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Videos of the Valley
To take advantage of the many thousands of amateur videos published online every year we've started to sift through footage to find items that will give you a taste of the valley, its people and certainly their many eccentricities.
Hatchford Park Ice House
Before refrigerators were invented large households built ice houses to store perishables. The ice house at Hatchford near Ripley was built in the 18th century and here through the photos of Nick Catford from Subterranea Britannica we take a look inside.
Lynchmere - the North-West Frontier
Under siege by bigger neighbours, the parish of Lynchmere on a three-county boundary has a population used to fighting back. Through a steely determination the parish has not only seen off any attempts to annexe their territory but has an impressive record of fund-raising to achieve remarkable things to benefit local residents.
Farnham Grammar School
Today's Farnham College evolved from the town's Grammar School which educated thousands of boys over four centuries after it was founded in the late 16th century. The school may have had its origins from a school established in the chantry at Farnham castle in 1351.
The Largest Inhabited Roundabout in the Country
Completion of an ambitous road junction in 1974 isolated a hamlet of 17 dwellings and a
pub in the middle of what today still claims the accolade of being the largest inhabited roundabout in the UK. The Shepherd & Flock roundabout outside Farnham is also home to a thriving wildlife habitat.
After a hiatus of 18 years Alton is to get a community radio station again. Targeting the over-55s radio Alton will be run by enthusiasts who hope to bring back to the town a sense of community over the air waves.
England's First Town Lottery Launches in Godalming
The GO-Godalming Association, who has for many years
promoted beneficial activities in the town, has launched a lottery to raise much-needed funds for local good causes in the town.
The Hammer Vale Squire
For over half a century broom-maker George Berry went about his craft in a shed in the woods at Hammer Vale near Haslemere. His widow has donated Berry's tools to the squire working at the Amberley Working Museum in West Sussex.
Godalming Transition Town
A month after neighbouring Farnham launched a local Transition Town group Godalming has done the same. The initiative is to educate local people into the need to plan for economic and environmental change.
A Most Unusual Estate
A Guildford author has published a book based upon his research into the Edwardian property developer Alfred Taylor who built the upmarket Abbotswood Estate in Guildford. The estate, which was one of the first garden suburbs in the country, has strong Art & Craft Movement influences.
Emergency Cover Fears for Hindhead Tunnel
The Fire Brigade Union has expressed fears that existing emergency cover by fire crews for the construction of the A3 tunnel beneath Gibbet Hill at Hindhead is inadequate.
Guildford Game of Baseball Predates American Game
News that a game of baseball was played in Guildford 20 years before American Independence has rocked the nation who believed the game originated in the States.
Farnham Transition Town
Inspired by the work of British environmentalist Rob Hoskins a local group of the Transition Towns movement whas been formed in Farnham. The group's aim is to educate local people about the likely impact of peak oil and the need to start preparing for life an a post-oil world.
Fire in the Sky
Two residents in Witley near Godalming reported seeing a large ball of fire in the sky which exploded injuring one and causing widespread damage to electrical appliances nearby. Experts believe this may have been an instance of ball lightning.
40th Anniversary of River Wey Floods
In September 1968 following a prolonged spell of heavy rainfall the Wey burst its banks and created widespread flooding. Particularly badly hit was Guildford where many businesses and homes were swamped. But four decades later are we any safer?
Farnham becomes a University Town
Dating back to the mid 19th century the art college in Farnham formally celebrated its elevation to a university after a series of mergers with other art colleges in Surrey and Kent. The new University for the Creative Arts is the first specialist creative arts university in the country and the largest in Europe.
World-leading Veterinary Hospital Opens at Eashing
A pioneering veterinary surgeon who is leading the way with neuro-orthopaedic treatment for pets has opened his state-of-the-art animal hospital in Eashing. The vet, who pioneered a prosthetic limb which skin and bone can grow onto, is being lauded by the medical profession who can see his methods being adapted for use on humans.
Local Support for Wey & Arun Canal Restoration Waning?
Residents in Loxwood feel that they have suffered for a long ptime as volunteers and contractors have unwittingly disrupted their lives as they have worked on the Trust's dream of linking the 23-mile canal to the Wey Navigation and River Arun.
Worplesdon Breathing Places
The Breathing Places lottery fund has enabled a local association to continue their work in opening up access to Normandy Common and provide improved habitats for wildlife.
The millionaire philanthropist William Whiteley
left a substantial bequest in his will which, after his untimely murder in 1907, provided for the building of a remarkable self-contained village for needy pensioners. The village near Weybridge was designed by six different architects resulting in a unique community set in 225 acres of beautiful woodland.
Tongham Pool Sold for £1
Surrey County Council has sold the site of the quarry used to provide gravel for building the adjacent Blackwater Valley road to Rushmoor District Council for £1. The site, which is dominated by Tongham Pool, is to be developed for amenity use.
Fighting Back Against a Killer Fungus
The Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley is leading an attempt to eradicate a fungus-like disease that is killing trees and plants throughout the UK. The Wey Valley-based organisation has an active pathology research programme looking into the disease and has hosted the launch of a national consultation into the issue.
GPS Cows in Grazing Project
A herd of the distinctive-looking Belted Galloway cows have been released onto Ash ranges as part of the Surrey Wildlife Trust's Grazing Project to keep scrub and coarse grasses under control. The Trust's rangers are monitoring the herd through the use of GPS collars.
Kingsley Quarry Fears
The small village of Kingsley near Alton is up in arms at the proposal by Hampshire County Council to open a new quarry in order to meet government-imposed mineral extraction targets. The site of the quarry, which would be dug close to an existing quarry that after 50 years of operation was nearing exhaustion, falls within the boundary of the proposed South Downs National Park.
Rare Butterfly Returns to Thursley Nature Reserve
The rare silver-studded blue butterfly has been found in large numbers at Thursley National Nature Reserve having made a comeback after the devastating fire that destroyed much of the protected heathland two years ago. Populations of other rare insects and birds have also been reported in a survey conducted by Natural England.
The Alton Horse and Agricultural Show
The two independently organised events, both of which were founded over a century ago, combined under the Alton Show umbrella in 2004 in order to stay viable by combining insurance and running costs. The nephew of Alton's famous resident author Jane Austen was instrumental in setting up a local agricultural association from which not only the agricultural and horse shows grew, but also provided benefits to farm labourers at a time when there was little support for agricultural workers.
The Black Down Air Crash
On the slopes of Black Down Hill near to the source of the southern arm of the River Wey a Spanish airliner crashed in 1967 killing everyone onboard. The plane, which narrowly missed the historic 17th century Blackdown House, came down due to instrument failure. The actress
June Thorborn was among those killed, as was Donald Campbell of the Campbell Aircraft Company.
A magnificent 17th century mansion, that was once associated with Oliver Cromwell when he used it as his headquarters in 1648 during his siege of Arundel, is up for sale at a cool £9m. Boasting 136 acres on the southern flanks of Black Down close to the southern source of the River Wey, the house with its nine bedrooms and eight reception rooms also incorporates the extravagence of a succession of Victorian owners who built the house up to the magnificent pile you can see today.
Rodborough Common near Milford was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 2005 and is also designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance.
Linked to other nature reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Importance in the area, the common provides an important wildlife habitat centered on heathland and decidious woodland. Its prolifileration of ant hills provides a healthy habitat for green woodpeckers and lizards.
Hambledon, Wobbly Hill and the Workhouse
Hambledon, which dates back to before the Domesday Survey in 1086, has probably the only pub in the country to not only boast serving 'warm beer - lousy food' but that also tries to maim its clientele in the annual Wobbly Hill races.
The village also had central to its life for almost one hundred years a workhouse to accommodate the poor.
European Recycling First at Albury
The landfill site at Albury near the Newlands Corner beauty spot
was chosen to provide Europe's first liquid biomethane fuel from buried waste with the first output pumped in June 2008. The site at Weston Wood has been receiving waste since 1980 and only has a few years of capacity left. It already contains 500,000 tonnes of Guildford and Waverley rubbish.
During National Insect Week
the People's Trust for Endangered Species has been highlighting the plight of stag beetles by encouraging gardeners to bury beetle buckets and provide a safe breeding place for the species. Although the Wey Valley has among the highest population of stag beetles in the country their numbers are still dwindling fast.
Wey Valley Breathing Places
Three volunteer groups have secured lottery funding to continue restoring previously disused or run-down open areas helped by the BBC's Breathing Spaces campaign. The sites in Westborough and Worplesdon in Guildford, and Ash Vale are investing the money in various schemes including restoring footpaths, hedgerows and erecting fencing to allow the introduction of grazing by highland cattle.
In 1937 a well-known and respected horticulturalist by the name of Frederick Secrett took up residence at Hurst Farm in Milford and established a forward-looking farm that was to lead the way in market gardening innovation. The farm also provided much needed work for displaced Polish families at the end of the last war.
Perhaps an unusual choice for inclusion on this site but visitors could not be anything but impressed by the 11 acres of landscaped gardens nor unmoved by the beautiful Children's Memorial Garden with its sculpture of two children reading from Winnie the Pooh and cluster of iron-worked wildfowl on the lawn.
And the story as to why the crematorium came to be located where it is couldn't be more bureaucratically inept . . .
Plight of the Green Man
A public house has stood on a site in Burpham for over 400 years, but the Green Man which was closed in 2006 is threatened with demolition and redevelopment as a supermarket and high-density housing. Not surprisingly local residents are up in arms.
The imposing 18th century mansion dominating the Portsmouth Road near Milford village was almost completely wrecked by a devastating fire in 1983. Restored and extended in the 1990s the building, the home of an influential local family for over 160 years, now accommodates upmarket apartments. Influential 19th century architect Lutyens was so inspired by the architecture of the house he adopted many of its features in his work.
Wildlife Group Declares War on Alien Aquatic Plants
The Surrey Wildlife Trust has launched a public awareness campaign as to the negative effect invasive plants of foreign species are having on the valley's rivers and ponds. These species are stifling our native plants and causing clogging of the waterways, a reduction in oxygination and causing feeding problems for wildlife.
Now housing a specialist hospital for neuro-rehabilitation and a school for children with Asperger's Syndrome the Grade II listed Unsted Park House nestles in rolling countryside on Farley Hill high above Godalming. The original estate included a farm that was vested to the local Corporation in 1894 to be converted into Godalming's sewage works.
Bramley and The First Women's Cricket Match
An important centre of water milling since the 13th century the village of Bramley near Godalming also witnessed the first recorded game of cricket between women-only teams 250 years ago.
Godalming Wetland Nature Reserve
Established on redundant grass plots once used by the adjacent sewage treatment works the wetland reserve is a haven for birdwatchers who can watch over 82 species from a custom-made hide.
Dating back to 1542 Vann House in Hambledon has been over the centuries home two two mayors of Guildford and under the hand of the ecclesiastical architect WD Caroe in the 20th has seen additional work undertaken in the Arts and Crafts style. The gardens, landscaped by Gertrude Jekyll, cover five acres with focus on a major water garden.
Guildford Golf Course on Merrow Downs through a financial donation has undertaken a dormice survey with The Surrey Wildlife Trust which has provided evidence of a healthy colony for this endangered species. The Trust has installed nesting boxes for the mice and the club has elected to revert to traditional woodland management to further help the rodents.
The village of Compton near Godalming
is guardian to important historic pieces in the parish church. St Nicholas, dating back to Saxon times, has a very rare example of a two-storey sanctaury which houses one of the oldest pieces of church woodwork in the country, and also has well-preserved examples of 11th century graffiti scratched into its walls.
Woodland and Farmland Bird Number Plummeting
A Defra survey has shown that despite Surrey being the most densely wooded county in England woodland birds are declining. A similar fate is affecting farmland birds.
An environmentally important triangle of individual woods is benefiting from activities coordinated by the newly formed West Weald Development Project.
The forest is home to some of the rarest butterflies in Britain and joint activities with commercial forestry and farmers is bringing positive results.
Continued Honeybee Decline
The dramatic and worsening loss of British honeybees, which one prediction warns of extinction within 10 years, will hit the Wey Valley hard. British beekeepers are campaigning to have the government increase funding to reverse the decline.
The Guildford Guy Fawkes Riots
In the mid-19th century the annual celebration to mark the foiling of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot triggered rioting over a twenty-year period, which resulted every year in widespread damage to the town of Guildford.
St Laurence, Seale
The village of Seale near Farnham boasts a Norman church in a picturesque setting with the Hog's Back as a backdrop.
Runfold Loses Jolly Farmer
Another Wey Valley pub has closed its doors for the last time as the once popular Jolly Farmer in Runfold now undertakes refurbishment before opening as an upmarket Chinese restaurant. Although only built in 1934 the distinctive herringbone brickwork and beamed mock-Tudor gables gave the pub an air of authority.
Unique Victorian Murals at Blackheath
The only surviving murals painted by the celebrated Victorian artist Anna Lea Merritt need saving from deterioration. The tiny church of St Martins in Blackheath near Guildford has launched a fund to enable the paintings, which were created using then pioneering paints, to be preserved.
Recycling Success at Runfold
A waste management company in Runfold near Farnham has installed revolutionary soil washing equipment at its landfill site and now manages to recycle all but 2% of soil waste received from construction sites and building developments.
Founded in 1947 Wispers, the independent school for girls in Haslemere, announced its immediate closure due to financial difficulties. The school, which directly supported at least a third of its pupils through bursaries from its own funds, had received glowing reports from educational inspectorates as recently as 2007.
Green Belt Threat Continues
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has published a report highlighting in particular an area of green belt to the north east of Guildford which the local authority appears to be flagging up for new homes development. The authority is under pressure from government to meet housing targets.
Guildford Technical College & Merrist Wood
With its roots in the Guildford
Technical Institute at the turn of the last century the modern Guildford College provides courses in a wide range of practical disciplines and has won a number of awards for excellence. The college's long history includes wartime requisition of its buildings and pioneering education in computer science in the 1960s.
A new community radio station is hoping to be awarded its broadcast licence following a successful trial broadcast period. The station has the backing of Guildford Borough Council and received thousands of supportive messages during its trial.
The Waterfront Consortium is lobbying to have a multi-purpose cultural centre built in the town and has proposed using the old bus station site opposite the Old Wharf as the site.
Tree for All Campaign
The Woodland Trust's Tree for All campaign has seen over 5,700 hedgerow and copse trees planted across Surrey, helping to maintain the county's status as one of the densest woodland areas in the UK.
2008 RSPB Garden Birdwatch Results
The results of the latest RSPB survey of species frequenting domestic gardens in Surrey confirm the continued decline of several once common species including sparrows, starlings and blackbirds.
Evidence of Otters in Godalming
The Surrey Wildlife Trust has been working on improving the riverside habitat and providing man-made otter holts along the Wey. Evidence that an otter has been frequenting the river through Godalming has given much encouragement.
Water Voles Get Protected Status
Defra announced that water voles, whose UK population has shrunk by 90% since 1990, is now a legally protected endangered species. There are small colonies of the mammal surviving in the Wey Valley.
The modern-day Prior's Field girls boarding school in Godalming is centred on one of the most highly rated examples of the Arts & Crafts Movement architect Charles Voysey's work. Built in the late 19th century the original house features the Oak Hall with its fine staircase and original features designed by the architect still intact.
Heron Dies on Angler's Line
A heron that had suffered from severe injuries incurred in trying to free itself from discarded fishing line had to be put-down in Guildford again highlighting the dangers from negligent fishermen along the way.
The Rock Band and Fisher Lane Farm
The rock band Genesis bought a farmhouse near Chiddingfold in 1981 to convert into a recording studio and this remote farm has since been witness to fame and fortune.
The only press commercially producing cider in the Wey Valley is going from strength to strength. With a string of awards under their belt since launching in 2003 Mr Whitehead's Cider Company in Alton has joined forces with the Hogs Back Brewery near Farnham to strengthen their distribution network.
Council's Webcasts Proclaimed a Success
Waverley Borough Council has been broadcasting live webcasts since 2004. Proclaimed a success the authority looks set to continue with online coverage of key council meetings when EU funding is withdrawn in 2009.
Farnham Local Food Initiative
Taking up the principles of Community Supported Agriculture a community-based local food co-operative has been launched in Farnham.
Hindhead Tunnel - The First Cut
After 70 years of local campaigning for an alternative route around the Devil's Punchbowl state-of-the-art boring machines were launched into action by Transport Minister Ruth Kelly. The tunnel when it opens in 2011 will remove the traffic congestion that has so long plagued this beauty spot.
Increased Ploughing Endangers Valley Birdlife
The EU has lifted restrictions on use of agricultural set-aside land which is resulting in considerably more land being ploughed for crops. The RSPB are concerned that the loss of vital nesting and feeding sites will impact severely on many threatened bird species.
Guildford Flames Ice Hockey Team
Guildford is rightly proud of its very own ice hockey team that since forming in 1992 has dominated national leagues in Britain. Based at the Spectrum in Guildford the team regularly plays to near capacity crowds and attracts sponsorship from blue chip companies.
New Farmers Initiative to Enhance Local Landscape
The launch of a new farmers initiative to guarantee prices for livestock if they commit to grazing cattle and sheep should see the landscape of the valley enhanced and better maintained.
The Skillway Workshops in The Godalming Old Cemetery
The abandoned chapel and mortuary located in the old cemetery in Deanery Road, Godalming was converted into workshops in 2002 to house the activities of Skillway. The charity provides vocational training for teenagers experiencing difficulty with their academic education. A memorial grave to the Titanic wireless opeartor Jack Phillips is located in the graveyard.
Garden Grabbing Alive and Well in Guildford
The need for more building land for new homes in the Wey Valley has led to an escalation in gardens being secured for new developments with a growing concern over the negative effect to the urban landscape. Guildford is no exception as this account by a local residen testifies
Protecting the Valley's Bats
The volunteers of the Surrey Bat Group are instrumental in monitoring local bat populations and in putting pressure on local councils to ensure that this protected mammal's breeding and roosting sites are not affected by property developments.
Horse Logging at Sandhurst Copse
The privately managed woodland near Shamley Green, renowned for its displays of bluebells, employs the traditional method of horse logging in order to maintain a fragile habitat.
Godalming Fire Station
From the first purpose-built fire station in Moss Lane almost 200 years ago Godalming has always had its own service on the doorstep. Today the service is manned by part-time retained firefighters and is taken for granted but in the early days appliances were horse-drawn hand pumps and fees were charged for each callout.
Ockham & The Hautboy
The First Earl of Lovelace built the Hautboy Hotel in Ockham in the mid-19th century following his fanciful neo-Gothic style he favoured in many of his new projects. 150 years on the building now stands boarded up whilst developers try to persuade the council to favour a variety of plans, none of which favour reopening the Hautboy as a hotel.
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