I celebrated my 50th birthday this week so thought I would see if I could find 50 things to like about the Chandler’s Ford area.
1. Chandler’s Ford is attractive
I love the high density of trees and clearing up leaves from my oaks every autumn is good aerobic exercise!
2. Hiltingbury Lakes are stunning
3. Hocombe Mead
Hocombe Mead is a lovely place to walk, with or without a dog. I’ve not had chance to get to the Friends of Hocombe Mead events but like the fact they hold wildlife days.
4. Hiltingbury Recreation Ground
Especially now it is generally litter free and tidy.
5. Hook Woods
(accessed off the top of Hook Road opposite Hocombe Road)
There is a nice wooded walk here which takes you down into the dip in Hook Road, where you cross the road and go through another pathway to link up with Hook Close, Hook Crescent and from there on to another pathway going through North Millers Dale.
One word of caution to dog owners: there are sheep in the fields at the top end of this walk so please keep your dogs on a lead, especially during lambing.
6. Chandler’s Ford Library
I don’t visit Chandler’s Ford Library as often as I’d like (one thing on my To Rectify list) but it is a great asset and love the way it supports local authors such as Richard Hardie and Brenda Sedgwick.
7. Chandler’s Ford Railway Station
The shuttle service makes visiting Salisbury easy (no worries about parking either!). The Cathedral is wonderful to visit and its Medieval Clock impressive. It was also moving to see one of the copies of the Magna Carta here.
If you have a head for heights, the Tower Tour is good and on a clear day you see three counties from the top – Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. You only climb half way up Salisbury’s famous steeple. Beyond that you must be a steeplejack!).
I’ve also used our shuttle service to link to London and then York for a splendid visit to the National Railway Museum. I’ve also used our shuttle to get to Romsey where I can pick up the direct train to Cardiff to visit the Doctor Who Experience.
I’ve connected with the ferry links at Southampton to explore the Isle of Wight (and recommend Carisbrooke Castle though there are steep climbs on the way to it and around the castle itself. Great exercise and wonderful views from the top though!).
8. Transport links
For me the railway is the big attraction, I’ve always loved trains, but I appreciate the local road network with easy access to the motorway is a huge advantage to commuters.
9. My back garden
One of my favourite sights is watching the moon rise between the trees in my garden though I am fond of spring flowers too.
10. Local wildlife
I often see bats flying above my garden. I know there is a colony at Valley Park. Squirrels are in no danger in our area (other than from dogs, who all seem programmed to chase them!).
I’ve seen sparrowhawks above Hiltingbury Recreation Ground and, on one memorable occasion, spotted one on the ground near Hook Woods “entertaining” a pigeon for lunch.
I’ve seen all the UK species of woodpeckers. Nuthatches are here too.
11. Thornden Hall
Thornden Hall: I love the whole idea of National Theatre Live and find Thornden Hall a convenient and nice place to go to watch these productions.
12. Local shows
I went to the Hiltingbury Extravaganza 2015 for the first time last year where I was pleased to meet Mike and Brenda Sedgwick. I’m looking forward to going to the Fryern Fantasia for the first time in May.
13. Marucci’s Icecream van!
These good people have been serving our area for decades and their icecream is wonderful. They always called at my in-laws Hiltingbury home most Sundays from spring to late autumn and now stop outside our place so my son can relish enjoying a “proper” 99 on his doorstep the same way his father did. Some family traditions really should be upheld!
14. Easy access to the countryside
There is the New Forest of course but closer to home are the Monarch’s Way, the bridlepath walks around that, all of which can be picked up from Chapel Hill/Knapp Lane in Ampfield, which is easily reached by turning left at the end of Hursley Road (via Ladwell).
15. Easy access to historical locations
Again the New Forest (where William Rufus was shot) but also Winchester Cathedral where Mary Tudor married Philip II of Spain and where Jane Austen is buried. The stained glass windows are beautiful.
16. Easy access to Fleming Park
I enjoy swimming at Fleming Park and am looking forward to when it becomes an 8 lane pool.
17. Recycling facilities
Talking with family recently, we were comparing recycling facilities in our respective counties (they’re from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire). They have to separate out their recycling into different types for one pick up, then another kind for the next pick up.
I prefer our system of all kinds of acceptable recycling in the recycling bin once a fortnight.
18. No area is perfect but Chandler’s Ford is generally litter free
Long may that continue though I would plead again for those with trees on their properties not to blow the leaves out on to the road. It makes it slippery and hazardous for pedestrians, cyclists etc and blocks the drains.
19. Easy access to cinemas
I’m not a film buff but when there is something I want to see it is nice having a choice of venues: Eastleigh (The Vue), Southampton (Odeon) and Winchester (The Screen).
20. Fryern Arcade but not for its architectural merit I hasten to add (it doesn’t have any!)
However it is useful to have bank facilities, a petrol station and two supermarkets amongst other shops to hand at the Fryern Arcade.
21. Theatre groups in our area
I hope to go to performances by The Chameleon Theatre Group and the MDG Players in due course. Chandler’s Ford can’t be described as a cultural hub like Stratford upon Avon could be but our local theatre groups, from what I have read on Chandler’s Ford Today, are clearly doing their bit!
While amazed (and concerned) my camellia is out about a month early this year, (any snow now would not help!), the wide range of flowers in the area are a joy to look at whilst walking the dog.
I moved to Chandler’s Ford from Shirley Warren in Southampton and flowers weren’t so easy to spot there!
23. Having good dog walking facilities with plenty of bins (so no excuse for not picking up)
It might be an odd thing to pick as a like but I have visited many places where the facilities are nowhere near as good and you seemingly walk miles before finding one small, overflowing dog bin. (And our bins are emptied regularly).
24. Having the parks at Hiltingbury and at Fryern
I don’t visit the latter often but it is great there are plenty of green spaces.
I appreciated the good education provided by our local schools for my son (Hiltingbury and Thornden). The support there was great.
Part 2 to follow.
Related posts: Here are some of my related posts.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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