Preston Park, Brighton


Preston Park, Brighton

Preston Park is a park near Preston Village in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, England. It is north of the centre of Brighton, and served by the nearby Preston Park railway station.

It is one of Brighton's largest parks, with 63 acres of lawns, formal borders and rose gardens, bowling greens, tennis courts and a small pond. It was bought in 1883 by Brighton Corporation (then Brighton's local authority) from Mr William Bennett-Stanford who owned the Preston Manor estate and had begun to develop the park as enclosed pleasure grounds. The costs of the purchase (£50,000) and initial layout (£22,868) were funded with a bequest of £70,000 from a local bookmaker, William Edmund Davies in 1879. The park was formally declared open on 8 November 1884.

The park remains green throughout the summer because of a non-drinkable underground water source, known as the Wellesbourne, which runs below Preston Park, London Road and The Level. The source dates back many centuries and is often referred to as Brighton's lost river. In 2000, after torrential rain, it rose up and caused considerable damage.

Opposite the park, across the main London Road, is "The Rockery"—the largest municipal rock garden in Britain [http://tourism.brighton.co.uk/attractions/attractiondet.asp?Attraction=19&attractiontype=Parks+%26+Gardens&mainheading=] [http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/category_id__817_path__0p115p203p.aspx] , built up the side of a steep railway embankment. Various pathways and streams wind through its grounds. It was originally a wooded area which had been purchased along with the land used for the main park; it was landscaped into its present form in 1935. Originally, the area was known as "The Rookery", referring to the tall trees in the former wood which were frequented by rooks. Over time, the name was modified into "The Rockery".

The surrounding neighbourhood is also widely referred to as "Preston Park". It is distinct from the further outlying Preston Village.

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