Lowndes Park History
The first record of the land where the park is located is its ownership by the Sifrewasts in the 12th Century. However, one feature still standing in the park today is far older. At the top of the park is a scheduled ancient monument known locally as the Rolling Pin. It is believed that this is a Bronze Age bowl barrow, and an important indication of prehistoric settlement in the Chess Valley.
The Whichcotes acquired the land in the 17th Century and created the avenue (now known as the Rue de Houilles in honour of Houilles in France, with which Chesham is twinned) by planting a double row of elm trees. A mansion house, Bury Hill House, once stood in the area where the Guides Hall is now located.
William Lowndes bought the land in 1802, demolished Bury Hill House and added the land to the grounds of The Bury. The park was then let out for grazing. In 1845 the elm avenue was felled and replaced with a single row of elms. The avenue was gravelled in the 1890s.
During World War One, the park was used for training soldiers in bridge construction across Skottowes Pond.
In the 1920s, the lower park was let by the Lowndes family to Chesham Urban District Council as a public recreation ground. The pond was given concrete edges and the island created.
The avenue elms were felled in 1950 as they were thought to have Dutch Elm Disease. Most of the trees, however, were found to have been healthy. In 1953, the Lowndes family donated the park to the Urban District Council.
Grazing of cattle only ended in the park in 1959. During the 1970s, the pond and island were refurbished and a water staircase created. The park was dedicated a Public Open Space in 1972 and named Lowndes Park.
From the 1980s to the present day, the facilities currently found in the park were added, including the skateboard park, toilets and play equipment.
To help you get the most out of the park, Chesham Town Council have produced a leaflet highlighting some of the interesting features of the park and its history. You can download the leaflet here (PDF, 370 KB) or pick up a paper copy at the Town Hall.
News & Events
The next Friends of Lowndes Park working party will be on Sunday 8 December 2013. We meet at 10am in the Archena Garden which is next to the Temperance Hall in Church Street.
Apple Planting Day - Chesham Community Orchard – 10am onwards at the top of the park.
The orchard is going well and now we need your help. We have 24 new trees to plant including 9 Apple, 5 Plum, 5 Cherries, 3 Pear and 2 crab apples, so we have a lot to do. This is where you come in, we need as many people as possible to come along and help plant the trees, so do make sure you put the date and time in your diary. Please click on the title to find out more about this event and others.
We have had reports of a pike in Skottowes Pond. We haven’t seen it, have you? Please report any sightings to us via the Contact Us page.
Volunteers from the Friends of Lowndes Park have dug up the old cricket wicket and have made it ready for sowing wildflower seed. We hope that this will make for a colourful and interesting display during the coming year.