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Living in Bishop’s Waltham: The Local Area Guide

At the rise of the River Hamble running through Hampshire can be found the charming country town of Bishop’s Waltham. Home to some spectacular views, it is something of a hidden gem amidst the woodlands and pastures of the Hamble Valley surrounding it. Established as early as 640AD, the town has sustained its steady growth over the years to become the large and vibrant town it is today. It plays a crucial role in defending England’s Heritage through its monuments and preserved buildings; the most significant of which are the medieval ruins of Bishop’s Waltham Palace which date all the way back to the 12th century.

The palace was destroyed by military leader Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War; that which was destroyed was collected for resources to rebuild the town. It became a popular successful market town in the 19th century; with the trade in cattle and agriculture suppliers an important economy for the town.

Nowadays, the town retains a unique sense of Nomadic charm. The Georgian style buildings lining the high street help to contribute to this rustic antiquity, whilst the markets and shops they host bring a sense of modernity and life to an otherwise wonderfully preserved town centre.

Demographics

The population of Bishop's Waltham is estimated to be around just over 6,700 people; with 66% of this population claiming to be Christians. Much like its surrounding villages and towns, the country town is largely religious, and this is shown not only through its local churches, but through the large town, festivities thrown, which celebrate several religious festivals. Saying this, a large number of residents are either openly Agnostic or Atheist, showing there is no pressure nor expectation to be religious from the other residents.

Education

Bishop's Waltham benefits from a pre-school, offering educational services to those aged between 2 years and 6 months all the way up until they are due to start infant school. Bishop's Waltham Montessori received an 'Outstanding' Ofsted inspection result and has been largely praised for the quality of the care and attention given to the students by the teachers.

The next step up for most in the catchment area is Bishop's Waltham Infant School, another highly praised establishment which also received an 'Outstanding' inspection result.

Bishop's Waltham itself does not have a secondary school, however, the nearest available schools aren't too far away. These include the highly esteemed Henry Beaufort school and St Swithun's school, both in Winchester, and the Wildern school on the outskirts of Southampton.

Transport

Bishop’s Waltham has excellent bus services generally running Monday to Saturday; both Stagecoach and Bluestar buses provide links to Winchester, Southampton, and Eastleigh. The 69 bus can be caught approximately every half hour to Winchester, taking just over 40 minutes to make the entire journey. All buses can be caught from St. George’s Square at the bottom of the town’s high street.

The M3 and M27 are both nearby, providing easy-access links between London and the South Coast. Bishop’s Waltham itself can be found on the old Winchester to Portsmouth road, otherwise known as the B2177 – a delightfully peaceful drive with plenty of scenery on the way. On this route, Winchester can be reached in under 20 minutes in good traffic conditions, and Southampton in just under half an hour.

Whilst there was once a small train station which served the town in 1919, this was discontinued back in 1962 and nowadays, the nearest train station to Bishop’s Waltham is in Botley. From there, regular trains between London and England’s South Coast can be caught with ease.

Amenities and shops

There is plenty of sightseeing to do. For example, visitors and locals alike simply must not miss the chance to visit the Bishop's Palace, a grand monument which dates all the way back to 1135, which can be found in the centre of the town.

The town retains a natural, homely sort of charm to it and this is only further exaggerated through the handful of independent shops, cafes and bakeries dotted along the busy high street. The weekly Country Market provides locally grown produce for those wishing to support local businesses, and every so often there is a Sunday Market. This is a huge affair for Bishop's Waltham, and the high street is closed to traffic in order to make way for the countless stalls offering trinkets, gifts, clothes and more.


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