Best things about living in Kirdford
PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:53 25 May 2016
Off the A272 between Petworth and Billinghurst, the village of Kirdford is north of Wisborough Green and south of Isfold
The best option is by car. Kirdford is served by the Compass 75 bus which runs three services a day Monday to Saturday taking in Billinghurst, Petworth and Horsham; the 64 which runs one service a day from Horsham to Loxwood on Mondays and Thursdays; and the 69 on Tuesdays from Worthing to Alfold. The nearest railway station is Billingshurst.
Kirdford’s main industries in the middle ages were reputed to be ironstone, charcoal and forest glass.
In the 20th century the apple took over, with wholesale co-operative Kirdford Growers setting up in the west of the village as the main local employer. Opening in 1927, having been started in a cow shed by five farmers to send apples to Covent Garden, Kirdford Growers employed villagers on the farms and at the packing station. The co-operative closed in April 2000 as the British apple industry collapsed, with the rise of cheap foreign apples, EU regulations and a lack of government support blamed. One of the most notable features of the village is the carved warning Degradation of Drunkenness which a 19th century vicar placed on the wall of the original vicarage. It states: “There is no sin which doth more deface God’s image than drunkenness it disguiseth a person and doth even unman him. Drunkenness makes him have the throat of a fish, the belly of a swine and the head of an ass.”
Primary schools – Plaistow and Kirdford Primary School, Plaistow, Billingshurst, 01403 871275, Ofsted rating good. Loxwood Primary School, Nicholsfield, Loxwood, 01403 752207, Ofsted rating good. Billinghurst Primary School, Station Road, Billinghurst, 01403 782789, Ofsted rating good. Wisborough Green Primary School, Newpound Lane, Wisborough Green, 01403 700280, Ofsted rating good.
Secondary schools – Weald Community School, Station Road, Billinghurst, 01403 787200, Ofsted rating outstanding.
Annual festivals and events
Butts Common hosts the bonfire night celebrations every year. Kirdford Players take a Mummers Play to pubs in Kirdford and the surrounding area in the week before Christmas to raise money for the NSPCC. Kirdford is hosting a celebration for the Queen’s 90th birthday at Butts Common on Sunday 12 June 2016.
What to do
The village centre has a recreational ground with a small pavilion, football pitch, tennis court and stool ball area. It is home to the Grade I listed 12th century stone-built church of St John The Baptist in Glasshouse Lane, which has a bell tower containing six bells, and Trinity Evangelical Church in Plaistow Road. Kirdford is also on several walking routes and footpaths through the South Downs National Park, as well as routes for cycling and horses. The village hosts the amateur dramatic group Kirdford Players, which has put on two performances a year since 1974. Its last production was the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Kirdford Art Group, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, holds an annual exhibition at the village hall every year. There is also a festival choir, featuring members from Ifold and Plaistow, a handbell ringers’ association and a Gourmet Gardeners group. West Sussex mobile library visits twice a month.
The Half Moon Inn, Glasshouse Lane, Kirdford, 01403 820223. Describing the pub as a hub for the village, Ben and Felicity Hamilton offer a selection of local beer, fine wines, coffee and locally sourced seasonal game, fish, seafood and hand-cut steaks from head chef Susan Gilbert. Find out more at www.halfmoonkirdford.co.uk.
The Foresters Arms, Kirdford, 01403 820205. Home to a large beer garden with a petanque pitch, The Foresters Arms also hosts live music, and holds Tuesday night quizzes, Wednesday night steak nights, and fish and chip Fridays. See the full menu at www.theforestersarmskirdford.com.
Kirdford Village Stores, Russett Place, Kirdford, 01403 820815. The village shop was officially opened in June 2010 by Julie Walters after Sue Ransley and the village shop steering committee spent three years raising more than £200,000. Housed in a timber-framed building – once part of Kirdford Growers – and open seven days a week, the village store isn’t just about selling fresh bread and cakes, locally sourced fruit, vegetables and eggs, and everyday essentials. It is also home to a post office counter, café, newsagents and exhibits works by local artists and jewellers. It has been recognised by the 2012 Countryside Alliance Awards and the Daily Telegraph’s Best Small Shops in Britain Awards 2011.
Meet the neighbours
BAFTA-winning actress Julie Walters lives in nearby Plaistow.
Kirdford comes under Chichester District Council, South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council. It has its own parish council.
Where to get Sussex Life
Drop into Kirdford Village Stores.
• Detached houses - £300,000 to £2,250,000
• Semi-detached houses - £290,000 to £350,000
• Bungalows - £450,000 to £550,000
• Average price - £421,111 – prices up five per cent on 2014/15.
The estate agent’s view
Russell Parkes, partner at Batcheller Monkhouse, based in Pulborough, says: “Kirdford is very popular, the houses tend to go quickly when they come onto the market. There’s quite a mix of different types of property, ranging from modern estates to large houses with land. It’s very much a rural self-contained village, with access straight onto open countryside. It is on the edge of the commuter belt for Guildford and Horsham too.”
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