THE MAIN DRIVE and other routes

The Main Drive is significantly older than the school, and formerly linked Doe Quarry Lane to Oldcotes Road, with Throapham Manor three quarters of the way up at Skinners. It used to be part of the same road that runs up past the Sports Hall, and is historically known as Manor Lane. The Admin Block was built over the middle of the road when Upper School took the area over.

There was also a footpath running diagonally from Skinners to Laughton Road, parts of which still remain: the snicket/gennel/alley past the Police Station, and parts of the drives around RVC. Three quarters of the way up this footpath there was once a Triangulation Pillar for the Ordnance Survey, in what would now be the college farm fields. The pillar ceased to be of use when it became occluded by surrounding development.

The large lay-by affair to the east of the Main Drive, along Doe Quarry Lane, is the Bus Bay. It arrived in February 1959 to take the school busses in the days before the Coach Park. Initially there was a margin of grass along the edge of the Bus Bay, but this was considered a safety hazzard and was eventually removed. On 15th February 1963, the Woodsetts bus collided with a motorbike and burst into flames. Fortunately no-one was hurt.

Adjacent to the Main Drive is a large grass area, out of bounds to students, studded with flower-beds, bushes and trees. These grounds were laid out by a Mr J Smith in preparation for the opening of the High School in September 1963. There was a groundsman of that name at the school but he'd apparently left to train as a Rural Science teacher in 1959, so whether it was him or not I don't know. The fencing for the south boundary was provided by the Darlington Fencing Company for the best part of £415.

Two ends of the Main Drive. The shot on the right was taken in 1995 from the flyover section visible over the reception doors in the left-hand shot (from 2006). Railings have been added to the brick wall which guards the sheer drop to the Lower School yard, and the staff car-park in front of the Main Hall has been eaten into by an extra plateau of paving. Probably the most obvious change is the arrival of double yellow lines, which came in 1996 or 7.