The joys of hidden villages (and a fun selection of public houses)
Lodsworth – West Sussex
The pandemic has without a doubt reinforced the joys of living in a village. Offering beauty, peace, clean air, simplicity, charm, natural surroundings and close local communities to name a few, I feel very blessed to have been living in one myself over the last year. When we’ve been trapped in our homes, having access to stunning surroundings and beautiful walks around fields, woodlands and rivers has been a saving grace. And now that we are able to see people again, just walking around my own village reminds me how close knit all the neighbours are with each other. It’s a completely different experience to living in a city or busy town.
More and more people are now choosing this way of life over urban, seeking a more relaxed and gentle pace that makes life far more enjoyable. This is the busiest year I have ever had with property buyers, with over 60% of clients now from London, most of whom are choosing villages over towns. My local town clients are also seeking a more rural life to enjoy their retirement.
There are many well-known villages in and around Chichester to choose from, but there are also some awe-inspiring hidden gems where you literally step back in time. If you’re the type of home-owner keen to explore off the beaten track villages, yet still be close to daily necessities, excellent schools and a variety of activities, you may wish to consider these rural wonders…
A lovely sleepy village part of the Upper Lavant Valley, offering a traditional village pond setting with fabulous walks on its doorstep. There’s also a very good pub called the Star and Garter. If you pop across to the next village in Charlton, there’s another called The Fox Goes Free.
Gin and vodka lovers will know this picturesque village is home to Chilgrove Spirits, which is not only sold in local shops but also the likes of Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Majestics. Most people don’t actually realise Chilgrove is where it is as it’s quite hidden to passers by, but located at the foot of the south downs, there are some super walking trails that take you up to Kingley Vale Nature Reserve or the South Downs Way. There’s also a superb 18th Century inn, The White Horse that’s definitely worth a visit for lunch in between your property viewings.
Ideal for those who love their watersports as well as their country walks and cycling, this is a highly regarded South Downs village very close to the waters of Chichester Harbour, Bosham and the Witterings, as well as Goodwood, Kingley Vale Nature Reserve and the South Downs. There’s also a village hall and Wellies Tea Rooms which serves lovely lunches, coffees and teas. For such a small village, it has a lot going for it!
Another village you may miss on your travels if you didn’t know it was there is North Marden. In the heart of the South Downs National Park, it boasts a stunning 12th Century church with farms and cottages scattered around commanding far reaching views. It’s very much one for those who are looking for a ‘sleepy’ tiny village. There aren’t any shops or a pub, but Chichester is just 7.5 miles away whilst the surrounding villages have some exceptional pubs and shops to enjoy. There are plenty of bridle and foot paths in North Marden however, with easy access to local golf courses, the coast and good schools too.
Houses rarely come up for sale in Church Norton as there aren’t many, but its fabulous beach, walking routes and church make it one of my favourite hidden villages. This attractive hamlet sits on the edge of Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve, with nearby Selsey providing all the local shops and facilities you need.
Sidlesham is a large parish which boasts a great pub (Crab & Lobster), church and a primary school. There are wonderful walks, views and also sitting on the edge of the nature reserve, it’s really popular with bird watchers.
The South Downs – West Sussex
Venturing out between Midhurst and Petworth, you will find some more truly stunning English villages. Still within the South Downs National Park, these in particular have proved more popular with my clients over the last twelve months than they have in fifteen years!
Graffham offers plenty of walks, cycling routes, two pubs (I highly recommend the White Horse Graffham), church, recreational ground, an outstanding Ofsted rated primary school, and one of the best village shops around that stores everything you could possibly wish for.
It’s not often you can say a small village is home to an excellent pub (The Hollist Arms), award winning shop, church, brewery (Langham), croquet club, tennis courts, hall, a recreational ground, an outdoor gym, playground and a cricket team! Not to mention a vineyard next door (Upperton), with the Cowdray Estate just a five minute’s drive away where you will find a golf club, café and farmshop. But that’s exactly what Lodsworth has to offer – plus plenty of cycling and walking routes on your door step, as well as homes brimming with character.
This is a very pretty English village setting centred around a traditional village green where you will find the ever popular, Noahs Ark Inn, located. There’s also a village shop and post office with a wide range of shops nearby in Midhurst or Petworth.
There really are so many lovely hidden village gems in this part of West Sussex, with other favourites of mine including Heyshott, Selham, Lickfold, Boxgrove and The Mardens. For any questions about finding your dream village home in any of these locations, please do get in touch with myself, Jennie Hancock, via e-mail (email@example.com), phone (+44 7776452128), or LinkedIn.