Standing at the foot of Box Hill near Dorking, Juniper Hall as a building is well known to Surrey residents but perhaps not everyone is conversant with its current use. Juniper Hall is a part of a national organisation – the Field Studies Council – which is an environmental education charity providing information and enjoyable opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to discover, explore and understand the environment.
The Field Studies Council owns or leases buildings suitable for a field centre. The network covers the whole of the UK. Juniper Hall was the second one to be opened, early in 1947 in the property leased from the National Trust. It is a very popular one providing a large variety of courses for thousands of students of all ages each year. See the Field Studies Council’s Juniper Hall page for more information about the facilities at the centre.
The Field Studies Council is responsible for major works of maintenance and refurbishment but in 1988 a support group, “The Friends of Juniper Hall” was set up to help raise funds to enhance the facilities over and above what is available from central Field Studies Council funds. The first venture was the Coach House project which converted the 18th century building into two new classrooms with accessible facilities for people with disabilities, dark room, staff room and study rooms. This was completed in 1993. One of the classrooms was named the “Sankey Room” in “grateful memory of the late John Sankey’s outstanding contributions to environmental education and nature conservation in Surrey.”
Since then many other projects funded by the Friends have been completed. Our most recent one is to provide a new pond in the grounds. This was opened in September 2022 as part of an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Juniper Hall being a field centre.
The Friends raise the money for these improvements partly by holding a series of events during the year, mainly lectures including lunch, always a convivial occasion! The Christmas lunch with wine is even more so! Do consider joining us.
Mavis Peart, Chairman of the Friends of Juniper Hall