Necessary Tree Surgery

This week it’s been necessary to remove 3 Ash trees from the small wooded area next to the East Court entrance at the bottom of Blackwell Hollow. The Ash trees were suffering from a disease known as “Ash dieback” and were slowly succumbing. Ash dieback is predicated to affect 80% of the Ash trees in the UK, radically changing our landscape as it progresses.

In an ideal world we would leave such affected trees to die, and fall to the ground naturally, and in doing so, as they rotted down, they would provide a valuable habitat for insects, birds and mammals. These 3 trees were close to the pavement and road though, and would in time have become hazard – hence the need to fell and remove them.

It’s always sad to lose any tree, but the open space created by their removal will quickly become filled by other species.

Mixed blessings at East Court

Photo: Dick Sweatman

The fields and woods at East Court have been a great place for East Grinstead residents to enjoy during the Covid-19 lockdown. The wide open spaces have enabled people to socially distance whilst still appreciating the scenery and fresh air.

Unfortunately though there has been a significant amount of rubbish left there by visitors, and often, rather than taking it home with them, people have piled it high by the bins, or just left it where they’ve been sitting. Mid Sussex DC have done their best to clear up the rubbish, but they, of course, are operating with Covid restrictions as well. Big thanks to some publicly-minded citizens who have taken it upon themselves to do a bit of clearing up.

Let’s all hope that this public health crisis is over soon and the grounds at East Court get a chance to recover.

Grants 2020

Every year our Charity makes grant awards to local organisations that we believe align with our Objectives. Applications are invited through Mid Sussex Voluntary Action, and are considered by our Grants sub-committee before being ratified by our Board of Directors.

In 2020, 18 grants have been made totalling £20,180:

EGMEL Grants 2020

2nd EG RainbowsHelp with running costs£485
4th EG GuidesNew Mess Tent£1,000
6th EG RainbowsHelp with running costs£500
6th EG Scouts6 Tents, Fridge & Cooler for group camp£1,000
Chequer MeadReplace garden furniture£800
EG Assoc. for Mental HealthCreative expressions arts group, employ artist, provide materials£250
EG Football ClubImprove pitch drainage£1,000
EG MuseumCosts of craft materials£1,000
FegansIncrease availability of counselling hours for local children£500
Felbridge & Sunnyside CCReplace the cricket wicket£3,000
FoodbankLaptops etc to support voucher system to support safe distancing£1,700
GloYouth, Jubilee CentrePurchase new camera etc for online interaction£500
Halsford Park SchoolUpgrade playground equipment, benches, play equipment£1,500
Hindleap WarrenReplace UPVC frames to Hindleap walkway£1,000
Imberhorne SchoolTo purchase books for their library£750
Nature Nuture SussexTo cover admission costs, to enable a reduced fee to users£250
Sackville School3 permanent outdoor table tennis tables£4,575
Trefoil GuildRefurbish Centenary Nature Trail at East Court£1,000

EG Floral displays


Our charity this year is sponsoring one of the flower beds in the High Street in East Grinstead to the tune of £500. The donation will go towards planting out and maintaining all the floral displays in EG which have been so spectacular in recent years.

Allan Tyler

8th September 1935 – 9th December 2019

It is with sadness that we report the passing of Allan Tyler, aged 84. Allan was a staunch supporter of our company, and East Court/Ashplats Wood in particular.

Allan gained his interest in maintaining public parks and green open spaces through his employment by the Greater London Council.

He was the East Grinstead Town Mayor in 1982/83 and in 1991 joined East Grinstead Memorial Estate Ltd (formerly East Grinstead War Memorial Ltd). Allan was Chairman of the company for a number of years.

He was involved in setting up the national ‘Green Flag’ scheme, and East Court gained this ‘Green Flag’ status in 2019.

Allan will be sorely missed and we send our condolences to his family and friends. 

Remembrance Day 2019

Many people know of the War memorial in the High Street, but not so many people know of the other War Memorial in the grounds of East Court. This smaller one is dedicated to both the armed forces and civilian casualties of the 1939-1945 War.

Each year at 11am on Remembrance Day there is a large ceremony in the High Street, but there is also a smaller ceremony preceding it at 10am in East Court. On November 10th this year, as every November, East Grinstead Memorial Estate lays a wreath in both ceremonies to remember local people from East Grisntead who gave up their lives for us.

You can learn more about the East Court memorial on our Roll of Honour page.

East Court & Ashplats Woods awarded Green Flag

A prestigious Green Flag will fly in every Mid Sussex town for the very first time. 

The recent press release from MSDC tells the story:

“East Court and Ashplats Wood in East Grinstead has been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as one of the very best green spaces in the world. The popular park and woodland joins St Johns Park in Burgess Hill and Beech Hurst Gardens in Haywards Heath in achieving Green Flag status.

The three Mid Sussex sites are among a record-breaking 1,970 UK parks and green spaces and 131 in thirteen other countries around the world, to receive a prestigious Green Flag Award this year – the mark of a quality park or green space.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

East Court Lawns and Playing Fields are overlooked by the striking East Court mansion. The terraces have views over the parkland towards Ashplats Wood and Ashdown Forest beyond. The estate benefits from a number of community sports pitches, pavilion and two children’s play areas. There is also a tennis club on site. 

Alongside the mansion is a planted garden of remembrance and a WW2 War memorial. The recreation grounds are flanked by Ashplats Wood, 28 hectares of ancient woodland with streams, ponds, wildlife and woodland walks. The grounds and facilities are managed jointly by Mid Sussex District Council and East Grinstead Town Council, who worked together on the Green Flag application.

St John’s Park sits alongside an old Roman Road and is just a short walk from Burgess Hill town centre. It is a vibrant green space, providing a home to a local cricket club and includes a large skate ramp area and children’s playground, outdoor gym equipment, a multi-use sports court and tennis courts.

Situated on the western edge of Haywards Heath, Beech Hurst is a six-hectare garden with stunning views of the South Downs and some spectacular flora and fauna. The gardens boast a wide range of community and sports facilities, including lawn green bowling, petanque, croquet, a children’s play area and a miniature railway.

Councillor John Belsey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Service Delivery said: 

“We are absolutely delighted to receive a Green Flag Award for East Court and Ashplats Wood for the very first time.

“We know how much quality green spaces matter to residents and visitors, and these awards celebrate the dedication that goes into maintaining East Court and Ashplats Wood, Beech Hurst Gardens and St Johns Park to such a high standard.”

International Green Flag Award scheme manager Paul Todd said: “It’s fantastic that we have more Green Flag Awards in the UK than ever before, joined this year by 131 International winners.

“Each flag honours the thousands of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. We congratulate each and every winner on their fantastic achievement.”


Floral tribute to Alfred Wagg

East Grinstead Town Council have created a fantastic floral display in the High Street this summer to celebrate, amongst others, the 50th anniversary of our founder, Alfred Wagg.

In common with many great benefactors, Mr Wagg was apparently a bit shy of publicity, but hopefully if he saw this display he would appreciate the sentiment.

Graffiti problem at East Court

The Sports Pavilion at East Court has suffered two graffiti attacks in the last few weeks. Early in June some very offensive obscene artwork appeared, and no sooner had that been removed than another lot appeared overnight on the 21st June. The photo shows the mess on the wall, but a door and two information signs were also attacked.

Needless to say it is very frustrating when some thoughtless people are pulling in the opposite direction to those of us who are trying to improve the facility for all.