Daffodills in Ambarrow Court
Sandhurst shown within Berkshire
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Sandhurst is a small town and civil parish in England of 7,966 homes and 20,803 inhabitants (2001 Census data), primarily domiciliary in nature with a few light industries. It is in the south eastern corner of the ceremonial Royal County of Berkshire, within the Borough of Bracknell Forest, and is situated 33 miles (53 km) south west of central London, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north west of Camberley and 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Bracknell.
Sandhurst is known worldwide as the location of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (often referred to simply as "Sandhurst", "The Academy" or "The RMA"). Despite its close proximity to Camberley, Sandhurst is also home to a large and well-known out-of-town mercantile development. The site is named "The Meadows" and has a Tesco Extra hypermarket and a Marks and Spencer, two of the largest in the country. A large Next plc clothing and homeware store is open on the site of the old Homebase.
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Sandhurst is located at grid reference SU836618. Sandhurst is situated within the South East of England on the border of the Home Counties of Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. The town itself consists of four main districts, from west to east: Little Sandhurst, Sandhurst (central) and College Town, with Owlsmoor to the northeast. North of the town are Edgbarrow Woods and Wildmoor Heath. To the east is Broadmoor Bottom, an expanse of heathland together with fir tree plantations. This eventually backs onto the high-security Broadmoor Hospital.
Sandhurst is bordered, on the south, by the River Blackwater, and several of the Yateley Lakes along its course are within the parish, notably Trilakes with its country park. This is also the county boundary with Hampshire at Blackwater. The town of Crowthorne is to the north, the village of Finchampstead to the west, and Camberley, across the Surrey county boundary, is on its southeastern side. This is the closest sizeable town, though Sandhurst is also only 9.5 km (5.9 mi) south of the new town of Bracknell.
Sandhurst lies just off the A30, is close to junction 4 of the M3 motorway (3.4 miles) and within easy reach of the M4 (10.3 miles) via the Crowthorne bypass (A3095) to Bracknell and the A329(M) towards Reading. Sandhurst railway station is served by First Great Western, on the line between Gatwick, Guildford and Reading.
Sandhurst has representation through several tiers of government – town council, unitary authority, parliamentary (UK and European). Its Town Council is divided into four wards, Central Sandhurst, Little Sandhurst, College Town and Owlsmoor, all represented by twenty-four councillors. It is also part of the Bracknell Forest District. The ancient parish of Sandhurst also covered Crowthorne, until this became an ecclesiastical parish in its own right in 1874 and a civil parish in 1894. The current Mayor of Sandhurst is Councillor Dale Birch.
Saxon and Medieval periods
The name of the village is Anglo-Saxon and originates from the sandy soils and the hurst (a wooded eminence) of the area. In early 14th century records, Sandhurst appears as part of township of Sonning, a large minster parish spreading over much of eastern Berkshire, which later became a hundred when its villages obtained their own churches. These lands belonged to the Bishops of Salisbury. There were two manors in Sandhurst: ‘Hall’ in the grounds of what is now the Royal Military Academy and ‘Sandhurst’ on the site of Sandhurst Lodge. Nothing remains of the original buildings.
Tudor to Georgian periods
In the early modern era, Sandhurst parish was a small farming community on the very edge of Windsor Forest, Sandhurst Walke being an important forest division subject to forest laws. Locals had the right to cut turf, bracken, heather and wood that was primarily cultivated to feed the forest deer. These were hunted by Royal parties from a hunting lodge in the vicinity of Hart's Leap Road. A number of disputes are on record, showing how Sandhurst people sometimes took more resources than was allowed.
Farming has always remained a major part of village life here and some defunct farms are still remembered in the names of housing estates, roads and even a restaurant: Sandhurst Farm, Snaprails, Caves Farm, Ambarrow Farm, College Farm, Rectory Farm, Beech Farm and Rackstraws Farm. In the mid-16th century, William, Lord Sandys, the Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, owned a supposed manor called 'Buckhurst' in the area between College Town and Central Sandhurst.
Victorian and Modern periods
The railway arrived in 1849 and a number of large country residences were subsequently erected in the area: amongst them, Harts Leap, Forest End, St Helens Upland, The Warren, Longdown Lodge, Ryefield, Snaprails, and Ambarrow Court. Sandhurst Lodge was erected in about 1858 by Robert Gibson and leased to John Walter, of the Times Newspaper, and then Sir William Farrer, solicitor to Queen Victoria and The Duke of Wellington. Perry Hill and The Ceders came later. Only a few remain today. The others have been demolished and land developed.
Such large houses and institutions, including the Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane and Wellington College in nearby Crowthorne, led to a great expansion of the local population as people moved into the area looking for work. Further residential housing was erected for these workers, as well as more schools for their children, more places of worship and other community resources.
- St. Michael's Parish Church, Little Sandhurst, dates from the 13th century, but was largely rebuilt in 1853.
- The Baptist Church, Central Sandhurst, was built in 1884.
- The Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Central Sandhurst, followed in 1906.
- The Parish Church of St George's , Owlsmoor, was built as a wooden structure in 1960 and was rebuilt in 1993.
- The Roman Catholic Church, Church of the Immaculate Conception, Yorktown Road, was built in 1959.
St. Michael's Church of England School, Little Sandhurst, was opened in 1862 and other schools followed in quick succession:
- Old Scotland Hill, Little Sandhurst, in 1871,
- The Methodist, Central Sandhurst, in 1906,
- College Town in 1907,
- Uplands, Central Sandhurst, in 1962 and
- Owlsmoor Primary was added in 1974.
Until Sandhurst Comprehensive – now Sandhurst School – was built in 1969 in Owlsmoor, Secondary-age pupils were sent to Edgbarrow School in Crowthorne, Forest Grammar School for boys in Winnersh or Holt School for girls in Wokingham.
From the late 1950s to the 80s, large housing estates have been built creating the conglomerate town of today from the original four villages of College Town, (Central)Sandhurst, Little Sandhurst and Owlsmoor.
Recreation and sport
- The Tug of War Association National Outdoor Tug of War Championships were held in Sandhurst in the year 2000, and are taking place in the town again in June 2013 – see www.tugofwar.co.uk for further info
- The Sandhurst tug of war team have been three times World champions, as seen on sign posts entering the town.
- Sandhurst's football team, Sandhurst Town F.C., has its home ground at Bottom Meadow. It currently plays in the Combined County League  – Division premier.
- The boys and girls football club, STBGFC  offers football to all children aged 6 to 21 in the area and has over 650 registered players.
- Sandhurst Cricket Club field two teams in the Berkshire League with the 1st XI in the premier division. They also have a Sunday side and a Midweek XI, plus a growing junior section (U11s & U9s).
- Sandhurst Joggers  has more than 300 members ranging from novices to athletes competing in National Championships and organises runs on 6 days of the week. Founded in 1987.
- Sandhurst Recreation Park contains tennis and basketball courts, cricket and football pitches, playground (with large sand-play area) and a small skatepark. The Coffee Spot – a local public dining establishment – is in the vicinity. The park has a large water area (called a balancing pond) where a firework show is held once a year, usually on the closest Saturday to Guy Fawkes Night and the Sandhurst Donkey Derby – a community festival – is also an annual event.
- Sandhurst Sports Centre is in the Owlsmoor area. It is facilitated By Sandhurst School and has various facilities for sporting and recreational activities.
- Sandhurst has an active Historical Society.
- HRH Prince William of Wales (now Duke of Cambridge) resided at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst between January and December 2006.
- Marks & Spencer – Sandhurst, Bracknell Forest. Yelp.co.uk (15 May 2012). Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
- Meadows Shopping Centre. Meadowscentre.co.uk. Retrieved on 17 July 2013.
- Bracknell Forest Council. "Planning permission granted".
- Ford, David Nash (2001). "History of Sandhurst, Berkshire". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- PH Ditchfield (1923), The Victoria County History of Berkshire.
- Sandhurst Town Council Website: History Page
- Sandhurst Town Council Website: FAQ Page
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sandhurst, Berkshire.|