Chilworth Manor is ready to go into production, now its young vineyard is maturing. Volunteers from the village and beyond gathered at the Vineyard’s magnificent barn to help with picking the ripe bunches of grapes for the first time.
Pinot noir grapes ready for picking
Chilworth Manor Vineyard will be producing a Rose wine, ready for drinking next Spring, and some of the Pinot Mernier grapes harvested will contribute to the first Sparkling Wine, but we’ll have to wait for that to be released.
Pinot Meurnier grapes at Chilworth Manor
By the end of the day, ten rows of grapes were gathered in, and whisked away to be processed by the wine makers, who are based at Denbies in Dorking.
Estate Manager John at Chilworth Manor supervises the grape harvest
There will be more opportunities to help with the grape picking. If you’d like to express an interest in volunteering, contact Sasja at
The brain child of GBC Countryside Wardens, a three foot sculpture of a stag beetle has been commissioned for the Gunpowder Mills Site.
It has been paid for by Chilworth2gether who are donating it to the heritage site.
The sculpture will be sited in the picnic area, close to the “bug hotel” which is an area designed to provide nesting and hibernation places for bugs and insects. The purpose of the sculpture is to delight and encourage young visitors and the Forest School children who use the picnic site each week, to think about nature conservation and the environment.
We are pleased to announce the hand-over of a new audio Visual system that has been installed in Chilworth Village Hall. Thanks to being the beneficiary from the Chilworth Manor “Pimms and Picnic” event last year, Chilworth2gether was able to take on a bigger community project than we could normally hope to achieve, and looked for a project that would benefit as many locals as possible.
We decided that nearly the whole village would benefit one way or another from the installation of a new secure audio-visual system in the village hall.
The system will be used to improve presentations, for example for History Society and the Gunpowder Mills Annual meetings, having cordless microphones, a ceiling mounted projector and an electrically operated screen.
Hopefully the system will also be used by other users of the village hall, to provide high quality sound from a mobile device.
We now also have the capacity to show full length films in surround sound. We are hoping this will bring the village together in a new way, with the prospect of a Village Film Club being set up.
We’ll publish further news on this website.
When Guildford Borough Council Asset department announced they intended to sell off West Lodge earlier this year, Chilworth2gether, St Martha Parish Council and the Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Group each wrote a letter of concern to GBC and to our local borough Councillors.
West Lodge is an historic asset, integral to the Gunpowder Mills and situated at the entrance to the site on Blacksmiths Lane. Unfortunately when the rest of the site was recognised as a scheduled ancient monument, West Lodge was not included because it was being used for temporary accommodation at the time. However, it was Listed at Grade II. Selling it off separately would sever it from the rest of the site, and would mean the Gunpowder Mills site would forever lose the only surviving building (with power, water and toilet facilities) on the site able to provide for uses in support and appropriate to the site, as identified in Guildford Borough Council’s own adopted Conservation Management Plan.
Residents may recall that two years ago, Chilworth2gether hosted a well supported public meeting, when villagers came together to suggest how the little building could be used in the future. There was clearly plenty of support for finding a new purpose for the vacant building.
With St Martha Parish Council in the lead, the three organisations have now come together and formed a working group to see whether it might be possible to offer GBC another solution to selling it off. It has already signalled to GBC its intention to provide an alternative way forward, which would give the building a new lease of life and a new purpose, with a strong emphasis on heritage, community and education.
Here we are in action in the Gunpowder Works, coppicing straggly hazel and encouraging new growth.
We meet at the weekends several times a year and spend a good morning in the fresh air, doing something really useful and helping to preserve our heritage site as a peaceful place for a quiet walk, and a haven for wildlife, including dormice.
Do feel free to join us at our next working party. Come for as long, or as short a time as you can spare – you will be welcome. Meet at the picnic area at the bottom of Vera’s path.
Countryside Wardens Nick and Alison work with the group, provide tools and even a drink. They check on safety and ensure everything we do contributes to the Management Plan for this historic site.
Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Is a scheduled ancient monument. Enhance your visit to the Gunpowder Mills in their magic woodland set by downloading the following information and guided trail. See also a set of images showing the historic remains, shown under Gunpowder Mills Picture Gallery.
Thanks to Andrew Norris, Chilworth Gunpowder Group for the images, and to Glenys Crocker for permission to download the map.