kids encyclopedia robot

Bourne Wood facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Bourne Wood hill A
Conifers growing on a hill in the Bourne Wood

Bourne Wood (also known as Bourne Woods) is an area of predominantly coniferous woodland just south of Farnham, Surrey, England and a film location, under 10 minutes from the famous film location of Hankley Common in Elstead. Locally it was known as the Clumps, and was called this until the forestry commission changed the name in the 1950s when fire breaks were introduced, Charles Darwin may have written about the area in Appendices of Natural Selection-describing the trees in clumps. A promontory (rise) above a large heathland clearing (made for the filming of Gladiator) provides views over the surrounding woodland. Much of the wood was formerly heathland at the western end of the Greensand Ridge that was developed privately during the 20th century as commercial conifer plantations. This part of the wood has been purchased by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and is being restored mainly to heath, with retention of some woodland of wildlife significance, as Farnham Heath nature reserve. Their aim is to benefit scarce heathland species such as nightjar, woodlark, Dartford warbler and tree pipit as well as species such as sand lizard.


Bourne Wood Movie Castle
Mock castle at the Bourne Wood at the end of filming of the film Robin Hood, showing the burnt-out castle gate

Since 1999, part of Bourne Wood has been frequently used as a location for filming movies, television series and music videos, most notably the opening battle scenes of the film Gladiator which helped the location to gain popularity. In addition, television adverts for products such as Marmite and IKEA have been filmed at the woods.

In September 2012 the Forestry Commission announced plans to allow filming to take place in the Bourne Wood for up to eight months a year, noting that the site was a "nationally strategic film industry resource". In October 2013 Waverley Borough Council planning committee granted permission for filming to be allowed at Bourne Wood for up to six months in one year or eight months over two years, with night filming for no more than seven days a year. Use of helicopters during filming will require additional permission from the council. Temporary structures may not exceed 25 m in height. The decision will be reviewed after five years.

In chronological order, the following productions have included scenes filmed in the Bourne Wood. All films are feature films unless otherwise stated.

Picture Title Release Set construction
and filming
It Ain't Half Hot Mum 1974–1981 British sitcom. Jungle scenes were filmed at the Bourne Wood.
Gladiator 2000 January – February 1999 The opening battle scenes in the forests of Germania were shot here.
The Man Who Cried 2000
Band of Brothers 2001 Miniseries
Storm 2001 Short film
The Scientist 2002 Music video
Gladiatress 2004
Foyle's War series 4: Bad Blood 2006 April – May 2005 Detective drama television series
Children of Men 2006
The Golden Compass 2007
Inkheart 2008
We Call Her Daisy 2008 Short film
The Descent Part 2 2009
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince 2009
Burke & Hare 2010 March 2010
Burnt-out castle gate and battering ram Robin Hood 2010 May – August 2009 Setting for the siege of Chalus Castle at the start of the film.
The Wolfman 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 2010
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger 2011
War Horse 2011
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 2011
Dark Shadows 2012 June – July 2011
Jack the Giant Slayer 2013 January – March 2011
Burnt trees Snow White and the Huntsman 2012 August – September 2011 Setting for the battle between King Magnus and an army of demonic glass soldiers near the beginning of the film.
Stone towers and yurts Thor: The Dark World 2013 August – September 2012 Setting for the battle on Vanaheim near the beginning of the film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron 2015 June – July 2014 The opening car chase scene was shot here, including parts of the assault on the Hydra base.
Transformers: The Last Knight 2016 October 2016 Parts of the Merlin and Dragonstorm battle scene were shot here.
No photography sign at site of filming of Wonder Woman in the Bourne Wood Wonder Woman 2017 August 2016
Filming in the Bourne Wood The Old Guard 2020 July – August 2019
Film production fire engine on location at the Bourne Wood The Witcher Season 2 February and November 2020


During the Second World War a searchlight post was established in the woodland, the concrete base of which is marked and still visible today. Three structures were erected by Canadian soldiers in the northernmost section of the woods bordering Dene Lane, consisting of a mess hut and barracks for those manning the searchlight. Two of these buildings became separate dwellings owned by the Forestry Commission providing accommodation for employees before becoming private houses.


Much of the wood was formerly heathland at the western end of the Greensand Ridge that was developed privately during the 20th century as commercial conifer plantations.

The headwaters of the Wey (west branch) converging on the town to the north are locally known also as The Bourne, which accordingly has helped to name Lower Bourne, a ward and neighbourhood of Farnham.

Two round tumuli are east and south-east of Forest Cottage in the wood. They are late Bronze Age, 21m and 26m in diameter and 1.7m and 2m high and one has suffered some disturbance in the centre and the south-eastern quadrant. Surrounding the mound is a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. This is no longer visible at ground level, having become infilled over the years, and can be seen in a geophysical survey as a buried feature about 3m wide.

kids search engine
Bourne Wood Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.