Fair play in the Park? Future plans for a National Trust property in the south of the county are causing concerns amongst local residents. Georgie Green looks at why these proposals are a hot topic of conversation.
FOR AROUND 30 years there has been public access to the fields and woodlands of Dinton Park. It is a favourite meeting place for many people and is used by everyone from dog-walkers to the village school.
For almost 20 years it was the site for the annual Dinton Bonfire Boys firework display, and when it snows, local children head to its slopes for a day of tobogganing. From the highest point in the grounds, on a clear day the spire of Salisbury Cathedral is visible, but locals fear much loved access could be lost as the National Trust plans to lease the house (which has been empty since 2015)
Above: Phillips House, Dinton Park.
and fence off around 31 acres of parkland to private tenants.
To gain a better understanding of these plans, it is worth looking at the history of the house, and why the National Trust is considering this proposal.
The Neo-Grecian Dinton House, as it was originally called, was built in 1816 replacing a 17th property. George Cruddas, whose family subsequently bought the house in 1917 explains more about the changes brought about under his family’s ownership: “My father’s cousin, Florence Cruddas, bought the Dinton estate as a wedding present for her husband, Bertram Philipps in 1917, fairly soon after they were married.” Bertram then changed the name of the house to Philipps House.
In the 1930s, Florence and Bertram, gave the house on a lease to the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) for a peppercorn rent with an annuity to run it, so that women and children from UK city slums could have a free country holiday. Bertram and Florence moved into Hyde’s House on the edge of the park, which had been bought in 1924, and they gave the freehold of both, and some cottages with around 200 acres of park and farmland to the National Trust in 1943. They both died in the south of France in 1947.
George Cruddas says: “The only reference to the parkland in the memorandum of wishes when gifted to the National Trust, was to say the sporting rights over the entire area