Hambledon: Surrey village life

PUBLISHED: 17:35 13 January 2014 | UPDATED: 17:35 13 January 2014

The village has a strong community spirit

The village has a strong community spirit

Pete Gardner

Located within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Hambledon also has the oldest community-run village shop in the south of England

Village Voice

Retired vet Philip Underwood is a familiar face in the village having lived there for 30 years.

“It is joyous living in Hambledon!” he says. “There is so much going on if you want to find it. There is the football club and the cricket club and the village shop.

“It’s the shop though, which is run by the community, that is really the focus. It has become a chat centre where people can swap their problems with each other.

“I was the manager for eight years and now help out there – the shop is still growing and gives a happy, personal service.”

Pointing to the traditional phone box outside the shop, he whispers, “and rumour has it, this was used as a secret drop box in the war…”

Did you know?

The village seems to have a popular name – not only is there a Hambledon in nearby Hampshire but there is a Hambleden in Berkshire too and, like the neighbouring village of Chiddingfold, the village had a Royal Navy warship named after it – HMS Hambledon was a Hunt Class Destroyer built in 1940 and saw plenty of active service during World War II.

Making the headlines...

• Appearing in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Hameldune, the village’s assets included 30 hogs, among other things.

• Owned by the National Trust, there is a tiny 16th century labourer’s home near the village green now beautifully restored. Oakhurst Cottage is well worth a visit but by appointment only through the NT (call 01483 208936 or e-mail oakhurstcottage@nationaltrust.org.uk).

• The village is unusual in having its own community-run shop and post office. Originally closed in 1990, the villagers decided to support it and it reopened two years later. It is now the longest running shop of its kind in southern England.

Grabbing a bite…
There’s a choice of two really – either the pub or the shop!

The Merry Harriers – a lovely 16th century pub in the heart of the village – has food, drink, beds for the night – oh and llamas… No, not on the menu, but for group treks and birthday party outings, providing, as the pub says, ‘an incredibly calming and therapeutic influence as the ideal companion…’ Call 01428 682883 or check out the llama website at surrey-hills-llamas.co.uk.

Not enough time to relax in the pub? Okay, the village shop has enough variety for a lunchtime takeaway. Choose from baguettes, cheese, sausage rolls and home-made pâtés – and on a Sunday morning stop off for a croissant and the Sunday papers.

In the spotlight...

A couple of celebs have been (and gone!) to Hambledon… Status Quo’s Francis Rossi used to live up the road a few years ago and, more recently, the village was home to Damon Hill, World Champion Formula 1 driver. The most exciting rumour that did the rounds a while back was that the old Nutbourne brickworks were to be transformed into a £20m estate for none less than Prince William and Kate. Sadly not to be, but you never know…

Getting there…

A little tricky – you have to know your Surrey back roads quite well. Worth the effort though, so get the map out (or the satnav...) and head down the Brighton Road out of Godalming. Then simply follow the Hambledon Road south for a few miles and you’ll find it. Believe it or not, there is a bus service too. Recently saved from extinction under a cost-cutting measure, the 503 Stagecoach will take you into the heart of the village.

Get in touch...

... with your news from Hambledon 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

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Next month: We will be visiting the village of Abinger Hammer

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