Bourne Wood

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Coordinates: 51°11′28″N 0°46′41″W / 51.191°N 0.778°W / 51.191; -0.778

Mock castle at the Bourne Wood at the end of filming of the film Robin Hood, showing the burnt-out castle gate

Bourne Wood (also known as Bourne Woods) is an area of predominantly coniferous woodland just south of Farnham, Surrey, England and a film location. Locally it was known as the Clumps, and was called this until the forestry commission changed the name in the 1950s when fire breaks were introduced, Charles Darwin may have written about the area in Appendices of Natural Selection-describing the trees in clumps. A promontory (rise) above a large heathland clearing (made for the filming of Gladiator) provides views over the surrounding woodland.[1] Much of the wood was formerly heathland at the western end of the Greensand Ridge that was developed privately during the 20th century as commercial conifer plantations. This part of the wood has been purchased by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and is being restored mainly to heath, with retention of some woodland of wildlife significance, as Farnham Heath nature reserve. Their aim is to benefit scarce heathland species such as nightjar, woodlark, Dartford warbler and tree pipit as well as species such as sand lizard.[2]


Since 1999, part of Bourne Wood has been frequently used as a location for filming movies, television series and music videos, most notably the opening battle scenes of the film Gladiator which helped the location to gain popularity. In addition, television adverts for products such as Marmite and IKEA have been filmed at the woods.[3]

In September 2012 the Forestry Commission announced plans to allow filming to take place in the Bourne Wood for up to eight months a year, noting that the site was a "nationally strategic film industry resource".[4] In October 2013 Waverley Borough Council planning committee granted permission for filming to be allowed at Bourne Wood for up to six months in one year or eight months over two years, with night filming for no more than seven days a year. Use of helicopters during filming will require additional permission from the council. Temporary structures may not exceed 25 m in height. The decision will be reviewed after five years.[5]

In chronological order, the following productions have included scenes filmed in the Bourne Wood. All films are feature films unless otherwise stated.

Picture Title Release Set construction
and filming
It Ain't Half Hot Mum[6] 1974–1981 British sitcom. Jungle scenes were filmed at the Bourne Wood.
Gladiator[7] 2000 January – February 1999 The opening battle scenes in the forests of Germania were shot here.
The Man Who Cried[7] 2000
Band of Brothers 2001 Miniseries
Storm[8] 2001 Short film
The Scientist 2002 Music video
Gladiatress[9] 2004
Children of Men[10] 2006
The Golden Compass[11] 2007
Inkheart[12] 2008
We Call Her Daisy[13] 2008 Short film
The Descent Part 2[14] 2009
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince[11] 2009
Burke & Hare[15] 2010 March 2010
Burnt-out castle gate and battering ram Robin Hood[11] 2010 May – August 2009 Setting for the siege of Chalus Castle at the start of the film.
The Wolfman[16] 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger[17] 2011
War Horse[18] 2011
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows[19] 2011
Dark Shadows[20] 2012 June – July 2011
Jack the Giant Slayer[21] 2013 January – March 2011
Burnt trees Snow White and the Huntsman[22] 2012 August – September 2011 Setting for the battle between King Magnus and an army of demonic glass soldiers near the beginning of the film.
Stone towers and yurts Thor: The Dark World[23] 2013 August – September 2012 Setting for the battle on Vanaheim near the beginning of the film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron[24] 2015 June – July 2014 The opening car chase scene was shot here, including parts of the assault on the Hydra base.
Transformers: The Last Knight[25] 2016 October 2016 Parts of the Merlin and Dragonstorm battle scene were shot here.
Wonder Woman 2017


During the Second World War a searchlight post was established in the woodland, the concrete base of which is marked and still visible today. Three structures were erected by Canadian soldiers in the northernmost section of the woods bordering Dene Lane, consisting of a mess hut and barracks for those manning the searchlight.[26]Two of these buildings became separate dwellings owned by the Forestry Commission providing accommodation for employees before becoming private houses.


Much of the wood was formerly heathland at the western end of the Greensand Ridge[27] that was developed privately during the 20th century as commercial conifer plantations.[citation needed]

The headwaters of the Wey (west branch) converging on the town to the north are locally known also as The Bourne, which accordingly has helped to name Lower Bourne, a ward and neighbourhood of Farnham.

Two round tumuli are east and south-east of Forest Cottage in the wood. They are late Bronze Age, 21m and 26m in diameter and 1.7m and 2m high and one has suffered some disturbance in the centre and the south-eastern quadrant. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This is no longer visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years, and can be seen in a geophysical survey as a buried feature about 3m wide.[28][29]


  1. ^ "Bourne Wood - relevant web docs by key". Forestry Commission.
  2. ^ "About Farnham Heath". RSPB.
  3. ^ "Filming at Bourne Wood". Forestry Commission. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
  4. ^ "Surrey's Bourne Wood film location disruption fears". BBC News. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  5. ^ Bodkin, Henry (6 November 2013). "Bourne Woods filming allowed despite fear of 'too much access'". Get Surrey. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  6. ^ "More About Farnham, Surrey". Forestry Commission. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  7. ^ a b "Bourne Wood". Forestry Commission.
  8. ^ "Storm". Internet Movie Database.
  9. ^ "Gladiatress". Internet Movie Database.
  10. ^ "Children of Men & The Bourne Woods".
  11. ^ a b c "Surrey Film Locations". Surrey Life. Archived from the original on 2010-12-26.
  12. ^ "Inkheart". Internet Movie Database.
  13. ^ "We Call Her Daisy". Internet Movie Database.
  14. ^ "The Descent: Part 2". Internet Movie Database.
  15. ^ "Burke & Hare Production Notes" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-11.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "The Amazing Movie Show". Archived from the original on 2010-09-02.
  17. ^ "Captain America: The First Avenger". Internet Movie Database.
  18. ^ "War Horse". Internet Movie Database.
  19. ^ "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows". Internet Movie Database.
  20. ^ "Dark Shadows". Internet Movie Database.
  21. ^ "Jack the Giant Killer". Internet Movie Database.
  22. ^ "Snow White and the Huntsman". Internet Movie Database.
  23. ^ "Proposed Film Shoot in Bourne Wood September 2012". The Bourne Residents' Association. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  24. ^ Williams, Matthew (24 June 2014). "Avengers head to Bourne Wood for explosive scenes". Surrey Life. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  25. ^ "Transformers - Timeline | Facebook". Retrieved 2016-10-14.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute
  28. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1007976)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  29. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1007907)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 October 2013.