Corporation purchase in 1925

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

) WILD PARK: Moulsecoomb Wild Park was purchased by the corporation as part of the Moulsecoomb estate in February 1925. Over 200 acres are now leased as farm land, but the 90-acre park, apart from the playing fields in the valley, has been left as open downland and therefore in its wild state. It was formally opened by the mayor, Charles Teasdale, on 30 June 1925, an inauguration recorded on a commemorative plinth which was removed from the Victoria Gardens. An interesting nature trail starts at the steps adjacent to the pavilion, while the access road extends nearly half a mile up the valley known as Moulsecoomb Pit towards the summer dry ski-slope. Two young trees and a commemorative seat in the northern woodland by the pavilion mark the spot where the so-called ‘Wild Park Murders’ were committed on 9 October 1986, when two nine-year-old girls from North Moulsecoomb were brutally killed.

The ornamental area of about five acres alongside Lewes Road to the north is known simply as the Park or the Parkway, and was laid out in 1955 on the site of Woollard’s nursery. It received a Civic Trust Award in 1960, but some land was lost when the Lewes Road was ‘dualled’ in the late 1960s. The northern edge formed part of the county borough boundary from 1928 until 1952. {123,126}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • I’m curious to have information on that white, what appears to be some sort of , monument situated at the foot of the hill in the Wild Park, facing the main road between the Lewes Road arches and where the shops used to be at Barcombe Road. I never did know much about it and never bothered. Not so sure many others did either!

    By Ron Spicer (07/07/2008)
  • Having recently passed by the spot where that monument should be seen, I now realise that it’s hidden amongst the growth that has appeared over the years. I don’t suppose many know it is even there!

    By Ron Spicer (06/09/2008)
  • The horrific story behind the deaths of those two so obviously terrified little girls has no indication on the notice exhibited. One can only imagine the process of events leading up to the ending of their lives. However, the aftermath is also a tale of highly charged public emotion and police involvement. “Why oh why?” we may ask. Let us hope that the inhabitants of Brighton and Hove will never again have to note such tragic type of circumstances involving innocents of the city. I imagine the full tale is somewhere recorded to remind people of the possibilities in this sometimes extremely evil world.

    By Ron Spicer (25/10/2008)
  • As children my family used to visit Wild Park. The area around the monument had white slabs and the growth was always kept tidy so the monument could be seen. Even the monument was clean. It had all the info about Wild Park written on it. It would be nice to see that area clean again.

    By A Nicol (06/11/2008)
  • I agree Nicol. Sometimes there’s too much haste in the ending of things – and the coverage can only help in serving that end. Whilst driving past the park the other day we remarked on the way it had altered almost out of recognition from our childhood days. Trees and bushes now everywhere.

    By Ron Spicer (23/11/2008)
  • I believe this is the Wild Park I used to go to from Hollingbury. We used to walk from the house in Rotherfield accross the open land then cross the Ditchling Road, cross a small area of golf course and follow the track down through the wild area to the park at the bottom. This whole area we all called The Giants Foot because from the top looking down it was the shape of a huge foot. Our dog loved it too. He’d run in circles round and round the bushes in search of rabbits. Never seemed to catch one but had a hell lot of fun trying.

    By Sandra (10/12/2008)
  • I remember the Wild Park clearly from my childhood (late 50s, early 60s). My father was one for long walks, and would walk my sister and me from our home in Prince’s Crescent out along Lewes Road, into the Wild Park, up over the far end of the Giant’s Foot, across the golf course into Hollingbury Park and back home down Ditchling Road: a fair hike for under-elevens. In those days the Park was better kept than the last time I saw it (about five years ago). The asphalted road ran all the way round the Foot in a complete loop, rather than terminating by the pavilion. There was also an exciting footpath around the crest of the hills surrounding the Foot, parallelling the road . A favourite occupation was blackberrying from the many brambles on the slopes, and there was one superb patch of raspberry canes in a thicket on the southern slope that I only ever found once and could never relocate!

    By Len Liechti (22/01/2009)
  • Regarding the Wild Park. I have some very fond memories of when I was growing up and spending time there. The cafe was run by some good friends of mine and there was a fruit stall outside run by Wiggy.
    Also, I always remember there being a park warden there and, as someone else has said, the road/path used to go all the way round. I also drove past recently and was shocked at how the monument was covered with bushes, it is so sad. I have a few photos of myself and brothers next to that monument and it’s really sad that it has been left to hide away.

    By Eleanor Kelly of Ringmer Road, 86 (08/02/2009)
  • I drove past that Wild Park statue on Saturday, 28th February, and noted that the surrounding area has been cleared with a grass area round it and some daffodils clearly showing; all as if it had been cleared, turfed and blooming bulbs planted.
    It demands a visit by us in the near future. Congratulations to those responsible. Can it be that this site gains the attention of Brighton City councillors?!

    By Ron Spicer (03/03/2009)
  • I have so many memories of Wild Park. In the winter if there had been snow we would borrow trays and use them for sledges. In the summer my brother and I watched cricket and sometimes as a teenager I played cricket with friends. We watched my Dad running in a Home Guard Sports Day there, he took off his shirt and ran in his trousers with braces, vest and ordinary shoes, smoking a cigar. Walking back from the park with a boyfriend he proposed to me and a year later we were married. So I have some wonderful memories of Wild Park.

    By Brenda (08/08/2009)
  • It would be interesting to know of your surname Brenda. Who knows, it just might be that some of us would link up even further … !

    By Ron Spicer (30/08/2009)
  • We are a newly formed group specifically for the benefit of the environment and community. We meet monthly with residents, visitors, Park Rangers, Councillors, Police, Council workers etc. Our current project is restoring the Monument to its former glory. Please contact us to join or find out more. All welcome.

    By Friends of Wild Park (06/10/2009)
  • My grandparents (Dick & Edith Bean) lived opposite the park at 72 Barcombe Road. He was a keen bowls player and I remember him playing on the Bowling Green; it had a great playing surface and a cosy club house. There was a second Bowling Green closer to Lewes Road that I think was later converted to a Putting Green.

    By Martyn Brown (18/11/2009)
  • Used to play football nearly every Sunday in the park with all the boys from around Chailey Road. That was in the early/mid 60’s. Great days.

    By Russell Webb (10/02/2011)
  • We loved the park when we lived in Moulsecoomb, we picked blackberries in where we called ‘ Nelson’s Hat’ and walked miles from the pavilion to the ‘Roman Camp’ situated at the top of the hill at the back of the park. We lived at 66 Barcombe Road (with a Mrs Smith) and our names were then Gloria and Valerie Houdton.

    By Gloria Hayward (27/08/2011)
  • I am the great-grandson of Frank Woollard, after whom Woollard’s Field is named. I believe my grandfather, Gordon, was an instructor in the East Brighton Home Guard and I am trying to find information on the activities that he and his platoon (does anybody know their names?) undertook during WW2 particularly in and around Woollard’s Nursery. Additionally, after he died in 1969, in addition to various firearms, ammunition and explosives that we found in his shed (and was removed by the Bomb Disposal Squad), we also found equipment that was issued to the Auxiliary Units – Operations. If anybody knows the unpublished names of any local AU members (his platoon?) that information would also be most welcome. Best wishes.
    [Nick – Have you seen this photo on this site? Editor]

    By Nick Woollard (11/02/2012)
  • Does anybody remebber the riding stables called the ‘Ponderosa’? It was run by a Romany man called Terry Sargent up on the far left hand side of the Park. I cannot find any evidence of it now but it was a fantastic place to go as a child in the mid to late ’60s.

    By Janice Barrett (23/02/2012)
  • Does any one remember the Hodgkinson family at Chailey Road – David, Lesilie, Sheila & Janet? All of of us used to play over in the Wild Park all day as children, sliding down the hills opposite the main road on old lino and tea trays. Families I remember: the Jacksons, the Webbs, the Donegans, the Emerys and a whole lot more. Also we used to go to Stanmer Park – tadpoled at the church pond and then picked bluebells and tied them in bunches to a pole and sold them to our neighbours. Also Mrs Edmonds who used to make and sell toffee apples with kindling stuck through them. Such happy days.

    By Dave Hodgkinson (30/04/2012)
  • Yes I remember the riding stables. We would go up there and as you approached it the dogs would come barking at the gate.  I never went in there but the girls who used to work there would take the horses out in the evening. I can remember walking across the fields from the stables to Woodside as this was a shot cut and the girls on the horses would have a race.

    By Carly Bonner (23/09/2012)
  • Last week I had to lead a walk from Coldean Library as part of the Summer in the City Library Walks programme. Although I live in Hollingbury I rarely visit Wild Park, so was very pleasantly surprised by how nice the area was… until I walked through the woods at the back of the former Woolards Nursery parallel to the Lewes Road. It was a sea of litter, not unexpected as there were several obvious childrens’ ‘dens’! But children do not dump mattresses or rolls of carpet, kitchen units or broken sheet glass. I rang City Clean who said they would come out and clear the large elements. To his credit the area Park Ranger contacted me and said he would arrange a serious litter clearance. (Well done Dominic Franklin!)

    By Geoffrey Mead (25/09/2012)
  • A sign of the times, Geoffrey. I just wonder if that litter dumping has anything to do with the Travellers who fairly regularly occupy the grass area adjacent to the main road next to that wooded part. Actually, the spot you mention was one of the main entry points into the orchard but those who did so had to work their way through a fair amount of growing bushes and saplings before reaching the fruit trees and often would come across a man working the ground who would never chase them but instead would loudly shout and make as if to do so. The resulted fright and desperate plunging through the growth with cuts and scratches to legs as well as the tearing of trousers to escape was a temporary palpitating lesson quickly forgotten when the next attempt at scrumping would be made.

    By Ron Spicer (07/10/2012)
  • I used to work at the riding stables with Sharon and Chrissy Boxall, Jill who married Terry. Loved it – never forget the good times.

    By Shirley Grace Jennings (18/10/2012)
  • Looking back over my childhood and wondering why there has never been what we would have called the swing park situated in the Wild park and also Stanmer park , taking into account the the surrounding estates and the amount of children living there then and now, and the fact that familys who had/have little money have to walk into Lewes rd for the nearest “Swing park” ,(Saunders) Stanmer Park has enough space for such to be added for the local children maybe not so with the Wild park.I wonder what the Local people think of this ?

    By Marion Bell ,Ne Long (11/08/2013)
  • I too remember the Ponderosa as I worked and lived there in 1967/8 before we moved on to Peacehaven.
    My particular Pony was called Cochise !! Terry, the owner, liked to be called Shanon and I was Timugen!!
    It was a fantastic place with wonderful Summer weather most of the time(selective memories!)
    We used to provide the rides at the Summer Carnival at Preston Park too.
    Terry was a typical gypsy and a lot of fun. In fact, everyone who went on pony treks from there always enjoyed themselves.

    By Chris Robinson (05/07/2021)

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