Highlands Road

Highlands Road was apparently known as Frosthole Lane - it's not clear how formal this name was as there is very little evidence for it at all, but it appears to have taken its name from Frosthole Coppice (through which Oak Road runs), which would have been towards the end of the road. Maybe Frosthole Crescent, which isn't near it, was named as a spur of what we now call Highlands Road? The new name, of course, describes its path across the highest land in Fareham, and is more appropriate now that it is heavily built up - and Frosthole Coppice is pretty much gone.

There is a theory that Highlands Road was built by the Romans to access the Isle of Wight. True or not, it's nice to know.

Hill Farm and Hill Park

Its starting point is by the former Fareham Brick Works on Kiln Road. Behind this was a gravel pit which was used by industry all over town, this became Green Hollow close. On the other side, The Cedars is built over Maylings House, which once had donkeys roaming.

The scout hut is on the site of the former Hill Farm. The path leading to Miller Drive, by the entrance to the railway tunnel, once lead towards Maylings Farm and the pits surrounding it: it was not a through road.

The clinic down Frosthole Close was developed as an isolated hospital for people with infectious diseases in the late 19th Century, at the time this would have been far from any development. By the 1950s, that hospital had been knocked down and replaced with Frosthole Close, a street of about 10 houses. The original Frosthole Close was built on the current western entrance to Frosthole Crescent, and the modern Frosthole Crescent was the entrance to Highlands County Infant School. The circle at the end of the close is original to when it was the school, and the alleyway between there and Highlands Road is on the line of the secondary entrance to the school. There was a farm access road along the eastern boundary of the school.

Those fields were built on as part of the 1960s expansion, and Frosthole Crescent was born. The school was demolished in the 1980s and replaced with the current Frosthole Close. The farm access road mentioned above can still be traced looking at the boundary of the houses in Frosthole Close, and part of it survives as a private car park.

By the 1930s, the farmland north of here began to be broken up for a sparse development, mainly focused around Hill Park Road. Gaps were left for some of the other streets which would join it as the development became more dense - this didn't actually happen until well in to the 1970s.

Trees between housesThe gap in development reveals the location of the former bridge over the line. The dip in the road surface marks and end of the bridge (2012, tap to enlarge)

The Deviation Line car park is evidence of an abandoned railway line. Continuous problems with flooding and instability in the tunnels passed earlier meant that a better route was needed, and in 1904 the deviation line opened to provide an alternative route, running through hill cuttings rather than tunnels - this is why the car park is lower than the road. Developments around Heather Gardens (a 1980s addition) mask the loss of the line at the southern end, but its route can still be made out from remaining treelines. To the north, the former line still manages to divide the Hill Park and Fareham Park estates. It closed in 1974 and the narrow brick arch bridge that took Highlands Road over the line (with pedestrians carried over a separate rattling iron bridge) was filled in, (allegedly) hence the weight limit over this section of road. The extent of the bridge and its embankments can still be made out today by looking at the length of the road with no houses along it. Roughly speaking, there would have been a footpath here before the line was built.

The Deviation LineLooking down to the footpath covering the old railway line (2012, tap to enlarge)

Shops and Estates

Fareham Park (which actually forms the main part of Hill Park, but not the bit around Hill Park Road, if that makes any sense at all) began to develop in the 1930s and became saturated by the late 1960s. The large gardens on the houses fronting Highlands Road became useful as they became commercial properties, while others were sold for more housing.

The junction at Fareham Park Road once had The Highlands Pub (was Hampshire Rose) and post office around it, one of these became a house while the pub is now demolished. Shops used to continue with a chip shop and hairdressers in Fareham Park Road, which was once Iron Mills Lane, which led through to its namesake near Funtley, later cut off by the motorway and then consequently renamed. This lives on with one of the Hill Park roads being called Iron Mill Close. The junction here and with Gudge Heath Lane would have once been an open meeting between two country lanes, particularly at Gudge Heath, where the road forked. The Highlands shops were built in the 1970s in place of houses with large gardens.

The larger shop at the end is now Somerfield, previously Gateway and Bejam.

Post-war development saw the arrival of Stow Estate, but it doesn't appear to be anything like it is now. The original road had prefabricated housing connected by paths and not roads, with what we today know as Stow Crescent being a single road which ran in a straight line from an entrance by the car showroom (actually two entrances: one was a straight line and one cut the corner, the latter being today's alignment), through to a large oval with a road through the middle. Ocean Close may well be the original end of the road. This was all redesigned in the 1970s to provide denser housing to meet what was required, as well as the ambulance station. Equally, the houses on the other side (accessed from Norset Road) are not original but 1970s rebuilds of existing housing. Privett Road is about 10 years older than Hillson Drive, hence the fork, although space was always left for it.

Henry Cort Community College, formerly Fareham Park Seniors, is located up Hillson Drive. Nashe Way was previously a newt pond.

The original end of Highlands RoadThe original end of the road at Catisfield. The bend to the right became increasingly important until the road ahead opened. Also shows the curious estate signage on the lamppost.

Fields to Catisfield

The third railway the road crosses was built in 1889, so all the development has been built around it. Beyond the railway line, the first houses arrived in the 1930s, with the whole north side (up to the bends in the road) being sold to form large houses with small gardens. By the 1960s, post-war development was such that the majority of it resembles what it does today. Much of the surplus gardens were sold off in the 1980s to form more closes. Before development, many of the fields around here were used to grow strawberries.

Highlands Road with no frontagesThe 1960s extension follows the design principles of the time, with all the houses tucked away down side roads and behind a wall.

The double-bend on Highlands Road appears to have been to avoid ownership issues with one of the fields ("ge'rroff my land" and all that), now much softer as the road has grown. Alternatively, it may reveal an old trackway or farm access leading to Fishers Hill. The housing here was built in the 1940s and revelas the original end of the road, on Catisfield Road. Access to the A27 was provided either down Catisfield Road, as it is now, or Catisfield Lane, which was blocked off in 1967. It was then that Highlands Road was extended to meet The Avenue. The extension is not a direction continuation, but a second road built slightly offset, which hides the majority of the evidence where the old road meets the new one.

Hampton Grove was built in the 1970s, at which time the rest of the space around the centre of Catisfield was filled in. Catisfield Lodge, where the old road meets the new, was demolished at the same time as the extension, probably to make way for it.