Grounds and groundskeepers

With over 500 acres of pitches, gardens and woodlands, Haileybury has some of the most beautiful grounds of any school in the UK. Maintenance of these is the responsibility of a dedicated team of groundskeepers, ensuring the pitches are in perfect condition for whenever they are needed, and that other areas of this wonderful natural asset are managed and preserved for future generations.

500 acres of fields, gardens and woodland

Set in over 500 acres of Hertfordshire countryside, Haileybury's grounds are some of the most exquisite and beautiful of any school in Britain.

Approximately half the site comprises formal and informal gardens, sports pitches and associated grounds; the remainder being largely woodland. It can be appreciated that the management of the site is a monumental task!

Sports fields and pitches

Haileybury's sports fields are steeped in history and tradition. Terrace Field with its backdrop of Wilkins' majestic Grecian terrace is unique in the land. Originally open pasture, Terrace was home to College cricket before hosting rugby in the late 19th Century and becoming by today one of the most picturesque grounds where the game is played.

Haileybury's Pavilion cricket pitch with its delightful late Victorian pavilion and the Edwardian viewing rooms (now the Sixth Form Centre) is the stuff of fond bucolic memory for everyone who has sat and watched a match there on a lazy summer's afternoon.

As well as these traditional pitches and fields, the College is also home to tennis, hockey and a host of other field sports, the grounds of which all need careful maintenance.

Site management

The management of such a site as Haileybury is a complex, year-round task, undertaken by a dozen professionals who are always to be seen at work around the College, come rain or come shine.

Their work involves everything from horticulture and arboriculture to grounds maintenance and pest control.

Different areas of the site demand different treatment of course; the skills needed to keep everything looking perfect are profound.

Pitch care

It can be said that no particular playing surface is the same as the next; drainage may vary, individual sports requirements may differ, and of course using fields at different times of the year requires different management methods.

Keeping each one perfect is a never-ending task; just because a sport may be "out of season" doesn't mean the pitch needs no work - indeed, this is often the time when they are their busiest in terms of maintenance.

A jewel in the crown

Yet this work pays off, and Haileybury's grounds are appreciated not just by the staff and pupils but also by many others who use its facilities throughout the year.

These include, most notably, the Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club and Hertfordshire rugby in conjunction with London club Saracens.

In 2015, Haileybury also hosted the national rugby teams of Argentina and the USA, both of which used the College's facilities for training purposes when playing their London games in the Rugby World Cup.

Other areas

As well as boasting a small arboretum, the College also hosts a number of ancient oak trees, some of which, like the famous Lightning and Dumb-bell oaks on the Terrace Field and Quitchells oak, are more than 400 years old.

The responsibility for managing this major environmental asset cannot be overstated. Indeed, the College's team of groundskeepers knows that they are playing a fundamental role in preserving the grounds and gardens for future generations.

Today, with greater emphasis than ever on the importance of biodiversity, the team also works to sustain a wide range of different ecosystems around the campus. Among the latest plans for the future is one to plant a wildflower meadow in the grounds - a key source of forage for honey bees and other pollinators which themselves have been in decline in recent years.

Meet the team

Grounds management at Haileybury falls under the responsibility of Eamonn Murphy and his team of 11 groundskeepers.

After studying for his HNC in Sports Turf Amenity Horticulture at Otley in Suffolk, Eamonn joined Ipswich Town Football Club where he went on to become Senior Groundsman. He joined Haileybury in 2002, becoming Head Groundsman in 2004 before being made Haileybury's Grounds and Gardens Manager in 2010.

Eamonn's team includes: Ian Mackay, Deputy Grounds and Gardens Manager; Grounds and Gardens staff Neil Allison, Chris Bartlett, Graham Perrin, Ayden King, Ryan Wilson and Steve Whorlow; Tree Surgeons Christian Bath, Rob Lloyd and Michael Ricketts; and Adam Smith, Haileybury's in-house mechanic responsible for equipment and vehicles.

    Grounds and groundskeepers
    Haileybury Hertford SG13 7NU 01992 706200 Registered charity number 310013