All forms of sport build character, help develop a healthy competitive spirit and contribute to fitness and wellbeing in both body and mind. With this in mind, careful care is taken in providing and maintaining excellent sports facilities which are available during games lessons, in the daily time tabled activity slot after formal lessons end at 4.15pm, as well as in the early mornings, evenings and weekends…. not to mention our incredibly busy sports fixtures list. What could be more refreshing than an afternoon dip in our swimming pool just before tea?
The central hub of sports activity is the bustling, busy, Sports Complex which is home to our Sports Department’s main office and where our enthusiastic Sports staff are often to be found refereeing basketball games or badminton matches in our indoor sports hall, manning our fitness suite and weights room, or coaching our swimmers to the top of the leader board in swimming galas held in our own, recently refurbished, 25m swimming pool. When the COVID situation improves in the UK we will be welcoming Jazz Carlin, a double Olympic Silver medallist, to be giving a masterclass in swimming technique to our top level swimmers, delivering a seminar on resilience to our Elite Performance Pathway (EPP) pupils and providing a lecture on body image for all our Middle School girls.
Just outside our Sports Complex are our new six hard courts, set in the heart of the King Edward’s rural, green, campus and with the stunning backdrop of our Lower School House QMH in the distance. Here, pupils play and compete in regular netball games both inter-House and against external teams and hone their tennis skills in the summer months. Our very own squash courts, another hive of activity, are popular with beginners and advanced players.
As we exit the Sports Complex we walk past a water tower, towards our astro turf pitches. Our astro is normally used for hockey, but is well utilised for games and sports lessons in all weathers, and for all abilities. We even have professionals helping out with our teams, most recently former GB hockey player Beckie Middleton visited and coached our 1st and 2nd Forms, as well as our elite hockey players, running exercises and getting the girls and boys ready for the hockey season.
Travelling down past the astro turf pitches and our polytunnel, we reach “Upper Gurdon’s” field, named after the path it backs onto, Gurdon’s Lane. Located here we have our Cricket Pavilion, the hub of the King Edward’s cricket grounds where players change and prepare for games, and where spectators may watch the game from. We are investing in the facilities at Upper Gurdon’s where we will be able to unveil our newly turfed cricket field for the summer 2021 cricket season. Until then our budding bowlers and batsman can get some practice in one of our six new cricket nets.
Coming down Sandy Lane, we will then reach the “Lower Gurdon’s” field, which is mostly used for football, one of our most popular sports for girls and boys of all ages. Complete with goals, it is the perfect place to train, and to have a bit of fun after School. And if you look behind you from Lower Gurdon’s, you will see the snicket (a Northern English word meaning small passageway). Up the snicket is our astro on the right, and if you keep walking up the snicket, cross the Brook Road, and down Station Lane you will eventually reach our local train station Witley, a great trick for anyone who takes the train from School. Walking along from Lower Gurdon’s you will walk past all our Senior Houses and come across “Culmer” field which sits at the top of Culmer Hill. Culmer is again mostly used for football during the school day and after lessons. It is a huge pitch that’s very popular for impromptu football games in the summer evenings after Prep is complete. In 2016, this was where HRH Princess Anne took off in her helicopter following a day visiting the School, hosted by one of our charities, the Royal National Children’s Foundation!
We are incredibly lucky to be located in the Surrey Hills, which is known for its beautiful countryside (the School moved here in the 1800s because they knew the benefits of fresh air!) and our surrounding area is no different. At the periphery of the School’s 100 acre site is substantial woodland, and this beautiful, safe setting is often used for cross country, Forest School and camping. There’s nothing like running through the woods to get your blood pumping and some fresh air in your lungs.
Our sports facilities not only represent the best of indoor and outdoor sports, but they provide a key resource in helping our pupils succeed in all aspects of their education at King Edward’s Witley.