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Priory Park

Misty late September morning in Priory Park, St Neots by Ambrozai
Misty late September morning in Priory Park, St Neots by Ambrozai

Priory Park is 80 acres of 18th century parkland with extensive mature woodland, and large open spaces, formally part of the Rowley Estate and if you know where to look you can still see medieval ridge and furrow land waves created by several centuries of feudal communal farming. 

priory-park-mapIn the 1700’s, the land that is now Priory Park, was used for farming and run by an eccentric and miserly attorney, William King. It was his daughter who married Ousley Rowley and inheriting a fortune of £30,000 in 1814. He acquired Priory Farm in the 1790’s, creating a park for his new house at the top of the hill and planting an avenue of trees along the Priory Hill approach road. This house was sadly demolished in the early 60’s.

An underground ice-house was dug in the park just west of the house. A local belief is that Priory Hill was connected to the Priory by a tunnel. The tunnel entrance to the Ice-House helped to perpetuate the myth.

Today the park is used for various activities such as picnics, dog walking as well as orienteering, sponsored runs and children’s holiday activity clubs in the summer. It includes 5 football pitches, several mini soccer pitches, and a pavilion with changing rooms and a refreshment area. The park is situated off Huntingdon Road and Priory Hill and has parking facilities for approximately 40 cars.