Links

Our links page includes both local and wider facilities. To add or change a link in this page or report a broken link please write to info@highclerevillage.com. The links are divided into sections as follows:

Some sections are in alphabetical order. Others in rough distance from the centre of Highclere.

Emergency and Other Services

Accidents and Emergencies North Hampshire Hospital, Basingstoke. Go to Basingstoke via Kingsclere and then follow the signs from the Basingstoke ring road. Driving time about 25 minutes. There is also a minor injuries unit (8am-10pm only) at the West Berkshire Community Hospital in Thatcham, use the A34 and A4, the hospital is on the left off the A4 between Newbury and Thatcham.
Woolton Hill Doctor’s Surgery Our local doctor’s surgery at Trade Street, RG20 9UL (Tel: 253324).
Hampshire Constabulary Lots of useful information. There is a Highclere & Burghclere Neighbourhood section giving details of our local team plus incidents. Remember, the non-urgent contact number is now 101.
Neighbourcare Basingstoke Helping people live independently. Volunteers take people to medical appointments, provide trips to visit a loved one, shopping etc. Our local contact is Pat Clarke (253666).

Community & Societies

Highclere Village Hall is available to book for regular and one-off events. Enquiries and bookings can be made by email: highclerebookings@yahoo.co.uk or calling 01635 253860 for a morning (8.00am – 1.00pm), afternoon (1.00pm – 6.00pm) and/or evening (6.00pm – 11.30pm) to allow for setting up and clearing away. Current hiring rates for a one-off event are £35 for a morning or afternoon session on Monday to Thursday, £45 on Friday to Sunday and £50 for an evening on Monday to Thursday, £60 on Friday to Sunday. Substantial discounts are available for regular, non-profit village activities. Please call 01635 253860 to discuss special event hire for the whole day, for wedding receptions and for booking the Jubilee room. Additional charges are payable for a licence for the consumption of alcohol (£20) and for additional heating by coin operated meter (which accepts £1 coins only). The hall has car parking to the rear, an exceptionally well-equipped kitchen and provides the ideal venue for parties, jumble sales, exercise classes, committee meetings, etc. There are Tai Chi and pilates classes each week, films are shown several times each month by Highclere Film Club, weekly short mat bowling sessions, art classes and much, much more at the hall on Andover Road, RG20 9QS.
Below are community and civic society websites. Check also the government section for parish council websites.
Highclere Society The Highclere Society’s own website – opened 2008. The Society aims “to protect and enhance the village and its environment for the benefits of the whole community”.
Woolton Hill Village Website A useful resource with many links to clubs, societies, local businesses etc. which also cover Highclere.
East Woodhay Society Complementary to the Highclere Society but covering the parish of East Woodhay (including Woolton Hill). It “aims to promote a community spirit within our beautiful parish, while preserving, protecting, developing and improving features of historic or public interest and of the environment”.
Burghclere.net A community website with many sections including history, geology as well as links to many clubs, societies, community facilities and businesses.
Newbury.net A community website with sections on history, businesses, events and sporadic news. There is a forum but it’s not very active.
The Newbury Society The civic society for our nearest market town. It has interests in planning, local history and the environment. Each September it organises town walks as part of National Heritage Day.
Kingsclere Families Website A site with extracts from a range of historical and genealogical materials (e.g. parish register transcripts, surnames and family database) about Kingsclere and its surrounding area.

Schools & Colleges

In order of distance from Highclere Village Hall Thorngrove School The only school remaining in the village (and our 2nd largest employer after Highclere Castle). A fee-paying school for children from aged 2½ – 13 which in 2013 celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Woolton Hill Junior School Our local junior school whose motto is “Learning, Achieving, Succeeding Together”. It offers many extra-curricula activities and the website has separate sections for parents and kids.
St Thomas’ Church of England Infants School Our local infants school in Woolton Hill for children aged 4-7. With around 130 pupils it is “a very friendly, welcoming school with a strong Christian ethos.”
St Martin’s Primary School, East Woodhay Another Church of England school for children 4-11 years, established as a National School in 1834.
The Clere School, Burghclere Our local secondary school and technology college. Around 570 pupils aged 11-16 (up to GCSE) .
Park House School, Newbury An academy school on the Andover Road at Wash Common. Although called a ‘sports college’ it has a wide curriculum and is a centre of excellence for computer science teaching. It has our nearest 6th Form.
Newbury College Our local college of further education catering for 14-18 year olds and adult learners. It also offers apprenticeships in 20 subject areas.
St. Bartholomew’s School, Newbury Established in 1466 and now a thriving comprehensive of 1,650 pupils aged 11-18. Desginated a Business & Enterprise College it now has academcy status.
Andover College (formerly Cricklade College) One of the sixth form (and higher education) colleges available for local children after their GCSEs.It changed its name in 2007 after merging with Sparsholt College near Winchester.
Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke A sixth form college offering A/AS levels and BTEC courses. Their annual intake is 1,200 students.
Hampshire Schools The County Councils school’s page – term dates, admissions, emergency school closures etc.
West Berkshire Schools Similar information for West Berkshire Schools (e.g. schools in Newbury listed above).

Churches

North West Hampshire Benefice> There are five churches in the local benefice whose rector is the Revd Christine Dale:
St Michael & All Angels, Highclere The main Sunday services is at 11am. There is an 8am service on the 2nd and 4th Sundays in every month.
St Thomas’ Church, Woolton Hill Sunday services are at 9.30am with an All Together family service on the first Sunday in every month.
St Martin’s, East Woodhay Sunday services alternate between 8am, (1st and 3rd Sundays) for Holy Communion and 11am for family and parish communion (2nd and 4th Sundays). There is a 6pm Evensong on the first Sunday of every month.
St James’, Ashmansworth and St Michael & All Angels, Crux Easton The services calendar for these two smaller churches is hosted on the parish council website. While Ashmansworth has a service every Sunday, services at Crux Easton are less frequent. Ashmansworth’s service on the 1st Sunday in each month is a ‘Messy Church’ service for all ages, held in the village hall.
Other Local Churches and the Diocesan Cathedral:
St George the Martyr, Wash Common Just over 3 miles from Newbury, this 1930s church was one of the first in the country to “go green”. The main Sunday service is at 9.30am, and there is also an 8am said communion every Sunday. There are also weekday communion services on Tuesdays (7.30pm), Wednesdays (9.30am) and Thursdays (2pm).
St Nicolas Church, Newbury The main parish church of Newbury, with three services every Sunday – 8am Holy Communion, 10am Main Service, 6pm Evensong. There is a 10.30am Holy Communion on Thursdays (Newbury Market day). The church is also the venue for the key symphony concerts in the Newbury Spring Festival.
Winchester Cathedral A tourist attraction in its own right, with the shrines of Kings and Queens and other notables. There is an 8am Holy Communion every morning as well as several other services every day. A real treat is the Saturday Evensong at 5pm with its internationally acclaimed choir. At Christmas time the grounds come alive with a German-style Christmas market and an ice rink.

Clubs & Organisations

Highclere Film Club Shows films – mostly new ones, but some classics – usually on the third Thursday of each month at 7.30 for 8pm in HIghclere Village Hall. Also some Sunday showings.

Ten years of Highclere Film Club

 

The first I heard of the plan to form a film group in the village was a flyer inviting me to a meeting at the Village Hall on 11 May 2006, organised by Kevin Pearson. Some 50 people attended that meeting and there was plenty of interest and agreement to proceed. At a foundation meeting in June a committee was formed with Kevin as Chairman, Mark Tiley as Treasurer, me as Secretary, Mat Scalpello on the technical side and Tim Jarvis on film sourcing and PR. The Club became a member of the British Federation of Film Societies (BFFS), which had a scheme whereby new groups could borrow the necessary equipment  to get started.

The equipment finally arrived for the Club to start film shows on 16 October with “Mrs Henderson Presents”. The loan of equipment was only temporary but with grants from Basingstoke & Deane and Highclere Society and funding from our Chairman Kevin, the Club was able to purchase its own screen, projector and sound equipment. 

In its first year, the Club showed films once a month. For the second year we decided to expand the programme to have mainstream films on a Thursday evening and foreign-language and independent films on a Sunday. The number of films per season peaked in 08/09 with 23 films. The Sunday film attendance was never that high and, with an average cost of £100 to license the films, the plan to schedule films for that day was eventually dropped. We did try a “pot-luck” series of Sundays where members brought along DVDs and we would pick one. These we could show under the terms of our umbrella licence, where no film is advertised beforehand. The lure of Sunday evening television, however,  proved to be too great so this idea was also dropped for the 2013/14 season.

As mentioned, the Club has benefitted from grants over the years, with one from Greenham Common Trust  for a new projector and Hampshire CC for a portable screen. The latter item proved to be a useful addition for the Club’s “Outreach” programme, where we would show films in other locations. The programme started with schools (Woolton Hill, St Martins East End, Thorngrove and Burghclere) and has been expanded to include churches (Highclere and Hannington), another village hall (Ashmansworth) and the Stockcross Arts Festival.

One successful initiative was that of food-themed evenings, where we served meals or snacks to match the film being shown (huge thanks to all the chefs). One of these (“Love’s Kitchen”) was further enhanced with the presence of the director, producer and a cameraman. These events culminated in the showing of “Casablanca”, where Kevin had the hall comprehensively decorated and kitted out as Rick’s Cafe Americaine. After eight year’s sterling service, Kevin stepped down as Chairman and I took over.

Over the years, the Club seemed to have problems retaining female committee members (were we too ‘blokey’?) but the current committee has been enhanced with the addition of Angela Tiley and Barbara Martin with support from Justine Grace. Of the original committee, four are still active in the running of the Club (Mark, Mat, Tim and Chris).

In the past ten years, the Club has shown 165 scheduled films and, although the audience size used to be quite variable, we seem to have settled down to around 25 on a regular basis. As we need 20 or so in order to cover the cost of the public performance licence, this has been a great help in ensuring that the Club has the funds to continue to keep up with improvements in sound and vision technology. Hopefully we are doing something right.

Chris Martin

Highclere Hobbies Meets every Wednesday 2.30pm – 5.30pm at Westridge Studio for a vareity of arts and crafts. Contact the secretary on 01635 254154.
Highclere Phoneix Group So called, since it arose out of the demise of the local Women’s Institute Group. Contact the secretary on 01635 253289 for details.
Highclere Evergreens For those of a certain age. Meets in Highclere Village Hall on the first Monday of each month, from 2pm – 4.15pm.
Arbor Flora A flower arranging group thats meets on the third Tuesday of each month, 2pm – 4.30pm Highclere Village Hall. Contact the secretary on 01635 250816.
St Michaels’ Ladies This ladies group meets on the second Thursday of each month, usually in the Dunlop room at Highclere Church. They have a wide range of interesting talks and have occasional visits. Contact the secretary on 01635 253007.
Woolton Hill & District Gardeners’ Club The ‘district’ extends to Highclere and Burghclere. Evening meetings are the third Thursday of each month 7.45 for 8pm at St. Thomas’ Church Hall. There are two outings each summer, one an all day coach outing, and the other an afternoon or evening visit to a local garden. Contact the secretary Jane Skyrme on 01635 254151 for details.
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire This Newbury-based centre offers a comprehensive matching service between organisations seeking volunteers and volunteers seeking organisations. Several local residents have found opportunities through this centre.
Basingstoke Voluntary Action Support, help and information for all kinds of voluntary services and organisations. Its ‘volunteer centre’ does list opportunities, but is not as developed as that of Newbury (above).
Do-It: Find a Local Volunteering Opportunity This national website allows you to put in your location and what you would like to do, then flags up opportunities within the travel distance you specify.

Travel & Transport

Met Office Forecast (Whitway) Whitway is the nearest met office location to Highclere (1.7 miles). If you have cookies enabled on your web browser, every time you use this site, you will get the local forecast, plus access to hour by hour radar/rainfall, temperature and other maps.
Stagecoach Bus Our local bus company with a base in Andover. If you don’t know your route number, enter your start place and destination and it will give you bus times. Our local routes are 7 and 7A – the former going via The Red House and Penwood into Newbury, while the 7A goes round local villages (East End, Woolton Hill etc.). Here is a direct link to the 7/7A timetable (PDF).
Newbury Transport Information Reading Bus operates the Jet Black half-hourly service from Newbury Bus Station to Reading via the Community Hospital, Thatcham and the A4. Several other operators go to different locations around Newbury. This page on the council website has links to various travel services. Best of all is the comprehensive 184-page travel guide (PDF: 5Mb) with maps and timetables for all the operators, including National Express which has daily coaches from Newbury to Oxford, Birmingham and beyond.
National Rail Journey Planner Great for planning occasional trips. Our nearest local station is Newbury (NBY) with trains to Paddington, the West country and everywhere else via the new and expanded station at Reading. Basingstoke (BSK) is also popular since it has more frequent services, especially late into the evening, to Waterloo. Some people also like to use Whitchurch (WCH), which is quicker to get to and easier to park than Basingstoke. Be warned if you pick a destination station in London – this website will take you there by national rail (often via Clapham Common!). Your journey is often quicker from Paddington using bus, underground, overground, DLR etc. For this use the TFL (Transport for London) Journey Planner.
Traveline This website allows you to select start point and destination and your mode of travel using public transport – excellent for those planning to use your bus pass.

Government, Councils etc.

Highclere is at the far northern boundary of the Basingstoke & Deane district council’s area. Although geographically and administratively we are in Hampshire our nearest town is Newbury and postally we are in Berkshire (postcode RG20 9 where “RG” is Reading).
Our Member of Parliament Kit Malthouse, elected as Conservative MP for North West Hampshire in June 2015. He succeeded our former MP, Sir George Young….
Our Former Member of Parliament Sir George Young was MP for North West Hampshire from 1997-2015. This archived website contains regular news (sometimes several times a week) about his activities during that time.
Hampshire County Council Highclere is part of the ‘Whitchurch and Clere’ division for county council elections. You can find details of our current councillor on the ‘find your councillor’ page. There is a comprehensive A-Z of services of which education, roads and transport are probably the most used by Highclere residents.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council The website of our local council responsible for planning, refuse collection and many other local services. Go to its planning portal to view planning applications, including documentation.
West Berkshire District Council The unitary authority responsible for all local services across the district. Highclere residents avail themselves of many of Newbury’s facilities including schools, libraries and leisure centres.
Highclere Parish Council The parish comprises of two wards – Highclere itself and Penwood. The website includes details of councillors, agendas and minutes of parish council meetings which are open to the public.
East Woodhay Parish Council The website of the council for our neighbouring village – Woolton Hill.
Basingstoke and Deane Local Plan This section of the District Council site give details of the local planning strategy which sets rural, environment and other policies including the allocation of strategic housing sites, which are all centred around our major towns.
Newbury Town Council The ‘parish’ council for Newbury, responsible for parks, playgrounds, allotments, cemeteries and the market (market days Thursdays and Saturdays).

Leisure

Culture

Newbury Spring Festival Newbury’s big music and arts event every May, with activities to suit all tastes, from symphony concerts to jazz and light entertainment. A few events take place locally, e.g. in St Martin’s Church.
Newbury Theatre Website Details of all live theatre venues, amateur dramatics etc. in the area as well as slightly further afield. Also local theatre news.
New Era Players Just along the Anodver Road at Wash Common, this small theatre has regular productions by its amateur cast and crew.
The Corn Exchange Newbury’s Town Centre arts and cultural venue – professional and amateur plays, shows and concerts in hte main auditorium. Screen 1 is a 40-seat cinema showing current films.
Newbury Nomads Nomads are a small dramatic arts group who present one major show a year in the Corn Exchange, as well as organising many social events and activities. New members welcome.
Newbury Musical Theatre Society Formerly the Newbury Operatic Society, it changed its name in 2012 to reflect its varied programme. They put on a major show each Spring at The Corn Exchange and a smaller show in the Autumn at Arlington Arts.
The Vue, Newbury After many years without a dedicated cinema, this relatively new 8-screen multiplex in the Kennet Centre shows all the latest movies.
The Watermill Theatre Newbury’s famous little theatre, in a converted watermill set in lovely gardens, stages a series of original productions every year. The Watermill productions get favourable reviews in the national press and some move on to the West End. They take one production a year to village halls, including Highclere.
Arlington Arts Situated in the Grounds of Mary Hare School and opened in 2006, this theatre tends to cater for emerging talent and more specialist tastes, such as blues and contemporary dance. All profits go to support the work of the Mary Hare charity for young deaf people.
Anvil Arts The combined website for three Basingstoke theatres – The Anvil, The Forge and the Haymarket. The Anvil seats nearly 1,400 and hosts big names on tour, large orchestras and other large productions. The Forge is a 90-seat auditorium inside the Anvil, where folk music, comedy and talks feature. The Haymarket is a medium-sized theatre at the Top of The Town with an eclectic mix of drama, solo performers and small ensembles.
Reading Arts: The Hexagon As it’s name says, this is a hexagonal venue for staging a wide range of events including drama, comedy and music. The home page of this website lists events at other venues under the Reading Arts umbrella.

Other

Royal County of Berkshire Show A major agricultural and countryside show organised by the Newbury and District Agricultural Society and , held in September each year. Now with permanent roads, this 150 acre showground hosts a range of other events throughout the year.
Hampshire Mobile Library With Hampshire’s nearest permanent libraries at Andover and Basingstoke, a mobile library visits the village and neighbourhood once a month. Stops are at Highclere Castle, Tubbs Lane, Penwood, Copnor Close (Woolton Hill) and Burghclere Sprts Hall. Many local residents are members of….
Newbury Library This link takes you to West Berkshire Library Services. As well as details of opening times of local libraries (as well as the main one in Newbury there is a smaller one nearer at Wash Common), there is an online catalogue, and the ability to reserve and renew online.

Places to Visit

For general tourism information in the area visit West Berkshire Tourist Office where there is also a museum, and Visit Hampshire for tourism information across the county. The following places are roughly in order of distance from Highclere: Highclere Castle One of England’s great country houses, home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Famous for its Tutankhamun exhibition and more recently as one of the locations for the filming of Downton Abbey
The Chase Our local National Trust woodland. Nearby properties includes Sandham Memorial Chapel, Burghclere, and The Vyne.
North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Highclere sits within the boundary of the AONB, which provides protection against inappropriate development. The website includes the Management Plan. This is the largest AONB in the South East and the third largest nationally.
The Wayfarers’ Walk The Wayfarers Walk extends 70 miles between the coast near Portsmouth and Inkpen Beacon just across the Berkshire border. It connects with other long distance paths at Emsworth (the Sussex Border Path), at Bedhampton (the Solent Way) and at Inkpen Beacon (the Test Way). Linking with the Wayfarers Walk are six circular walks each consisting of a network of paths of varying distances. Near the villages of Burghclere and Kingsclere the Wayfarer’s Walk traverses Watership Down, the setting for Richard Adams’ best-selling book of the same name about a community of rabbits.
Kennet and Avon Canal Fifty-seven miles of man made waterway, linking the River Avon to the west with the River Kennet to the East, and including the famous Caen Hill flight of no less than 16 locks!
Shaw House A grade 1 Elizabethan mansion, which was headquarters for Charles I during the Second Battle of Newbury. A school for many years in the 20th century, it has been restored and is open to the public with activities for children.
The Ridgeway – National Trail North of the A4 but readily accessible. 137 km (85 miles) long, much of it following the ancient chalk ridge route used by prehistoric man, The Ridgeway offers the chance to get away from the bustle of life in this busy part of England. Perfect, but not too strenuous, for long distance use, this Trail is also ideal for day trips or less.
The Hawk Conservancy, Weyhill (near Andover) Open to the public, with several flying demonstrations daily, this specialist facility is the UK’s leading centre for the conservation and study of Birds of Prey.
Savernake Forest & West Wood Two wooded areas near Marlborough. Although mostly privately owned Savernake Forest has plenty of footpaths. West Wood is best known for its display of bluebells in early May.
The White Horse at Uffington The White Horse of Uffington, with its elegant lines of white chalk bedrock, is thought to be the oldest hill figure in Britain. The image is a stylised representation of a horse (some would say dragon) some 110m long, and is thought to date back as far as 1000BC in the late Bronze Age.

Media

Newbury Weekly News The main local newspaper for Newbury and West Berkshire which comes out every Thursday. Its website Newbury Today is updated daily.
The Breeze, Newbury Our local radio station, originally started as Kiss FM and was then briefly Newbury Sound, but is now part of a national chain. ON FM 105.6 and 107.4.
BBC Berkshire This part of the BBC website has better coverage of North Hampshire news than the Hampshire section. You can also stream BBC Radio Berkshire.
Heart FM Our local ‘popular’ radio station covering Berkshire and North Hampshire. 102.9 is the strongest signal in Highclere, but 97.0 is better reception near Reading. You can, of course, stream directly from this website.
ITV Meridian Our local ITV news. Although it once had a studio in Newbury, it is now near Fareham with our nearest bureaus in Didcot and Reading. The region now covers most of the South East. If you follow it on HD (channel 103), you will get news from the South and Kent. For our area SD (channel 3) is better since it covers the area from Banbury to Southampton and Poole.

Businesses, Stores & Pubs

Woolton Hill Post Office and Stores Broadlayings. Sells newspapers, groceries, off-licence, national lottery. Post Office stocks Euros and Dollars for your foreign holiday.
The Highclere Red House Our local pub, restaurant and bar. Serves real ale and good food. It’s the meeting place of Highclere Society History Group.
The Yew Tree A more up market pub and restaurant between the village and Highclere Street on the Andover Road. Refurbished in 2014 and with the addition of a garden.
The Rampant Cat A traditional country pub in our neighbouring village of Woolton Hill. As well as home cooked food, there are occasional live music nights.
Yew Tree Garden Centre A family owned, independent business offering a wide range of plants and garden items. It now has an in-store café offering coffee, cakes, tea and light lunches. Also on site is Fairoak Garden Machinery which sells and maintains lawnmowers, quad bikes and other machinery.
Berkshire garden services Berkshire garden services was founded in 2001 to provide well managed, professional garden services and grounds maintenance services in Berkshire and the surrounding areas. Based at Hollington Court it offers everything from garden design to landscaping, fencing, lawn maintenance etc.
Highclere Farm Local bed and breakfast near Highclere Castle.
Badger’s Heritage - Badger’s Heritage sells mounted prints of pen and ink drawings of scenes from Hampshire and surrounding counties, including Robert Brock’s pen and ink drawing of Highclere Church.
Newbury Building Society Our local mortgage lender and savings society – still mutual!