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Thursley, Surrey.jpg
Thursley village green and village sign
Surrey UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Surrey
Area19.85 km2 (7.66 sq mi)
Population651 (Civil Parish 2011) [1]
  Density 33/km2 (85/sq mi)
OS grid reference SU9040
Civil parish
  • Thursley
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Godalming
Postcode district GU8
Dialling code 01252
Police Surrey
Fire Surrey
Ambulance South East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
51°08′56″N0°42′25″W / 51.149°N 0.707°W / 51.149; -0.707 Coordinates: 51°08′56″N0°42′25″W / 51.149°N 0.707°W / 51.149; -0.707

Thursley is a village and civil parish in southwest Surrey, west of the A3 between Milford and Hindhead. An associated hamlet is Bowlhead Green. To the east is Brook. In the south of the parish rises the Greensand Ridge, in this section reaching its escarpment near Punch Bowl Farm and the Devil's Punch Bowl, Hindhead.



Thursley's church dates back to Saxon times, though most of the structure is later St Michael and All Angels, Thursley.jpg
Thursley's church dates back to Saxon times, though most of the structure is later
Cruiser Mk IV tanks of 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 3rd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, on Thursley Common, Surrey, in July 1940 Cruiser Mk IV tanks of 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 3rd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, on Thursley Common, Surrey, July 1940. H2483.jpg
Cruiser Mk IV tanks of 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 3rd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, on Thursley Common, Surrey, in July 1940

The village's name came from Old English Þunres lēah meaning lea of the god Thunor, as with Thundersley, Essex; it was probably a site where he was worshipped. There is a rocky outcrop near the village referred to in Victorian guides to the area as Thor's Stone. This stone is first mentioned in Saxon times as being "near Peper Harow", an adjacent parish with known pagan connections. The precise stone or rocks this refers to is now uncertain, with some sources indicating it could be the rocky outcrop and others suggesting it may be an ancient Celtic boundary stone found on the margin of Pudmore pond on Ockley Common. [2]

The small parish church, dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, has a finely carved Anglo-Saxon font and two surviving Anglo-Saxon windows in the chancel, which exceptionally retain their original wooden frames. Its small wooden shingled belfry is strangely underpinned by an unnecessarily large and sturdy late medieval framework of heavy timber. The remains of a gnarled ancient tree are nearby. In the churchyard there is the gravestone of the Unknown Sailor.

There have been several military camps in the parish. [3] Between 1922 and 1957 there existed Thursley Camp (from 1941 renamed Tweedsmuir Camp) to the north west of the village which housed British, Canadian and American forces at various times. On 7 November 1942 it was bombed by the Luftwaffe. After the Second World War it was used to house displaced Poles. To the west was Houndown Camp which was used by the British Royal Marines.


Larger houses in Thursley are where the Greensand Ridge commences Thursley Village - - 691531.jpg
Larger houses in Thursley are where the Greensand Ridge commences
Rich and fertile soil supports arable farming, or grass-supported dairy farming as shown Cattle in field nearThursley - - 1439092.jpg
Rich and fertile soil supports arable farming, or grass-supported dairy farming as shown

The north of the parish is mostly Thursley Nature Reserve, a sandy and seasonally marshy Site of Special Scientific Interest, the lowest part of a larger area of uncultivated open land made up of the remainder of Thursley Common and of Witley Common. Across the A3 is the main hillside neighbourhood of Thursley, Bowlhead Green, which has an underpass path crossing directly between the two on the Greensand Way. The two are also connected via one of the largest junctions of the A3 road in the north of the parish, in terms of its multiple slip roads, which facilitate access for the Ministry of Transport to the restricted land to the far north, Hankley Common.


Thursley Common is a national nature reserve and SSSI. It is one of the last surviving areas of lowland peat bog in southern Britain, and at 350 hectares, one of the largest remaining fragments of heathland. It provides a particularly rich habitat for dragonflies and damselflies, along with many other species including the endangered woodlark and Dartford warbler. In July 2006 during a heat wave that affected southern England, 60% of the common was burnt. [4] In May 2020 there was another common fire affecting 150 hectares. [5]

Notable residents

Demography and housing

2011 Census Homes
Output areaDetachedSemi-detachedTerracedFlats and apartmentsCaravans/temporary/mobile homesshared between households [1]
(Civil Parish)165491315350

The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28 per cent, the average that was apartments was 22.6 per cent.

2011 Census Key Statistics
Output areaPopulationHouseholds% Owned outright% Owned with a loanhectares [1]
(Civil Parish)65127753.4%25.6%1,985

The proportion of households in the civil parish who owned their home outright compares to the regional average of 35.1 per cent. The proportion who owned their home with a loan compares to the regional average of 32.5 per cent. The remaining percentage is made up of rented dwellings (plus a negligible percentage of households living rent-free).

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  2. Surrey Archaeological Collections . Vol. 88.
  3. Tweedsmuir Military Camp
  4. English Nature – Thursley Common Fire
  5. Pengelly, Emma (3 June 2020). "Thursley Common reopens four days after devastating wildfire". SurreyLive. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  6. Murray, G (December 1941). "Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher. 1865–1940". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society. 10. 3 (10): 518–529. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1941.0019. S2CID   159696817.
  7. "H.A.L. Fisher, Thursley, to the Prime Minister. Private". The National Archives. 27 March 1921. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
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  9. Surrey rhapsody: The Arts-and-Crafts mansion that was home to Queen drummer Roger Taylor