Sandhurst is a small town
and civil parish in England of 7,966
homes and 20,803 inhabitants (2001 Census data), primarily
domiciliary in nature with a few light industries.
It is in
the south-eastern corner of the ceremonial Royal County of Berkshire, some 34 miles (55 km) south-west of
London and 2.5 miles (4 km) north-west of Camberley in Surrey.
is known nationwide as the location of the Royal Military
Academy Sandhurst (often referred to simply as "Sandhurst", "The
Academy" or "The RMA"). Despite its close proximity to Camberley, Sandhurst is also home to a large and well-known
out-of-town mercantile development. The site is named "The
Meadows" and has a Tesco Extra
hypermarket and a Marks and Spencer, two of the largest in
Sandhurst is located at . Sandhurst is situated within the South East of England on the
border of the home counties of
Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. The town itself is
made up of four main areas, from west to east: Little
Town, with Owlsmoor to the
North of the town are Edgbarrow Woods and
Wildmoor Heath. To the east is Broadmoor Bottom, an expanse of heathland together with fir-tree
is bordered, on the south, by the River Blackwater, and several of the Yateley Lakes along
its course are within the parish, notably Trilakes with its
also the county boundary with Hampshire
of Crowthorne is to the north, Finchampstead to the west, and Camberley, across the Surrey county
boundary, is on its eastern side. This is the closest
major town, though Sandhurst is also only 10 km (6 miles) south of
the new town of Bracknell.
The soil, not surprisingly, is sandy
, with a
of sand and gravel
lies just off the A30, is close to junction
4 of the M3 motorway (3.4 miles) and within easy reach of the
M4 (10.3 miles) via the Crowthorne bypass (A3095) to Bracknell and the A329
towards Reading. Sandhurst railway station is served by First
Great Western, on the line between Gatwick, Guildford and Reading.
Sandhurst has representation through several tiers of government -
town council, unitary authority, parliamentary (UK and European).
Its Town Council is divided into four wards, Central Sandhurst,
Little Sandhurst, College Town and Owlsmoor, all represented by
. It is also part of
Forest District. The ancient parish of Sandhurst also
covered Crowthorne, until this became an ecclesiastical parish in its own right in 1874 and a civil parish in 1894.
The current Mayor
of Sandhurst is Councillor Carole Cupper.
Saxon and Medieval periods
The name of the village is Anglo-Saxon
and originates from the
sandy soils and the hurst (a wooded eminence) of the area.
14th century records, Sandhurst appears as part of township of
Sonning, a large minster parish spreading over much of eastern Berkshire, which later became a hundred when its villages obtained their
These lands belonged to the Bishops of Salisbury
. There were two
in Sandhurst: ‘Hall’ in the
grounds of what is now the Royal Military Academy and ‘Sandhurst’
on the site of Sandhurst Lodge. Nothing remains of the original
Tudor to Georgian periods
early modern era, Sandhurst parish was a small farming community on
the very edge of Windsor Forest, Sandhurst Walke being an important forest
division subject to forest laws.
Locals had the right to cut
turf, bracken, heather and wood that was primarily cultivated to
feed the forest deer. These were hunted by Royal parties from a
hunting lodge in the vicinity of Hart's Leap Road. A number of
disputes are on record, showing how Sandhurst people sometimes took
more resources than was allowed. Farming has always remained a
major part of village life here and some defunct farms are still
remembered in the names of housing estates, roads and even a
restaurant: Sandhurst Farm, Snaprails, Caves Farm, Ambarrow Farm,
College Farm, Rectory Farm, Beech Farm and Rackstraws Farm. In the
mid-16th century, William, Lord
, the Lord Chancellor
King Henry VIII
, owned a
supposed manor called 'Buckhurst' in the area between College Town
and Central Sandhurst.
Victorian and Modern periods
changed very little in Sandhurst until the 19th century when large
sections of land were sold for the building of the Royal Military
College, which moved from Marlow in 1812.
The railway also arrived in 1849
and a number of large country
were subsequently erected in the area: amongst them,
Harts Leap, Forest End, St Helens Upland, The Warren, Longdown
Lodge, Ryefield, Snaprails, Ambarrow Court and Sandhurst Lodge,
erected in about 1858 by Robert Gibson and leased to John Walter
, of the
Newspaper, and then Sir William
, solicitor to Queen
and the Duke of Wellington
Perry Hill and The Ceders came later. Only a few remain today. The
others have been demolished and land developed.
large houses and institutions, including the Broadmoor
Asylum for the Criminally Insane and Wellington College in nearby Crowthorne, led to a great expansion of the local population
as people moved into the area looking for work.
residential housing was erected for these workers, as well as more
schools for their children, more places of worship and watering
holes. St. Michael's Parish Church dates from the 13th century, but
was largely rebuilt in 1853. The Baptist
was built in 1884 and the Wesleyan Methodist
chapel followed in 1906.
The Roman Catholic Church
however, only completed in 1960. St George's
Owlsmoor was rebuilt in 1993 (previously a wooden structure first
built in the 70's).
St. Michael's Church of England School was opened in 1862 and other
schools followed in quick succession: Old Scotland Hill in 1871,
The Methodist in 1906 and College Town in 1907. Uplands and
Owlsmoor primaries were added in 1962 and 1974. Secondary pupils
were sent to Edgbarrow school in Crowthorne, Forest Grammar School
for boys in Winnersh or Holt School for girls in Wokingham.
Sandhurst Comprehensive - now Sandhurst School - was built in
now has nine pubs, the oldest being the
'Rose and Crown' in the High Street which, at one time, belonged to
the Simonds' Brewery of Reading.
The Simonds family also owned land in the
village and supplied beer and ale to the RMA and much of the
British Army all over the World.
From the late 1950s to the 80s, large housing estates have been
built quickly creating the conglomerate town of today from the
original four villages of College Town, Sandhurst, Little Sandhurst
Sandhurst has an active Historical Society, meeting the last
Thursday every month at the Sandhurst Memorial Hall.
Recreation and sport
- The Sandhurst tug of war team are
currently the World champions, as seen on sign posts entering the
- Sandhurst's football team, Sandhurst
Town F.C., has its home ground at Bottom Meadow. It currently plays in the Combined County
League - Division premier.
- Sandhurst Cricket Club
field two teams in the Berkshire League with the 1st XI in the
premier division. They also have a Sunday side and a Midweek XI,
plus a growing junior section (U11s & U9s).
- Sandhurst Joggers Club has more than 160 members. Founded in
- Sandhurst Recreation Park contains tennis and basketball
courts, cricket and football pitches, playground (with large
sand-play area) and a small skatepark. The
Coffee Spot - a local public dining establishment - is in the
vicinity. The park has a large water area (called a balancing pond)
where a firework show is held once a year, usually on the closest
Saturday to Guy Fawkes Night, and
the Sandhurst Donkey Derby - a community festival - is also an
- Sandhurst Sports Centre is in the Owlsmoor area, It is
facilitated By Sandhurst School and has various facilities for
sporting and recreational activities.
Across the town of there is a large amount of public houses.
(They Are, In Alphabetical Order)
- Bird in Hand, The
- Dukes Head, The
- Fox and Hound, The
- Jolly Farmer, The
- Rackstraws' Farm
- Rose and Crown, The
- Village Inn, the
- White Swan, The
- Wellington Arms