Welcome to the Thursley Parish Council website, which we hope you will find informative, useful and easy to navigate.
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Thursley is situated in the Borough of Waverley, South West Surrey, north of the Hindhead Tunnel. Thursley parish is dissected with the village centre being just west of the A3 which runs from Portsmouth to London. Its name is believed to mean the “sacred grove of Thor” referring to the Norse God of Thunder, who was worshipped by the Anglo Saxons.
The relatively small population of approximately 650 people (272 households), live in a comparatively large parish of roughly eight square miles. The properties are located in four distinct areas: Thursley Village, Bowlhead Green, Pitch Place, and Warren Park.
The village has evolved slowly over time, with the church of St Michael and All Angels dating back, in part, to the Saxon times but later enlarged and reordered in 1860 and 1884. The centre of the village with its many listed buildings, interspersed with 18th Century, Victorian and more modern properties, is a designated Conservation Area. The Village Hall, built in 1843 of Bargate stone was originally the village school and remained so until its closure in about 1960. Today it, along with The Three Horse Shoes public house, is very much at the centre of village life in Thursley; being used as a Nursery School in the day time and then by village organisations or to host social events in the evening or at week-ends.
The centre of Bowlhead Green is also a Conservation Area. Originally an agricultural settlement, the many listed and period buildings clearly reflect this activity. Being on the “other-side” of the A3, with its narrow lanes and high banks, it can have a quite separate feeling of identity.
Through the years the parish has seen various industries come and go. Woollen weaving took place during the 15th and 16th centuries, being replaced by iron smelting, which flourished in the 17th century. During the first half of the 19th century silk weaving took place; much of the raw silk was believed to have been smuggled from France. The surrounding Commons have also had a long relationship with the Military, being used extensively for training exercises and equipment trials during both World Wars. Tweedsmuir Camp at Thursley, named after Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, known to many as John Buchan the famous author, held Canadian troops until the end of the Second World War. Afterwards it became a Displaced Persons Camp for Polish nationals, many of whom chose to settle in the area.
Within the Parish boundaries are areas appreciated locally for their unspoilt nature and intrinsic beauty, which have also been recognised for their national and international significance. Thursley Common National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England, is one of the largest remaining heathlands in Surrey with a mixture of woodland, lowland heath and mire (bog). The mire is not only a Special Area of Conservation, but also, a RAMSAR site (a wetland of international importance) supporting diverse flora and fauna. In addition, there is Hindhead Commons (partly in our Parish) and the Devil’s Punch Bowl which is owned and maintained by the National Trust and has been recently reunited by the construction of the Hindhead Tunnel which opened in 2011. Finally, there is Hankley Common located to the north and west of Pitch Place which with its replica section of the Atlantic Wall, played a significant role in D-Day preparations, and more recently doubled as the Skyfall estate in the James Bond film of the same name. These Commons are all designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the Parish as a whole is within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is deemed to be an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV).
The parish is unsurprisingly popular with walkers, many of who will follow the Greensand Way. Riders, both equestrian and on two wheels, also make use of the many byways that extend some 40 miles in total, through the parish.
Thursley residents are proud of their village and care passionately about its environment, so while they are cautious and measured in their approach to development of the village, they seek to ensure that a vibrant and viable community is maintained and further developed where possible and appropriate. A notable example would be the efforts made by parishioners to ensure the pub re-opened, after a significant period of closure, as a community-owned venture.