Farleigh: Surrey village life


Farleigh - Credit: Archant

Is it a hamlet? Is it a village? However you define it, Farleigh is a sleepy little community located in leafy Surrey countryside Words & Photos: Pete Gardner

Village Voice...

Is it a village or a hamlet? It’s hard to find a precise definition, but for those of you who really want to know, a hamlet is loosely defined as a settlement with no church – so Farleigh is definitely a village as there is a fascinating little 11th century church, St Mary the Virgin, tucked away down a tiny road.

Mark Goodwin, food and bar manager of Farleigh Golf Club and Restaurant, sums up the village in one sentence: “Blink and you’ll miss it!”

This is a very rural spot on the Surrey map – pass The Harrow Inn on your left, squeeze through the traffic calming pinch point and there is the village sign at the edge of the common. Mark knows the area well and points out that in fact Farleigh is only a couple of miles from busy Selsdon – and only a 10-minute drive from Croydon, so not as remote as you might think.

You could be forgiven for thinking nothing much happens here, but as Mark recalls: “We had a glider on the golf course once a while back. The pilot had to make an emergency landing and put it down on the first tee!” No injuries thankfully but the gliding club still had to come and sort the problem out.

Mark continues: “Before Christmas, a dog walker also found an unexploded bomb here – this time on the fifth tee! The bomb disposal team had to come and sort that one out!”

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So, bombs and crash-landings aside, what else does this quiet little backwater have to offer?

Out and about...

• A visit to the church is a must. A Grade I listed building, this little church dates from 1083 AD and is said to be one of the earliest churches in Surrey still in regular use, with services held weekly.

• Owned by The National Trust, the nearby Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve comprises 200 acres of ancient woodland and a bird sanctuary. The Friends of Selsdon Wood (FSW) organise many guided walks here – the next being a bluebells and spring flowers walk on Saturday May 3 at 2pm. Contact FSW on 0208 657 0423.

• At Farleigh Golf Club, each of the three nine-hole courses have been recently upgraded, under the watchful eye of John Jacobs Golf Architects, the brains behind Wentworth’s Edinburgh course and the original architect of Farleigh.

Grab a bite…

Pop into the stylish restaurant at Farleigh Golf Club, Nineteen, which has panoramic views, locally sourced produce and is open to non-members. Alternatively, call into The Harrow pub (about 100 yards before you get to Farleigh), which offers cask ales, classic pub food and a Sunday roast. Oh, and home-made teas are served in the hall next to the church from May to September on Sundays – call 01883 624125 or 0208 660 0229.

Something to take home…

Well, with a distinct lack of shops, ‘something to take home’ gets a bit tricky so how about “tired legs” from the 66 mile walk to Newhaven along the Vanguard Way, which passes through, “a sore bum” from horse riding through the woods or perhaps just happy memories of a fascinating little rural hamlet in the Surrey Hills.

Getting there…

If you are driving take the Warlingham Road from the A22 and follow the signs. There is also a bus service on route 409 from Caterham to Selsdon and it conveniently stops near the Harrow pub…

Get in touch...

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