Birchwood and Castle Hill Ruffetts
New Addington, eastern borough boundary from Kent Gate Way to Mickleham Way.
37.25 acres 15.18 hectares.
- Woodland and footpaths that are open to the public all the time
This area of woodland is made up of Birchwood and Castle Hill Ruffetts in Croydon and The Larches (and adjoining field) and Foxhill Shaw in Bromley.
The woodlands were once used for shooting and evidence for this can be seen in short paths running at right angles from the main path. Sportsmen stood in the broad main path while beaters drove the game towards them.
Birchwood was referred to in the Tithe Awards of 1837 and Castle Hill was a local name for the place where Headley Drive and Castle Hill Avenue now meet. Castle Hill Farm stood at the junction of Lodge Lane and Headley Drive on the site of the Fire Station. The woodland to the east of Headley Drive was known as Castle Hill Ruffs.
Castle Hill Farm was on the site of the manor house of Robert Aguillon who had licence to embattle his house at Addington in 1270. The fortified residence was apparently abandoned for a new house in 1400. Nothing remains of either property today.
There was a building in Birchwood near Kent Gate that was known as the Temple Lodge and it was suggested that it was connected by subterranean passages to Addington Palace and Wickham Court. The site was excavated by W.H. Mills the local historian in 1915.
Birchwood was purchased in 1952 as part of the Green Belt Scheme and is maintained by the Sport, Parks and Recreation Division of Cultural Services.