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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 is located in Surrey
 Thursley shown within Surrey
Area  19.85 km2 (7.66 sq mi)
Population 651 (Civil Parish)[1]
   – density  33/km2 (85/sq mi)
OS grid reference
Civil parish Thursley
District Waverley
Shire county Surrey
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Godalming
Postcode district GU8
Dialling code 01252
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament South West Surrey
List of places

Thursley is a village and civil parish in southwest Surrey, west of the A3 between Milford and Hindhead. An associated hamlet is Bowlhead Green. To the east is Brook. 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.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Wildlife 3
  • Notable residents 4
  • Demography and housing 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


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.

Thursley's church dates back to Saxon times, though most of the structure is later.

The small parish church, dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, 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.

There have been several military camps in the parish.[2] 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.


Thursley Common is a national nature reserve and SSSI. It is one of the last surviving areas of lowland peat bog in southern Britain, and at 350 hectares, one of the largest remaining fragments of heathland. It provides 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 burnt.[3]

Notable residents

Small Green has examples of timber-framing from the Stuart period as well as the village sign

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.

Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher OM, FRS,[4[4] ] PC (21 March 1865 – 18 April 1940) was an English historian, educator, and Liberal politician. He served as President of the Board of Education in David Lloyd George's 1916 to 1922 coalition government.

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Output area Detached Semi-detached Terraced Flats and apartments Caravans/temporary/mobile homes shared between households[1]
(Civil Parish) 165 49 13 15 35 0

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output area Population Households % Owned outright % Owned with a loan hectares[1]
(Civil Parish) 651 277 53.4% 25.6% 1,985

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).


  1. ^ a b c Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 21 November 2013
  2. ^ Tweedsmuir Military Camp
  3. ^ English Nature - Thursley Common Fire
  4. ^ Murray, G (December 1941). "Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher. 1865-1940". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 10 3: 518-529.  

External links

  • 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
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