8 things you didn’t know about the village of Liss
PUBLISHED: 11:28 09 October 2018
We round up 8 things you didn’t know about this little South Downs village
Top of the Votes
The good people of Liss probably know there are prettier villages in Hampshire. But why should they care when their community was voted Village of the Year by the Hampshire Association of local councils last autumn? With their thriving shops and all the clubs, groups and organisations running out of the Triangle Centre, as well as the train connections and their increasing recognition as one of the most important gateways to the South Downs National Park… it’s a fair bet the so-called ‘hidden’ village won’t stay off the radar for much longer.
It may have just won Village of the Year, but the community of Liss has had a few years to get things right. There were people living here in the Neolithic times, with flint implements being discovered, as well as an Irish decorated axe and barrows dating all the way back to the Bronze Age. And Liss Archaeological Society has been excavating Roman villas in the area too. During the 19th century Liss was know as Britain’s peppermint capital. The herb was distilled and sold in the village at 4d a refreshing pint.
How many villages can claim their own Hollywood star? It is alleged that Minnie Driver reportedly lived there as a child and attended nearby Bedales School. How many villages, too, can claim to have starred in two of Britain’s best-loved movies; The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? The now defunct Longmoor Military Railway, which ran from Liss Station to Longmoor Camp appeared in both.
Ties to the Titanic
Liss teenager, Edward Arthur Dorking, was one of the 705 eventual survivors of the Titanic. The 19-year-old boarded the doomed liner at Southampton as a third-class passenger, intending to join his uncle in Illinois. His plans changed swiftly, after his rescue in Collapsible B, when he found himself a minor celebrity after accepting cash to re-tell his story. Dorking claimed to have seen Captain Smith ‘looking like a marble statue after rain’ and watching the ship sink, causing ‘barely a ripple on the ocean’s surface’. He died in the USA in 1954.
The tower of St Mary’s Church in the parish is unkindly known as ‘The Stump’. Architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner was no less unflattering, describing the edifice, added in 1932, as ‘dignified and dull’ but noting it was ‘enobled’ by a ‘small piece of sculpture of the Christ child by Eric Gill’. Despite this, it remains a strong part of the community and helps to run the village’s popular Spirit of Music Festival, held in late April to early May.
Clubs and Societies
Each winter Liss holds a successful Film Festival and there is also a book club which meets at the Triangle Centre. The centre is home to more than 30 groups, including pilates, a computer club, an investment club, bridge, yoga and tai chi. Sports fans are also well-catered for – the village has a successful road running club meeting three times a week, a weekly cycle club and a long-established cricket club with a colts section playing at the private Glebe ground. Liss Athletc FC are in the Hampshire Premier League and the village also has a tennis club.
The Blue Fig, a boutique restaurant on the green at Farnham Road has received several calls for a Michelin star from its devoted customers. The celeriac and Gruyere cheese fritters with roasted vine tomatoes come highly recommended. Other food stops include, The Turtle Bean Café on Station road; The Jolly Drover on London Road, which boasts 4AA stars and The Spread Eagle on Farnham Road is perfect for walkers.
Liss may have a mainline station which arrives in London Waterloo in just over an hour, as well as almost instant connections to the A3 and good bus services. But the best way to get around the village is on two wheels. Being inside the National Park, Liss is very attractive as a destination for cyclists. Liss Cycling Club meets at the Triangle Centre every Sunday if you’d like to get to know the area and cycle in a group.
• Hampshire walk on the Isle of Wight around Brighstone and Mottistone - Head to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the charming villages of Brighstone and Mottistone, taking in superb views, an ancient monument and enchanting gardens with our new walks writer, Fiona Barltrop