Park History

Background and Awards


Sir Joseph Hood, after whom the Playing Field and the adjacent Woodland (and the recreation ground near Cannon Hill Common) are named, was a local benefactor, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Wimbledon.

At the time of the Reformation, the whole area, consisting of woods, arable and pasture land, belonged to the Priory of Merton. From the early 16th Century, and probably long before, an area between the Beverley Brook and the village of lower Morden formed Hobald’s Farm. It was bought by the Garths, Lords of the Manor of Moden, before 1611.



 Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Ground – the home of the RPLL

At some time during the 1860s, Richard Garth planted some land to the west of the farm with oak trees and it survives today as Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Wood. The wood contains more than one ancient woodland indicator spies, which presumably were surviving here in hedgerows before the wood was planted. As Garth had nearby dog kennels, he probably intended it as a hunting covert. Eventually, in 1931, the Urban District of Merton and Moden acquired the part of the estate now known as The Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field, including the wood.


Street Map 

Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field (Streetmap website) – Marina Avenue, New Malden, KT3 6NE

Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field is one of Merton’s 13 Elite Sports Grounds and situated in Motspur Park, off Marina Avenue. The 12.75-hectare recreation ground provides facilities mainly for organised sports and games.


Park Synopsis


  • Trees/Woodland
  • Nature Conservation Interest
  • Crazy Golf
  • Play Area
  • Parking
  • Café
  • Public Conveniences
  • Disabled Conveniences (External DC Radar Accessible)
  • Four Tennis Courts
  • Three Football Pitches
  • Paddling Pool – Open from 26 July to 6 September 2010. 10am – 6pm.
  • Pavilion/Changing Room
  • Trim Trails
  • Recycling


Green Flag

Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Fields was a Green Flag Award winner in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Green Flag Awards website

 Opening hours

  • Monday – Friday 8.00 am to dusk;
  • Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 9.00 am – dusk



The Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Wood, located in the open space, is a “Grade II” site of borough importance for nature conservation.


Permissive footpath

At the top of the site is a permissive footpath that is required to be closed for a 24 hour period in order to maintain access rights for its users.  This closure usually occurs towards the end of December to minimise disruption.  A notice will be placed on the gate advising users prior to the closure. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


Sir Joseph Hood Memorial Playing Field is located off Marina Avenue, Motspur Park in West Barnes Ward on the southwest border of Merton and the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames. The main entrance to the Playing Field is to the north of the site off Marina Avenue. There are two pedestrian entrances on the eastern boundary of the playing field towards the Morden Crematorium and Cemetery and one on the southern boundary.