Castle Cliffe Gardens
Exploring the gardens, you’ll find some sections of ancient walls.
Castle Cliffe Gardens once formed part of Guildford Castle and the bank at the top of the garden marks the position of the original outer wall. The present garden area was an extension added in Henry III’s time (1216-1272). Archaeological digs in the 1990’s revealed the foundations of many buildings. The ruined walls in the corner may well have belonged to The Lord Edward’s Chamber – a set of rooms for Henry III’s young son, later to be Edward I.
Digs in the 1990s found a 13th century vaulted cellar under Castle Cliffe Gardens.
On the road above Castle Cliffe gardens the right-hand of the two residential buildings is The Chestnuts. This is where Lewis Carroll routinely stayed with his sisters, and where he passed away. This is a private house, with no public access.
Beyond the end of Castle Cliffe Gardens you’ll find Racks Close, though this route doesn’t take you there. Racks Close is an old quarry where material was excavated for use in construction and repair of the castle and its walls, and more general building work. Under the rolling slopes of the park is a network of long-since closed tunnels where clunch was excavated. Suggestions that these tunnels were used to store wine or munitions, or formed part of a subterranean network of tunnels under Guildford have been robustly debunked.
There’s nothing sinister in the naming of Rack’s Close. It gets its names from the racks used to dry woollen garment after they had been dyed.
*** STOP ***
Crossing Castle Hill must be done with great care – being extremely mindful of traffic that you will not easily see. Please look and listen carefully before crossing.
Having looked around Castle Cliffe Gardens, turn your back to the entrance to the gardens, cross diagonally right over Castle Hill – towards a stone arch that’s flanked by four smaller arches. Go through the stone arch, and as you enter the grounds, go straight ahead to find Peaks Pond.