Chiddingfold village guide 2015
PUBLISHED: 10:39 19 August 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 19 August 2015
With top pubs, historic homes and spectacular countryside, Chiddingfold villagers have every right for a celebration - it's fair to say that some of the residents over the years have known how to party too!
Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life
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1 Chiddingfold is a stunning little village to explore and most of the properties around the green date from the 14th to 16th centuries. Look out for the timber-framed Wealden houses with their later additions of tile-hung or period facades.
2 The village is also famous for its torchlit procession, bonfire and fireworks display in November. Started, supposedly, as a way for Coopers Stick Factory to burn their offcuts (rather than Guy Fawkes related), that company finally shut its doors in the 1990s – but the tradition lives on.
3 The village was also home for a while to the eminent scientists William Bragg and his son Laurence. In 1915, they made history by being the only scientists to jointly win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their development of X-ray crystallography. Look out for the commemorative plaque in the village church.
4 Speaking of St Mary’s Church, you’ll find an unusual, almost Hobbit-like Church Room hidden in the ground behind the main building and among the graves.
5 One of the last intact and working traditional village green smithies, Chiddingfold’s forge was built around 1812 on the site of the former village Market House, possibly re-using some of the building materials. It’s found opposite the small parade of shops.
6 Ramster Gardens open in the spring months, but the estate hosts events throughout the year. The oldest part of the house dates from the early 17th century, when it was built by a wealthy glass maker.
7 Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford’s recording studio, The Farm, a one-time dairy, is found close by the village. It’s a place that is steeped in music history – among the people to have recorded albums there are George Harrison and Eric Clapton, as well as Genesis of course.
8 For a time, Jet Black moved the Stranglers ‘family’ to a cottage at Lilian Place in Chiddingfold in 1975. It’s said that the welcome the punk rockers received could perhaps be best described as mixed.
9 Not many villages have a landlord that also happens to be a presenter of Top Gear, but Chiddingfold is one. Chris Evans presides over The Mulberry Inn, where pictures of his career highlights adorn the walls. The programme is filmed at Dunsfold Park.
10 While the village itself is extremely well stocked for excellent pubs, it’s also worth a venture into the nearby countryside where the likes of The Dog & Pheasant in Brook, BBQ Whiskey Beer at The White Hart in Witley and The Merry Harriers in Hambledon await.
A pocket guide:
Drink at: You’re spoiled for choice with the Crown, Swan, Mulberry and Winterton Arms.
Eat at: For a quick bite, try Treacle’s Tea Shop or Chris Evans’ pub The Mulberry Inn, which is just outside the village.
Stay at: Both The Crown and The Swan offer luxury accommodation.