Why you should move to Hartley Wintney
PUBLISHED: 00:00 21 April 2020
Looking for village life that includes boutiques and opera as well as cricket and country inns? Head to Hartley Wintney, suggests Emma Caulton.
One picturesque cricket green, two good pubs, three ponds (two with thatched duck houses) and not four but five greens – namely Central (or Oak) Common, Hunts Common, and Cricketer’s, Causeway and Phoenix Greens. In total, Hartley Wintney’s attributes add up to a perfect village – particularly if you hanker after somewhere with a bit of a buzz, where you are not too far from a café and your wellies shouldn’t get seriously mucky.
Dilly Pond is thought to be all that remains of the original medieval village, half-a-mile south of what is now Hartley Wintney’s centre. Hartley Wintney grew up as a coaching stop on the London Road (better known as the A30) – hence a High Street lined with charming period buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. The busy A30 is a lifeline, it keeps the High Street bustling with quality independents including traditional cheery butcher, baker and cabinet maker (that’s Lewis Alderson & Co bespoke kitchen furniture), plus antiques, boutiques, florist, organic produce and wine merchant. You can buy almost anything you need for your home, your wardrobe and your supper.
However Hartley Wintney is best known for its distinctive landscape – particularly the mature oaks on its Central Common which create a striking, even gasp-worthy entrance into the village from Basingstoke and Fleet. It’s glorious year-round and popular with cyclists, runners and dog walkers.
Hartley Wintney’s other green glories are more hidden. There’s Vaughan Millennium Community Orchard on Hunts Common. It includes cherries, berries, pears, plums and nut trees alongside apples and has helped restore Hunts Common’s role as a venue for traditional and new village celebrations, such as a Village Picnic every September and an Apple Day in October.
Cricket Green is tucked quietly behind the High Street. Edged by trees and overlooked by character cottages and an 18th century pub, appropriately named The Cricketers, this is a delightful spot to pitch up for something refreshing while listening to the soft thwack of leather on willow. This year Hartley Wintney Cricket Club, one of the oldest and most picturesque in the country, celebrates 250 years. The club has published a commemorative book, a special club blazer, and the village ball, held every July at the Cricket Club, will be named The 250 in honour of the anniversary.
Meanwhile Oak Common hosts Hartley Wintney’s Village Festival: held every June with procession, tug o’ war, stalls and more.
Diverse cultural attractions round and about include the gardens at West Green House – which also provide a glamorous venue for a boutique opera season. This year’s programme in late July includes Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Lerner and Lowe. Alternatively, there’s Lowde Fest (11 July) at Hazeley Bottom – a fundraiser established in 2011 with 12 hours of live music plus fun fair and food market. More conventional entertainments are provided at Hartley Wintney’s Victoria and Jubilee Halls, such as movie nights and live screenings of ballets and musicals, alongside a good selection of activities from art and business networking to yoga.
Foodie needs are met. There’s Courtyard Café, a hidden gem at the back of Hartley Antiques emporium, two good Italian restaurants, Sorriso and Mamma Mia, and an Indian restaurant, Monsoon. As for pubs, the previously mentioned The Cricketers is much liked, ditto Waggon & Horses, a proper cosy pub that’s a favourite with locals, and gastro pub The Phoenix Inn, in neighbouring Phoenix Green.
For sporty types there’s a football club, tennis club and golf club. The latter is an 18-hole parkland course originally established in 1884 for employees of the Elvetham Estate (The Elvetham was once home to the Seymour family – where Henry VIII met Jane). Walkers and cyclists can take to the footpaths and lanes which head off into the surrounding countryside, including Hazeley Heath, a wilderness that’s home to nightjars, woodlarks and butterflies.
Hartley Wintney also has all the essentials – dental surgeries, doctor’s practice and opticians. Schools include Oakwood Infant School, judged Outstanding by Ofsted, and Greenfields Junior School, considered Good. The nearest secondaries – Calthorpe Park and Court Moor, both in Fleet, and Robert May’s in Odiham – are also Good. For a village, accessibility is impressive. A community bus service provides a link to the mainline station at nearby Winchfield for trains to London Waterloo in under an hour. And with the M3 to the south and M4 to the north, major towns, such as Basingstoke and Reading, are within easy reach.
Although there’s a demand to live in Hartley Wintney, rural hamlets are also popular, and between them the property choice encompasses bungalows, converted barns and churches, cottages and farmhouses. With community, commutability and countryside, Hartley Wintney is a popular destination – no wonder houses sell fast.
Lloyd Clarke, senior client manager, Mackenzie Smith, Hartley Wintney
“Situated in north-east Hampshire, Hartley Wintney has a wealth of history and is surrounded by idyllic countryside.
“There’s a lot to love about this vibrant village. I have worked here for many years and the view from our office of the village green, with its pond and the Mildmay Oaks (planted after the Battle of Trafalgar to provide oak for new ships), never fails to inspire me.
“Hartley Wintney offers a great quality of life. When I talk to people who live and work here, it is obvious it’s a very special place. Our High Street has an abundance of independent boutique shops, cafés and pubs. There’s a golf club, cricket club, and a range of amenities and day-to-day facilities for all ages. I don’t think you can beat sitting outside The Cricketers with a glass of something on a summer’s day, watching a match played on the oldest continually played cricket green in England.
“There are many places to explore including large expanses of common land, Hazeley Heath and Yateley Heath Wood. We have excellent schools, a buoyant community spirit, and trains to London Waterloo from Winchfield station arriving in under an hour. The village also has easy access to the M3 and M4.
“People moving to Hartley Wintney are usually families coming for the great schools. However once here, people stay, upsizing and downsizing accordingly. There’s a population of about 5,000 people in the parish, which includes Phoenix Green to the south and the adjoining hamlets of Dipley, West Green, Elvetham and Hartfordbridge. There’s a large variety of property styles, from picturesque cottages to large country houses, with West Green Road and Thackham’s Lane being particularly sought after. For families moving into the area, St Mary’s Park, only a few years old, is popular with three-bedroom houses costing from £400,000 to £450,000.”