WITLEY is spread out over several miles, with housing estates from the various 20th-century building booms linking arms around the half-timbered and tile cottages of the old village centre. You would pay anything from £225,000 for a two-bedroom terraced house to well over £750,000 for an early 20th-century detached property with five bedrooms. Witley Common, 500 acres of National Trust land, is a great local asset. The station is a mile to the south at Wormley. This is a quiet residential area where a detached house built in the Twenties, shielded from the road by a bank of trees and a long driveway, is likely to cost over £600,000. On a hilltop eminence is King Edward’s private school for boys and girls.
Hambledon, a mile to the east, won the Surrey Village of the Year award in 2008 for the strength of its community activities. It lies in a hollow surrounded by hills and woods. The village has a pretty green with a cricket pavilion and pond. One of the oldest houses, Oakhurst Cottage, is kept by the National Trust as a 16th-century museum. The village school is now a nursery school, the shop has been revived by the community and is staffed by volunteers and part-timers, and the old workhouse has been converted into luxury apartments known as Hambledon Park. Houses rarely come on the market, and the tiniest of cottages would be likely to fetch £300,000. A 17th-century Grade Two listed house with three bedrooms set in half an acre would start at £600,000; grander houses fetch over £1m.
Chiddingfold, two miles south of Witley station, is also tailored to the traditional image of a perfect English village. The green in the centre hosts a spectacular bonfire night party, with 400 torchbearers, and a summer festival. It is overlooked by the oldest pub in Surrey, the Crown Inn, and by an 11th-century church. There is a good primary school and a number of thriving community groups. Shops include a chemist, two general stores, a post office, hairdresser and butcher, and a fishmonger calls weekly. In the reign of Elizabeth I there were a dozen glassworks in the village, the profitability of which can be seen in the lovely half-timbered houses of the period. The large 16th- and 17th-century houses on the green would break the £1m to £2m barrier if they ever came on to the market. There are a couple of small modern developments where you might buy a four-bedroom, modern detached house for £450,000.