Betchworth: Surrey village life
PUBLISHED: 15:52 09 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:53 09 October 2013
Pete Gardner Photography
Tucked away in the countryside, Betchworth is a beautiful village with a lovely church, a historic forge and fine pubs
“The thing about Betchworth is that it just goes on and on; it’s sort of long and stretched out!” says Tony Hazeltine, owner of Betchworth Forge in The Street. Tony has been a one-man band blacksmith at the forge since 1989, when he took the opportunity to move there from the forge at nearby Abinger. Arriving in Betchworth, you can immediately understand what Tony means – the village is spread over a large area with the post office and village stores at one end and a pub and church at the other, with the railway station on the other side of the busy A25. “The forge has been here since the 1500’s and was built to serve the manor,” says Tony. The forge is just across the road from The Dolphin, a 17th century pub serving real ales and – as they describe it, ‘Food Glorious Food!’ – under head chef Mike Cousins. “It’s a friendly place,” continues Tony. “It makes all the difference – you need a bit of stability in a pub.”
Did you know?
The organ at St Michael’s Church in Betchworth is currently being replaced with a new one by specialists Kenneth Tickell – and some of the pipes from the old organ, which was dismantled in January, were offered for sale.
Did you know 2?
Betchworth quarry was used as the location for an episode of Dr Who called The Genesis of The Daleks. Filmed in January 1975, it saw Tom Baker and Ian Marter (Harry Sullivan) attempting to prevent the birth of the Daleks in the wastelands…
Grab a bite…
There are three main pubs to choose from here: The Dolphin (01737 842288) in The Street; The Red Lion (01737 843336) on Old Road; and pub/restaurant The Arkle Manor (01737 842110) on Old Reigate Road. Each boasts its own speciality – The Dolphin claiming to have the best pub garden in Betchworth, The Red Lion with its incredible Wisteria growing outside (over 230 years old and said to be the oldest in the country!) and The Arkle Manor offering reduced price champagne on Thursdays and Fabulous Fish Fridays. The only solution is to try all three and decide for yourself which one’s the best… Oh, and we couldn’t not mention the award-winning Jolly Farmers, just down the road along the A25, which is a pub, eatery and farm shop all rolled into one!
Something to take home…
You’ll have to be quick, but if you want one of the old decorated organ pipes from St Michael’s Church, there may be a couple left – give the church warden a call on 01737 843266. Meanwhile, he may need a bit of time but Tony at The Forge would be happy to discuss those fabulous wrought iron gates you’ve always longed for – perhaps he could incorporate the organ pipes into the design for you…
In the spotlight…
The village’s big claim to fame was the filming in 1994 of the classic British comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral at the beautiful St Michael’s Church. Starring Hugh Grant and Simon Callow, the church was taken over for a few days for the shots of the first wedding between Angus and Laura, supposedly in Somerset. Today, this Grade I listed building is well worth a visit.
A good yarn...
Hauntings are always a good source of gossip and the village has its fair share. The ruins of Betchworth Castle, originally built in the 14th century, are apparently haunted by one-time owner Lord Henry Hope. As if that isn’t enough, supposedly there is also a black dog that haunts the castle and the nearby golf course…
Getting there… Not too difficult and in fact there is a pretty little station just off the main A25 a few yards along Pebble Hill. This is on the main Guildford to Reigate line run by First Great Western. Prefer the bus? Arriva number 32 will take you from Guildford via Shere, Dorking and Betchworth to Redhill.
Get in touch...
... with your news from Betchworth and what makes the village special to you by dropping us a line at facebook.com/surreylife and twitter.com/surreylife or by visiting the Surrey Life website at surreylife.co.uk
Next month: Wonersh