Southwick House

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HCC Site ID: 1569 Parish: Southwick
Designations: House LB II Area:
Access: No Public Access Ownership: MoD, HMS Dryad

Location and Site

Southwick House and park are situated east of Southwick and approximately six miles north west of Portsmouth. It is in undulating landscape at the foot of the chalk downs.

Historic Development

Southwick Park is of great interest in the history of parks and gardens because changes that have taken place there are a reflection of differing styles in landscape gardening over the centuries.
The Park came into existence in the 12th-century when a Priory of Augustinian Canons was founded there. While little now remains of the priory buildings one monastic fishpond has survived and a second, earlier, pond has been excavated. Where the land slopes to the River Wallington the canons may have planted vines as the slope faces South. The lands the priory owned were probably enclosed as a deer park.
After the Dissolution, the priory lands came into lay hands. Sir Daniel Norton built a Jacobean house where the priory had stood, incorporating some of the ruins in it. To the East of the house a formal terraced garden was laid out with an Orangery and parterres in the Dutch style. We are fortunate to have a Kip’s engraving that gives a picture of the house and gardens, though these depictions are not always accurate. As tastes changed the formal gardens were not maintained but they survive as earthwork terraces, named the Slopes.
At the beginning of the 19th century the house  was rebuilt on a new, higher site. An artificial  lake 400 metres long was created by damming the waters of the River Wallington and the park was landscaped.
No further changes took place until World War II when the estate was requisitioned for use by the Royal Navy. Its finest hour came when it became General Eisenhower’s Headquarters for the D-Day landings. While there are now many naval buildings surrounding Southwick House, the Park has remained and became HMS Dryad, and was used as a Naval Recreation Centre including a golf course. Within that remit, care and thought are given to ecological considerations.

Current Description

In 2004 the functions of HMS Dryad were transferred to HMS Collingwood in Fareham and the site reverted to its original name of Southwick Park. Since then it has been home to the tri-Service Defence College of Policing and Guarding. West lodge lies within West Walk Woodland and the lake and 18th century parkland survive. There is a remote and enclosed feel to much of the area due to the presence of woodland and narrow hedged roads (from Winchester Landscape Character Assessment).


17th century house with drawing by Kip, rebuilt 19th century with lake and landscaped park. Headquarter for DD landings in 1944, then HMS Dryad until 2004 now Defence College of Policing and Guarding.

Information: 2002

Our address

Southwick No Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
50.87476953869873, -1.101851463317871

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