Inventory Site Record

Sparrows Den

Sparrows Den (Bromley)

Brief Description

Sparrows Den was managed as pasture and arable land from at least 1632, when a survey showed it as 'Bourne feilde' crossed by a stream, the Wickham Bourne. In 1934 permission was given by the Ministry of Health for 31 acres of land to be purchased for recreational purposes by Bromley Rural District Council. Since then it became known as Sparrows Den. Apart from 1940-51 when it was ploughed for wartime food, it has been used as playing fields for rugby and football, with a miniature golf course added in 1964/6.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Sparrow's Den Playing Fields
Site location:
Addington Road/Corkscrew Hill, West Wickham
Type of site:
Public Open Land
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Café, car park; toilets. Rugby and soccer pitches, cricket nets. Pitch & putt course. Sports pavilion also used for other activities.
Public transport:
Rail: Hayes then bus. Tramlink: Addington Village. Bus: 119, 314, 353

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2009
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Sparrows Den was managed as pasture and arable land from at least 1632, when a survey showed it as 'Bourne feilde' crossed by a stream. There appears to have been a Roman road across the site and during works by Thames Water in 2005 to reduce flooding risk a number of Roman coins were found along the course of the Bourne. By 1840 the Tithe Survey records pasture and arable land owned by Revd Sir Charles Francis Farnaby that was occupied by Richard Crittall, referred to as Lower Bourn Field, Upper Bourn Field and Upper Moon Hide, the latter now the site of the pitch and putt course. The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1871 showed the site as common land. In 1899 a shaft was sunk for West Wickham Pumping Station, with more borings and headings in 1923. In 1934 permission was given by the Ministry of Health for 31 acres of land to be purchased for recreation purposes by Bromley Rural District Council since when it became known as Sparrows Den. In July 1935, the site now coming under Beckenham Borough Council, the agricultural tenant was willing to give up occupancy of the land at the end of September the same year, and a surveyor was authorised to provide 3 or 4 football pitches with goal posts, which the clubs using them were to remove after their matches, and clubs were also to provide the nets. An old pavilion was offered to the Council by a local builder, free of charge, presumably that shown on the 1936-8 OS map in the area now the pitch & putt course. In February 1936 the local residents association requested that a path be provided through Sparrows Den from Corkscrew Hill to Spring Park (q.v.).

Between 1940-51 the land was grazed and ploughed for wartime food, and in late 1951 the Minutes of Beckenham Borough Council record details of a comprehensive scheme to prepare the ground for football, netball, cricket, with pavilion, car parking as well as planting of trees and shrubs. It was restored to use as a sports field in 1953/4 when the pavilions were built. It continued to be restricted to access by those playing organised games, although requests for a public right of way continued to be made to the authorities. In 1964/6 a miniature golf course was laid out. In 1973 a 2-storey brick pavilion was built and the rugby field was managed by Old Beccehamians Rugby Club, which had been established in 1933 by former pupils of Beckenham County School for Boys. In 2001 the Bourne flow led to the rugby pitches being flooded for 6 months.

Today Sparrows Den consists of a linear grassed area fenced from the road. The area nearest to the road is made over for sports pitches (rugby). To the north-west is a pitch and putt course and the site is bordered on the west and south-west by Spring Park (q.v.).

Sources consulted:

LPGT Volunteer Research by Paul Rainey, 2009: see folder for Bibliography

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ387651 (538607,165084)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Bromley
Site management:
Leisure Services; Pavilion contracted to Old Beccehamians Rugby Club
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Archaeological Significance, Roman
Other LA designation:

Page Top