Ockley - Surrey Life Towns & Villages 2013
PUBLISHED: 15:43 15 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:57 19 August 2014
With a reputation as a gastro village and being chocolate box pretty, Ockley also has claims to Darwin and a dinosaur
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Its evolution, baby
British naturalist Charles Darwin conducted some of his experiments in the Ockley area. He was a frequent visitor to Leith Hill Place, home of his sister Caroline who had married Josiah Wedgwood (grandson of the famous potter). The National Trust is once again opening the property to visitors this summer with free entry.
In 1983, an amateur fossil hunter called William Walker discovered the almost intact skeleton of a previously unknown species of dinosaur, subsequently called Baryonyx walkeri (Baryonyx meaning large claw and walkeri after its finder) at Smokejacks Brickworks. The skeleton of the Ockley dinosaur is displayed at the Natural History museum.
Ockley’s Village Greens Farm Shop recently expanded and can now also be found at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking. Having left the accountancy world, James Dampier opened the shop with wife Catherine six years ago and now they also grow their own seasonal vegetables in a Victorian walled garden at the award-winning vineyard.
The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, located on the edge of the village, is world renowned and has hosted many famous visitors, including Ringo Starr and Prince Charles. The range of works selected by owner-curator Hannah Peschar varies from figurative to highly abstract, as well as the more traditional.
Bryce’s seafood restaurant and pub (01306 627430) has been serving up fresh fish dishes for over 21 years and source much of their offering from the day trawlers at Shoreham in Sussex.
The village is well served with great pubs and one of the best is The Inn on the Green (01306 711032).
Gatton Manor (01306 627555) offers great golf set in 200 acres of tranquil countryside.
Off the A24. It is served by its own station with, usually, hourly trains.