Totton and Eling
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|Totton and Eling|
Eling Tide Mill at night
Totton and Eling shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||New Forest East|
Totton and Eling is a town and civil parish in Hampshire, England, with a population of around 28,000 people. It is situated on the eastern edge of the New Forest and on the River Test, close to the city of Southampton but outside of the city boundary; the town is instead within the New Forest non-metropolitan district. Surrounding towns and villages include Ashurst, Marchwood, Cadnam and Ower.
Totton claimed to be the largest village in England until it was made a town in 1974. The town is often considered to be made up of several smaller villages, such as Testwood, Calmore and Hammonds Green (as well as the original village of Totton) which have been connected by new clusters of housing to form the town as it is today. This is backed up by the presence of several areas of local shops, which served their respective villages in the past, and to an extent still do today. Until the 1967 forest perambulation fencing, New Forest ponies were free to roam its streets. At their closest points, Totton and Ashurst are less than 0.4 km (400m) apart, if measured from the closest buildings.
Totton's town centre has changed little since the 1970s. Commercial Road and the A35 causeway are the main exit routes from the town.
The areas behind Calmore Industrial Estate by the River Test have been regenerated with lakes for boating, but their main use is for fishing and as a water supply resource. There is also the Testwood Lakes Centre, with walks along the Test Way running from Totton to Inkpen Beacon in Berkshire, via Romsey in Hampshire.
Eling can be accessed by crossing the railway line which divides the original old village of Totton and the areas of Eling, and Hounsdown. This goes to Brokenford which has some pathways from Totton to the A35 Bypass road at Eling recreation ground, by Bartley Water. The village's name is pronounced the same as that of the London town and borough of Ealing.
The Iron Age Hillfort at Tatchbury Mount is evidence of early settlement in the Totton area and Netley Marsh on the edge of Totton was the site of an early battle between Anglo Saxon invaders under Cerdic and Romano-Celtic peoples under Natanleod. The construction of Testwood Lakes revealed a treasure-trove of ancient artefacts including one of the oldest known bridges in England, believed to date to around c.1,500BC. The area's history is inevitably closely connected with ship and boat building but more with its timber trade. It was the site of much illegal dealing in the timber unlawfully obtained from the New Forest.
Eling's attractions include its tide mill that is at one end of the harbour and Eling's Norman parish church, St Mary's, built on Saxon foundations with registers dating back to 1537. Eling Tide Mill is one of the very few working tide mills in the UK but cannot be equated with the mill listed in the Domesday Book. In addition, Eling contains Hampshire's only surviving medieval toll bridge across Bartley Water by the side of the Tide Mill. This has been in use since at least 1418 and still charges users today. There is a Town Council-run heritage centre, with details of the history of Totton and Eling.
The original village of Totton can be described as the areas of Totton, Testwood and the Salmon Leap, dissected by the A36 and the A336 and bordered by the River Test. From this, many new developments were made to expand the town. The Calmore estate was built in the early 1970s to the north of the town, and subsequent housing has merged the estate to the town as a whole. Extended housing to the Hounsdown region also occurred during the 1970s, with the construction of the school and the increased housing found there. In the late 1980s and 1990s, more housing was built to the west of the town towards Netley Marsh and along Ringwood Road. These developments, collectively referred to as West Totton, consisted of a new communal area and church and hall as well as huge amounts of new homes.
New Developments on the former BAT sports ground and Little Testwood Farm by Linden Homes is set to take the population of the town to a new high of over 29,000 people. Despite this no new facilities are to be provided, and the current ones will, as a result, be put under larger pressure.
Since the end of World War II, the town has emphasised its connections and proximity to Southampton, due to the prosperity to be found there, but more recently – particularly since the building of West Totton transformed the area beyond all recognition – the Totton and Eling community has attempted to return to its roots as a smaller independent New Forest settlement.
Bus services in the town are run by three main companies. Bluestar, formerly Solent Blue Line, runs services to Southampton, Cadnam, Hythe, Dibden and around the town. Wilts & Dorset also operate cross county routes to Salisbury and First Hampshire & Dorset to Southampton via Southampton General Hospital.
The town also has numerous cycle routes, which started with the suburban cycleway through West Totton, constructed when the estate was built and running from Hounsdown to Calmore Road. This has further been extended to two on-road routes to the centre of Totton from Calmore schools down Water Lane, and down Salisbury Road. In addition, there are several links to the New Forest cycle network at Ashurst and Foxhills.
One of the most successful sporting enterprises of the area has been Totton and Eling Cricket Club. Under its former guise of B.A.T. Sports, it won the Southern Premier League, the highest level of club cricket in the Hampshire area, four times in six seasons between 2001 and 2006. In September 2007 Totton and Eling C.C. became North Gear National 2020 Champions beating Ockbrook & Borrowash in the live televised final on Sky Sports.
Totton also has two local football teams, A.F.C. Totton who play at Testwood Stadium and Totton & Eling F.C. who play at Little Testwood Farm. In 2007, AFC Totton made it to the final of the FA Vase and so had the chance to play in the second competitive match at Wembley Stadium. The club were previously based at a ground in the centre of the town, however moved in 2011 to a new stadium with stand and several training pitches near the outskirts of the town in Calmore. The ground reportedly cost £2.5 million.
Testwood Sports College is located in the north of the town and has undergone changes recently as part of its acquisition of Sports College status in 2004. This has resulted in a change of name and improvement of facilities including building a synthetic turf pitch and an extension to their sports hall. The Testwood school logo includes the river, the wood and salmon encompassed into it, indicating the nearby River Test and the Salmon leap. Testwood hires out its sporting facilities after hours, namely the synthetic turf pitch, which is used frequently by the community. Testwood's pupils mainly come from the central Totton and Calmore areas. Testwood normally ends at five minutes to three.
Hounsdown, a Specialist Science College, is located in the Hounsdown area of the town, south of the A35. It too has experienced expansion in recent years, including the construction of a new sports hall. The Hounsdown logo is of a stylised, curved triangle. Hounsdown also hires out its sporting facilities after school, namely the swimming pool, which is used frequently by the local community and groups. Hounsdown's catchment area covers Hounsdown village, Eling, West Totton and Ashurst.
Both schools share a strong rivalry between each other, which is often reflected from sporting events to clashes between pupils outside of school. The severity of this led Hounsdown to change the time their school finishes 15 minutes later to quarter past three.
The town has a number of churches in the area, the biggest and oldest being St. Mary the Virgin church in Eling. Other Anglican churches in the town include the church of St. Anne in Calmore, the church of St. Matthew in Netley Marsh and the church of St. Winfrid in Testwood. These churches form the Team parish of Totton and are part of the Diocese of Winchester. In addition to these, there is also Testwood Baptist Church and Trinity Church in West Totton (Methodist/URC).
St. Mary the Virgin Church
St Mary the Virgin is the oldest of the churches in the Totton area. Several years ago during the reordering of the church excavations, part of a Celtic cross dating back to the 9th (possibly the 6th) century was found. The site of St Mary's has been a place of Christian worship since that date.
Today the church stands on the hill looking out over the bay to the container port on the Southampton side of Millbrook. On this side, not far away is the expanse and beauty of the New Forest. St Mary's finds itself at a threshold between the industry of Southampton and the quiet of the forest. Within the tension of both lies the possibility of both old and new. The church itself reflects this with a modern interior that brings a light, open effect and the traditional stone, including a Saxon arch. St Mary the Virgin Church is a part of the Anglican team ministry that covers the town of Totton and Eling with 38,000 people within its area. Historically the mother church to the area, St Mary's is now one of four churches in the team ministry along with Calmore, Netley Marsh and Testwood. In 2003 two self-styled 'vampires' were imprisoned for harassment of the vicar of St Mary's and his family.
- "Netley Marsh". .hants.gov.uk. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- "Testwood Lakes | Wessex Archaeology". Wessexarch.co.uk. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- TNA ADM 106/904/199, 238 Mr. Winnington. Opinion on the knee of timber allegedly stolen from the New Forest 7 July 1738: ADM 106/904/244 Mr. Winnington, Lincoln's Inn. Account of the trial of Thomas Tucker for receiving the knee of timber from the New Forest. Found not guilty 17 July 1738
- ""Parishes: Eling', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 546-558.". Retrieved 3 April 2008.
- ""Totton and Eling Town Council Website". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- ""Election Maps". Retrieved 3 July 2006.
- "'Vampires' jailed for harassing vicar". BBC News. 14 November 2003. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
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