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St Mary and All Saints, Dunsfold.jpg
Church of St. Mary and All Saints
Dunsfold is located in Surrey
Location within Surrey
Area16.06 km2 (6.20 sq mi)
Population989 (Civil Parish 2011)[1]
• Density62/km2 (160/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ006361
Civil parish
  • Dunsfold
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townGodalming
Postcode districtGU8
Dialling code01483
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°06′58″N 0°33′50″W / 51.1161°N 0.5638°W / 51.1161; -0.5638Coordinates: 51°06′58″N 0°33′50″W / 51.1161°N 0.5638°W / 51.1161; -0.5638

Dunsfold is a village in the borough of Waverley, Surrey, England, 8.7 miles (14 kilometres) south of Guildford. It lies in the Weald and reaches in the north the southern escarpment of the Greensand Ridge. It includes the Wey and Arun Canal, and just under half of Dunsfold Aerodrome, which is shared with Alfold.


Norman English (Middle Ages) building and records[edit]

The village's name was recorded as Duntesfaude in 1259, Duntesfaud in 1272 and Duntesfalde in 1291, apparently meaning Dunt's fold. Alternatively it may be derived from the Old English (and Celtic) dun (hill i.e. down) and fold (enclosure). Either way folding means enclosing with fences, a way of moving sheep around the land to graze off the remains of previously harvested crops. It still emulated in modern sheep farming with and without pens around the village. There are some prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle farmed here but the last dairy herd has now closed.[when?]

St Mary & All Saints' Church is a Norman building, containing the oldest pews in England. The nearby Holy Well was a site of pilgrimage – its waters were thought to cure diseases of the eye. It would be consistent with the topography of the site that the well be a pre-Christian site and the church itself be constructed on a man-made hill of pre-Christian origin.[2] The current rector is Paul Jenkins who has been installed since 23 January 2007.


Three manors were here, all had more cultivated fields, in order of size: Burningfold, Field Place and Graffham Grange.


Anthony Browne, 6th Viscount Montagu (d. 1767) held this largest estate from a purchase from a Mr Tanner in 1751 until 1756 and his son sold it to Edmund Woods jun. in 1790. Owner Charlotte Woods built and endowed the first school, on the Green in 1850.[3]

Field Place

Held by Emery Cranley, it briefly split by moiety title between Quenell and Stoughton sisters (both born Cranley), was reunited by Peter Quenell then sold 1651 (to William Yalden) and 1677 (to William Sadler). In 1850 of James Sadler of Chiddingfold held it, by which time its main economy legacy was Field Place, a small manor house, with "a most delightful collection" of roofs of many of pitches and dispositions.[3]

Graffham Grange

In the early 13th century Walter Giffard, Abbot of Waverley, (1236–51), granted all the rights of the abbey in Graffham to Walter de Graffham for a rent of 16s. a year, rent paid to Markwick, a former possession of Waverley Abbey as late as 1808. Mr. J. C. McAndrew was an owner of what was left of it towards the end of 19th century followed by Mr. F. A. Shepherd.[3]

Other buildings and industries[edit]

Common House is a late medieval hall which dates from circa 1500, of lowest listing category, Grade II architectural importance.[4] The village has many other houses of architectural interest e.g. Lark's Rise,[5] Yonder Lye[6] and The Sun Inn public house, set back from the common, parts of which are clearly ancient particularly the rear bar.[7]

The village was a site of iron smelting from local ironstone (see Bargate stone) and iron-smithery in the Middle Ages. Later, Dunsfold has hosted the construction of the Wey and Arun Canal which is being gradually reopened, and Dunsfold Aerodrome which is used primarily in connection with automobiles of many times, hosting a major television programme on the subject.


The village has a cricket club with matches usually on Sunday afternoons.

Dunsfold has a small Post Office and shop in the middle of the village.

Dunsfold Park[edit]

The airstrip was built by the Canadian Army during World War II . After the war the airfield was used to repatriate prisoners of war. Dunsfold was declared inactive in 1946 but was used again in 1948 and 1949 as part of the Berlin Airlift. In 1950 The Hawker Aircraft Company acquired the lease of the site.[8]

In October 1960 the then Hawker Siddeley flight tested its Hawker P. 1127 prototype, the development aircraft that led to the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first VTOL jet fighter bomber. Final assembly of the Harrier and the Hawk trainer aircraft was at Dunsfold.[9] Hawker Siddeley became part of British Aerospace in 1977. On 2 July 1986 British Aerospace's deputy chief test pilot Jim Hawkins was killed at Dunsfold when his developmental Hawk 200 crashed.[9] On 24 June 1999 British Aerospace announced the closure of Dunsfold as part of a restructuring; Hawk final assembly had been transferred to Warton in 1988 and Harrier production finished in 1998.[10][11]

Post-British Aerospace[edit]

In 2002, BAE Systems (British Aerospace's successor) sold Dunsfold Park to The Rutland Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland forming Dunsfold Park Ltd with the intention of developing the site as Britain' s most sustainable village with 2500 homes. Since 2002, the BBC motoring show Top Gear has been recorded at the park using the former paint shop as a studio and parts of the runways and taxiways of the aerodrome as a test track.

The Young Drivers Track[edit]

Some of the track (The Young Drivers Track) is now used by many driving schools and instructors to enable under seventeen-year-olds to learn to drive. Thousands of youngsters have now had their first driving experience at the Top Gear location before going out on to the road.

Dunsfold Park is the home to Wings and Wheels, an air and motor show that has been running for many years now and typically held in late August. Currently run by the site owners, Dunsfold Park Ltd, it will continue until the park is redeveloped.


A Boeing 747-200 which served with British Airways until 2002 as City of Birmingham, G-BDXJ, was purchased by Aces High Limited, a company specialising in supplying aircraft for television and film work, and transferred to Dunsfold.

It was modified and used for filming for the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. Some of the scenes set at Miami International Airport were filmed at Dunsfold. It has also appeared in the background of numerous Top Gear episodes and directly in an episode where it is towed by a JCB Fastrac tractor. It was also towed by a Volkswagen Touareg in a 2006 Fifth Gear episode, the same year that the modified aircraft and Dunsfold Airfield were featured in a television advertisement filmed for the Volkswagen Touareg, demonstrating the vehicle's towing ability. Modifications to the aircraft include the removal of the existing Rolls Royce engines and replacement with twin mount engines.

The aircraft has also featured in Primeval, the 2009 BBC production of The Day of the Triffids, and in RED 2.[12]

Demography and housing[edit]

Central housing and shop
2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
(Civil Parish) 214 150 38 38 1 0

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
(Civil Parish) 989 441 38.5% 31.5% 1,606

The proportion of households in the civil parish who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).

Eco-town expansion plan[edit]

In 2006, the owners of Dunsfold Park proposed the construction of a new town with 2,600 homes on the site, a school, health services, public transport and road links to the A281, and an expanded business district.[13] One of the largest construction projects in Surrey, it would result in the closure and replacement of the aerodrome. A project of this kind and size is controversial, resulting in the formation of the STOP Dunsfold Park New Town campaign.

In late 2007, Dunsfold Park Ltd. applied to have their plans for the new town selected as one of the Brown Ministry's proposed "eco-towns". On 3 April 2008 Dunsfold Park was denied Eco-town status by Housing Minister, Caroline Flint. According to the Government's press release over 40 applications including Dunsfold Park were rejected "for being undeliverable or not ambitious enough to meet the high environmental and affordability standards set by Government."

An appeal in 2009 was rejected by the then Secretary of State John Denham. Inquiry conclusions included remarks on the sustainability of the site including at paragraph 37 of the report[14] dated 24 September 2009 "The Secretary of State has concluded that the development would generate a considerable amount of additional road traffic and he considers that this would have a severe and unacceptable impact on an overstretched local road network, and that the scheme would be unsustainable in transport terms."

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density Archived 11 February 2003 at the Wayback Machine United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ St Mary and All Saints - Grade I Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1044388)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c H.E. Malden, ed. (1911). "Parishes: Dunsfold". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  4. ^ Common House - Grade II - Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1189892)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  5. ^ Lark's Rise - Grade II - Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1189908)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  6. ^ Yonder Lye - Grade II - Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1044385)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  7. ^ The Sun Inn - Grade II - Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1352770)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  8. ^ "Dunsfold Park - History". Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  9. ^ a b Beeston, Nicholas; Townsend, Edward (3 July 1986). "Pilot dies testing new jet fighter as buyers watch". The Times. Times Newspapers.
  10. ^ "BAe cuts 2,200 jobs". BBC News. BBC. 24 June 1999. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  11. ^ "BAE Systems Hawk 50, 60 and 100 Series (United Kingdom)". at Web Archive. Archived from the original on 1 March 2008. Retrieved 18 January 2008.
  12. ^ "Former helicopter base at Dunsfold used in Bruce Willis film RED 2". Surrey Life. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
  13. ^ Dunsfold Park New Town - Key Features Archived 13 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Appeal by Dunsfold Park Ltd. Secretary of State appeal decision" (PDF). Waverley Borough Council. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  • Dunsfold - Surrey's Most Secret Airfield Paul McCue, Air Research Publications, 1991 ISBN 1871187125

External links[edit]