Things to do in Holmbury St Mary - village life
PUBLISHED: 09:49 08 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:42 08 September 2014
Pete Gardner Photography
This idyllic Surrey village has a host of interesting things on its doorstep - from an Iron Age fort to a space science centre...
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What Mike Smith doesn’t know about cars you could write on a postage stamp as the saying goes – and it’s the same when it comes to the village of Holmbury St Mary.
Mike has worked at the only garage here since 1967 and loves the place. “The people are ever so friendly,” he says. “They’re not just customers, they’re friends as well. It’s much nicer to have a chat with someone than have a receptionist here!”
Back in the 1970s, Mike used to do the school run with the school ‘taxi,’ and now finds that his former passengers are bringing their cars to him to be fixed. “Makes you feel old!” he laughs.
Although there are no shops anymore, he says: “It’s still a nice picturesque little village – it’s brilliant!”
Another well-known local resident, Geoff Ashworth has run the Royal Oak pub near the church for over three years, and he agrees with Mike. “It’s a friendly community,” he says. “And I can remember a few celebrities like DJ Mike Reid, Sam Torrence and Jodi Kidd calling in too!”
Did you know?
Hurtwood Common, right on the doorstep, is known for being one of the wildest and largest open spaces in Surrey. Apparently, the Lord of the Manor granted the public a right to use the common for ‘Taking Air and Exercise’ – something people still take advantage of to this very day.
Another spot to aim for while you are out and about is Holmbury Hill. Located just south of the village, it rises to over 850 feet and has fabulous views of the Surrey countryside. It was here, apparently, that George Harrison and Eric Clapton were inspired to write the classic song Here Comes The Sun while watching dawn break. There are also the remains of an Iron Age fort dating back to around 100BC.
Finally, perhaps not quite what you’d expect in this area of rural tranquillity, but there’s also a hi-tech space science centre! The Mullard Space Science research group, an off-shoot of London’s University College, is at the cutting edge of satellite experiments.
Grabbing a bite…
Choice here is limited but the village does have two local pubs – The King’s Head in Pitland Street (01306 730282) or The Royal Oak, near the green by the village sign just off the B2126 (01306 730120). Of course, with such gorgeous countryside you could always bring your own picnic and settle down on the top of Holmbury Hill…
What to take home...
This one’s a bit tricky actually as there are no shops left to speak of in the village, but you could always become a ‘Friend of Hurtwood’ and support the efforts of the committee that manages this fabulous area of heath and woodland. They need help to maintain a full-time ranger, 60 miles of tracks, wildlife habitats, educational events and more. You could even volunteer yourself if you have a bit of time on your hands. For more information, give them a call on 01306 730100 or you can send them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turn off the main A25 from Reigate to Guildford at the village of Abinger Hammer along the B2126 – a few miles later you’ll be there. Set your sat nav to RH5 6NP and enjoy the drive! No trains nearby but there is a station at Gomshall on the A25.
Get in touch...
... with your news from Holmbury St Mary and what makes the village special to you by dropping us a line at facebook.com/surreylife and twitter.com/surreylife or at surreylife.co.uk.
Next month: We will be visiting the village of Bletchingley