Ash Vale

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Ash Vale
Blackwater Valley Aqueduct - - 1153821.jpg
The Basingstoke Canal Aqueduct/Viaduct over the Blackwater has an adjoining footpath lined with mature gorse and heather, endemic to the south and east of the area.
Ash Wharf - - 55868.jpg
Local shops at a busy crossroads, near Ash Wharf on the canal. The village is part of the technology-focussed Blackwater Valley Conurbation.
Ash Vale shown within Surrey
Ash Vale shown within Surrey
Ash Vale
Location within Surrey
Area3.62 km2 (1.40 sq mi)
Population5,686 (2011 census)[1]
• Density1,571/km2 (4,070/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSU891524
Civil parish
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townAldershot
Postcode districtGU12
Dialling code01252
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°16′N 0°43′W / 51.27°N 0.72°W / 51.27; -0.72Coordinates: 51°16′N 0°43′W / 51.27°N 0.72°W / 51.27; -0.72

Ash Vale is a village in the borough of Guildford in Surrey, England and the larger, northern settlement of the civil parish of Ash. It is 7 miles (11 km) from Guildford but is closer to the Hampshire towns of Aldershot and Farnborough, the centres of which are each about two miles (4 km) away, immediately across the two crossings of the River Blackwater, to the southwest and northwest.


To the east, associated Ricochet Hill in The Ash Military Ranges consists of sand and peat soils mostly covered with heather, fern and gorse, occasionally opened by public announcements from the Ministry of Defence. The rolling plateau of 80-118m above sea level has spots with views west and east – here Guildford is visible, six miles away.

Ash Vale's extent is on two sides clearly demarcated, by the river to the west and at a few locks' higher elevation by the parallel Basingstoke Canal to the east – across these boundaries are, respectively, Aldershot Garrison (Military Town) and the large Surrey Heath MoD, mostly UK Army, ranges and training areas. The latter is a co-managed County Wildlife Site, for instance Ash Ranges at 2,439 acres (987 ha) and Pirbright Ranges at 2,765 acres (1,119 ha), with various access days and parts (see the Wildlife's Trust website).[2] The type of soil of the east, the heath is very acidic, sandy and loamy which makes up just 1.9% of English soil and 0.2% of Welsh soil, which gives rise to pines and coniferous landscapes, such as pioneered at Wentworth and Foxhills estate and is good for biodiversity.[3]

Two branch railway lines cross in the middle of the village without forming a junction. In the north of the village are Ash Vale railway station and North Camp railway station, on the London-Aldershot-Alton Line and the Reading-Guildford-Gatwick Line respectively. In addition, trains run through Ash Vale from Guildford to Ascot via Aldershot. The village owes its development to the Garrison and to the railways; see the description of the often heath soil under the Ash article, explaining how to the south lies a limited area of fertile farming country.

A Tesco Express store in Lysons Avenue, opposite the railway station, opened on 12 October 2012.


Air pollution is very low, with no Air Quality Management Areas in this borough or that immediately adjoining, Rushmoor.[4] Drainage is good, the whole draining westward by the gentle valley of the upper Blackwater.[5] In eastern parts distant ordnance fire can be heard from Ash ranges and occasional light aircraft on various tracks over the village take off from Farnborough Airport approximately three miles west.


See History of Ash, Surrey.

Economy and amenities[edit]

Although Ash Vale was a small semi-military community of the post-war era, the village is now largely a commuter settlement, relying on the half-hourly 40-minute railway connection to Waterloo (there are also local services). While 417 employed residents worked at/from home in 2001, the remaining 1306 commuted, of whom 682 responded they commuted less than 5 kilometres (3.1 mi).[citation needed]

Holly Lodge (Primary) School is next to Carrington Park, which has playground facilities and a route between nearby North Camp Station and Mytchett lake and Basingstoke Canal Visitor Centre on the Basingstoke Canal. The canal's towpath runs through the village. Within the park are recycling facilities.

Parks and Nature reserves in Ash Vale[edit]

  • Carrington Recreation Ground, off Lysons Avenue
  • Snaky Lane Local Nature Reserve, off Stratford Road
  • Avondale Park, Avondale
  • Lakeside Park, Lakeside Road
  • Park off Hawker Road
  • Park off Beaufort Road

South of the village are:

  • Lakeside Park nature reserve
  • Willow Park Fishery
  • Ash Parish Allotments

Youth outreach[edit]

The Normandy Youth Centre serves the area by sponsoring community-based programs targeting youth in the area (especially marginal groups and minorities) for the purpose of increasing exposure to educational opportunities and building a stronger community.[6]

Famous residents[edit]

'Valecroft', the former home of aviator Samuel Franklin Cody in Ash Vale

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ The house, "Valecroft", where he spent the last few years of his life, still stands and a blue plaque on its wall commemorates Cody.[7]
  1. ^ Key Statistics: Population; Quick Statistics: Economic indicators. (2011 census and 2001 census) Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Surrey Wildlife Trust: Ash Ranges". Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  3. ^ Cranfield University National Soil Resources Institute
  4. ^ Defra – Air Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  5. ^ "Parishes: Ash ", in A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3'', ed. H E Malden (London, 1911), pp. 340–344 available online at British History – The University of Portsmouth and Others Accessed 14 March 2015.
  6. ^ Award for Mother Who Transformed Her Village Archived 24 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine; 18 October 2010 article; at Get Surrey News; retrieved 30 January 2013.
  7. ^ Ash Parish Council. "Ash Parish Maps- Local Interest". Ash, Surrey: Ash Parish Council. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2012. (click on the red dot to see a photographe)

Further reading[edit]

  • Jenkinson, Sally (1990). Ash and Ash Vale – A Pictorial History. Chichester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-773-9.

External links[edit]