Hope Springs Eternal: the Deepdene Trail project has restored and reconnected the historic Deepdene estate with the Deepdene Trail and engaged the local community through activities, volunteer work and digital interpretation.

The project was led by Mole Valley District Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the fantastic volunteers the Friends of Deepdene, and a range of partners including;

Heritage Lottery Fund

In March 2015, the project was awarded £1,038,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out the plans to repair the Estate, create the Trail and engage the local community.  This followed a first round development grant of £123,700 awarded in March 2013. Generous grants were also awarded from the Wolfson Foundation, Pilgrim Trust, Monument Trust and the Leche Trust.

Project Highlights

The project opened up a landscape that was thought lost after the Deepdene House was destroyed and the estate was broken up in the 20th Century.  Visitors can now step back in time in the Deepdene Gardens to find out about the Estate’s grand owners, especially Regency designer Thomas Hope. They could venture South to Chart Park and uncover the tragic tale that led to the Hope Mausoleum, or take the long way round and trail through woodland to hidden Bronze Age Barrows and dramatic castle ruins.

There are plenty of paths to explore, perfect for a short walk or a grand adventure.

The project has so far engaged the local community through a large number of events, activities, training opportunities, mini-projects (e.g. Oral History) and education activities.

A historical Virtual Tour has been created. This digital environment allows users to explore a full recreation of the 1825 landscape and its buildings and features. Available to view at Dorking Museum. There is also an exciting family-friendly App developed to guide people around the site, downloadable from the App Store or via Google Play.

Restored and revived, this publicly-owned open space is on the doorstep of Dorking’s 17,000 residents, and able to welcome visitors from all over the world.

Thomas Hope’s Mausoleum has been restored, historic paths have been reopened and the Deepdene Gardens at the heart of the Estate have been revived. These features are landmarks on the walks around the parkland serving as a physical reminder of Dorking’s famous historic resident and linking townspeople to their local environment, actively encouraging them to explore on foot, promoting healthier lifestyles.

Take a look behind the scenes page to find out more.