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Surrey has many charming small towns and villages, but Haslemere is unique. Situated on the borders of Hampshire and West Sussex, this historic market town with its timbered and tile-hung houses and cottages, is one of the gems of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As a shopping destination Haslemere retains much of its traditional character and sense of individuality. Two thirds of shops in Haslemere are independently owned, some of which have been run by two or more generations of the same family, giving the town a friendly, community atmosphere and making shopping a genuinely unique experience.

The National Trust (one of whose founders lived in the town) owns much of what remains of the abundant forest and also nearby Black Down, Marley Common, and the Devil’s Punch Bowl at Hindhead.

Pavement Cafés
Haslemere’s many shops, restaurants and cafés add to the town’s vibrant atmosphere. The refurbished and long-renowned museum has many fascinating exhibitions, while Haslemere Hall is the centre of cultural life with a wide variety of shows, opera productions, plays, films and other events. It is no surprise that Haslemere is a popular place in which to live and work.

Haslemere is easily accessible from most major airports and ferry ports. It has good road links to the south coast, London and beyond. Haslemere is on the main railway line from London Waterloo to Portsmouth.

Haslemere, with its wide range of good accommodation, makes a delightful and convenient centre for visiting the many attractions and places of interest which are within easy reach.

St Bartholomew's

St. Bartholomew’s Parish Church dates from the 13th century. This mellow stone building with its tower was mostly built in 1871 in an early English style on the site of an earlier church. Details on page 27 of this Guide.

The War Memorial, situated prominently in Haslemere High Street, is a listed monument. It is dedicated to 109 local heroes (108 men and one woman), 62 of whom gave their lives during World War I and 47 during World War II. The full story of their heroism is told on the website that volunteers have developed at

The memorial is unusual in that, for World War 1, it records the name of the casualty and place of death. It is made of brittle sandstone and was restored in the winter of 2006-7, returning the cross to its original height.

Haslemere Hall

Haslemere Hall was built in 1913 by Lewis Barclay Day and designed by Annesley Brownrigg. The Hall, with its convivial atmosphere, is used by local people and visitors to the town as a cinema with the latest films, a theatre for Opera South, Haslemere Players, Haslemere Thespians, dramatic societies and for musical events. It is the home of the Haslemere Music and Arts Festival which has developed from the original Festival of Early Music initiated by the Dolmetsch family of musicians and instrument makers.

Haslemere Educational Museum, founded in 1888, provides educational opportunities for local people and visitors. It contains wonderful collections featuring geology, botany, zoology, archaeology and social history. Please see page 20 for more information.

Black Down

Black Down, to the south-east of Haslemere, is a 500 acre common owned by The National Trust and rises to almost 300 metres above sea level. It stretches to Petworth with the beautiful views and walks being renowned. Black Down House, built in 1607 with panelled rooms and mullioned windows, was used by Oliver Cromwell as his headquarters during the Civil War.

Shottermill Ponds

Shottermill is an old settlement along the valley of the River Wey which rises on Black Down. It takes its name from an old building, Shotter Mill, which was burned down and replaced by Oliver’s Mill. Rose Cottage - a former tannery, and Shottermill Ponds with their abundant supply of ducks and geese are also a delight.

Lynchmere, Hammer and Camelsdale

The parish of Lynchmere includes the villages of Hammer and Camelsdale. It is the most northern parish in the district of Chichester, bordered on the north by the River Wey (which divides West Sussex from Surrey). Lynchmere began as a Saxon settlement with evidence of these origins in the church of St. Peter. During the reign of King John, Shulbrede Priory was founded in 1190 and was dedicated to St. Mary, the Holy Cross and St. Eustace. It is now a private house which can be visited on the May and August bank holidays. Hammer played an important role in the early iron smelting industry and takes its name from the ‘Hammer’ Pond. A community developed around the brickworks in the 19th century when Camelsdale also blossomed.


Grayswood is a picturesque village two miles north east of Haslemere on the A286, a former turnpike road. The parish was created in 1902 from parts of Haslemere, Chiddingfold, Witley and Thursley. Thought of as a “working village” by those who live there, Grayswood boasts many amenities, including a school, pub, church, village hall and a village green with many cricket teams. All Saints Church was completed in 1902 to the design of Axel Haig, a leading figure in the Victorian Gothic revival. Haig lived in Grayswood from 1891 until he died in 1921 and the Gothic style of All Saints reflects that of the many medieval churches found in his Swedish homeland. His gravestone, in front of the lower tower, is in the shape of an ancient Viking rune stone.

The Grayswood Cricket Club is a great success and the lovingly nurtured pitches can be found in the centre of the village green. In the 1990s the green could have been mistaken for an unkempt pasture, but it has since been transformed into one of the county’s most successful cricket venues.

Within strolling distance of the green is The Wheatsheaf, a splendid Real Ale pub with an excellent restaurant. In the summer it is all but buried beneath a mountain of flowers.

Across the road is the Grayswood Village Club, formerly the Working Man’s Club and before that the village school. It also doubles up as the cricket club rendezvous and has a collection of sepia photographs of Victorian Grayswood. The present Church of England Infant School, opened in 1905, is now tucked into the corner of the village green, almost hidden by two glorious oak trees.

The village hall is a relatively new one, thanks in part to Lottery funding. It is a splendid building, designed by a local architect, and has many uses, including as a crèche and venue for parties.

Hindhead lies to the north of Haslemere and developed along the A3 London to Portsmouth road at its crossing with the A287 Farnham to Midhurst road. It was the haunt of highwaymen who found rich pickings from those travelling by stage coach from London to Portsmouth.

The area is a major attraction for walkers and sightseers who are able to enjoy the peace of the heath and woodland. Visitors to Gibbet Hill can enjoy magnificent views over the Surrey and Sussex Weald and towards London from the second highest vantage point in Surrey.

Volunteering holidays can be taken by arrangement with The National Trust for their Hindhead Youth Hostel, also Hunter Base Camp in Haslemere. They also have a café at the Devil’s Punch Bowl.

The character and attractiveness of Hindhead will be enhanced when the current A3 is redirected through the Hindhead Tunnel, scheduled for completion in 2011.


The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a large heather-filled basin formed naturally by the action of many springs where the Hythe Beds of Greensand meet Atherfield Clay. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it contains Lowland Heathland, amanmae environment, which is rarer than the Amazonian Rainforest. It dates from the Bronze Age and is the intermediate stage in an ecological succession from bare ground to woodland.

The National Trust is removing birch and pine from this woodland to facilitate grazing and encourage the heathland to return, thus conserving wildlife. There are rare bird species such as the Dartford Warbler, Nightjar and Woodlark. Also seen are the Silver Studded Blue Butterfly, Sand Lizard and Adder.

The valley of the Devil’s Punch Bowl contains several small 18thcentury cottages once occupied by people known as ‘broom squires’ who made besom brooms from heather and birch – many for use at Windsor Castle and Hampton Court.

Hindhead Commons

Hindhead Commons were acquired by the Haslemere Commons and Footpath Preservation Society in 1905 from the Lord of the Manor of Witley. In 1906 the land was transferred to The National Trust. There are over 570 hectares (1400 acres) of attractive heath and woodland. In the late 19th century Hindhead Commons was described as ‘the fashionable capital of the beautiful Surrey Highlands’ and ‘Little Switzerland’. Local folklore links the area with the Devil. Gibbet Hill and the Sailor’s Stone recount a murder in 1786 when highwaymen regularly attacked coaches travelling between London and Portsmouth.

The Sailor's Stone

The Sailor’s story. On Hindhead Commons there is a vivid reminder of the events of 24th September 1786 when an unknown sailor, travelling the old Portsmouth Road, was murdered by three assailants. Two new information boards relate the story and decode the enigmatic Celtic cross. The boards were unveiled by the Haslemere Initiative on the 221st anniversary of the sailor’s death. Sponsors of the work included the Three Counties Association of National Trust Members and the Ordnance Survey. A remnant of the gibbet may be seen in the Haslemere Educational Museum.

Celtic Cross,Gibbet Hill

The Gibbet and Celtic Cross. Criminals were hanged on the gibbet and their tarred bodies left to swing in clanking irons until they rotted. This area had a reputation for being haunted so, in 1851, Sir William Erle of Bramshott Grange had a granite Celtic cross erected near the site to try to dispel the fears of local residents. Around the base of the cross are four Latin inscriptions.

Beacon Hill has a number of shops and restaurants. The village grew rapidly from nothing to become a residential area in the 1880s. This thriving community has no known ancient history. The parish church of St. Alban’s was constructed in 1906 to designs by Coleridge. There are many places in this country with the name Beacon Hill. The firing of beacons kept on prominent hill tops was an integral part of the British defence system for many years. The last chain of beacons was lit on 2nd June 1977 to commemorate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.


Grayshott lies south-west of Hindhead and alongside the A3 London to Portsmouth road. It has twice been voted the best village in Hampshire and also the best in the South of England for Business in the Community. The village takes great pride in its success at blending the modern and the traditional, the popular and the eclectic, as well as the residential and business communities. Grayshott has a number of fine specialist shops and restaurants.

The renowned Grayshott Pottery attracts many visitors who can watch the art of pottery-making. The Grayshott name is famous worldwide for its stoneware and porcelain – a complete picture is available on

The modern day village of Grayshott was originally open wasteland of pine, heather and gorse, so it is easy to see why it developed so late. The high land near Hindhead was known for its remoteness, poorness of soil and its reputation for lawlessness. The name of Grayshott can be found as far back as the 12th century and, along with other nearby villages, was considered to have special health qualities.

A public house appeared in Grayshott before either a permanent church or a village hall. The Fox and Pelican was formally opened on 23rd August 1899 by Mrs Randall Davidson, wife of the Bishop of Winchester.

The pub is outdated by Grayshott Village School which was opened on 4th September 1871 with seven children attending, a figure which has grown to over 200.


Farnham lies in the valley of the North Branch of the River Wey, which rises near Alton, merges with the South Branch at Tilford, and joins the River Thames at Weybridge. The mainly east-west alignment of the ridges and valleys has influenced the development of road and rail communications. The most prominent geological feature is the chalk of the North Downs which forms a ridge (the Hog's Back) to the east of the town, and continues through Farnham Park to the north of the town centre, and westwards to form the Hampshire Downs. The land rises to more than 180 metres (591 ft) above sea level (ASL) to the north of the town at Caesar's Camp which, with the northern part of the Park, lies on gravel beds. There are a number of swallow holes in the Park where this stratum meets the chalk. The historic core of the town lies on gravel beds at an altitude of roughly 70 metres (230 ft) ASL on an underlying geology of Gault Clay and Upper Greensand and the southern part of the town rises to more than 100 metres (328 ft) on the Lower Greensand.

Farnham is a former market town with many shops located along both sides of the main thoroughfare running through West Street, The Borough and East Street. The town includes a significant number of independent retailers, some who have been in business since the nineteenth century, such as Rangers Furnishing Stores (est. 1895), Elphicks department store (est. 1881) and Pullingers (est. 1850). The latter evolved into the Pullingers Art Shop chain and is thought to be Farnham's oldest surviving business. A popular independent retailer (est. 1986) is Colours Ltd. situated in the Lion and Lamb Yard between Waitrose and Starbucks. There are also branches of national retailers such as Argos, Robert Dyas, Boots the Chemist, Waterstone's and W H Smith. The major supermarkets are represented by Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Lidl and Iceland in the town centre, and two Tesco Expresses located on Ridgeway Road and in Upper Hale. Sainsbury's also have a larger Superstore on the outskirts of town towards Badshot Lea. Large garden centres exist nearby at Holt Pound (Forest Lodge), Frensham (Frensham Garden Centre) and Badshot Lea (Squires). Castle Street's market stalls have been replaced by semi-permanent "orangery" style buildings one flower market, one sweet market and a delicatssen. Farnham is also known for its numerous secondhand charity shops (Oxfam etc.) which offer plenty of high-quality items, especially clothes.


A large market selling arts, crafts, antiques and bric-a-brac operates under-cover at the Farnham Maltings on the first Saturday of each month. A Farmers' market is held in the central car park on the fourth Sunday of each month, selling high-quality, locally-produced meat, fruit and vegetables, bread and cakes, preserves, beer and cider, fruit juices, cheeses and other dairy products. Toy, crafts and militaria fairs are hosted by the Maltings from time to time where new and used items can be bought and sold.

Leisure and recreation

There are two main parks in Farnham town centre: Farnham Park and Gostrey Meadows. Farnham Park is adjacent to Farnham Castle. Gostrey Meadows is in the centre of Farnham town next to the river, and includes a fenced children's play area.


Cricket is played in the ground north of Farnham Castle

There are various facilities available in Farnham one of which is the local leisure centre. The leisure centre has a gym under the Kinetica franchise through which personal instructors can be hired. The centre is also the home of Farnham Swimming Club which allows youngsters to swim and compete with other local clubs such as Guildford.

The town is represented in the non-league football pyramid by Farnham Town F.C., who compete in the Combined Counties League.There is also a small youth club, Farnham United FC and another on the outskirts, Badshot Lea FC.

Farnham Cricket Club was started in 1782. The ground is at the edge of Farnham Park and in the shadows of the castle. There is also a local umpires association.

The Farnham and Aldershot hockey club runs three men's teams and two women's teams. Floorball hockey is played by the adult team Southern Vipers FBC and junior floorball is also played at Farnham Sports Centre.

Farnham also has a public golf course which is situated next to the cricket ground directly behind Farnham Castle. It was designed by Sir Henry Cotton, three times British Open champion. It is a nine-hole, par-three golf course, open daily.Farnham's sporting heroes

"Silver Billy" Beldham (1766–1862) was one of the greatest cricketers in England during the Napoleonic era, pre-dating W. G. Grace. He was born on the outskirts of town at Wrecclesham and played in Farnham Cricket Club's first match, against Odiham, when he was 16 years old, and later played for the famous Hambledon Club. By the age of 21 he was widely recognised as the best batsman in England.
Mike Hawthorn (1929–1959), driving for Ferrari, became the first British Formula One World Champion in 1958. His family moved to Farnham when he was two years old, so his father could be near to Brooklands race track. Mike Hawthorn Drive is named after him.
Jonny Wilkinson (1979– ) England's world-cup-winning kicker and former captain, and England scrum half Peter Richards (1978– ) were not born in Farnham but both played for Farnham Rugby Football Club at mini level.
Graham Thorpe (1969– ) England cricket captain, was born in Farnham and played at the Farnham cricket ground.
Joel Freeland (1987– ), international basketball player, was born in Farnham.


Farnham Maltings has diverse concerts including opera, folk and acoustic music gigs, band evenings and stand up comedy nights, as well as shows and workshops for younger people. There is a cinema run every Wednesday at the Maltings. The Maltings also hosts a successful "Acoustic Fridays" evening once a month, and this has a student following due to the fact many students play sets there. A regular blues night takes place in the "Cellar Bar" and the whole venue is taken over for the annual Blues Festival. In keeping with the town's historical link with hop-growing and beer, the Farnham Maltings also plays host to the Farnham Beer Exhibition, one of the largest beer festivals in Britain, an annual event that started in 1977. Some of the most popular pubs in Farnham are The Plough, The William Cobbett, The Lamb, The Alma and the student union bar of the UCA, all of which have live music regularly. Farnham is also home to the internationally acclaimed Farnham Youth Choir.


In the 21st century Guildford is a bustling English town, with a High Street paved with granite setts (frequently referred to as cobbled), numerous shops and department stores. It is a market town with the market being held on Fridays and Saturdays. A farmers' market is usually held on the first Tuesday of each month. There is a Tourist Information Office and several hotels including the historic Angel Hotel which long served as a coaching stop on the main London to Portsmouth stagecoach route. According to Channel Four Television's "The Best and Worst Places to Live in the UK" TV show Guildford was the 9th best place to live in Britain in 2006 but slipped to 12th position in 2007, largely due to the pollution produced by the numerous cars found on the roads. Guildford still remains one of the most expensive places to live in the UK outside of London. Guildford is the most attractive and safe shopping destination in the UK, according to the Eve Prime Retail Survey 2004 and ranked 27th in the country overall.