The countryside around Ampfield has changed little over the centuries. The countryside surrounding Ampfield and its adjacent parishes has been designated a Heritage Area, and the Heritage Area Group promotes schemes to protect and enhance it. The many public footpaths provide a pleasant way of exploring the parish.
Ampfield is served by a Parish Council that was amongst the first parish councils to be formed in 1894. After the initial uproar and after over 100 years later the Parish Council is a thriving, respected, and independent democratic organisation.
We hope that your visit to Ampfield via cyberspace will encourage you to come and see our village for yourself There is evidence of habitation in this parish from the early Stone Age (Palaeolithic) times, 7000-6000 years or more ago, through the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age. The Romans lived here, and there is much evidence of Saxon occupation, both in individual finds and in boundary banks dating from this period. And so into the period of recorded history.
From medieval times Ampfield was part of the much larger Manor of Merdon, developing as a number of scattered hamlets, with the centre of manor life in nearby Hursley. This pattern of settlement still affects the community today and the village has no nuclear centre based around an ancient church, village green and manor house.
The establishment of Ampfield as a separate entity came gradually as the population expanded. The White family built Ampfield House in the 1750s with its Estate carved out of the Hursley manorial holding. Then in early Victorian times the Vicar of Hursley, The Revd. John Keble, and Sir William Heathcote of Hursley Park worked together to build St Mark's Church, and Sir William went on to provide a village school. A separate civil parish was created in 1894. Since that time the population has increased greatly, especially at the eastern end adjoining Chandlers Ford and many people now commute from the village to work.
Nevertheless Ampfield still retains much of its rural character and a large tract of Ampfield Wood still remains, and the field boundaries are still relatively unchanged since they were recorded on the Hursley Estate map of 1588.
Great War 1914-18
Altogether, 71 members of our small community are recorded to have served during this 'Great War', 14 of whom did not return. In 1920 the Parish War Memorial was erected by public subscription. Extracts from Ampfield Parish Councils meetings of the time can be seen here.
Details of those who did not return can be seen here
The entries for the Ampfield war memorial in the Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register can be seen here
USAAF 9th Air Force Memorial
D-Day 6th June 1944 the largest invasion force ever assembled, embarked from Southern England to liberate Europe from five dark years of Nazi oppression.
The liberating Allied Forces, had been meticulously planning the opening of 'The second Front' in Europe - and in the period leading up to D-Day, Southern England had been transformed into one vast military camp.
From March 1944 Tactical Fighter and Light Bomber Units of the 9th Airforce, U.S.A.A.F. began arriving at forward airbases that were being established in Southern England. These units, along with R.A.F. 2nd Tactical Air Force, commenced daily operations against specific enemy strong points and centres of communication in Northern France.Targets comprised of road, rail and canal transport systems, munitions and fuel dumps, along with any suitable strategic targets that would delay the enemy's deployment of troops and supplies to the invasion beachheads.
On July 2nd 1944, five American Fighter Pilots of the 50th Fighter Group, based at Carentan, Normandy, France, boarded a Cessna Bobcat UC-78 light Transport aircraft for the U.S.A.A.F. base at Chilbolton Hampshire. This was not a combat mission - but to transport personnel between bases. Of the five pilots, two had been promoted to Captain, only the day before. Some were going on operational leave, and one had turned 24 years old on that day.
Sadly their aircraft never made its intended destination. The aircraft developed a failure of one of its engines. The inclement weather conditions on the day made flying conditions difficult and several Ampfield witnesses recall that the cloud base was very low with thunderstorms.
Shortly after 12.00 noon on Sunday 2nd July 1944 their Cessna Bobcat aircraft was seen to crash into woodland about 400 yards to the north east of St Mark's Church. Sadly, there were no survivors. Witnesses recall that the pilot and co-pilot of the aircraft crashed the aircraft into the woods to avoid hitting houses in the upper part of Knapp Lane. All five had gallantly and courageously given their lives to advert further death or injury to local residents.
This selfless and courageous act is now commemorated by a memorial erected in Chapel Wood, which has been dedicated to the perpetual memory of the five airmen:
Lt. Duran F. Quinn
Lt. Walter F. Hayes
Lt. Dale C Francis
Capt. Billy B. Bryan
Capt. Norman H Nelson
This article was researched and written by Martin Vear who, together with Dr. Wridley Fontenot (USA) and Chris M Penney, played the leading role in the erection and dedication of the monument and who made a substantial personal contribution to costs involved.
A commemorative service was held on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 in Chapel Wood. Please see a short article by Graham Roads about the Commemorative Service. In addition there is a pamphlet and there are two photographs from the service here.
The entry in the Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register can be seen here www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/63412
There is one pre-school in the Parish:
The Yellow Dot Nursery in Ampfield provides an educationally stimulating environment where children are valued as individuals and encouraged to develop their potential. Ofsted recently rated the nursery as "Outstanding" saying "Children benefit from excellent quality teaching, well-trained staff ignite children’s enthusiasm for learning, promote independence and celebrate diversity."
The Ampfield Market (Est. 2000)
The Market is always on the first Saturday of the month excluding January and August which are holiday months. It takes place in Ampfield Village Hall (SO51 9BJ), between 10am and 12 noon. Parking and admission are free.
The Market has become a very popular meeting place, offering the best value, most delicious refreshments in Hampshire! Every effort is made to keep the sales tables lively and interesting. There are top quality, locally sourced items for sale including sweet and savoury foods, fresh bread, eggs, plants, fruit and veg, crafts, books, pet accessories, cards, wrapping paper, jewellery and collectables. The Romsey Country Market is one of our major contributors. We now have a new bread supplier. The Oven Door is now providing the Market with a wonderful selection of their delicious wholesome bread and a few extra treats to tempt you ! We also order our fruit and veg from a local supplier and endeavour to sell a good variety of seasonal produce every month. If you would like to make a personal order for our bread or pies, please contact Julie at least a week before the next Market and your order will be ready to collect from the Hall on Market day.
The Market generates £1500 a year towards Village Hall funds. The Market team, Claire, Diane, Janet and Sue generously volunteer their time and baking skills to provide a delicious seasonal selection of cakes every month. Our new patio area is now complete and has been much appreciated during the fine weather. If you are a keen dog walker, your pets will be most welcome to come along too !
If you would like to rent a table or for more information please contact Julie on 02380 254587
IT Support Service in Ampfield Village Hall (SO51 9BJ)
The IT Support Service will continue in the Committee Room on Thursday afternoons between 2pm - 4pm, offering friendly and informal help or advice for your Phone, Tablet, Laptop or PC This Service is free but a donation to Village Hall Funds would be most welcome.
The Ampfield Art Class (Est 2001)
The Ampfield Art Class takes place on a Thursday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm in Ampfield Village Hall (SO51 9BJ). If you are an absolute beginner or if you would like to develop your skills further, then come along and join our enthusiastic, friendly and informal group. Help and guidance is given on an individual basis. Each session costs £5 and refreshments are included and new students are always welcome.
If you would like more information please contact Julie on 02380 254587.
Meeting every Tuesday from 7pm to 10pm in the Ampfield Village Hall. This is a very popular club playing friendly duplicate bridge. The club caters for a mixed standard of players. You will be made to feel very welcome.
If you require a partner please contact:
Janet Cox, Secretary
Tel: 01794 367255
In 1994 an opportunity to buy a parcel of woodland adjacent to St. Marks Church (approx. 1 acre) caught the attention of the Parish Council, under the Chairmanship of the late Miss Joan Cornwell. Part of the land (approx. 1 acres) could be used as a parish burial ground (the present one being nearly full) and the remainder could be used as an amenity for the whole parish.
In 1996 negotiations were started with the owners to buy the land and it was eventually purchased, part freehold, (1 acre), the remainder on a 999-year lease. An ad hoc committee was set up to deal with the initial planning of the woodland, which was later to be called Chapel wood.
Help and advice was sought from the then British Trust of Conservation Volunteers, now BTCV, to help with the management and assist with the many tasks required. It was decided to create a pond and dipping platform within the woodland, This could be used by the local school to help with their environmental studies.
Barclays Bank agreed to sponsor this project and local parishioners volunteered to help with the work. In September 1997, a woodland committee was established to carry out the day-to-day management and running of the woodland. Work continued with the help of BTCV in erecting fences, clearing paths, felling and pruning dangerous trees and planting new ones. On 11th September 1997 the newly created pond was visited by David Bellamy at the start of national pond launch week, and on the 16th September 1997 the pond and dipping platform were officially opened by Miss Joan Cornwell with many parishioners and children in attendance. Work continued into 1998. A Management plan was prepared by the community officer of BTCV and grant was obtained from "Rural Action" to fund this project. A tree survey was started and work continued with clearing overgrown areas, creating glades and planting shrubs.
Into the year 2000 the work continued. Working parties, "Friends of Chapel Wood" were organised to meet every second Saturday in the month between 9.30 - 11.30 AM. If you feel you would like to help us , please turn up at St. Marks church car park. There will always be someone there. No special skills are required, just a willingness to do a bit for YOUR community and chance to meet like minded people in maintaining and improving your woodland amenity. Please come and join us. The Friends of Chapel Wood meet regularly to discuss new ideas and work plans.
The Ampfield Heritage Area is an area of unspoilt countryside, which encompasses the whole of Ampfield and spreads into the parishes of Hursley, Otterbourne, North Baddesley and Romsey Extra.
It is made up of many small fields; copses and settlements that have evolved over hundreds of years and to this day remain relatively unchanged. The Hursley Map of 1588 shows field patterns and parkland such as Hursley and Cranbury that are still identifiable today and in 1851 John Keble wrote against "High Farming and the threat of felling the copse on Ladwell Hill and the beautiful woods of oak and beach in Ampfield.
The Ampfield Countryside Heritage Group was set up in January 1991; it meets on a regular base and is made up of landowners, parish councils, other organisations and individuals who have an interest in promoting and safeguarding the countryside.
The main aim of the organisation is to encourage greater understanding of the landscape and promote schemes of ecological and landscape enhancement by co-ordination and encouraging others to look after their environment.
It is very necessary to safeguard and conserve those features that are of wildlife or historical importance so that they can be passed on to the next generation.
The report of the Ampfield Countryside Heritage Area Steering Group, published in 1992, can be seen here.
The Heritage area has a fine network of countryside walks that allow the traveller to see many of the features that have been written about and has published a walks booklet known as "Keble's Way" it covers numerous circular walks ranging from 1 to 18 miles.
The Chandlers Ford Round Walk is shown here.
St. Mark's Church
St. Mark's is situated in the centre of the village, in an attractive wooded setting. Building commenced in 1838, and the building was consecrated in 1841. The church is in the neo-Gothic style, and has changed little since 1841, except for the addition of the Parish Room at the rear in 1991.
Details of services of Holy Communion, Family Communion, Family Services, and Evening Prayer can be found at baddesleychurch.org
Ampfield Parish Council purchased the Recreation Ground when it came on the market in 2002 in order to safeguard its use as a community facility. (Cricket had been played there for over 100 years and football was played until the early 1900s.).
Following a land-filling project, the useable area of the Ground was increased by about 40% which allowed for the installation of a full-size football pitch. A new cricket square was also built. A children’s playground was constructed in 2007 and a water supply to the Ground was provided in 2010.
A new pavilion was built in late 2017 and replaced portable buildings. It was used for the 2018 cricket season. Future projects include a car park and new playground.
The aim of the council is to encourage and maximise use of the facility. Improved facilities would help and the council continues to look for opportunities to achieve this.
Ampfield and North Baddesley Cricket Club (ANBCC.co.uk)
Ampfield Recreation Ground is home to the Ampfield and North Baddesley Cricket Club.
Ampfield Parish Council has 16 allotments for use by parishioners. If you would like to be added to the waiting list then email the Parish Clerk with details of your name and address. The rules of the Allotment Association and the form for taking up an allotment can be downloaded below.
The Ampfield Village Hall.
On September 1st 1950, the original WI Hall was opened by Mrs Faber, she said "This spacious red brick building has a permanent stage, dressing rooms, kitchen and cloak rooms. It is the only Hall in the village and will prove useful for many functions." Mrs Faber thanked her husband Captain S F Faber for the gift of the land and added "this is a wonderful occasion for us. It is an event we have longed for since the Institute was formed two years ago." Captain Faber replied, "this hall is going to make a tremendous difference to the life of the village. He was sure it would enable everyone to know each other better."
Gradually, over the years, the WI found that managing the upkeep of the Hall was becoming more difficult and in 1994 a group of enthusiastic volunteers started to organise working parties to help with the work. On July 15th 1996 the WI leased the Hall to a Management Committee and three holding Trustees for a nominal sum of £1 per year, reserving the right to use the Hall for 52 days of the year and exclusive use of one wardrobe ! Major alterations began in February 1997 when the toilets were refurbished and all the doors were replaced. In the Autumn of 1997 all the windows were replaced. All the improvements were made possible by enthusiastic fund raising, hall hire charges and occasional grants. In December 2nd 1997, the first Pantomime was held in the Hall, it was the Pied Piper of Hamelin and began our long association with Forest Forge. Work began on an extension to provide a large storage area and a committee room at the rear of the Hall in June 1998. The small kitchen was refurbished in July 1999. The Village Market was opened for the first time on September 1st 2000. In July 2003 the Hall was given a completely new roof and the kitchen was updated for a second time. An evening of Celtic music and dancing with Matt Tarling and his band on September 20th 2003 marked the opening of the newly refurbished and painted hall, much of the hard work had been carried out by volunteers during the summer holiday.
In the summer of 2015 the Hall underwent it's most extensive transformation. A large new well equipped kitchen and annexe were added along with a super new patio. A committee room and new toilet facilities completed the project. The car park provided much needed parking for the Hall users. In January 2016, Ampfield Parish Council completed the purchase of the freehold of the Village Hall from the Hampshire WI. The Hall is managed for the Parish Council by a group of Trustees, some are representatives of the user groups and others have been appointed from the local community. The Hall is a charity and is managed by the Trustees in the best interests of the charity. Most of the income for the upkeep of the Hall comes from the monthly Market, weekly Café, regular fund raising events, hall hire and occasional grants. All the Trustees are enthusiastic volunteers committed to keeping our Hall in good order and providing a top quality venue for all our many community groups and events.
Regular Hall activities include Pilates, Yoga. Bridge, Art and Crafts, Toddlers activities, Brownies and Romsey Modellers
The Hall is a popular venue for parties and meetings. For more information about bookings and Hall availability please contact Martin Hatley (Village Hall Manager) on 02380 254040.