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Polo Ground

The Polo Ground is what used to be the open area to the north of the current Cheriton Road football ground. Essentially it has 3 main areas:

  • 2 upper levels, one behind the Harvey Grammar school / football ground, and the other behind the cricket ground

  • 1 lower level further north of the upper levels, bordering on to Park Farm estate

Surprisingly there seems to be very little information regarding the history or uses of the Polo Ground.

Some of the oldest information that I have on the area indicates that the northern edge of the Polo Ground (the natural boundary being the Pent Stream) was the old Folkestone Golf Club from as early as 1888, up until 1965. Originally 9 holes, then expanded to the full 18, holes 10, 11, 12 & 13 were all south of the Pent Stream so certainly fit into the remit of this website. The whole area was a sporting paradise! There is plenty more information at the excellent Golf's Missing Links website. Also likely that some of the course bunkers are shown in the background of the cricket ground photos. To get an idea of the location this 1938 Ordnance Survey map shows the location, which aligns well with the course layout shown on Golf's Missing Links (rotated to show north & to get context), picture used with permission from that website:-

1938 OS Golf Course.jpg
Golf club
Golf course layout.jpg

OS Map Picture credit: Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland. Use of these digitised maps for non-commercial purposes is permitted under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA) licence.

Certainly the area known as the Polo Ground was large enough to host polo, as Polo is played on a Polo field that is 300 yards long and 200 yards wide, although this may be just 160 yards wide if it is a boarded pitch. So maybe Polo was played there? Of the very few pieces of information that I can find is a photo of a Polo match from august 1926, which has Sir Philip Sassoon Bart MP. (who donated the first main stand to the Folkestone football club - see 1900-1930 section of website) on the extreme right of the photo:-

1926 Sir Philip Sassoon far right.jpg
Kent Photo Archive.jpg

Picture credit: Kent Photo Archive

Interestingly these finely dressed players and horses appear to be on one of the bowling club greens! Look at the playing surface - very flat and manicured - highly likely not to be a Polo field. The benches behind the teams appear to have a bowling green perimeter look to them. Additionally the background view suggests a location close to the main Cheriton Road where the bowling greens were (and are). No sign in the background of the cricket ground stands that were built in 1926. Finally the last piece of evidence is the perspective of the hills in the background. Compare this to a contemporary (2019) view of the bowling greens form Cheriton Road:-

2019 Polo view.jpg

Picture credit: Google Maps


In 1930 a Bronze Age group C beaker with herringbone decoration  was found in a sand pit close to the 13th Tee of Folkestone Golf Course, north of the Pent Stream. This adds to Neolithic implements found at Folkestone Golf Course, arrow heads and heart of a polished axe, but unfortunately the find date is unknown.


At least up to the  mid-1980s, the Polo Ground has been marked out with various rugby pitches, hockey pitches, and football pitches. I should know as I've played on most of them whilst at the Harvey Grammar School.

In modern times the Polo Ground has been split up with more permanent structures:-

  • Upper level (all covered by the Cricket Ground / Three Hills Sports Centre part of this website):-

    • Artificial (3G) football pitch behind Harvey Grammar School​

    • Sports hall; Artificial hockey pitches (2-off) ; Tarmac netball courts behind the football ground

    • Three Hills Sports Centre and Cricket pitch behind the main Cricket pitch

  • Lower level:-​

    • Marked out football pitches​

    • Dog exercise area

2021 Polo Ground.jpg

Picture credit: Google Maps

In October 2019 Councillors sitting on Folkestone and Hythe District Council's (FHDC) planning committee unanimously approved the plans for a new athletics running track at Three Hills Sports Park in the area known as the Polo Ground. It includes a 400m eight lane running track, with two 100m straights, and a facility for field events - such as javelin, shot put and high jump - in the centre. The scheme, put forward by Folkestone Running Club, also includes plans for a new pavilion which will house changing facilities, toilets and a café. An additional 156 seats for spectators will also be created.

The status of the build of the running track in Summer 2021 is shown below:-

2021 running track.jpg

Picture credit: Folkestone Invicta

Full excavation work on the running track started in November 2021. The picture below shows the condition in December 2021.

2021 Dec running track.jpg

Picture credit: Peter Vernon

By April 2023 the site was still not ready. Clearly a marathon rather than a sprint.

2023 April running track.jpg

Picture credit: Peter Vernon

Sporting groups that used the Polo Ground, not covered by other pages on this website include:-

  • Folkestone Optimist Hockey Club: 1926 to present 

  • Castle Moat and Folkestone Bowmen archery club: 1963 to 1985 when the club moved to its current home in the grounds of the Folkestone School For Girls. During their time on the Polo Ground they also used the football ground for some events.

  • Folkestone Rugby club: 1973 to 1983 when the club then moved to a site on the A20 Ashford Road, which nowadays is the Channel Tunnel Terminal Service Road.

  • East Kent Cougars American football team: 1987 (Played in the inaugural British Gridiron Football League (BGFL) season in 1987) to 1990 when the club folded

Any further information regarding the Polo Ground, particularly old photos, are always welcome. Please use the contact form.

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