Landscape management

The University’s grounds are designed and maintained by our in-house grounds staff. As well as the main campus (Stag Hill), they maintain the Surrey Sport Park sports grounds, the landscaping around residences, the grounds of the Research Park and Guildford Cathedral grounds under contract.

Maintenance work includes mowing, weeding, shrub and tree pruning, litter picking, irrigation and snow/ice clearing. The team also manage the extensive woodland and farms.

The grounds are maintained in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible:

  • No residual weed killers are applied to landscaped areas
  • Wood chip mulch (made on site) applied to shrub beds and tree bases avoids herbicide usage and saves watering during the summer
  • All green waste including leaves, grass clippings and prunings, hedge cuttings are composted and the compost re-used around the University sites
  • Only organic fertilisers are used throughout the maintained areas
  • Where possible locally sources materials are used on maintenance.

The campus

The main campus (83 acres/34 hectares) has a perimeter roadway giving the main access to the site and providing access to the car parks. In total, there are 2000 parking spaces on campus.The concept development plan for Stag Hill was of an east to west ribbon-style construction with the residences at the top of the hill on the southern boundary adjacent to the cathedral, then support, social and central administration, academic buildings, open spaces and the car park on the northern boundary. This concept has been followed for the majority of the later development. 

The landscape

The natural soil is heavy clay mixed with flint and builders’ rubble left behind when the University was built in the sixties. This is not ideal growing medium for many trees and shrubs; initial establishment and growth is slow and difficult. Once the plants have become established, though, the clay holds onto nutrients and water so the growth is generally good.

Now well established the campus grounds provide a wide variety of habitat with grassed, planted and water areas which help to support a large variety of nature which the students, staff and visitors benefit from.

Surrey Sport Park

Surrey Sports Park was opened in 2010 as a premier state of the art sports venue in the UK and was developed on the existing sports grounds of the University. In 2015 after 18 months of development the new terrace of grass sports pitches was opened.

Manor Park residences

Manor Park residences are the University's newest area of residential/accommodation which currently has nearly 2,000 rooms. The landscaping around the area was designed and is maintained by the university grounds staff. These residences are used by conference visits out of term time and for visiting teams using the sports facilities.  

Paxtons pond close by was named after Richard Paxton a long-serving director of accommodation.

Hazel Farm

Hazel Farm is a residential facility of 5 acres which is located 3 miles from the main campus and comprises 349 student beds and 6 flats. The grounds around the halls of residence are again maintained by university ground staff.

Research Park

The Research Park is a major facility for the University and provides research links with industry, as well as incubator and start up facilities for a variety of new initiatives. It is comprised of 70 acres in the north-west corner of Manor Park, adjacent to the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The landscaping around the park is again designed and maintained by the team of university grounds staff. The Park has an excellent international reputation and is one of the oldest and most successful research parks in the country.

Woodlands and farms

The University woodlands are situated to the west of the main campus at Blackwell, Manor and Chalk Pit Farms. The total area of woodland (68 hectares/168 acres) is divided into four main blocks. They are managed by the Horticultural and Landscape Manager in conjunction with ADAS (Agricultural Development Advisory Service). To help support the cost of maintaining the woodland, grants are received from the government via the Forestry Commission for specific work to be carried out. Much of the area is planted with coniferous tree species (spruce, some pine and larch) which were thinned in 2003 to get the remaining trees to a good size. Some conifer areas of the woodland badly damaged in the great storms of 1989/1991 have been cleared and re-planted with oak and hazel; the latter will be coppiced. All the permissive footpaths and bridleways have also been cleared and are maintained to benefit the wildlife in the area.

These consist of some 600 acres of land, of which approximately 25% is woodland. They are farmed under a Ministry of Agriculture lease, and the woodlands are managed and maintained with grant aid from ADAS. The woodland and farmland include a variety of permissive footpaths, public footpaths and some bridleways.

It is possible to walk to Wood Street and many areas west of Stag Hill campus without using the main road. The woodlands are covered in more detail in the Horticulture and Landscape Management section.

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