A local's guide to Hartley Wintney
PUBLISHED: 16:08 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:08 24 June 2019
From its uncommon common of oaks to its community orchard, Hartley Wintney has stories to charm
Many of us have a fantasy about discovering the perfect English village. Well, Hartley Wintney in the north-east corner of Hampshire could well be it.
First there are Hartley Wintney's commons, particularly the main common with its impressive, historic and possibly unique serried ranks of oak trees - perfect for a morning stroll.
Then there is not one but two duck ponds, complete with quaint duck houses with thatched roofs. One is on the High Street beside the Waggon & Horses, a traditional village pub; the other is tucked away between a stand of trees and Hartley Wintney Golf Club.
Finally, no village idyll is complete without a cricket green and Hartley Wintney has one of the oldest cricket clubs in the country (established in 1770) and found in one of the prettiest settings, too. It's edged by trees on one side, a row of period cottages on another and overlooked by an 18th century pub, The Cricketers, a great spot for a tasty plateful and a glass of something refreshing within hearing of that quintessential English village summertime soundscape of the soft thwack of leather on willow.
However, unlike the typical sleepy village, Hartley Wintney is also a treat for those looking for a local shopping experience. It grew as a stopping place on the route from London to Exeter and the A30 still runs through the centre as its High Street, making it a busy, buzzy community.
You can buy almost everything you need for your home, your wardrobe and your dinner. Discover the likes of bespoke furniture makers, antiques shops for individual buys, such as Deva with a quirky display of old road signs and cool Clarice Cliff and Hartley Antiques mixing it up with jewellery, fabrics and home accessories like an Orla Kiely leaf patterned watering can - surely gardening doesn't come more chi-chi than this.
There are boutiques with wearable labels, an artisan bakery, people sitting outside cafés in the sun, a great traditional butcher's with cheery service, while locals can pick up a homemade pie from William Dyer for lunch on the go. A choice of good local eateries includes Monsoon, an Indian restaurant with some tasty specials, a popular Italian restaurant and proper country pubs. This is your dream English village plus some.
Graham lives within the beautiful grounds of The Elvetham, having joined the gardening team straight from school in 1977, aged just 15. Today The Elvetham is a grand Victorian house set in 35 acres, however it has a history that can be traced back to the Saxons and the site on which The Elvetham now stands was once the home of the Seymour family. It is even thought that this is where Henry VIII met and fell in love with Jane Seymour! Queen Elizabeth I visited in 1591, and an oak tree she planted still stands tall in the grounds today. William Shakespeare was also in attendance and it is believed that this visit was the inspiration for A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The original house no longer exists, having burnt down in 1840. The new house, built on the same site in 1860, includes grand Victorian architecture, large ornate fireplaces, including one in the drawing room that commemorates Shakespeare's earlier visit, and beautiful stained glass windows depicting historical figures and notable dates in Hampshire's history.
Graham's Local Life
"The best thing about living in Hartley Wintney is the tight-knit community, as well as the local independent shops including organic veg shop, local butcher, bakery and old-fashioned sweet shop."
- Special feature: "The Vaughan Millennium Orchard. In 2000, members of the local community planted individual apple trees within Hunts Common, creating a beautiful community area. It is a wonderful place to visit."
- Spare time: "One of my favourite things is watching cricket on the green. Hartley Wintney has one of the oldest cricket greens in the country and they are preparing for their 250th anniversary next year."
- Recommend walk: "Hazeley Heath is perfect for walking the dogs."
- Best event: "Hartley Wintney Summer Festival on the common is fantastic."
- Local attraction: "West Green House. The grounds, created by the acclaimed garden designer Marylyn Abbott, are exquisite."
Last year Lewis Alderson celebrated ten years in business having been founded by business partners Tom Edmonds and Neil Matthews in 2008 to create bespoke furniture for the kitchen, pantry, laundry and boot room, with a focus on using classic design principles along with the latest technology. As Tom was born locally and attended nearby Wellington School he has a special affinity with this part of the country. Therefore picturesque Hartley Wintney with its good road links and friendly community seemed a natural choice for their first showroom, which opened in 2015 in a building steeped in local history having once been a brewery and formerly a Masonic lodge.
Tom's Local Life
"The best thing about Hartley Wintney has to be the friendly people."
- Local 'secret': "The oak trees on the common were planted to provide timber for the Royal Navy's war ships."
- Evening out: "Whisky or wine tasting at Auriol wines."
- Recommended walk: "Has to be a stroll among the oaks on the common."
- Overnight stay: "Four Seasons Hotel at Dogmersfield."
- Day out with kiddies: "Wellington Country Park."
Julie opened her first country flower shop, Moutan, in Odiham in 2002, expanding into a second store in Hartley Wintney seven years later. Named after Julie's favourite flower, the tree peony, her stores bring together her passion for all things floral, inspiration from the Hampshire countryside and the changing seasons and a stylish artistry honed in London flower shops where Julie worked before moving to Hampshire. Her shops are fabulous - the Hartley Wintney store looking more like a drawing room than a florist's with splendid chandelier and statement flower displays of the vibrant and unexpected.
Julie's Local Life
"The best thing about Hartley Wintney is the thriving high street with a great choice of shops and cafés."
- Favourite pub: "Phoenix Inn - it's a lovely place to go in the winter and sit around the big open fires!"
- Café: "Courtyard Café is a hidden gem. "
- Walk: "Beside the Basingstoke Canal."
- Overnight stay: "Tylney Hall, Rotherwick."
- Fitness classes: "Women's boxing at Matt Goddard's Gym, Odiham. I've been going to Matt's Gym for a few years now. Going to training sessions regularly helps me stay strong so I can continue to lift heavy vases and boxes of flowers!"
- Hair and beauty salon: "Ta-da! in Hartley Wintney is a lovely new salon. Some of the girls in the shop have had their nails and hair done there and are really pleased with the results."
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