Chiddingfold: Surrey village life
PUBLISHED: 19:59 16 December 2013 | UPDATED: 19:59 16 December 2013
Everything you could want from a village, Chiddingfold has a lovely green, a pretty church and good pub grub
“At its centre, Chiddingfold is a classic English village,” says Richard Hogsflesh, local resident and Parish Council Chairman, who knows the area well. “You’ll find a large green surrounded by houses, most of which date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, a pond, complete with resident heron to keep the fish population under control, a 12th century church and a 14th century inn, The Crown.
“But there is much more to the village than that. There is also a strong community feeling and lots of activities for people to join if they so wish, ranging from cricket and football to enhancing your artistic skills with the watercolour group. My own particular favourite is building the annual bonfire, keeping up a tradition that goes back well over 150 years.
“Shopping in the village on a Saturday morning can take forever as you are constantly bumping into people and stopping to chat, catching up with the latest news, and I love that. It gives you a real sense of belonging.”
A potted history...
The name Chiddingfold probably comes from the Saxon for a ‘fold in the hollow’ but spelling it seemed to cause a problem for the early settlers as at least 28 variations have been traced. Try getting your tongue round Chedelingfelt, Chidingefalde or even Chudyngfold…!
Glass-making and walking stick manufacture have featured prominently in the village history, with the renowned Cooper & Sons Ltd walking stick factory only recently closing. St Mary’s Church near the green has a window with some remaining fragments of Chiddingfold glass and to celebrate the industry there is a modern stained glass Millennium Window in the east end of the chapel.
Today, Chiddingfold is probably best known for its famous bonfire night event, which began as the mere burning of brittle remains from the walking stick factory! Nowadays, the event attracts up to 10,000 people who come from miles around to see the firework display and torchlit procession.
Grab a bite… There are a couple of pubs and a café all within a few yards of each other. The Crown Inn offers a host of menus including Breakfast; Snack and Sandwich; Sunday Lunch Special; and more – they also do a take away fish and chip service.
Just around the corner is The Swan Inn – also with a mouth-watering menu – how about ‘five-spiced roast quail with bok choi’ and then a ‘caramelised lemon tart with raspberry coulis’ to finish?
As a complete contrast, right opposite the green, is Treacles Tea Room. Run by Tracey Honeysett, former owner of the once Michelin starred Drakes on the Pond, they offer a whole range of tempting lunches, teas and cakes.
Something to take home…
Well, it’s Christmas very soon and the goose is getting fat, so how about ordering one from Chiddingfold’s own butcher, R.G. Young & Sons at Petworth Road (next door to The Swan Inn)?
Chiddingfold is located on the A283 between Guildford and Petworth. There’s no railway station but the number 71 bus will take you from Guildford via Godalming and Witley to a stop right outside The Crown pub.
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