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Larger houses in Thursley are where the Greensand Ridge commences
Rich and fertile soil supports arable farming, or grass-supported dairy farming as shown
Thursley shown within Surrey
|Area||19.85 km2 (7.66 sq mi)|
|Population||651 (Civil Parish)|
|- Density||33 /km2 (85 /sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||South West Surrey|
Thursley is a rural and semi-rural village and civil parish in Surrey centred west of the A3 running through its eastern fields between Milford and Hindhead. Its associated hamlet/locality is Bowlhead Green. To the east is Brook. Thursley is in south-west Surrey. In the south of the parish rises the Greensand Ridge in this section reaching its escarpment near Punch Bowl Farm and the Devil's Punch Bowl, Hindhead.
The village's name came from Old English Þunres lēah meaning lea of the god Thunor or Thor (in his northern guise), just as Thundersley, Essex; it was probably a site where he was worshipped. There is a rocky outcrop near the village referred to in Victorian guides to the area as Thor's Stone. This stone, according to the Surrey Archaeological Collection (volume 88), is first mentioned in Saxon times as being "near Peper Harow", an adjacent parish with known pagan connections. The precise stone or rocks this refers to is now uncertain with some sources indicating it could be the rocky outcrop and others suggesting it may be an ancient Celtic boundary stone found on the margin of Pudmore pond on Ockley Common.
The small parish church, dedicated to St Michael, has a finely carved Anglo-Saxon font and two surviving Anglo-Saxon windows in the chancel, which exceptionally retain their original wooden frames. Its small wooden shingled belfry is strangely underpinned by an unnecessarily large and sturdy late medieval framework of heavy timber. The remains of a gnarled ancient tree are nearby. In the churchyard there is the gravestone of the Unknown Sailor.
Thursley is also notable for its common, a National Nature Reserve and SSSI which is one of the few surviving areas of lowland peat bog in southern Britain providing a particularly rich habitat for dragonflies and damselflies along with many other species including the endangered woodlark and Dartford warbler. In July 2006 during a heat wave that affected southern England, 60% of the common was seriously damaged by fire.
There have been several military camps in the parish. Between 1922 and 1957 there existed Thursley Camp (from 1941 renamed Tweedsmuir Camp) to the north west of the village which housed British, Canadian and American forces at various times. On the 7th November 1942 it was bombed by the German air force. After world war two it was used to house displaced Poles. To the west was Houndown Camp which was used by the British Royal Marines.
The north of the parish is mostly Thursley Nature Reserve, a sandy and seasonally marshy Site of Special Scientific Interest, the lowest part of a larger area of uncultivated open land made up of the remainder of Thursley Common and of Witley Common. Across the A3 is the main hillside neighbourhood of Thursley, Bowlhead Green, which has an underpass path crossing directly between the two on the Greensand Way. The two are also connected via one of the largest junctions of the A3 road in the north of the parish, in terms of its multiple slip roads, which facilitate access for the Ministry of Transport to the restricted land to the far north, Hankley Common.
Sir Edwin Lutyens, architect, grew up in the village where some of his earliest work is to be found. While making use of modern concrete for large spaces, exemplified by his bridges, his churches and homes incorporated methods of traditional timber framing, long tile or slate roofs, distinctive eaves or in appropriately grand settings Bargate or Bath stone. The inspiration was walking in the surrounding area that he developed his love and appreciation of vernacular (authentic Arts and Crafts) buildings, in particular their woodwork, fenestration, tiling and materials.
The children's novelist Monica Edwards wrote the Punch Bowl Farm series at the eponymous farm from 1947 to 1970. Thereafter she and her husband lived in a retirement bungalow built in one of its fields.
Demography and housing
|Output area||Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes||shared between households|
The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.
|Output area||Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
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).
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
- English Nature - Thursley Common Fire
- Tweedsmuir Military Camp
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thursley.|
- Thursley Parish 2008: Village Design Statement
- Wey River: Thursley National Nature Reserve
- St. Michael & All Angels, Thursley: Parish Profile 22 March 2010
- Stained Glass Windows at St. Michael & All Angels, Thursley, Surrey