of this project involved the removal of the existing tennis courts, the reinstatement of the Victorian parterre layout and the restoration of the urns that run along the southern edge. The transformation to the area has been spectacular, creating a beautiful space and opening up the views across the park.


Our Volunteer and Community Project Officer greatly improved the number of volunteers who access the park and enhanced their experience while with us. She has also increased access to the park for groups that previously found it difficult to access Gatton.


A copy of the final project report can be found here


There are a number of different ways you can access the restored Parterre, see our visiting Gatton Park and events pages for more details.


This project was supported by: Heritage Lottery Fund, Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, Surrey Gardens Trust, the Sir Jeremiah Colman Trust, Reigate Rotary, Councillor Brunt & Alfred Hunsworth

The Parterre

The Parterre work

The Parterre work

Pleasure Gardens

This project involved physical restoration, habitat creation and an education project based in the Edwardian Pleasure Gardens area of the park. The project started in the summer of 2011 and continued into the following spring.


Restoration — The project centred on the restoration of the Edwardian Pleasure Gardens at Gatton Park, a key area of the park which links together other restored spaces to provide year-round access to the major features of the estate. The Pleasure Gardens originally comprised landscaped groups of specimen trees and lawns with meandering footpaths. We have reinstated a number of the paths and removed the encroaching vegetation to reveal existing specimen trees. The grassland areas are being restored establishing wildflower meadows between the paths. Some new specimen trees have also be planted.


The new paths have enabled disabled visitors to access parts of the parkland previously difficult to reach.


Education & family activities — We used the restoration work as an opportunity to run a unique project with a number of local groups supporting disadvantaged children and their families providing them with ten days of family learning activities during the 2011summer holidays. Under the guidance of our experienced staff and volunteers they explored the natural history and landscape.


Included amongst these groups were young carers and children who have suffered domestic abuse who might not have opportunities for family learning; With assistance from their support groups we were able to give them a great day out which included opportunities for family learning.


The project is supported by Lottery Awards for All, Community Foundation for Surrey and Hamamelis Trust.

The Parterre

The Parterre work

Nature Tots

Through the summer holidays of 2011 we ran 12 sessions (6 days with two repeated sessions on each day) for children aged 2 – 4 years old. The aim of these activities was to introduce nature to young children and to have lots of fun outdoors – encouraging them to continue to take an interest as they grow older. We also wanted to provide parents with information and ideas to continue to involve their children in learning about wildlife.


Each activity had a wildlife theme. The children took part in an art activity and a walk to find out more about the animals, wherever possible involving observing animals and plants. At the end of the session the parents could take away a pack of information with other activities and information about organisations that protect wildlife.


The project was supported by The Cobb Charity and run in partnership with Stepping Stones Children’s Centre for Earlswood and Reigate.





Explore and Create Merstham


The Explore and Create project will work with five local groups from Merstham supporting disadvantaged children and their families, providing them with a day of learning together at Gatton Park during 2011/12. Under the guidance of our experienced staff and volunteers they will explore the natural heritage, environment and importance of Gatton Park and work with an artist to create artworks.


This will be a chance for the families to share educational fun activities that will be tailored to suit the needs of individual groups while at the same time creating pieces of artwork for others to enjoy.


This project is supported by Merstham Millennium Trust, Kimberly-Clark and Sutton and East Surrey Water

London Schools Project


This project, which took place during the 2009/10 academic year, brought 20 London schools classes on educational visits to experience the beautiful surroundings and open countryside offered by Gatton Park. They chose one subject from our well established and very popular environmental education programme, covering science, geography, literacy or team building skills.


The project was aimed at those schools who are most ‘in need’, identified by the Local Education Authorities as having the highest percentage of free school meals, or those working towards certain targets.


The project targeted schools from the southern Inner London Boroughs; Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham.


The project was supported by JPMorgan Chase, CLA Charitable Trust , Garfield Weston Foundation and the Goldsmiths Company.

Bugs, Beetles and Beasties


A cross-curricular activity for up to children with special combining natural history and science, literacy and art.


Pupils from two local special schools took part in an activity to explore the world of invertebrates. They were involved in practical hands-on activities to find woodland and aquatic invertebrates and discover their adaptations and lifecycles.


The children then used creative writing, storytelling and art activities to imagine life on the scale of a bug.


The final part of the project involved working with an artist to create giant willow and metal sculptures for permanent display at Gatton Park.


This project was sponsored by Bellinger Donnay Charitable Trust, Ernest Cook Trust, The Evan Cornish Foundation and The Merstham Millennium Trust.


Explore and Create


In the summer of 2009 we welcomed 8 visits by groups that support families in Surrey. The groups, such as Young Carers and Homestart, took part in art activities and games in the Park. They also worked with a local artist to create artworks which were then displayed in Gatton Hall on one of our Open Days. The parents and children had a great time and enjoyed learning out in the gardens and natural environment of Gatton. The project was supported by The Netherby Trust and St James’s Place.


Open for Families


At all of our Park Open Days in 2009 we provided activities for families and children to enjoy as they walk around. This project was supported by Surrey County Council through the Local Committee and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council through the councillors’ awards scheme.


Discover Gatton


Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Countryside Agency, this partnership project between Surrey Hills, Gatton Trust and National Trust created a new circular walk route along existing footpaths on the historic parkland. Access was improved, waymarking put in place and new interpretation boards have been displayed to help visitors follow the route.


As part of the project Gatton Park Education ran two workshops with school pupils, an artist and a poet. These ideas and illustrations were used to create a circular walk self-guided trail for families and teachers to use with their pupils.


To download the family trail leaflet as a PDF please click here.

To down load the teachers’ notes as a PDF please click here.

Or alternatively contact the Education Manager for a printed copy.


Ready, Steady, Recycle IV


Our very successful recycling programme for local schools was run again in the autumn term of 2007. Classes from Merstham and Furzefield Schools visited the local Biffa Landfill Site to experience first-hand what happens to our rubbish.


They also took part in art activities and other sessions at school and at Gatton Park looking at composting, materials and learning how to make recycled paper. The project was supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation.


Inspired by Japan


This project linked the history of our Japanese Garden with art and stories from Japan. Pupils from local schools enjoyed listening to Japanese folk stories told by Ragnhild A M?rch and worked with artist Karen Lucas to create textile hangings for their classrooms using a Japanese dying technique. Supported by the Local Heritage Initiative and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.


The Magic Button Tree


Over winter two new trees grew at Gatton Park! These were willow sculptures created by local school children with special needs. They worked on a cross-curricular project that linked natural history, science, storytelling and art that was all linked to the idea of Magic Button Trees. They created stories that took place in a mythical world where the trees grew and they designed the final sculptures with inspiration from Gatton’s trees. The project was supported by The Ironmongers’ Company and HBOS Community Foundation.


Reigate Fort — Drawing on History


Ernest Cook Trust supported this project which worked with one group of schoolchildren, which visited nearby Reigate Fort to discover its history through drawing activities.

Woodland Trails


Access to Serpentine Wood has been improved by new paths and bridges, allowing year round access for school groups. This work has been made possible by support from The John Spedan Lewis Foundation.


Get Creative!

This project involved school visits and family learning sessions to help in the development of activities for families to use on our regular Open Days to the park. A poet and an artist worked with our education team to create exciting activities which encourage children to explore their creativity with inspiration from the park. This project has been supported by Awards for All and The Netherby Trust.

Ecoclub II – Wildlife Clubs

Thanks to the support of the Local Network Fund we have been able to run after school clubs in Merstham Primary and Furzefield Primary on wildlife topics during the last academic year. The children met once a week to find out about animals and plants and to explore their school grounds.


At the end of the project a teachers’ pack was printed (thank to the support of Legal & General and the Reigate & Banstead Councillors’ Award Scheme) with ideas for other schools to use in their own clubs. If your school (or other children’s group) would like a copy please contact the Education Manager.

The Historic Landscape of Gatton Park


This project was co-ordinated by Surrey Gardens Trust. It was supported by the Local Heritage Initiative and Surrey Hills. Volunteers developed an archive that includes all of the information that we have about the history of the park (including the areas now owned by Royal Alexandra and Albert School and National Trust) and presented it in accessible forms for others to use. This included workshops for children and adults, photo albums for people to enjoy on open days and a website of archive documents and photographs.