West Horsley Place: An historic estate without barriers

West Horsley Place: An historic estate without barriers

Group of young people sat around a campfire in a wood
A group of young people engage in outdoor activities. West Horsley Place

National Lottery Grants for Heritage – £10,000 to £250,000

Clandon & Horsley
Mary Roxburghe Trust
Having never been open to the public before, West Horsely Place provides a brand-new heritage offer created in collaboration with local communities.

West Horsley Place is an extraordinary 600-year-old Grade I listed house set within a 380-acre estate. It is undergoing significant restoration to transform access to the heritage site for audiences. Opening to the public for the first time gave the project team an unprecedented opportunity to develop a truly inclusive heritage offer in partnership with the local community.  

The project team aimed to engage with as many different people as possible to ensure the heritage offer was relevant and meaningful to them. They worked closely with local organisations including Action for Carers, Disability Arts Surrey and West Horsley Youth Council. The team created new activities, told new stories and made decisions about the future of West Horsley Place involving their local community. 

Project highlights included: 

  • Engaging 120 local school children in Community Archaeology week.
  • Creating youth-led activities through the Our Past, Our Future initiative.
  • Over 250 people attended the first BioBiltz nature event where 280 species were recorded, including 22 rare species and eight protected species in the UK.
  • Delivering six themed mini conferences for 300 representatives from the heritage sector, youth and community forums and project partners.
  • Registering over 375 volunteers and setting up a buddy system to enable younger people to volunteer.

The two-year programme also enabled a wide range of people to experience how heritage can improve health and wellbeing. Activities included outdoor wellbeing courses for those in need, such as carers. 

West Horsley Place will be a source of learning and inspiration, a much-needed catalyst in helping people to grow and flourish. This will be a 21st-century estate.

Peter Pearce, Director of West Horsley Place Trust (formally known as Mary Roxburghe Trust)

From the learnings of the project, West Horsley Place will develop an innovative and highly impactful programme of activity that meets diverse audiences' needs.

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