Wooded Surrey has many half timbered homes with tile – hanging preferred to weather boarding…
From Guildford with it’s prominent hill & cathedral visible from close-by A3 to Dorking to the east, south eastern Surrey contains some of the County’s most unspoilt villages & countryside – certainly rough, even hilly & thickly wooded in places.
To take a closer look here are three villages which we personally find have a real appeal – off the beaten track yet accessible…
Abinger Common –
Sir Edwin Lutyens – the leading British Architect, before he became famous during the first half of the 20th century – undertook a series of country houses, one of which was built here. Nearby Abinger Hammer, with its famous clock bell hanging over the A25, is well known by motorists.
Some people have called this place England’s oldest village, due to the discovery of a pit dwelling used by Mesolithic hunters some 7000 years ago! Those visiting should make sure to take in Abinger Church, built in the earlier 12th century & is reputedly the 2nd highest church in the county.
Walking past the common, the remains of a gateway on the road, mark the boundary between the glebe land where the houses stand and the common. Friday street has been compared in the past with Switzerland due to its large mill pond & steep wooded valley.
As you would expect, there is an elegant Manor House next to the village Church & lying just to the west of the Manor House is the Mesolithic site, marked by a protective hut covering the 3 foot deep pit and historic remains therein.
East Horsley –
Don’t tell everyone otherwise this place shall lose it’s appeal – a secret quiet, some would say, exclusive backwater to the big City. Suburban building in recent times has rather caught up with East Horsley yet it certainly still has a privacy & appeal of it’s own & remains a very sought after location.
There is a delightful stroll, starting at the southern edge of the village, from Bishopsmead Parade continue south turning left towards East Horsley Towers – built in the 1820s with prominent Gothic style Tower with the house itself displaying Tudor influences – there is a cut thru’ which leads into rather exclusive private estate from Pine Walk, to Pennymead Drive & the entrance to the estate. Continue into the top end of East Horsley up Ockham Road towards the station.
Returning south retracing your tracks & look out for a distinctive three storey pebble-fronted building F Conisbee & Son – superior local butchers, using the very best sources from often regional Surrey farmers – masters of their trade since 1760! Continue onwards before returning to the start at Bishopsmead Parade again.
For its size, the village has a bustling range of small shops, as well as a locally renowned butchers behind The Crown Inn – with its famous award winning sausages!
Visitors must make a point of visiting the local Chiddingfold Church, which dates back to the 12th century. The lych gate has a rare high coffin rest, illustrating the reason for the splendid roof gate access.
Almost opposite you will easily spot the splendid Crown Inn – dating from a similar era. Timber framed & partly wisteria clad it was built for Cistercian monks & is reputedly one of Surreys oldest pubs.
Between the Church and the Crown Inn lies Chiddingfold Green. The greatest gathering in the village is the annual bonfire held on the nearest Saturday to Guy Fawkes night – records show that this has occurred for at least 150 years!
The second & smaller green is reserved for cricket, which has been played here since the mid 19th century.
All around these parts, glass making was an Important industry, dating from 1300 until it was suppressed by Elizabeth the first…after complaints about the villages French & German owned furnaces! The remains of the glass works lie on several sites & some fragments have been collected together to make to the window at the back of the Church.
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