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.
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 it's intended destination. The aircraft developed a failure of one of it's 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.
Visit the Memorial in Chapel Wood
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 is now in its seventeenth year, It takes place on the first Saturday of the month in the Village Hall (SO51 9BJ), between 10am and 12noon, excluding January, February, July and August. The Market has built up a great reputation and every effort is made to sell top quality, good value items. Parking and admission are free.
The Market months seem to have flown by this year and the event is always well supported and popular. The fresh coffee is a great success, especially teamed up with a slice of one of our delicious seasonal cakes, visitors love to sit in our sunny new Annexe. The Market has become a very popular meeting place and it definitely offers the best value refreshments in Hampshire! Every effort is made to keep the sales tables lively and interesting. Emmie will return to the October market with her unusual selection of dog accessories. Harriet joined the Market in June and sells the most delicious selection of gluten free cakes. She will also make bespoke celebration cakes for special occasions. The Romsey Country Market is one of our major contributors. Market Fresh supplies us with seasonal fruit and vegetables and there is a great demand for their produce which is available at other times of the month as part of the box delivery scheme delivered direct to your door. We always have an inspiring range of foods, crafts, antiques. books, cards, flowers and plants. Many of the stall holders are very happy to take, make and deliver personal orders.
To date, the Market has raised over £19,800 for Hall funds. The Market team, Claire, Diane, Sue and Beryl generously volunteer their time and baking skills to provide a wonderful selection of cakes.
If you would like to rent a table or for more information contact, Julie on 02380 254587 (evenings please)
The Catch Up Café and IT Support Service
The Catch Up Café opened in September 2015 and is very popular. It takes place in the Village Hall annexe every Thursday morning between 9.30am and 11.30am. Come and sample our fresh seasonal cakes and coffee and catch up with friends every week. A warm welcome awaits you ! Our Café is run entirely by volunteers and all proceeds go to Hall funds.
Do you know of a neighbour or friend who would welcome a lift to the Market or Café? Would you be able to offer someone transport occasionally ?
The IT Support Service runs alongside the Café on Thursday mornings. If you would like some help or advice with your Tablet, Laptop or PC then come along to the Committee Room on a Thursday morning. This Service is free but a donation to Village Hall Funds would be most welcome.
For more information contact Julie on 02380 254587 ( evenings please)
The Ampfield Art Class was started in 2002. It 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. Each session costs £5 and refreshments are included. th eSummer term will end on July 20th 2017, new students are always very welcome to join us.
If you would like more information please contact Julie Trotter 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:
Chris Balchin, Chairman
Tel: 01794 368427
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.
Changing and refreshment facilities for users of the ground are inadequate: consisting of an old, and run down, cricket pavilion and, two well used, portaKabins. A new pavilion was designed and planning permission approved in 2005. Unfortunately, changes to the Landfill Tax procedures meant that after installing the concrete base no further funding was available from this source.
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 Cricket Club
Ampfield Cricket Club plays at Ampfield Recreation Ground next to the White Horse pub.
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.