The Merry Harriers, Hambledon’s 16th Century village pub, reopened just over a month ago as lock-down restrictions eased. This involved a great deal of hard work and planning to ensure it could keep locals, visiting guests and staff safe. In this week’s Reflection, general manager Jake Andreou looks back on how things have gone.

One month on from re- opening, and I thought it might be time to write a little reflection on how the pub has handled the changing circumstances post-lock-down.

Our customers will have noticed the many differences in how we serve at the Harriers, but the changes go far deeper than what you see.

The most notable thing for me is how much our busy hours have changed. It used to be a certain bet that Sunday would be the busiest day of the week, but now it is almost impossible to predict just how busy we’ll be on a day-to-day basis.

For example, some Tuesdays have been busier than a peak summertime Sunday would have been last year! As a result, it is difficult to manage the rota to ensure we have enough staff on duty from our small (but dedicated) team.

I would like to say “thank you” to everyone who has visited us in the last month for how understanding you have been with my staff. It really does make a difference and it keeps their heads held high on otherwise challenging shifts.

It has also been great to see how many of you have come down and supported us in an ever-changing world. When I arrived last autumn, I seldom saw the front ‘beach’ as busy as it is now, with tables full of people laughing and enjoying each other’s company…at a safe distance of course.

In terms of an advert for the business I’m proud to be running, I could not ask for more.

We are very fortunate to have the outdoor space and seating that we do, and I’m hopeful that the weather remains favourable for as much of summer as possible!

How things will change when winter arrives – bringing colder and wetter weather – will be next in a long line of challenges since the Covid pandemic arrived. But that is something we must plan for when the time draws nearer. At the moment I have enough to concern me, trying to keep enough barrels of Shere Drop in our cellar and bottles of rose wine in our fridges!

For me, lock-down was difficult at times with only the ever-patient Nick Ash, the sous chef, to keep me company for long stretches.  Together with Jake the dog, of course.

So, I just wanted to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have checked in on me and the pub, not just as customers but as friends, and I look forward to seeing you in the days and weeks to come.


The benefits of cycling have been highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Government urging more people to use bikes to replace car, bus and train journeys. There are health and environmental advantages as well.

But for some in our village, getting together for a enjoyable evening ride is a long-established practice. This week’s Sunday Reflection is provided by George and Caroline Pitt, of the Hambledon Peddlers.

Our twenty eighth season started on 16 April 2020, just as Lockdown was being tightened. As pubs were closed three couples brought their own refreshment in saddle bags and we enjoyed a circular ride past the station, Coombe Lane, to Chiddingfold and the shut Crown and up Vann Lane .

We enjoyed seeing the Snakeshead fritillaries outside Vann and went on to see lambs and yellow primroses along the edges of Upper Vann Lane where we rested on the side of the lane with the evening sun shining from the west.

After a glass or two and plenty of chat there was a choice of return route. The more intrepid braved steep Upper Vann Lane and across the bridleway to Hambledon Church and back down to Hambledon Village Hall. The less athletic descended Upper Vann Lane gladly and cycled back to the Cricket Green and the Village Hall.

With Lockdown tightening further, no more group evenings were held until July 23′d when three of us cycled to Chiddingfold and finding the Crown closed we had a drink in the back garden of The Swan.

In the three months from mid April to mid July in order to keep active Caroline and I went out on our own on a number of Thursday evenings and used previous Hambledon Pedller routes to enjoy the marvellous spring weather. These included Godalming, Hurtmore and Eashing, Hambledon Common and Witley, and Dunsfold and Chiddingfold. Bluebells were enjoyed at Winkworth Arboretum and in Hambledon Hurst, and wild garlic on bridleways to Dunsfold and Mill Lane, Chiddlingfold.

On most of these rides we asked friends near to the route if we could see them outside on a socially distanced basis for a drink.

We are hoping that we can renew Peddler rides and keep riding out on Thursday evenings over the summer. We meet at the Village Hall at 6pm. Do come and join us and give us a try.

Any questions please call us on 01428 682940. Or you may want to be included on the HP group email at

Last few days to view Hambledon Art Fair

For those who haven’t yet visited Hambledon’s online Art Fair, or who want to return to make a last-minute purchase, you still have a few days left!

It closes this Friday, July 31st at 10pm.

We would like to thank everyone who has visited the site, John C for putting the website together but mainly, of course, the wonderful artists who have made the fair such a success with their beautiful work. We are so lucky to have such a wealth of talent in our local area.

To visit the fair, please go to


Life is slowly getting back to something like “normal”. But we know that many things will have changed forever. There is, therefore, some comfort in reflecting on the past. In this week’s Reflection, Jane Woolley reminds us that our little village has a rich heritage. On this website, and within the Heritage archive that Jane keeps at her home, much can be discovered.

Ever wondered what your house used to look like?   The chances are that it was one of Hambledon’s many small cottages, probably with no modern utilities, before it was “developed” to create a fair-sized family home complete with wi-fi and superfast broadband.    Ever imagined what the noise must have been like when the empty expanse of what is now “Nutbourne Park” was a thriving brickworks?  Ever been curious to know whether The Hydons and Hambledon Park always looked the way they do to-day?

Well, thanks to the Hambledon Heritage archive, it’s easy to find the answers to these and many more questions about the village, its activities, its inhabitants and its institutions.   By charting the development of the village over the best part of 200 years, the archive also demonstrates how much the Hambledon of to-day owes to the Hambledon of the past:  there’s nothing new about Hambledon’s community spirit.

The material in the archive has accumulated gradually over the last 60 or so years.  It’s a real social  history, in words and pictures, of families from all walks of life, their homes, their workplaces, their farms;  of the village hubs – the shop, the Post Office (they weren’t always the same thing and the village had more than one shop in the past), the Village Hall, the church and the pub;  the changing landscape; the sporting and social clubs, past and present;  and the institutions (including the Hydestile Hospital and the Hambledon Institute, the predecessors of The Hydons and Hambledon Park respectively – and the Institute was originally the workhouse). 

Disasters (from bombing raids to storms) are recorded;  so are successes such as winning best-kept village competitions and saving the village shop and the school (now the Nursery School).  Village fetes and celebrations of national events ranging from VE Day to jubilees are chronicled in detail.   There are scrapbooks, booklets written by villagers, photographic albums, press cuttings and numerous individual contributions.  On the whole they paint a picture of an ideal village – but don’t be fooled:  less than 10 years ago the Surrey Advertiser reported that “A village regarded by police as one of the safest places to live in Surrey has proved to be the ideal base for two cannabis factories” – which led to the arrest of six people under the Misuse of Drugs Act.   Never let it be said that the archive is a dull read. 

When my mother bought Cobblers, little did she (or I) realise that the two outbuildings that go with it were almost more spacious than the cottage itself.

  This means that I have been able to provide a home for the archive in the sun room.  Anyone is welcome to visit and browse.  You can find a list of all the documents with, in some cases, a list of their contents, on the village web site:  just click on history/historical village documents/the Hambledon heritage albums.  And do please consider whether you can add to this invaluable village resource:  although everything that happens now is media-recorded, that used not to be the case.  Our history is still dependent on paper documents and photographs. 

Hambledon Coal Yard – Now…and Then

Small businesses operating out of Hambledon’s former coal yard have grouped together to showcase what they have to offer on a new website which also promotes wider village attractions.

Under the banner of Coal Yard Creatives, the website was set up by Ian and Alpa Cox, after relocating their micro gin distillery to one of the new units.

Currently the yard hosts a range of small enterprises including tile maker, a joinery, party shop, bespoke bakery, catering service, florist and upholsterer, and a martial arts studio, with potentially more to come.

The new website also provides links to a range of activities, houses and gardens open to the public, nearby walks, the village shop and pub. It also links to Hambledon Village website.

Ian and Alpa hope that Coal Yard Creatives will be a shop window to visitors on all that Hambledon has to offer, who may wish to stay on to enjoy a day out in the Surrey Hills.

It can be found at

It is the latest chapter in the history of the yard which once supplied the village with its coal and other heating supplies, before closing in the 1990s.

The village website takes a look back at how things used to be. Please read on.

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Hambledon Village Shop – Update Sunday 19 July 2020

The Shop operating hours are about to become a bit simpler.

From Monday 20 July the Shop will be open 08:30 to 14:00 7 days a week, deli service will be available 08:30-13:30.

The Post Office will continue to be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 09:30 to 12:30.

Deliveries will be now be available Monday through Friday with orders placed by 10am delivered the same day. We love having your business and we encourage you to place orders – don’t think you’re creating unwanted work for us!

These changes provide a bit more consistency and also should allow us to create a safer environment in the shop which allows us to get additional volunteers and professional staff back working in the shop. 

In August the Shop will be participating in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Under this scheme we will offer a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to all customers who eat and/or drink at our picnic tables throughout August on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. And that’s why we have bunting….

Contrary to popular rumour, the bunting has not been put up to celebrate a birthday this Thursday, it’s really there to allow us to clearly explain to customers how to eat on our premises, given that in August we do not plan to have seating in the shop or on the terrace. Anyone ordering food or drink for consumption on the shop benches inside the bunting will qualify for the Eat Out to Help Out discount.


At the outset of lock-down, many village organisations were required to close. Others, and especially the community-run village shop and post office, had to find a new and safe way of working in order to provide customers, many of them elderly, at risk and self-isolating, with vital deliveries. One consequence of this was “The Paper Girls”. In this week’s Sunday Reflection, Jo Kirkland, one of that cheerful team, looks back over an eventful time.

On an early lock-down day back in March a text went out to our COVID-19 village group asking for volunteers to deliver the newspapers a couple of times a week. Four of us responded: Alpa, Portia, Lena and I. From that moment on we became “The Paper Girls”, a soon-to-be hit “girl” band with Jon Petersen as our hard-talking, star-making manager, delivering papers until fame beckoned!

It seemed like a way to do our bit for the village and a bit of fun, to have some banter in the group, and get out and about. Little did I know that it would come to define my week; to remind me what day it was as they all began to merge into one; to give me a chance to chat with at least four other people and also the households on my paper round; to track my progress on my bike up the hills of Hambledon and to feel I had a purpose other than home schooling and watching Netflix. 

I already knew Lena and Jon but I had never met Portia or Alpa. In our treasured chats (some a bit longer than others – sorry if your paper was late some days!) while we waited for our papers, we discussed kids, families, nutrition, injuries, death, business, politics, hangovers, emotions. Jon fixed our bikes, we occasionally practised yoga, we found common ground and we made friends.

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