Surrey village life: Charlwood

PUBLISHED: 14:51 25 January 2013 | UPDATED: 22:39 20 February 2013

Surrey village life: Charlwood

Surrey village life: Charlwood

Located in the shadow of Gatwick Airport, and occasionally threatened by expansion plans, Charlwood magically retains the feeling of being lost in unspoiled countryside

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2013

Located in the shadow of Gatwick Airport, and occasionally threatened by expansion plans, Charlwood magically retains the feeling of being lost in unspoiled countryside

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Photo: Steve Liptrot /

Village voice
Charlwood is a medieval village with a fine Norman church that is Grade 1 listed and many old houses, says Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign and founder member of Charlwood History Group. It is also surrounded by unspoilt countryside thanks to strict planning rules with large areas of beautiful bluebell woods.

Did you know?
A well-known landmark in the area, the famous mill at Charlwood, a mid-18th century post mill with a brick roundhouse, originally stood at Lowfield Heath. It was moved two-and-a-half miles to the present site between 1987 and 1999, due to concerns about access and fears of demolition in the event of Gatwick Airport expanding.

@ the village hall
The Charlwood History Group, started in 2010 as a sub-committee of the Charlwood Society, has 150 members and holds many well-attended meetings in the village hall or in the Nicholas Room. Other regulars include everyone from the Scouting movement to amateur dramatics staged by the Charlwood Players via Pilates, yoga and modern dancing lessons.

Making the headlines
Gatwick is always a threat, but Charlwood has won many battles against the airport. The area relies on the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign to organise opposition to any plans that may be announced for a new runway.

Did you know 2?
The parish has over 80 listed buildings and features, including 28 medieval open hall cottages (built before chimneys) more than in any other Surrey village. In 2004, some 15 houses in Hookwood and Charlwood were dated using new technology, with the oldest (the cottage opposite the Half Moon) found to have been built in 1402.

Grab a bite
There are three pubs in the village and two on the outskirts with food ranging from sound traditional pub grub to modern cuisine and Indian. The village is also home to the world-famous Limes Bistro where most aircrew who travelled via Gatwick in the old days have dined.

Something to take home
Pop into Edolphs Farmshop on Norwood Hill Road to pick up some local produce. At this 200-acre family-owned farm, they hand-rear their own livestock, including cattle, pigs and lambs, and stock produce from like-minded businesses in the area.

In the spotlight

  • Former world motorcycling champion Barry Sheene lived at the Manor House in the 1980s.

  • Rumours persist that Edward and Wallis Simpson would visit friends in the area for Sunday afternoon tea

  • Sir Malcolm Campbell, the land speed record holder, moved to Povey Cross House in 1931. His son Donald, who broke eight world speed records and was the only man to break a land and water speed record in the same year, also lived in the area.

Getting there
Charlwood is found tucked away in the countryside on the Surrey/Sussex border, just off the M23, near Horley and Gatwick Airport. The nearest train stations are at those latter locations.

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