The history of Appley Park

The land now known as Appley Park has had a varied history, and has been involved with several of the great houses and estates which were established in the area.

Genteel East Wight walk with John Brownscombe

Genteel East Wight walk with John Brownscombe

In the late 18th century and early 19th century most of the present park was within a wood on the St John’s estate. Humphry Repton landscaped St John’s Park for Edward Simeon after 1796 and Appley was included in this work. The present-day area of Appley Park is the only part of this landscaped parkland which survives.

In the mid 19th century the area of the present park and land to the south was acquired by George Young, a Scottish corn merchant, and formed his Appley Tower estate. The main building was designed by local architect Thomas Hellyer. This was purchased by Sir William Hutt in 1872. The Apley Tower estate was later known as Appley Towers and as Appley Hall.

The principal building was demolished in the 1950s and is now occupied by a housing estate. The kitchen garden and greenhouses were on a separate site on the south side of Appley Road and were also redeveloped for housing in the 1970s.

Although the gardens were largely lost and the house itself has gone completely, several structures still survive which show the grandeur of the vanished Appley Towers. A model farm was also part of the Appley Towers Estate and was located south of Appley Road – many of the farm buildings can still be seen, and are all in private hands. Along Appley Lane as one approaches Appley Park are two surviving lodges marking entrances to the estate. At the bottom of the lane the old boathouse is now used by Ryde Rowing Club and has the distinctive ornamented style of the grand house. A third lodge, Lower Lodge, once stood where the Appley Cafe is now.

Appley Park today is a public park which was acquired by Ryde Borough Council after World War II. It is now owned and maintained by the Isle of Wight Council. The park is a national award winning site having won a Green Flag for several years.

(Source: research report on Appley Towers, Little Appley & Appley Park, Ryde, Isle of Wight, by John Brownscombe for IW Gardens Trust)