Tilford: Surrey village life

The picturesque village green and Barley Mow pub

The picturesque village green and Barley Mow pub - Credit: Pete Gardner Photography

With its quintessential English village green, it’s no wonder that Tilford attracts visitors from far away

Denise Cooper who runs the village shop

Denise Cooper who runs the village shop - Credit: Pete Gardner Photography

Village voice…

We have a chorus of village voices this month in support of this thriving community. On the day of my visit, waiting patiently outside Tilford’s Rural Life Centre for a group of schoolchildren to be shown round, are some of the centre volunteers – in full Victorian costume.

Bridget Woodhouse, who has lived in Tilford for 16 years, is one of a number of people who give up their time to help with educational visits from local schools. “There’s lots of interactive experiences; it’s a living open-air museum!” she tells me: “Here in Tilford, we have a great community, and with great schools as well. There’s lots of walking nearby too – people use Tilford as a base for rambling – as well as plenty of horse riding.”

On the other side of Tilford, Denise Cooper, who runs the village shop, echoes some of Bridget’s thoughts.

Volunteers at the Rural Life Centre - Judy Hewins, Bridget Woodhouse, Rosemary Longman and Pam Taylo

Volunteers at the Rural Life Centre - Judy Hewins, Bridget Woodhouse, Rosemary Longman and Pam Taylor - Credit: Pete Gardner Photography

“Tilford residents are a friendly bunch – they stick together,” she says. “In the summer, we get a lot of visitors from a long way away – they come for the typical British pub on the green with the cricket.”

Denise can remember her mother taking her to the river to splash about in the summer and did the same for her children.

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Did you know?

Tilford is home to a very elderly resident – an ancient oak tree that is believed to be at least 800 years old! Located near the Barley Mow pub, it even has a special plaque on a nearby seat declaring it to be the ‘finest in Surrey’.


Grab a bite...

With a choice of two pubs in the village – either The Barley Mow on the green or The Duke of Cambridge a few hundred yards along the Tilford Road – there’s plenty here to keep the hunger pangs at bay. The latter has a huge menu with such delights as Prime Surrey Beef Burger, Minted Lamb Hotpot and Crisp Dorset Pork Belly, while The Barley Mow can offer Braised Wild Rabbit Casserole, Battered Haddock, seafood pies and curries… what are you waiting for! If you don’t have time for a pub lunch, there’s always the village shop (see above) where you can pick up fresh takeaway baguettes and steaming cups of coffee.


In the spotlight...

• In 2000, film crews descended on nearby Bourne Woods to shoot some scenes for Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. He must have liked it here as Mr Crowe returned in 2010 to film some scenes for Robin Hood too.

• The name of the village is synonymous for many with cricket – the green with the backdrop of the pub has attracted a number of advertising campaigns such as Rover Cars, Courage Beer and British Airways.

• If you’ve got a minute, check out the following link for a fascinating film clip of Tilford shot in 1959 showing a group of musicians rehearsing for a Bach festival: britishpathe.com/video/tilford-village/query/wildcard.


Dates for your diary…

The Rural Life Centre hosts regular events throughout the year. For more information, visit their website at rural-life.org.uk.


Getting there

Tilford is two miles south-east of Farnham, off the B3001 (Postcode: GU10). There’s no railway station but plenty of places to leave the car.