The Conkerfield in Netley is a beautiful open area bordering Abbey Hill and overlooking Southampton Water. It’s always been a favourite place of mine and I have many happy memories of playing there as a child and enjoying the beauty and fresh air to be found there.
Netley Castle is situated next to one corner of the field, and it is possible that the Conkerfield was originally parkland that served part of the Castle’s property. This has been suggested as some of the older trees in the field have more open canopies than if they had grown in a wood.
The walkway that runs along the edge of the field, next to the shore, is bounded by a low stonewall and this footpath was the road that lead up to the Castle. After standing for several hundred years, parts of the wall were broken down in fierce storms a few years ago.
The field takes its name from the chestnut trees that are to be found here and in years gone by, this included a huge Conker tree at the border between the field and the Castle’s land. This served as the framework for many great rope swings over the years. Sadly, it had to be cut down some years ago.
The area is looked after by volunteers from the Friends of Weston Shore who carry out litter picks there. It forms part of the Weston Shore Link, which runs from Weston Shore to the Royal Victoria Country Park.