Things to do in Bletchingley - village life
PUBLISHED: 17:57 22 September 2014 | UPDATED: 10:18 20 April 2015
Steeped in history, the village of Bletchingley was recently the scene of some more rather modern goings-on when Victoria Beckham visited to do a photo shoot for Vogue…
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Two voices unite in a chorus of praise for Bletchingley when I pop into the local hair salon, Streaks Ahead, in the High Street.
“It’s a good place to work,” says stylist Lesley Wimshurst. “I’ve been here for 14 years and it’s a very friendly village.”
Having her hair washed, customer and friend Joan Millar, who has lived in the village for 28 years, agrees: “It’s the accessibility and friendliness here,” she adds. “We are close to the airport, the motorways and the train station at Redhill.”
Lesley continues: “There is a good community spirit – everyone helps each other out and are very caring of one another. In addition, a village store arrived last year, there is a good bus service and a very popular tea room.”
Did you know?
• Curtains were twitching in the village recently when Victoria Beckham arrived to do a photoshoot for Vogue at The Old Rectory in Sandy Lane. The gardens of the rectory, which also featured as a location for the BBC’s Emma, are described as “Italianate topiary with box parterres and water columns” and are open occasionally under the National Gardens Scheme and by appointment – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• One of the village’s real hidden gems is Hevers Pond. So how many ponds do you know that are mentioned in the Domesday Book? Located just off Outwood Lane at the southern end of the village, this little patch of wetland is recognised as an area of great biodiversity including, wait for it, the freshwater winkle! The pond is the subject of a programme of support and it is hoped it will become a place for local schools to visit.
• The village church of St Mary the Virgin is well worth a visit too. The tower is early Norman (about 1090) and over 5ft thick in parts, while the porch and the great oak door date from 1460. On another point of interest, be sure to look out for the Hermit’s Squint in the south wall of the building. This window once joined up to the hermit’s cell where a man named Brother Roger lived.
Grab a bite…
No need to resort to the pond winkles (see below left); there are much nicer things on offer here, with no less than four pubs.
The Whyte Hart Hotel in the High Street (01883 743231) offers “real food and real ale”, all locally sourced and freshly prepared.
Just down the road, The Plough (01883 743711) has traditional Sunday roasts and a varied menu of sharing platters, grills and ‘Chef’s Classics’ (try the Boroughbridge Sausage and Mash comprising black pepper sausage with the classic mash and gravy; mmm…).
The William IV in Little Common Lane (01883 743278) has a choice of two bars, a 20-seat restaurant and seasonal specials on the menu.
Lastly, on this Surrey Life pub crawl, we have The Red Lion in Castle Street (01883 743342). With a ‘Cask Marque’ award for great real ale and a member of the Greene King Head Brewers Club, the pub offers “traditional pie, mash and liquor” all day every Monday.
Oh, and just in case you don’t feel like a pub, there is always Lamingtons Tea Rooms in the High Street opposite the post office. They offer light lunches, tea served in china teapots and delicious pear and ginger cake… yum.
Something to take home...
There’s nothing quite like the buzz of an antiques auction, so try and time your visit with one of the regular sales at Lawrences Auctioneeers in the High Street. A family-run business established in 1964, they sell all manner of collectables and antiques (for more details, see lawrencesbletchingley.co.uk).
Also, in the High Street there is Home Chic Home – a lovely little shop offering painted furniture, antiques, shabby chic and “rediscovered treasures”.
Lastly, back at Streaks Ahead, you could always pamper yourself with an Indian Head Massage (call 01883 744467) or perhaps some hair extensions…?
Very easy to find, the village is located on the A25 between Redhill and Godstone. Leave the M25 at junction 6, head south on the B2235 and then head west on the A25 for a couple of miles (Sat Nav: RH1 4PA). The 410 Southdown bus from Redhill will drop you in the village from Redhill station (Brighton mainline).