Ashdown Park, now a luxury hotel, provided external rooftop shots for the opening credits of the television series “Colditz”.
The Bluebell Railway has provided the setting for numerous cinema and television films, including “Wind in the Willows”, starring Terry Jones and Eric Idle and made in 1997; “Station Jim”, filmed for television in 2000 and the Carlton TV production of “The Railway Children”, which starred Jenny Agutter (as Mother) and Lord Richard Attenborough. The 2001 film “Charlotte Grey” featured Kate Blanchett blowing up a train on the Bluebell Line, causing a sleepless night for the residents of Horsted Keynes! In the 2005 film “Flyboys” the railway station at Horsted Keynes doubled as the Gare du Nord.
Groombridge Place Gardens have played a starring role in three major cinema films, the first being “The Draughtsman’s Contract”, made in 1986 by Peter Greenaway, and filmed in the garden and grounds.
The second was the 2001 remake of the 1939 film “The Four Feathers”, starring Kate Hudson. Filming for this took place in the house, outside the front of the house and in the Enchanted Forest.
Last year (2004), Groombridge Place was the main location for the new cinematic adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic “Pride and Prejudice”. It was chosen by Working Title films to be the Bennet’s house, Longbourn. Filming took place in the house and in the part of the gardens not open to the public, and it stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen and Dame Judi Dench.
Hammerwood House has been busy providing the location for many cinema and television films in recent years. It was used in the television adaptation of the novel “Take a Girl Like You” by Kingsley Amis, and for the 1991 film “Under Suspicion”, starring Liam Neeson, as well as for “The Life of Marcel Proust”. Tony Palmer made two films which used Hammerwood House as a location, about the lives of Brahms and Chopin . (Chopin died there in the film!)
A private house, built in the C19th in the style of a French chateau and hidden deep in the Ashdown Forest is proving to be increasingly popular with makers of films for both the large and the small screen. The film “Flyboys”, directed by Tony Bill, was made here in 2005, as was the television epic “Band of Brothers”, made in 2000 and produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Episodes of both “Murphy’s Law” and “Top Gear” have also been filmed here.