The Old School House building at The Green in Churchdown
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The village is unusual in having two centres. The older (Brookfield or "village") centre is in Church Road near St Andrew's Church; the more modern centre is in St John's Avenue near St John's Church. Churchdown is a relatively large village, with a population of 11,261 (2001), reducing to 10,990 at the 2011 census. The village has a size of approximately 16.5 km2 (exactly 4,076 acres). Accordingly, the population density is 666 persons/km2.
Churchdown is located in a semi-rural environment; so close to Gloucester and Cheltenham, but surrounded on three sides by open countryside. Churchdown borders Imjin Barracks and the district of Innsworth to the North West.
A local landmark is Churchdown Hill (also known locally as Chosen Hill), which rises to 155 metres (510 ft) above sea level and has views across the Severn Vale and to the Cotswolds, Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Malvern Hills, and into Worcestershire.
The hill is home to the historic sites of Mussell Well, the "Roman" Steps, St Bartholomew's Church, also an analogue and now a DAB radio transmitter broadcasting BBC Radio Gloucestershire and two reservoirs operated by Severn Trent Water.
Churchdown Hill is supported by a local group called The Friends of Churchdown Hill. The Friends were active in the establishment of the Woodland Trust's Churchdown Hill Nature Reserves and have published a walking guide and map to the hill.
Churchdown is within the parliamentary constituency of Tewkesbury. At a local government level, Churchdown is represented as two wards - Churchdown Brookfield (the southern half of Churchdown also known locally as Churchdown Village) and Churchdown St John's (the northern half near St John's church). The boundary between the two wards is the A40 Golden Valley Bypass road. For European Parliament purposes, it lies within the South West Region.
Transport and travel
Churchdown has long benefited from a convenient location along routes between larger settlements. The Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad brought prosperity to the northern (St John's) end of the village. This was succeeded by a road between Cheltenham and Gloucester along a similar route (called Cheltenham Road East as it traverses Churchdown), which was once part of the main trunk road from London to Fishguard. This road now provides access to Cheltenham and Gloucester, and also to the M5 via the Golden Valley Bypass section of the A40. There are some Segregated Bicycle Paths but there are sections which do not connect with each other and have poor design.
From 1874 until 1964 Churchdown was served by a Churchdown railway station on the main line between Birmingham and Bristol. There are some remains of the station itself next to what is now Station Close, but only through rail traffic continues today on the Cross Country Route for example.
Churchdown is adjacent to Gloucestershire Airport, still known locally as Staverton. Light aircraft are a regular feature in the skies above the village, and occasionally military aircraft past and present. For the last ten years, the airport is regularly used as a helicopter training base for police and military purposes.
Local bus services are operated by Stagecoach West. Three services pass through Churchdown: The 94 between Cheltenham and Gloucester passes through on Cheltenham Road east, every 10 minutes. There are also the 97/98 routes, which also run between Cheltenham and Gloucester, but take a different, longer route between the two towns. In the village, the 97 runs via Parton Road and the 98 via Pirton Lane.
Residents enjoy the Churchdown Magazine, which is produced bimonthly and is delivered free of charge to 5,100 households. It includes articles of local interest, advertisements and details of local events, and has been in print since 1974.
- See also List of schools in Gloucestershire
Churchdown has six schools, including two secondary schools - Churchdown School Academy and Chosen Hill School. There are also several primary schools ; Churchdown Parton Manor Infant and Junior Schools, St. Mary's Catholic School and Churchdown Village Infant and Junior Schools.
Sport and leisure
Churchdown has an eighteen-hole golf course and driving range on its outskirts at Brickhampton, and an inline and skateboard facility at Churchdown Park. Churchdown also boasts numerous football pitches and rugby pitches, as well as sports halls at both Churchdown and Chosen Hill schools.
Youth football is active through the Churchdown Panthers, who play mostly in the Cheltenham FA league.
The Chosen Hill Former Pupils rugby club first team plays in the South West League and has an active youth section.
Prior to the First World War, a golf course operated between the railway line and Churchdown Hill, with a club house adjacent on Pirton Lane. The area is now open farmland. Also a bowling green which is part of the Churchdown Club.
- See also List of churches in Gloucestershire
Churchdown has three Church of England Churches: St John's, St Andrew's and St Bartholomew's. There is also the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on Cheltenham Road East, and Churchdown Methodist Church on Chapel Hay Lane. St Bartholomew's is on the top of Churchdown Hill, built upon the site of a pre-Christian, Iron Age settlement.
Churchdown has several interesting old structures including the Old School House on The Green, where the first village school was held, Ye Old House on Sandfield Road (thought to have been built in the 16th century), Dunstan Cottage in Chapel Hay Lane and The Cottage on Oldbury Orchard.
The village has two main rows of shops and two pubs - the Hare and Hounds near St John's, and the Old Elm near St Andrew's. There is also a Social Club (Churchdown Club) located in Church Road where games of bowls skittles and tennis take place, and Churchdown Community Centre on Parton Road which houses Churchdown Social Club, and in which various functions are held and skittles on two alleys.
Composer Herbert Howells dedicated his Piano Quartet "to the hill at Chosen and Ivor Gurney who knows it", referring to Churchdown Hill. The hill was also the direct inspiration for his 'Chosen Tune', dedicated to his fiancee who lived at Churchdown.
- "Churchdown Gloucester - Official Guide" 1 363642002X5 hardback, also paperback, 1975, "by order of the Parish Council", Forward Publicity Ltd, no author marked, copy held at Churchdown library
- "The Story of Churchdown", Gwen Waters, ISBN 0-904586-04-9, Gloucester Reprints, 1999
- Though even this area is over 100 years old, see for example 1885 1:2500 map of the area.
- "UK Census 2001 Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts" datasets for Churchdown CP (Parish) - UK Office for National Statistics, also Largest village in England for comparison.
- "Parish population 2011". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 26 October 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Ordnance Survey Landranger and Explorer maps, Open Street Map as well as many others name it Churchdown Hill, while colloquial local usage tends to prefer Chosen Hill. Historical studies (see The Story of Churchdown) note a common etymology from a lost medieval or earlier root
- see The Story of Churchdown and Churchdown Gloucester - an official guide which discuss Mussell Well and the Roman Steps
- Churchdown Hill (Gloucestershire) Archived 19 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine radio transmitter status and details
- "Churchdown Hill - Management Plan 2010 - 2015" (PDF). The Woodland Trust. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- Friends of Churchdown Hill. "Walks on Churchdown Hill" (PDF). Churchdown Parish Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Visit Woods: Churchdown Hill, Gloucestershire". The Woodland Trust. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "Chosen Hill". Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
- "Churchdown Brookfield". Ordnance Survey. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "Churchdown St. John's". Ordnance Survey. Archived from the original on 7 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- The Gloucester & Cheltenham Railway and the Leckhampton Quarry Tramroads. Locomotion Papers Number Forty-Three. D. E. Bick, Oakwood Press, 1968.
- "The Churchdown Magazine", Issue 127 JAN/FEB 06
- Gloucestershire County Council - Community information for Churchdown including list of schools
- Geograph Archived 20 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine - picture and description of skate facility
- Chose Hill Former Pupils RFC Archived 31 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine - Rugby Club Web site
- Friends of Churchdown Hill - Map Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine See "Historical Notes" section.
- "Living in Churchdown". The Property Centre. Archived from the original on 20 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- Churchdown Community Association web site Archived 25 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine detailing the Community Centre building and Social Club
- Herbert Howells: Piano Quartet in A minor, op.21 (Stainer and Bell, 1918). The dedication is on the first page of the score.
- Andrews, Paul (1997). Herbert Howells Piano Music, Volume 1. London: Thames Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84609-722-5.