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Living in Whitchurch: the local area guide

Whitchurch is a very small town nestled in the Test Valley in Hampshire, England. It is a historic market town, surrounded by classic English countryside and just 60 miles from London, 12 miles from Winchester, and 8 miles from Andover.

There is archaeological evidence of human habitation in Whitchurch from the iron age, and plenty of Roman construction too. However, the town first came to prominence as an Anglo Saxon market town, and the church it was named after was built at that time (later refurbished by the Normans). The town was first recorded in writing in a charter, during the time of King Edward the Elder.

The River test, which runs through the town, and the green countryside surrounding it, helped its economy through the wool trade. Four mills once stood within the town, of which one remains and can still be visited now.

The town has plenty of historic and natural beauty, just a short drive from the North Wessex Downs and identified as a conservation area itself. The river, replete with wildlife and plant life, has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the town itself has more than its fair share of characterful listed buildings.


Fewer than 5,000 people now live in Whitchurch, making it the smallest town in Hampshire, and the locals are split between those who live and work within the town, those who commute to Winchester, Basingstoke and Andover, and those who commute to London.

The area is fairly prosperous, despite the lack of modern industry. More than 60% of earners in the Test Valley qualify for the ABC1 social grades (that is, their job counts as Higher or Intermediate Administrative, Managerial, or Professional). Unemployment is exceptionally low at just over 1%, and home ownership exceptionally high at over 70%.

While the average age is slightly higher in the Test Valley than for the rest of the country, the population reports their health as ‘very good’ (50%) or ‘good’ (35%).

The community is very keen on amateur sports, societies and events. The local football, cricket and rugby clubs all offer a friendly social scene and the amateur theatre group, WADS, attracts plenty of viewers to their shows and has been running since the late 1950s.

The Hampshire branch of CAMRA also put on an annual beer festival in Whitchurch, which is always an entertaining day.


The town has its own primary school, Whitchurch CofE Primary School. It’s a big part of the town’s community and has received good reports in Ofsted Inspections.

For older children, Testbourne Community School is very good. It is a foundation school, serving 760 pupils aged 11-16,

The county of Hampshire has plenty of other excellent schools, all within a short drive in Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester and elsewhere so families new to the area will have all the options they could want.


Up until 1960 Whitchurch Town Railway Station serviced the area from right in the centre of the town, but was closed down. Now, Whitchurch Railway Station, just a short walk away, is run by South West trains and offers regular and convenient transport. There are also plenty of busses, including stagecoach routes 76 and 86 which offer quick links to other local towns.

Car-owners will find Whitchurch well placed, just a short drive to Basingstoke and Andover along the B3400, which cuts straight through the town.

Amenities and shopping

Within the centre of the town are plenty of basic conveniences including a bakery, pharmacy and small supermarket. There are also speciality shops including craft stores, a wine shop, a farm shop and more.

Nearby Winchester offers a great day out shopping, with cobbled streets scattered with cafes, tea rooms, boutiques and artisan outlets. Southampton, a bit further down the road, has a more modern selection with two enormous shopping malls filled with high street brands.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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