Some Chertsey people have been unable to find The Wishing Well (Nuns well).
At one time it was completely overgrown, but we kid’s knew everything there was to know about St Anne’s Hill, this is how to find it.
Go into the gate to the park (passing The Dingle on the right) follow the path up the slope on the left, for about 100 yards, till you find a fairly wide track on the left, this will take you past a look-out and a flight of steps, about 200 yards.
Carry on for about another hundred yards, and you will see the corner of a field on your left, keep walking slightly to the right down the slope for another hundred yards, and The Wishing Well is on your right.
Writing this reminded me me of a story I wrote some time ago.
All my memories of ‘The Hill’ were of a wonderland, perfect for everyone, no matter their age.
Sledging and ‘wooding,’ in the winter. Bluebell-dell, in the spring, a denser carpet of Bluebells I have yet to see. Purple Rhododendrons it full colour where ever you looked in the summer. Blackberries, followed by Hazel nuts then the giant Chestnut trees in Chestnut Wood in the autumn.
The Dingle, a dream of a place for us kids. An old gravel pit dug into the side of the hill. With a stone built look-out at the top. Gradually landscaped by the previous owners. At the base, a level lawn with two Giant Redwoods. A large deep pond, and a long and overgrown one full of Dragon flies. A brick built domed ice-house now with seats instead of ice. And our favourite, a small pond with a Japanese style wooden bridge next to a summer house—all in good condition when I was a child.
A hot summer afternoon, early in the war.
Sykey Balchin, Teddy Wade, Johnny Sewell, Teddy Bolton and his slightly older brother Johnny; Johnny was a bit slow, but we let him join us as he had very few friends. We called ourselves; The Cowley Avenue Apaches.
Our enemies, Nancy and Pansy, two pesky girls who thought they could be in charge of everything we did. They had a sixth sense of where we were at any time.
Today we needed to go to the Dingle, but this meant passing Pansy’s house.
Surprisingly, Johnny had a brilliant idea; he said if we crept along with the Home Guard, as they marched past Pansy’s house, up to the Dingle for their drill, they wouldn’t see us.
It worked like a charm, no sign of the enemy, although the Home Guard were not amused.
Our headquarters; The summer house next to the little pond with the bridge.
We watched the Home Guard doing their drill, they were very serious, but it did look funny, these old men trying to do things that their bodies didn’t want them to do. I know we shouldn’t laugh, but it was hard not to do.
Sykey decided he wanted a wee, and went over to the bridge—now you ladies probably don’t realise that boys of our age are very competitive, and being able pee the highest is a badge of honour that we all sought—especially being able to pee over the wall into the girl’s lavatory at Stepgate’s—plus the chance to see who had the biggest willy.
We were soon next to Sykey, with our trousers down waiting for Johnny, who was having trouble with his buttons, there was lots of shouting and pointing at each other.
Then, it was if a switch had been thrown, it all went quiet when Johnny joined us with his trousers round his ankles.
Sykey, for a moment was lost for words, then he said.
“I’ve had enough of this game. I’m going up the lookout”.
In silence, we all got dressed and trooped across the lawn, past the Home Guard, who were now laying on the grass exhausted.
Up on the lookout were those two pesky girls, Nancy and Pansy, shouting and waving their arms.
“Billy is the winner we love Johnny”.
With a big smile on his face, Johnny was left doing up his buttons.
It was the first time ever, that he had come first in anything in his life.