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Counties > Surrey > Witley


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.

Good for: spectacular Surrey countryside.
Local knowledge: the church at Chiddingfold is notable both for its Chiddingfold glass windows and for the huge collection of lichens in the churchyard, which are an attraction to botany students from all over the country.

other stations nearby...

London terminal: Waterloo
Journey time: 54 mins
Season ticket: £2968
Peak trains: 2 per hour
Off-peak trains: 1 per hour