Away from the hustle and bustle in Bishops Waltham and surrounding villages
PUBLISHED: 11:48 19 November 2013 | UPDATED: 15:31 19 November 2013
Do you work in Fareham, Southampton or Winchester and want to get away from it all? Try Bishop’s Waltham and surrounding villages.
The pretty medieval town of Bishop’s Waltham with its romatic 12th century Abbey ruins has become very sought after. It’s well-placed for commuting to Winchester, Southampton, Portsmouth and Petersfield and is just nine miles from Southampton International Airport. Yet it has a charming centre of pretty streets of quaint period properties, a lively community and a lovely, relaxed ambience.
Like a secret, it is tucked away from the road that bypasses it, with a lively array of quality independents. You can buy pretty much everything you need with fashion boutiques, upcycled furniture shops, a traditional hardware store, Ron Upfields for all your electric goods, post office, banks and more.
Foodies can feast at the great mix of cafes, restaurants and pubs such as Josie’s, The Crown, Friends and Barleycorn inn among many. Food shops include Peter Atkinson fishmonger who has his own smokehouse, Andrew Grover butcher, Stainers bakery, Barringtons deli and Hylands greengrocers.
The jury is out on whether such shops will continue to thrive having lost the the battle to stave off a new Sainsbury’s. There are mixed feelings, but most business owners and residents I’ve spoken to are against it, concerned about ‘Bish’ losing its individuality.
For families, the local schools are on top form with both the infants school and the junior school rated Outstanding by Ofsted. Local groups include Bishop’s Waltham Dynamos Football Club, one of the largest junior and youth football clubs in Hampshire, as well as scouts, cricket and badminton clubs, gardening club and a fishing club.
A lively diary of events includes Bishop’s Waltham Festival, Bishop’s Waltham Carnival and a variety of arts and crafts and food markets.
There’s a wide range of property from terraced character cottages in the centre of the village to good-sized family houses on leafy lanes and within new developments, as well as large, rural properties on the outskirts. Altogether a town that most definitely feels on the up.
Upham is a village in two parts. There is the original hamlet which includes the church, a lovely recreation ground with play area, village pond and the Brushmakers Arms. And there is Lower Upham which lies on the main road from Winchester to Bishop’s Waltham and is centred around the village store and post office, two more pubs, The Alma and Woodman Inn (colourful with hanging baskets) and village hall. Between them, on Upham Street, they share a primary school rated Outstanding by Ofsted.
This is a lively community with many groups at the village hall including a pre-school, Upham Players amateur dramatic society, Upham Bandits youth club, badminton, dance, music, Pilates, dog training and cake decorating classes.
Property tends to be substantial country houses with an attractive mix of period thatched cottages and flint and brick farmhouses as well as thoughtfully done new builds.
Durley is widely dispersed with the school at one end, a pub at the other and the memorial hall in the middle. There’s a nursery in a chapel on the Sawmills development, a recreation ground in the middle of nowhere, a second pub tucked down a lane and a church so far removed from the village it doesn’t seem to belong. Durley never had a real centre, developing around farms and a busy B-road. This is horse country with paddocks all around. Property is mixed with everything from Victorian terraced cottages to converted barns. The primary school is rated Good and the two pubs, Robin Hood and Farmers Home, are both popular. There’s also a cricket club, a variety of activities at the village hall and a diary of community events.
Swanmore is a large village with added value. It has a centre based around a pub, The Brickmakers Arms, primary school, church, butcher, village store, post office and hairdresser. Further facilities include a business park on the outskirts, village hall, recreation grounds with football pitches, basketball court and play equipment, Swanmore College and another pub, The Hunter’s Inn. Both the primary school and college have been rated Good by Ofsted while a variety of clubs include bowls, bridge, cricket, WI, rainbows, brownies and more.
Property tends to be Victorian and later. If you want country houses down rural lanes head to Upper Swanmore, a pretty hamlet less than a mile away with far-reaching views.