A Gibbet was a simple wood structure from which a cage was suspended to hold the body of an executed criminal. Gibbeting bodies set an example to others that a particular criminal activity was not tolerated. The crime had to be quite serious and be potentially tempting for others to follow. It was generally reserved for, traitors, pirates and highwaymen.
The route that is now the A3 was the major route from London to Portsmouth used by stage coaches and other travellers. Stag Lodge stables were originally stables serving this busy transport route and the park gate, former pub, roundabout and school in this area have all named after Robin Hood - giving reference to the activities of highwaymen!
It is therefore reasonable to speculate that Gibbet Wood did have a gibbet nearby. It is positioned at the top of steep hill that could have easily been seen from the general Robin Hood area as an example to anyone who considered criminal activities on the highway.
Veteran Tree Protection
The line of veteran trees near Holly Lodge is around 700 year old and need some extra special care.
The path that runs adjacent to the trees caused the ground to be compacted and difficult for the trees roots to penetrate.
A cleft sweet chestnut fence has been installed to protect the roots and interestingly the fencing contractor reported that on the compacted side he found no major tree roots whilst on the other side he found quite a few.
The fence has been made from timber harvested from ancient woodlands in the south east of England and it a typical and traditional countryside feature to south Surrey and Sussex in particular.
With no predators and 200 births annually, the deer population would increase beyond the park's carrying capacity without human intervention.
To prevent starvation and habitat destruction, the deer are selectively culled during November and again in February. This ensures a healthy herd of 650 with the correct balance of ages and sexes.
Oak Bush Crickets
Oak Bush Crickets are common in parks, woods and gardens and are our only truly arboreal species of grasshopper or cricket.
The nymphs hatch in June and spend their nocturnal lives high in the canopy of oak trees making them hard to see.
The females will come down lower in the tree in autumn looking for somewhere suitable to lay eggs and its then that may be found lower down on the trunk or on the ground nearby if dislodged by Autumn winds.