The Oaks was one of the great sporting country houses of 18th century England. Originally leased by John Burgoyne, son in law of the 11th Earl of Derby and the General whose surrender at Saratoga has achieved the ignominy of the one who lost the American colonies. From Burgoyne, the lease passed on to the Derby family (first to the 11th Earl and then his grandson and successor, the 12th Earl of Derby who bought the estate in 1788 in whose ownership it remained until his death in 1834.) It was here at The Oaks that the Earl of Derby and his friends devised the famous Oaks and the Derby horse races run at Epsom each year, which bears the name of the house and the peerage.The races were first run in 1779 and 1780 respectively. The estate was acquired by Carshalton and Urban District Council in 1933. The then Council retained a large part of the park as a public open space but demolished the house between 1956 and 1960 leaving only bake house, stables and some outbuildings.
Address: Oaks Park, Croydon Lane, Carshalton, Surrey SM7 3BA
Opening Times: The park is open at all times, however the vehicle barriers are only open between 07.30am until dusk daily.
Oaks Park is a mixture of landscapes, including formal horticulture, natural chalk meadows, woodlands and informal parkland.
The park is beloved by dog walkers and people interested in walking for recreation. There are a number of interesting walks based in Oaks Park and many that pass through the park:
- Section 6 of the London Loop.: The London Outer Orbital Path "LOOP" is a 150 miles walking route around Greater London, divided into 24 sections. Section 6 covers the section from Coulsdon South to Banstead Downs.
- Sutton Countryside Walk: This is a popular and well used walk of about five miles. From Oaks Park,the walk crosses the lavender fields adjacent to Oaks Farm, passes through farmland, small holdings and woodland enabling walkers to discover the wildlife as well as enjoy the open air.
- Oaks Park Nature Trail: A two mile stroll through the formal gardens, meadowland and woodland of Oaks Park.
- The Downlands Circular Walks
- The Wandle Oaks Link is a 2.2 mile walk from The Grove Park to Oaks Park.
In association with Mole Valley Orienteering the council have installed an Orienteering Course.
In the centre of the golf course and accessed via a path, is a mixture of mown grass areas and woodland. The site can be booked by community groups through the Councils Leisure Link Service on 0208 8770 5000.
Oaks Park Studios are open to the public each year. The artists get the opportunity to showcase their work and the public can ask questions and are encouraged to take part.
The Friends of Oaks Park
Formally constituted in 1997 and recognised by the Council, the Friends are a voluntary group elected by users of the park to represent their interests. The group works in partnership with the Council to promote the park and to improve the amenities. From time to time, the group organises working parties of volunteers to undertake specific projects including tree planting and spring bulb planting and bench maintenance.
The Friends secured public realm funding from the Carshalton and Clockhouse Local Committee for a history project to mark out the foundation of the Earl of Derby's house and for five interpretation boards of the history of the park. In 2009 the local archaeology society (Carshalton and District History and Archaeology Society) carried out a limited excavation to locate the key walls of the house as part of Sutton Councils Take Part, Take Pride week initiative. This resulted in the marking out of the foundation in chalk. The occasion was marked by a visit to the site by the 19th Earl of Derby in September 2009, who planted a commemorative oak tree in the park and donated one of the Derby colours, which is on display in the Honeywood Museum in Carshalton. The interpretation boards have been erected in the park.
For information on membership of the Friends and how to join, please visit the Friends' website http://www.friendsofoakspark.org.uk/
This very popular facility within Oaks Park offers hot and cold meals, snacks, cold drinks and ices. The cafe is a welcome stop for walkers on the various routes that pass through the site.
Cafe contact number: 020 8642 7374
Toilets including a disabled toilet
Area: 33.57 Hectares
How to get to Oaks Park
By bicycle: National Cycle Route number 20
By bus: Buses S4, 154, & 166 travel near to the park. Click here for bus route locator.
By train: Carshalton Beeches Station (2.8km/1.75 miles)
By Car: There are two entrance into the park - South entrance off of Croydon Lane (A2022) and North entrance off of Woodmansterne Road (B278)
Disabled Parking: 2 bays adjacent to the stable yard (artists' studio)