Kingston’s second largest park
Manor Park, at 25 acres, is one of the Kingston’s largest parks. It’s located between Old Malden and St. James Ward, about 1/3 mile from the A3 going south on the Malden Road.
Ancient hunting grounds
The park at one stage formed part of the larger Worcester Park Estate – a royal hunting ground used by Henry VIII. It latterly became farmland, and prior to being a park was a privately owned sports ground owned by Columbia Records. David Rymill, a local historian, has kindly provided us with a lively history of the park in recent times.
There are extensive sporting facilities, boasting 4 football pitches (2 x junior, 2 x senior), a cricket pitch, a bowls club, tennis courts and a tennis academy.
There are 2 adult football pitches and a cricket, along with changing facilities, which can be hired out through Kingston Council. The bowls club is a friendly place, and you’re always welcome to come and give it a try on Saturday mornings. The tennis club has 4 x public courts, which can be hired for a small hourly fee, and a junior academy for budding Andy Murray’s. An outdoor gym is a popular recent addition to the sports and fitness facilities.
Next to the car park is the Manor Park Hall, which is managed by the Shiraz Mirza Community Trust. The hall is available to the public for hire. It is well equipped, with its own kitchen, and can accommodate up to 250 people. Perfect for weddings and family functions.
The hall houses a weekly exercise class, a choir, a Friday prayer session, many public meetings and various party type events.
Playground and picnic area
There is a large playground catering for children up to 8 years. The Friends of Manor Park is currently engaged in a major project to revamp these facilities. Next to the playground is a picnic area, which gets very well used in summer.
Call of nature
There are public toilets – which are actually much nicer than you’d expect from a park. They are kept locked out of hours.
Quite a lot of the natural space is covered in an attractive wooded copse. This creates a great habitat for birds, insects, small mammals, and even frogs. (Read more about the willdlife). We actually have a seasonal pond near the Malden Road/Railway Bridge end of the park – see if you can find it. In spring it is often teaming with tadpoles. In the rear south-eastern corner is a very natural looking area of parkland with trees and longer grasses breaking up the space.
There is an area of privately owned land fenced off in the corner of the park by the railway bridge, which is now looking rather shabby. We are working hard with Kingston Council to regain use of this land as part of the park.
The Friends of Manor Park runs regular conservation events to help maintain and enhance the natural space. We recently planted 2,500 bluebells to create our new Bluebell Copse.
The park is extensively used by dog walkers. Come rain or shine, daytime or night you’ll always find someone walking their beloved pet.
There are some pathways around the perimeter of the park – a recent addition – which Cllr Howard Jones, (sadly no longer with us) campaigned hard for. The Friends of Manor Park would like to continue the good work of Cllr Howard, by increasing and improving the pathway network in the park. We feel it is an essential element in the accessibility and general use of the park.
Do come and enjoy the park. If you’d like to get involved in the work to protect and enhance our lovely park, do get in contact, sign up as a Friend, or keep an eye for one our Friends of Manor Park conservation events.