“The Gates at Hilton” has been developed on 43,4ha of the original Voortrekker farm, “Ongegund”. This had been the property of the widow Grobbelaar and was sold in 1860, following sub-division, to Gould Arthur Lucas and Joseph Henderson. Henderson named his portion “Lower Hilton” and Lucas’s became known as “Upper Hilton”. It was on “Upper Hilton” that Hilton College was founded in 1872, by Rev. William Newnham, with the support of Lucas.
Over the years of Hilton College’s existence, the extent of the Hilton Estate has grown to 1762ha, as a result of a further three major land acquisitions, the most recent of which was the purchase of an undivided half share in what remained of Henderson’s “Lower Hilton”. 3,4ha of this property is included in “The Gates at Hilton”.
The Hilton Estate is situated at the end of a prominent spur above the uMngeni River valley and consists of a large plateau area, the Gwens gorge which includes four waterfalls, and a significant tract of land within the uMngeni River valley. The upper part of the Estate, within the plateau area, is undulating and incorporates two shallow valleys of moist mistbelt grassland. The uMngeni River valley is deeply incised with a height difference of approximately 100m between the plateau and the valley floor. The valley is edged with steep slopes and some impressive cliffs.
The vegetation within the Estate is very varied. The plateau consists predominantly of grasslands, plantations, and farmlands which encircle the manicured surroundings of the Hilton College campus. The uMngeni valley and the Gwens gorge areas contain mainly unspoilt Valley Bushveld and some small areas of forest. The uMngeni valley and Gwens portion of the Estate has been declared a Nature Reserve, in terms of the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.
With the varied vegetation and topography which constitutes the Estate comes a bird list of about 300 species. Oribi, duiker and reedbuck are commonly seen on the plateau, and the Nature Reserve boasts nyala, bushbuck, impala, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, warthog, caracal, serval and jackal, as well as a variety of smaller creatures.
ACCESS FOR RESIDENTS
The Home Owner’ Association of the Gates at Hilton has entered into an agreement with The Hiltonian Society whereby residents of The Gates enjoy limited access to the Hilton College Estate and its facilities. Via membership of the Fleur-de-Lys Club, situated on the school campus, residents are able to enjoy the Nature Reserve, walk and cycle on the extended property, and make use of some of the school facilities. Residents of The Gates may also participate in the community life within the school: attend Sunday services in the chapel, or theatre and music evenings, and, of course, enjoy being spectators at school sporting events. Hilton College is very much a community, a rural village, and residents of The Gates will have the opportunity to participate in that, to whatever extent they choose.
Residents of “The Gates at Hilton” are encouraged to become members of the Fleur-de-lys Club. Access to, and use of the facilities will be controlled by the Club manager.
The Home Owners’ Association will, from time to time, negotiate details relating to the use, by Fleur-de-lys Club members resident at “The Gates at Hilton”, of the Estate and various campus facilities.
The following campus facilities may be used at specified times:
- Squash courts
- Swimming pool
- Driving range
Club members, will be granted permission to walk and ride bicycles on the Estate, subject to any rules applicable from time to time.
Club members will be entitled to enter the Nature Reserve, on the understanding that the following will apply:
1. The Conservation office will limit the number of entrants per day.
2. During term time, residents other than parents, will be restricted to entering the Nature Reserve during the week.
3. When the school is making use of the Nature Reserve (eg Outward Bound) it will be closed to Club members.
FLEUR-DE-LYS CLUB MEMBERSHIP
On acquiring a site at “the Gates at Hilton”, the purchaser is entitled to apply for membership of the Fleur-de-lys Club, at the rate applicable at the time, and to maintain that membership throughout the period of ownership by annual renewal. Club membership will entitle the owner to full use of the facilities of the Club, and to access to the Estate as described above. It is understood that there may be fees attached to the use of certain facilities.