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Discover High Ashurst with Surrey Youth Justice

Surrey Youth Justice work at High Ashurst
Since August 2008 Surrey County Archaeological Unit has been working in partnership with Surrey Youth Justice and Surrey Youth Development to excavate the footprint of a demolished stately home, in the grounds of High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre, near Dorking.

At the start, the project was used as an activity for Youth Engagement Scheme participants and Community Reparation groups, and has since gone on to become a weekly activity for the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes.

The young people work alongside archaeologists, youth workers and Surrey Youth Justice Officers on a number of tasks connected with the site. Since the start of the project accreditation has been offered in the form of an OCN unit and a site-specific AQA unit, developed to assess progress and award achievement on the project.
Surrey Youth Justice work at High Ashurst
The participants have to demonstrate an understanding of practical archaeological skills, and the historical development of the site, as well as safe use of tools, planning and levelling.

The group has now uncovered a near complete Victorian entrance hall mosaic, two tiled fire-places, and some of the original floor panels. Several rooms have also been identified: library, music room, gallery, entrance hall, and dining room – Cluedo anyone!

Surrey Youth Justice work at High AshurstThe last phase of excavation is scheduled for mid-February to April 2010. Work will then concentrate on turning the results of the dig into a display, with interpretation boards for the site. Part of the site has already been fenced to create a small heritage enclosure, which Surrey Outdoor Learning Development hope to incorporate into visits made by school and youth groups to High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre. This will not only enhance the overall experience of visitors to the centre but also provide on-going maintenance activities for Surrey Youth Justice.

For further information about this project and other Community Archaeology projects in Surrey contact Abby Guinness, Community Archaeologist Tel: 01483 518772, email Abby Guinness via

To find out more: visit Surrey County Council's Community Archaeology pages


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