South Holmwood

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South Holmwood
South Holmwood View Redlands.JPG
South Holmwood from Redlands Wood within the parish, a foothill of Leith Hill. St Mary Magdalene is visible to the far right and Holmwood Common contains all of the wood on the far side.
South Holmwood.JPG
View of the most developed part of South Holmwood, with church tower (with clock) in the background.
South Holmwood is located in Surrey
South Holmwood
South Holmwood
 South Holmwood shown within Surrey
Area  7.73 km2 (2.98 sq mi)
Population 895 (Civil Parish)[1]
   – density  116/km2 (300/sq mi)
OS grid reference TQ1745
Civil parish Holmwood
District Mole Valley
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Dorking
Postcode district RH5
Dialling code 01306
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Mole Valley
List of places

Coordinates: 51°12′07″N 0°19′23″W / 51.202°N 0.323°W / 51.202; -0.323

South Holmwood -/hmwʊd/ is a semi-rural village in Surrey, England. It can be considered cognate to its wider civil parish that stretches to the east to embrace Holmwood Common however does not include Mid Holmwood, nor North Holmwood which is contiguous with Dorking. Betchett's Brook is the southern boundary of the area and runs through a small locality known as Holmwood Corner. Reflecting Victorian naming of a railway station, Holmwood railway station is squarely within the parish of Capel but connected to the village by a curved path passing through Holmwood Corner Common.

Centred 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Dorking, South Holmwood is on the A24 London to Worthing road, a dual carriageway through the village.


Holmwood forms part of Mole Valley Borough Council's area; the main settlement is a clustered small area bypassed by the A24 road. The smaller settlement of Holmwood Corner is half within the district but that part beyond Betchett's Brook is considered to be part of Beare Green, which is also convenient to the railway station, see Transport.

A country path, with a footbridge across the brook runs between the houses in Holmwood Corner, to the station at the end of Bregsell's Lane (running underneath the A24 and railway line) this forms a gentle curve through Holmwood Corner Common. A pavement on the opposite side of the dual carriageway feeds into a footpath that runs by the parish church (an Anglican church)[2] to similarly connect South Holmwood's main cluster of residential streets.

Moor Cottage, South Holmwood, was the birthplace of the novelist E. Arnot Robertson (1903–1961).[3]


The only settlement within the parish of Dorking and had one manor mentioned in the Domesday Book is Anstie, a smallholding rendering only twelve shillings per year to its overlords, who were Baldwin son of Herlewin, with William, son of Ansculf holding has tenant-in-chief.[4]

Holmwood Borough was the ancient division of Dorking, to the south of the town. The ancient spelling in the Court Rolls is invariably Homewood; holly trees have led to the change in the name[citation needed]. But as far back as 1329 the reeves' accounts include carriage of firewood from 'Dorkynge [h]Ywode vel Homewode' to Kingston. The distinction between the 'High Wood,' the skirts of the big forest of the Weald, and the 'Home Wood,' sufficiently explains the name. In 1562 Kingston still depended upon this neighbourhood for firewood. Manning and Bray state that by the early 19th century Dorking was 'supplied lately' with coal from Kingston.[5]

Dispersed farmsteads replacing those of medieval origin work the near western and far eastern fields beyond the common. Cottages have generally been replaced here save for as Betchets Green Cottage and Stoneheal, a 17th-century timber-framed example.[6]

South Holmwood only became a significant settlement in the 19th century when the turnpike road was built from Epsom to Brighton via Worthing. The district of St. Mary, Holmwood, was taken out of Dorking and Capel parishes and made into a separate parish in 1838. The school of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, Holmwood, was built in 1844, and enlarged in 1870 and 1884. The village prospered from the increased thoroughfare (as well as from the presence of large country houses such as Anstie Grange and Holmwood Park), leading to the creation of establishments such as the cottages and travellers' inn in Mid Holmwood, and relatively high-wealth villas such as The Dutch House in South Holmwood.[7] The village saw bisection from its Cricket Ground set in Holmwood Common by the expansion of the turnpike road, now the A24, in 1971. The main residential area of the village is overlooked by the Grade II-listed parish church of St. Mary Magdalene, built in 1838 and designed by John Burges Watson, standing five to ten metres higher than the Victorian network of streets, 100 metres to the north.[8]

A disused section of the Roman road Stane Street passes to the west of the village where there is one of the few changes in its alignment. Moor Cottage, South Holmwood, was the birthplace of the novelist E. Arnot Robertson (1903–1961). She passed her childhood at Templeton, off Horsham Road.[9]

Holmwood Common[edit]

This area is approximately 600 acres (2.4 km2). The Victoria County History of 1911 gives its social geography and history.

A great number of "gentlemen's houses" surround the Common, and some standing upon it represent the original intrusions of squatters upon the waste of the manor [infertile land]—confirmed by lapse of time. Holmwood Park was the seat of the late Mrs. Gough Nichols, widow of the celebrated antiquary. Francis Larpent, Judge Advocate-General to Wellington's army in Spain and in the south of France.

Demography and housing[edit]

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
(Civil Parish) 107 160 60 43 0 0

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
(Civil Parish) 895 370 38.9% 35.7% 773

The proportion of households in the civil parish who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1%. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5%. The remaining % is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible % of households living rent-free).



Holmwood railway station just south of the parish boundary, is on the north-south Mole Valley Line. There are services to London Victoria and also to the south and (via a Dorking connection) to London Waterloo.


The village is bisected by the A24 road. An internal only network of roads serves the nucleus of the village. One principal other local road exists; this runs due east across Holmwood Common, passing the disused cricket grounds, large forest homes and a car park. Further east, a road runs north-south, that gives access to some of the village's small farms.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ Holmwood St Mary Magdalene The Church of England Retrieved 2013-11-29
  3. ^ Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  4. ^ "Anstie" Domesday Map Retrieved 2013-11-29
  5. ^ H.E. Malden (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Dorking". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Stoneheal - Grade II listing Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1189645)". National Heritage List for England. 
  7. ^ The Dutch House Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1028794)". National Heritage List for England. 
  8. ^ St Mary Magadalene Church - Grade II listing - Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1378100)". National Heritage List for England. 
  9. ^ Nicola Beauman: Robertson, Eileen Arbuthnot... In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online e.(Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2004). Retrieved 10 September 2010.