Lingfield: Surrey village life

While the expansion of the racecourse has firmly put it on the map, Lingfield has its own history to explore

Did you know?A prominent feature at the heart of the village is ‘the cage’ (pictured right), which was used as a temporary jail for minor felons in the 1700s and 1800s. It is dominated by a hollow but fully-leafed oak tree, which is thought to be over 400 years old. The smaller oak behind it grew from one of the old tree’s acorns, as did some of those at the Lingfield Nature Reserves.

Village voice…“Lingfield draws upon a wide variety of talented and very active residents, and consequently there’s always a busy local calendar,” says Keith Pratt, director of Lingfield Art. “Plus, the village doesn’t stand alone, as it has a close working relationship with Dormansland and Felbridge.”

@ the village hall…The community centre in the High Street offers a wide range of activities including art classes, IT training, fitness, French, dance, crafts etc.  They also arrange regular theatrical productions. The full programme of events can be found on their website at lingfieldcentre.org.

Making the headlines…Last year, the village hit the headlines when plaques were stolen from the war memorial. Fortunately, they were returned when a local scrap merchant refused to take them. The incident occurred three weeks prior to Remembrance Sunday but the plaques were replaced in time for the service, thanks to the local stonemason rearranging his work schedule and Southern Gas Networks offering to pay for repairs.

Grab a bite…Offering a little more entertainment than your usual coffee shop, Browsers (01342 834881), on East Grinstead Road, hosts regular blues nights, with singer/songwriter Kris Dollimore lined up for Thursday March 10. Other caf� options include The Place to Meet (01342 837587), which opened towards the end of last year, and the quaint Joyce’s with Best Wishes (01342 832428), both found on the High Street.

By the village cage, you’ll find The Old Cage (01342 834271) and the Greyhound (01342 832147), both bustling pubs to meet friends, while The Hare and Hounds (01342 832351), on Lingfield Common Road, has built a reputation as a hidden gem because of its food.

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A little further out from the village, there’s The Red Barn (01342 830820), on Tandridge Lane, and the award-winning The Wiremill (01342 832263), on Wiremill Lane, which is set in a stunning lakeside location.

Something to take home…A fascinating little book, Around Lingfield at War tells the story of the area during 1939 to 1945 and is available from  the aforementioned Joyce’s. During World War Two, the population of Lingfield more than doubled as Lingfield Park Racecourse was used as a secure camp for enemy aliens and later as a prisoner of war camp. The Canadian army was also billeted throughout the area.

In the spotlight…Last year, Dame Judi Dench opened a new multi-million pound hotel at Lingfield Racecourse and a new red squirrel enclosure at the British Wildlife Centre. On another point of interest, as the village is approached via Godstone Road, there is a pretty thatched cottage that once belonged to WE Johns, the creator of Biggles. The deeds of the house stipulate that an unusual collection of Biggles adventure books must remain with it, and they do to this very day!

Getting there...Lingfield is 15 minutes by road from the M25 and less than an hour’s train ride to London. The station is located just on the edge of the village.

Get in touch with what you most love about Lingfield, as well as your photos, below.

Next month we visit: Bletchingley

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2011

While the expansion of the racecourse has firmly put it on the map, Lingfield has its own history to explore

Photo: Alec Kingham

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