Voted as one of the best place to live in the Southeast in the 2017 Sunday Times ‘Best Places To Live’ list, Finchampstead in Berkshire offers a rural idyll coupled with an excellent location. Situated a few miles south of Wokingham, the parish extends across National Trust land, woodland and country parks and includes modern estates as well as a traditional village.
In this guide, we take a look at why Finchampstead has such an enduring appeal and regularly tops lists like the Sunday Times’ plus we give you some ideas about some of the best things to do in the area.
Finchampstead In History
Situated on the western perimeter of what is the old Windsor Forest, the village of Finchampstead has plenty of history. St. Oswald (King of Northumbria) was reported to have passed through the area in the 7th century and, whilst praying for water, a well sprang forth. The well, at the foot of Fleet Hill, is called Dodwell’s Well and became something of a celebrity when it was reported to flow with blood during times of crisis. In 1098, the failure of crops and widespread death of cattle was reported as the cause for one such instance of blood ‘flowing from the earth’ and was reported in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. For some reason, Dodwell’s Well became a place of pilgrimage for people with all manner of medical complaints with many believing the water to be curative, particularly for complaints of the eye. Sadly, the well was accidentally destroyed in the late 19th century but water sill trickles from the site.
Finchampstead Ridges is said to be the location of where King Henry VII brought his son, Prince Arthur, to meet his bride, Catherine of Aragon. Obviously a popular Tudor haunt for wooing ladies, the future King Henry VIII was also said to have courted two sisters at East Court Manor. Sadly, East Court Manor no longer exists though the name has been transferred to another property in the village.
The majestic Wellingtonia Avenue that joins Finchampstead’s ridges to Crowthorne is 1.1km in length and lined with giant sequoia trees. Planted in honour of the 1st Duke of Wellington in 1860, the impressive and stately trees are some of the best examples you will see.
In more recent times, Finchampstead has been home to former model and part of the Profumo Affair of 1963, Christine Keeler, who lived on Nine Mile Ride.
Finchampstead: The Detail
The village of Finchampstead sits on the border or Eversley, Hampshre and Wokingham, Berkshire. It borders the parishes of Barkham, Arborfield, Swallowfield and Sandhurst and is just 33 miles west of London. The village doesn’t have a railway station but is well served by local buses to Reading, Wokingham and surrounding villages. The closest train station can be found at the bottom of Wellingtonia Avenue at Crowthorne. You can read our full guide to Crowthorne here which details transport links from this station.
Finchampstead is located 9 miles from junction 4a of the M3 which provides fast access to Basingstoke, Winchester, Chertsey and the M25 as well as London. The M4 (junction 10) is situated via Wokingham and is just 12.5 miles away.
The parish is split into two distinct wards, Finchampstead South consisting of an area bordering Barkham and Wokingham incorporating Evendons Lane, California, Edney’s Hill and Nash Grove. The ward known as Finchampstead North and includes Nine Mile Ride, Honey Hill and Soldiers Rise.
Finchampstead is one of the most affluent areas in England and is currently ranked as the 31st wealthiest village in the country.
The demographics of the two wards of Finchampstead can be defined as follows:
|Details from 2011 Census||Finchampstead North||Finchampstead South|
|Predominant Secondary Nationalities||Scottish, Welsh and South African|
|Top three occupations||Professional – 25.6%
Managerial – 18.5%
Associates – 16.3%
|Professional – 26.0%
Managerial – 19.2%
Associates – 15.3%
There are no secondary schools in Finchampstead but there are a couple of primary schools; Nine Mile Ride School, Finchampstead C of E School and Gorse Ride Infant and Junior Schools. The schools, respectively, attained an Excellent, Outstanding and Requires Improvement rating in their last Ofsted inspections.
Our Best Picks For…
The Greyhound Pub at the top of Longwater Road is an excellent local eatery and serves a great seasonal menu. It made our recent list of great places to eat in the Thames Valley and offers a stylish but cosy setting to enjoy some great food.
Also worth mentioning is the Tally Ho at the bottom of Fleet Hill. An old farmhouse the Tally Ho has changed hands over the last few decades and has gone from being a very plain eatery to a smart pub with a contemporary menu and a cosy atmosphere.
…getting a pint.
There is no competition for this as The Queen’s Oak is an absolute treasure of a pub. Opened in 1610 opposite the St James Church , the pub is one of a kind; really. It is the only public house that bears the name, The Queen’s Oak, in the country. Originally called ‘The White Horse’, the pub changed its name when Queen Victoria planted an oak tree opposite the pub. A dog friendly establishment, the management and locals are friendly and you can one of their real ales in a picturesque country village pub. The church dates back to Norman times with some Saxon additions and is a beautiful building.
…fun with the family.
There are quite a few parks and places to go for a walk around Finchampstead including the Ridges, Simon’s Wood and the Finchampstead Memorial Park. However, the newly built Finchampstead Baptist Church Centre offers some great facilities and a really creative children’s playground. A busy venue on a nice day, you can get ice cream and a coffee and the centre always has plenty of events, fairs, meetings and workshops. A real hub of the community the FBC centre has a library, café and rooms for hire.
Don’t miss California Country Park either with its kids paddling pool, play area and café, it is a popular place for kids. Surrounding a lovely pond with plenty of ducks to feed, the area incorporates a holiday park with camping facilities.
…a country walk.
The Finchampstead Ridges and Simon’s Wood are both owned by the National Trust and take in some spectacular views and a range of different terrains. There are a couple of ponds, some shady woodland and heather filled, sandy climbs. An absolute treasure trove of wildlife you can spot plenty of lizards, butterflies, birds and even slow worms.
Housing in Finchampstead
There are several areas around Finchampstead that have their own character and housing stocks. The village itself has a stock of very large and imposing properties down Fleet Hill as well as character cottages and new build homes. Most of the housing in Finchampstead is located in the area known as California and includes the Fernlea Estate, the Gorse Ride Estate and properties down ‘The Rides’ (Nine Mile Ride, Gorse Ride, Heath Ride and Barkham Ride).
You can find a mixture of housing including semi-detached, detached and terraced homes from different periods.
The majority of homes sold in the last 12 months were detached with an average price of £707,106. However, the average price of a property in this area (including all house types) is £577,495 and is much higher than the surrounding areas of Wokingham, Crowthorne and Sandhurst.
The area has seen a small decrease in prices, year-on-year but overall property prices are up from 2014 by 20%.
If you are looking at relocating to Finchampstead and would like to know more about houses in the area then relocation agents, Property Assistant, are here to help. Contact us today on 0118 912 2370.
Featured image of Wellingtonia Avenue via Wikipedia.