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Eaton Park 1215

Brief Description

Eaton Park is the largest historic public park in Norwich. It contains lakes, a miniature railway and a large central rotunda. The park also has open lawned areas, bowling greens and sports pitches.


The land was purchased in 1906, but remained undeveloped until 1924. A formal public park was designed by Captain Sandys Winsch. It was officially opened in May 1928 by the Prince of Wales.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal site for general public use. Please see:


The ground is generally level with a slight fall to the west.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

One of five registered sites in the city of Norwich which form part of a set of public parks laid out in the 1920s and 1930s by the then Parks Superintendent, Captain A Sandys-Winsch.



Eaton Park covers c 32ha on the south-west edge of Norwich city and is enclosed by housing except to the west where a car park and community centre divide it from the pitch and putt course beyond. This occupies the area of park which stretches to Bluebell Wood, a screen of trees running along the west boundary which is formed by Bluebell Road. The south boundary is defined by South Park Avenue, the north by North Park Avenue. The ground is generally level with a slight fall to the west.


The main entrance to the park is at the ironwork gates at the eastern tip of the site (listed Grade II), off South Park Avenue. A gateway on the same road further to the west, in the centre of the southern boundary, enters the park by the Water Pavilion (listed Grade II) which defines the southern end of a north/south axis running through the park. On North Park Avenue, a further gateway gives access from the north-east corner.


From the east gate, a side branch off the entrance path runs north to the depot area and 1990 car park which occupies the site of former service buildings. The main path leads west to a wide circular panel rose garden, containing two rings of trees, the perimeter of which is marked by a yew hedge. The central fountain, rills and circular pond have been refurbished having been filled in prior to 1999 used as a flower bed; low drystone walls support the outer walk. Radiating paths lead across the flower garden, the main walk continuing west along a tree-lined avenue which forms the central east/west axis of the design. It passes between paired bowling greens, that to the south retaining at the centre-point of its eastern edge a wooden pavilion whilst that which accompanied the northern green which was burnt down in the 1990s has since been rebuilt. The walk continues west, passing between an expanse of tennis courts and a yew-hedged bowling green (originally designed as a hard tennis court) to the south and a games lawn to the north which extends more than half way along the northern boundary. Only one of the six eastern bowling greens remains in use (2013) whilst the southern bowling green is also used for croquet.

Parallel to the central walk are two additional straight paths, one along the north side of the park, the other along the south. Between the north walk and the boundary is a 1990s enclosed children's play area; a small modern putting green occupies the space between the south walk and boundary. All the paths are tree-lined, a variety of species having been used for various sections of the walks. At the centre of the design is a domed bandstand, (listed Grade II) ringed by a great colonnaded pavilion (listed Grade II) cut by cross-walks into four separate sections which house changing rooms and refreshment facilities. The bandstand forms the centre of the north/south axis which cuts through the centre of the park, the path to the north leading to the children's play area. To the south of the bandstand, the axis is defined by a long rectangular lily pond (listed Grade II), at the southern end of which is a balustraded mock bridge (listed Grade II). Beyond the bridge a second long rectangular pool, the raised yachting pond (listed Grade II), is terminated by the Water Pavilion on the southern boundary. Throughout the eastern half of the park, clumps and groups of mature Scots pine are a characteristic feature.

Beyond the bandstand to the west, the central tree-lined walk divides to become two parallel walks which divide the park into three separate sports pitches (cricket and football) with raised paths between them. The park also contains a cycle speedway track, floodlit tennis courts, a skate park and a multi-use games area. The former expanse of grass tennis courts has been partly reused to extend the miniature railway enclosure to the south east of the park. The car park and community centre form the division between the sports pitches and the pitch and putt golf course which occupies the whole of the western section of the park, up to Bluebell Wood on the western boundary.

Selected Sources

Other Reference - Description: The Norwich Parks, (Norwich City Council internal report 1993)

Book Reference - Author: G Goreham - Title: The parks and open spaces of Norwich - Date: 1961

Map Reference - Title: Plan of Eaton Park - Date: 1928 - Source: (City Hall, Norwich)

Reasons for Designation

Eaton Park, Norwich, opened in 1928, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Date: the park is as a good example of an early C20 municipal park;

* Design: the park's design is essentially unchanged from its original layout of the later 1920s;

* Designer: the park was designed by Captain Sandys-Winsch, a protégé of Thomas Mawson;

* Historic interest: the park was the largest of a series of parks laid out by Sandys-Winsch in Norwich; four others are registered;

* Structures and planting: the park retains various C19 structures including two listed entrances, as well as avenues of trees and enclosing woodland belts.

Date first registered: 08-Oct-1993

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Aug-2013

Lake, Bowling Green, Croquet Lawn, Lawn
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal site for general public use. Please see:


Car parking is restricted around and in the park. Bus services run frequently from the rail station via St Stephen's, Unthank Road and Colman Road.

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


In 1906, partly using funds raised by the Norwich Playing Fields and Open Spaces Society, the City purchased four fields of grazing land lying between the Earlham and Eaton Hall estates on the western fringes of the city. The site remained undeveloped, being used on several occasions as the site for the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Show, until 1924 when proposals were put forward to develop it as a formal public park, to designs by Captain Sandys-Winsch, a protégé of Thomas Mawson, appointed Norwich City Parks and Gardens Superintendent in 1919 and held the post for 34 years. Eaton was Sandys-Winsch's prestige project and the scheme took four years to implement, starting in 1924 and being officially opened in May 1928 by the Prince of Wales. Developed as both a neighbourhood and city-wide park, it was considered to be one of the finest sports grounds in eastern England, offering both active and passive recreational pursuits. The park continues to offer a wide range of recreational activities to the residents of Norwich.

The other four registered parks which make up the Sandys-Winsch series are Wensum Park, Waterloo Park, Heigham Park, and Mile Cross Gardens.


  • Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
Associated People