Meet your greens

There are a number of historic greens or commons within the village of Chaldon. The Tithe Map of 1825 listed five commons. Of these, one is still clearly visible as such, another less obvious, one is now completely built upon and existing only in a road name and two have been moved out of Chaldon!

Chaldon Common was the one large common in the village, now existing in name only, in Chaldon Common Road which runs on the west side of what had been over 70 acres of common land, and The Heath that runs east / west through it. The 1914 edition of the Ordnance Survey map shows a few houses on the common, but most of the land is still at that stage open and named Willey Heath or Chaldon Common. The major housing development there happened after the First World War.

Church Green iswas the triangle outside the church at the north end of Church Lane, and some of the wooded area around it, including either side of Didges or Ditches Lane as it heads north from the triangle. This green, now wooded, still exists as an open public space.

The ‘Green in Doctors Lane’ listed on the 1825 Tithe Map of Chaldon was a tiny common, either side of what is now the junction of Doctors Lane and Leazes Avenue. One half of it remains as a publicly accessible area of grass, scrub and trees, where the post box stands. Twenty or so years ago, it used to be a clearer area, looking more like a green or common than it does now.

We ‘lost’ two of our greens when the parish boundaries changed at the north and south of the village. The 1825 Tithe Map lists ‘Didges Lane Green’ north of the Church, at the top of the slope between the old chalk pits, where the hedge and tree line beside the lane is wide on the west side between the lane and the fields. The pond on the east side of the lane, now behind a hedge, is shown as part of the green. This area used to be in Chaldon, and now the west side of the road is in Reigate and Banstead, and the east side is in Coulsdon / Croydon.

The fifth common in Chaldon in 1825 was on Hilltop Lane. It was a narrow band of land running almost the full length of the lane, on the uphill side, from the steep bend at the top to the bend at the bottom. This land is no longer in Chaldon, and is part of Bletchingley.

Chaldon has two other areas of land that are publicly accessible, the large triangle bounded by Leazes Avenue and Six Brothers Field.

The village is well served by footpaths and bridleways, giving public access across land, but commons and greens, especially when they include a bench, give spaces where it is possible to stop, sit and enjoy the place, the natural world and the views.

How many public benches are there in Chaldon, and where are they? Are we right that there are nine? Have we missed any?

Two benches are on Church Green, as is the Novocentenary Village Sign, which was erected in 1986, as part of the celebrations of the founding of the church of St Peter and St Paul.

Pam Alexander, John Rawling, Mrs Rawling, Patrick Alexander, and Lindsey Narcissi (Chairman of Tandridge District Council) 5 May 1986, photo from the Bourne Society Village Histories 7 Chaldon.
Pam Alexander, John Rawling, Mrs Rawling, Patrick Alexander, and Lindsey Narcissi (Chairman of Tandridge District Council) 5 May 1986, photo from the Bourne Society Village Histories 7 Chaldon.

At the same time, the nearby pond was restored, in a project led by local residents, Gerald and Lesley Metz.

Gerald and Lesley Metz at the Chaldon Novocentenary Pond 1986
Gerald and Lesley Metz at the Chaldon Novocentenary Pond 1986, photo from the Bourne Society Village Histories 7 Chaldon.
The pond near the church, in a photo from 1926. Photo courtesy of Madeline Hutchins.
The pond in a photo from 1926. Photo courtesy of Madeline Hutchins.