Can anyone provide information about the reputed “Roman Bath” situated in the undergrowth in the Thundersley Glen / Hadleigh Downs area?
I remember seeing it c1958, having been taken there by my friend’s Father.

1) Is it still there?

2) Is it Roman?

3) If it’s not there now, what happened to it?

I can’t see it from Google Earth, but then I wouldn’t really expect to, as it was well hidden.  I’m sure there must be many of the older generation, who lived locally, who remember it.

The Pond is in the woods to the north of the main track
Looking towards the pond from the footpath that leads up to the Country Park
Is this the overgrown pond or is it behind the bank?
Roman Bath

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  • We fished it, the gypsies would net the crucian carp, also known as goldfish to sell at fairs, or as prizes.There was also a shooting range and we would collect the spent rounds and shells.There was a pig in an orchard, we would feed it windblown pears and it would be drunk while we filled our shirts with pears. At the bottom of the orchard was an old ss jag, left to rot.

    By mark (08/01/2022)
  • I remember the Roman Baths; my friends Mick White and Phil Gromski went there once. It was extremely difficult to find because it was concealed by trees and bracken. I had never been there before and it had been a hell of a trek from the Eastwood area with our fishing gear. I reckon this was around 1963 as l recall it was to the west of Hadleigh Castle.
    I recall that we were disappointed with the fishing and never went back. I do recall that it appeared oblong in shape but it was full of dead branches and foliage.

    By Bob Sandford (19/01/2021)
  • By chance came across this site… what a lovely area to play it was for me and many others covering from Old Leigh to Benfleet and out to the sea wall… blue lagoon, Roman Baths, Piggeries, and the Scramble that was there in that area after WW2. We enjoyed some of the rope that was used to contain spectators. The huts near the Castle I recall for fruit pickers, marvellous SA orchard; never went hungry.
    Climbed the Castle and the Giants Armchair (fallen tower section) blackberries, mushrooms, and more to do for all the kids living within the roads surrounding Castle Lane, great for go-carts that road; Sicklemore shop (Silvia) fond memories galore.

    By Raymond Frost (17/04/2020)
  • I’ve been thinking about this place recently, as I pass by it on the train each morning on my way to work in Benfleet…
    -Pretty sure when I’d seen it, I simply entered ‘The Downs’ from the top of Station Road, and just essentially followed the train track along..?

    By Andy Chapman (09/02/2018)
  • In the 1950’s us kids used to ride bikes there on a Saturday morning and fish ‘Roman Baths’ or the nearby 2 ponds called ‘The Piggeries’. There was also the ‘Blue Lagoon’ a bit further on.  These places were very special to us, and we were never thrown out or questioned. Come to think of it there didn’t seem to be many staff about at all.

    We would ride down the lane from Hadleigh Church area towards the Hadleigh Castle grounds, and after the shop was a lane on the right leading to the SA buildings. We would go along that, then left through a farm gate and down a fairly steep farm track down to Roman Baths. Yes it was a concrete sided small reservoir with trees round it. The concrete was damaged in at least one place, which made an escape route in case you fell in! We caught crucian carp I recall.

    My gang were more drawn to the Piggeries which, apart from the stink of pigs, was quite picturesque with a stream feeding into a pond which led to a causeway and another pond.  We caught good-sized rudd in there which was much more interesting.

    Also I remember the derelict AA-gun emplacement and lines of shed-like accommodation, presumably for the gunners, observers etc.  Another storyline no doubt!

    I haven’t been back to any of it since about 1955…

    Happy days,


    By Geoff Gonella (24/10/2017)
  • I am at Thundersley right now;  still can’t find the iron pond,  tried four times! Can someone send me a map reference for the Roman bath?  I’d be very grateful, Penny. 

    By penny clarke (25/08/2016)
  • If I remember right David Hurrell may be able to help…..David can you help re: a map showing the position of the Iron pond(Roman baths)?? I am hoping he will read this…in the mean time I will see if I can find a map showing the pond! 🙂

    {Ed: the 6-figure Map reference for Iron Pond AKA The Roman Baths is: TQ806859
    It’s still there, but very overgrown, within the extension to Hadleigh (Castle Country) Park but not within the SSSI. It was created by the SA for Brick Works III.}

    By ellen hume (27/06/2016)
  • Thanks Ellen Hume could I ask you another question please, is it possible to get a map? I went yesterday, I could not find the roman bath I did get photos of Hadleigh castle and the views, but I put them on somewhere else. Pity really. 

    By Miss p.Clarke (26/06/2016)
  • Roman baths, I saw it in the 70s, it  never looked that well. I saw people swimming there, it was much cleaner then. I got there by Benfleet High Road entrance.

    I still can’t find it by going across Hadleigh Downs. Now it must be really dirty.  How could it have been so clean before? When was the Roman Bath built, please

    By Penny Clarke (24/06/2016)
  • Still there Penny……follow the directions as I described in my earlier post and you can still see the copse that hides it 🙂 Before the Olympics the path that went through the valley-where the mountain bike course was being built,was closed and a new temporary path was created that took you past the “Roman baths”…..I had a wander over to the pond to find it still as I remembered-steep sided,surrounded by thick scrub and a bit smelly, water was stagnant but ducks didn’t mind!

    By ellen hume (14/06/2016)
  • How do I  get to the Roman Baths in Thundersley?


    By penny (10/06/2016)
  • Yes, The blue Lagoon and the Roman Baths and playing on the old AA gun emplacements near Monkey Hill, Our secret part of the world, Not so secret anymore.

    By Pete Robbins (09/06/2016)
  • Roman baths on the downs; it was there in 1970. Such shame if gone. But a lot of places have been pulled down.  London is going like that: it’s history; why can’t they leave it alone?

    By penny clarke (08/06/2016)
  • Hello Ellen & David, THANK YOU BOTH for your prompt replies. They were very informative, and pretty much covered the questions which I had in mind.

    By Alan Newitt (08/09/2013)
  • Ellen is “spot on!” Roman Baths and the Iron Pond are synonymous. (There really isn’t much she doesn’t know about the Country Park.) And, yes, it’s called Iron Pond because of its triangular shape, like an old-fashioned smoothing iron. 

    I assume the name Roman Baths was a romantic invention (50 or more years ago) of my generation of scruffy-kid-anglers for, in reality, it is a brick-lined reservoir built over a hundred years ago, not by the Romans but by the Salvation Army Land & Industrial Colony for their brickfields. My Hadleigh Farm History Map, available from the SA Tearooms and the definitive book “Hadleigh Salvation Army Farm” will tell you more about this operation. 

    Forty-five years ago we used to terrorize the fish in Thundersley Glen, the Blue Lagoon (considerably bigger in those days before the landfill), the Piggery Ponds, the Roman Baths and the Eel Ponds. (The latter were the old drainage dykes behind the sea wall, now much altered.) We never caught anything in the Eel Ponds, but we drowned a lot of worms!) 

    The Roman Baths was home to a colony of exotic, golden Crucian Carp – at least, that’s what we called them, in order to accord some street cred to specimens that could fit in a sardine can with room to spare! 

    I should like to take this opportunity to apologize to all the fish I caught in my youth and assure their kin that I am a reformed character.

    By David Hurrell (02/09/2013)
  • Yes the “Roman baths” as you call it is still there, it’s a steep-sided small reservoir of water on the Salvation Army farm land. If you walk from Hadleigh Castle down towards the railway line, take a right on the bottom track and keep walking. Before the green gates take a right through a kissing gate which takes you on a path towards the mountain bike valley. If you look over to the right as you walk up said path you will see a copse of trees which actually surround the “baths.” David Hurrell told me it’s called the iron pond due to its sure when he sees this he will be able to tell us more on its history. I can remember seeing it as a child too. You can see it on Google…IQPLM

    By ellen hume (01/09/2013)

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