What to do in the village of Tadley

PUBLISHED: 10:43 06 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:43 06 September 2016


Famed for its treacle, as well as its fairs and festivals, this village has a real sense of community, as Claire Pitcher discovered

Making the headlines

Tadley’s The Point has its official opening this September. A youth centre for the youngsters in the town, it was eight years in the making and cost around £900,000. The centre is based on the look of a tree house, a design chosen by the town’s young people. It will be available to 11 to 19 year olds from 4pm to 9pm, Mondays to Fridays. Inside there’s a café, meeting hall with pool tables and video games, plus free wifi and juke box. It’s also available to the wider community during the daytime and weekends that can use the meeting rooms, a first-floor performance hall and recording studio.

Village voice

Mary Hancock is membership secretary for the Tadley Chamber of Trade. She moved from Kent to the town in 1965 and in 1967 opened a shop, and joined the Chamber.

“I’ve held various positions in the Chamber over the years, and at the moment am bookkeeper and membership secretary. I also put together the ‘Tadley Roundabout Book’, along with Margaret Macnelly,” she says. Not only that, Mary also works one day a week at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Then there are the three grandchildren, four cats and a Yorkshire terrier to look after.

In the last 50 years, Mary has witnessed a great many changes to the town. “When I moved here it was classified as a ‘village’, but we are now a ‘town’. The population has vastly increased and diversified. There has been an increase in house building and a loss of green spaces. There are fewer small retailers now, but the fast food sector seems to have grown. I do use local businesses rather than going out of the area when I can. I believe in supporting local trade where possible.

“I like living here, the people are friendly and helpful and having had my shop for so long I know a great many residents. We often see each other at the local pubs, The Queens’ College Arms or The Swan.”

Village souvenir

If you enjoy crafting, then you must visit Doodles arts and craft shop. You can pick up everything from beads to wool, and they sell gifts too. There’s jewellery, as well as glassware and even Christmas decorations.

There’s plenty to do in the garden as autumn approaches, so pop in to Elm Park Garden Centre for next year’s bulbs and to find inspiration on garden design. As well as plants, they sell gifts for the keen gardener - from wellies to outdoor lanterns.

Grabbing a bite

Have a spot of lunch or dinner at the George and Dragon Inn. They have a lovely beer garden if the weather’s good and a cosy real fire for the winter months. The menu is very ‘pub classic’, with dishes such as steak and ale pie and wholetail scampi. It’s a free house too, so be sure to sample some of their real ales. Call 01635 298292 or visit www.georgedragoninn.co.uk.

If you just need a quick coffee and piece of cake then Little Roses Coffee Shop at Elm Park Garden Centre is the place to stop off. They serve up delicious homemade cakes as well as lunchtime snacks. Call 01256 855000.

Dates for your diary

Most of the big events in 2016 have taken place but put a date in your diary next year for Tadley Tea Party at the end of May, the Jubilee Fete in July, the Tadley 3K Fun Run also that month, Tadley Treacle Fair on June 4 and the Loddon Valley Lions annual firework display at Barlow’s Park on November 5.

Did you know?

In the late 19th century there were treacle mines located in the village and those who worked there were referred to as ‘Tadley Treacle Miners’. Today the town holds an annual Treacle Fair in June in celebration.

Getting there

Tadley can be found on the A340 between Basingstoke and Aldermaston. The town doesn’t have a train station…its nearest being at Aldermaston, four miles away, which goes to both Newbury and Reading. There’s a Stagecoach bus service, which goes into Basingstoke. If you’re going by car, set your satnav to RG26 3JE.

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