Denmead is a civil parish of some 1215 hectares (4000 acres), having been created in 1932 when the parish of Hambledon was divided. Its roots as a village stretch back to the Middle Ages and traces of this period can still be found.
The village could be said to encompass many of the most valued aspects of modern urban living including health, education and community facilities as well as retaining many of the benefits of a post-rural community with its proximity to significant remnants of the historic Forest of Bere to the south and west and East Hampshire's designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' to the north and east. For the most part the village remains surrounded by agricultural mostly mixed holdings but with established stabling and riding facilities. Parklands on the village's southern periphery is a light industrial area with expanding high technology features in a pleasant afforested environment. The village also contains a range of living accommodation from imposing private dwellings and local authority housing, through warden controlled units to a number of rest homes for the elderly; these mark the village's truly "cradle to the grave" nature. Sitting within the meteorologists' "Solent bowl", Denmead also enjoys a climate of non-extremes even more viable than the already mild south Hampshire region. The population currently standing at approximately 7000 has increased sharply in recent years but should, despite continuing development pressures, retain more moderate levels of increase n the future.
A Convenient Locality for Business and Leisure
The village is situated on the B2150 between Waterlooville and Hambledon (the birthplace of cricket) in the south east corner of Hampshire, 11 miles north of Portsmouth with its residual naval and now highly developed continental ferry port.
It is well placed for leisure, historic and cultural activities as well as local business facilities. The commercial port of Southampton lies some 17 miles south-west (M27) and Chichester with its cathedral and well-known theatre 20 miles east (A27). Winchester the ancient capital of England is reached over quiet rolling hills some 18 miles to north-west and Petersfield an old market town is 10 miles north (A3M).
Countryside and Local Amenities
The local countryside is second to none with country walks and wonderful views at Old Winchester and Butser Hills; Queen Elizabeth Country Park with its nearby ancient farm project is within a few miles. Southsea seafront and the historic naval and maritime features of the area including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose are some 11 miles away as are the quieter beaches of Hayling Island and Lee-on-the Solent; a little further west can be found the well known yachting basin situated on the River Hamble. Furzely golf course and a driving range are within the perimeter of the village and other golf courses are situated nearby at Waterlooville and Crookhorn (Portsmouth municipal), the Corhampton course is a short drive away.
Transport and Going Places
Bus services connect with most places to the east and London (Waterloo) is about l.25 hours away via Havant or Petersfield stations; public transport to the west is more limited but services to Fareham with its covered shopping area are now being developed. Journeys to Winchester and Southampton usually require catching a train from Cosham or Fareham.
A Thriving Village Centre with Close Facilities
Denmeads' popular shopping area includes a large public car park with integrated comfort facilities. In the middle of the village is the Health Centre where a comprehensive range of care facilities are available including Well Baby and health promotion clinics as well as physiotherapy and services for the elderly; the fundholding unit is staffed by five GPs and a number of practice nurses. A community care group functions in conjunction with the Centre. Queen Alexandra, an acute care hospital housing an accident and emergency unit is just 5 miles away at Cosham; St. Mary's Portsmouth is some 12 miles distant.
The Junior and Infant schools are ideally situated in the geographic centre of the village have recently been expanded to cater for an increasing population; both have thriving support groups and welcome the participation of parents, the annual summer fair being a successful feature of the extra-curricular activity.
Youngsters from Denmead often continue education at nearby Cowplain and Crookhorn schools at Waterlooville; Oakland's RC school is also situated in the Waterlooville area.
Local Recreation and Sports Facilities
The parish provides plenty of opportunity for recreation. The King Georges Playing Field with its new pavilion has pitches for football, cricket and basket-ball as well as tennis courts and a skate park. There is also a thriving village bowls club. The dog-free children's play area comprises some of the best play equipment in the vicinity and is approached along traffic free greenways from most parts of the village.
Walkers can discover Denmead's numerous network of footpaths round the village (map with this guide); apart from Wayfarers Walk a long distance path which passes through the village centre, there are interesting rambles to enjoy in Creech Wood to the south of the village which is a fragment of the ancient Forest of Bere which once covered the whole area. The woods and lanes are also enjoyed by horse riders, a popular local activity.
Social activities and groups have burgeoned in recent years with the village Memorial hall heavily booked most of the time, as is All Saints Church Hall. Both are in the village centre and cater for an enormous range of activities to suit all tastes (details available monthly in the parish chronicle). The Community Centre (formerly the Old School), is a short distance west of the village centre towards Hambledon and houses a range of social, recreational, cultural and educational activities organised by a hardworking team on a mainly voluntary basis with the oversight of a part-time paid manager. Facilities for parents and families have developed fast with a number of pre-school and nursery groups thriving in the village; youngsters in the older age ranges are catered for by a youth club and by very well attended Scout and Brownie groups, with the Scouts having their own hut in Tanners Lane.
The French Connection
At dual ceremonies in France and Denmead in 1994 the village was twinned with the southern French town of St. George les Baillargeaux near Poitiers; since that time villagers from both communities have kept a steady flow of visits and events fostered by a lively village twinning association to which new members are always welcome.
Parish and Local Government
Denmead's parish council consists of some thirteen members including a Chairman and Vice-Chairman who meet at six-weekly intervals on a Wednesday in the Old School. Except for occasional expenses parish councillors are unpaid. The four main committees also meet six weekly except the planning committee which meets every three weeks. Sub-committees and working parties supplement the work of the main council. In total there is an average of between 60 and 70 meetings each year. The parish council is usually the first point of reference for local matters from street lighting to new developments, though major decisions are made by the 'district' council which is the confusingly named Winchester City Council, or by Hampshire County Council.
The parish council employs a number of staff both full and part-time. A parish clerk, deputy clerk, financial officer and committee clerk together with a number of groundsmen under a head groundsman are employed to maintain the village's extensive landscaped areas. Around £124,000 is needed each year to administer and maintain the village's many amenities.
Residents are welcome to attend at all deliberations of the council and committees (other than on those rare occasions when the public are excluded by special resolution) and can speak at the 'public session' during the meeting. The village elects three members to Winchester City Council and in conjunction with neighbouring parishes, one member to Hampshire County Council. The parish is a part of the Winchester parliamentary constituency. The parish council's quarterly publication 'Denmead Scene', aimed at keeping villagers up to date with current events is delivered to all households in the village. It can also be found on the Parish Council's website.