Aldermaston Businesses- Cricket Bats

The businesses’ current proprietor is John Surridge. His grandfather, Percy Stuart Surridge, purchased the farm when the whole Aldermaston estate was sold in 1939, calculating that the willow trees alone were worth more than the asking price.  Somewhat later, a family member who worked for bat-makers Lilywhite Frowd felt that he could make a better bat and started the business of Stuart Surridge, firstly in Westmorland Street in London but subsequently moved to Essex.

The cutting business started in the 1960’s and when Surridge’s business was sold in around 2000 the saws were brought down to Aldermaston.  The clefts are now sold around the world, especially to India, for finishing.

For Surridge’s website, see



This display of crafting a traditional cricket bat and its handle can be admired in the Hinds head, together with many historic photos.
A batch of carefully- selected willow trees arrives. Many come from the grounds of The Old Mill, less than a mile away. Each tree can make around 40 bats.
Peter Oldridge
The willow trees have been cut onto 70cm "rounds", each of which can yield 10-12 bats
Peter Oldridges
A willow "round" is marked out for splitting
In this historic photograph, David Luker and Martin Cooper split a "round" in the traditional way. The same kind of mallet can be seen in the next photo.
Willow "Splits" for cricket bats in the foreground. The sawn shaped "Clefts" in the background are stacked to dry and season.
After the Round is split, Phil runs the split through the saw for the first time.
Peter Oldridge
Phil runs the split through for the last time to produce the cleft
Peter Oldridge
After sawing and rough hewing, the willow is shaped before going into the kiln to dry.
Peter Oldridge
One of the drying Kilns in action- the Clefts are dried to around 12% in these kilns.
Peter Oldridge
Leading cricketer Graham Gooch pictured during a visit to the Aldermaston sawmill to inspect his new bat.

Comments about this page

  • Hi Rob,
    Thanks for your question.

    I believe that the company that grows and processes the willow in Aldermaston is Surridge Willow Ltd (

    The Surridge brand of cricket bats was sold to Dunlop Slazenger but has been bought by SDL Group Ltd of Burnley (check out Wikipedia, who use The Surridge Sport brand and here is a link to their cricket bat page

    I am not qualified to confirm if all bats are made with Aldermaston willow. Hopefully someone will confirm this or you’ll be able to find out.


    By Chris Boott (23/08/2023)
  • Hi,

    I’ve lived in Aldermaston for 20 years and the fields these are grown on back on to mine, I’ve walked past the willows on the walks and wanted to ask if it’s possible to buy a few please

    By Rob Wilson (08/07/2023)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.