Settled in a dip in the South Downs, Petersfield is a rural market town with a heart. It is smaller than its better-known neighbours, Winchester and Chichester, but it would be a mistake to overlook it when looking for a Hampshire property.
Petersfield is a town with gentle charms which offers a superb quality of life. The town has a friendly community feel centred around the twice weekly market in the town square and the plethora of cafes. For many, Petersfield’s location offers the best of both worlds, an easy commute to London and yet a feeling of being far from the Madding Crowd.
The creation of the South Downs National Park 10 years ago has ensured that this beautiful green corner of England will never be over-developed or significantly changed.
The unspoiled landscape is a key attraction for many moving into the area, offering the opportunity to walk, run, cycle and ride, or to explore the lovely quaint villages and selection of great pubs. The coast is less than half an hour away to the south giving easy access to beaches, water sports and day trips to the Isle of Wight.
South Downs villages
Down the winding hedgerowed country lanes idyllic hamlets and villages are nestled into the countryside offering a lifestyle to dream about and houses to fall in love with.
The Meon Valley offers a rich seam of charming villages – East Meon and West Meon, Exton, Meonstoke, Soberton. Each has a mix of vernacular architecture such as flint and thatched cottages, tile-hung farmhouses and impressive Georgian manor houses.
South Downs villages tend to have a healthy community spirit, such an important quality when deciding where to live.
Property rarely becomes available to buy as those who move here choose to stay; the locals are happy here, they love where they live and like to socialise locally, it is perhaps no surprise to see an unusually high number of quality pubs in this small area.
For commuters, East Meon is perhaps the pick of the bunch as it is less than 5 miles from Petersfield, and on the right side of town for the station. It has two pubs, a green, tennis courts and a cricket pitch. It is surrounded by rolling hills and has beautiful vistas from almost all angles.
For community and idyllic country life then Soberton is hard to beat. The River Meon meanders past the village, and on a warm summers day, it is the perfect place for paddling and even swimming for kids. The White Lion pub is a lovely independent country pub that bustles with locals in the evening.
Family life in and around Petersfield is appealing and schooling options are strong. At Primary School level Petersfield School is extremely highly rated and many of the surrounding villages also have well-performing schools such as in Buriton, Langrish, East Meon, and Sheet. Highly rated Secondary Schools in the area include The Petersfield School and Bohunt in nearby Liphook.
There is also an impressive selection of independent schools. Bedales School is recognised as one of England’s top tier public schools but is very different in ethos to most of its peers. It is a liberal and independent thinking school with a strong track record of success in the arts and above-average performance academically.
Independent day school, Churcher’s College, based in Petersfield, is a very popular school with local families. Just north of Petersfield is the fantastic Highfield and Brookham Prep school is the sort of prep school parents dream of for their children – 175 acres of grounds and a happy, enthusiastic atmosphere.
Property in Petersfield
The housing stock in and around Petersfield is broad, with lots of attractive character homes ranging from large country manor houses to pretty village cottages. Good sized four bed detached houses can be more affordable than those in neighbouring Winchester.
Hampshire property prices tend to rise in the most desirable local villages close to Petersfield, whilst better value can be found a little further away, for example, deeper into the Meon Valley.
Those seeking property in Hampshire that they could potentially commute to London from might find that a home in Petersfield works well.
The commute from Petersfield is just over an hour to London Waterloo and trains run regularly, approximately 4 trains an hour, two quick and two slow.
Road access from Petersfield to London has been significantly improved by the opening of the Devil’s Punchbowl tunnel on the A3, which has removed a notorious bottleneck of the past.
Insider knowledge – Best kept secrets in Petersfield and the surrounds
For those who like to explore the countryside follow in the footsteps of local poet, Edward Thomas, and take a walk from the little, and aptly named, village of Steep up through the Ashford Hangers, along the ridge of the Shoulder of Mutton Hill and back down into Steep. It’s a tough but very rewarding walk. Make sure to stop and take in the fabulous views on the way up and treat yourself to a well-earned refreshment at the end in the Harrow Inn, a cosy, rustic, timeless pub. A hidden gem.
Petersfield is full of wonderful places to eat, there are several venues at which to enjoy culinary delights. One such venue is Annie Jones in central Petersfield which has something for everyone. At the front is a quality, modern British restaurant. Adjacent is an eat-in Patisserie with wonderfully rich, oversized cakes. The real surprise comes down the unassuming alley in the back courtyard. Here you will find two bars, delicious tapas, and a cosy, fun atmosphere.
Hampshire property finders
There are many places to look for a property in Hampshire, it is a beautiful county and homes greatly benefit from the picturesque surrounds. Being located in the South Downs National Park the town of Petersfield offers residents immediate access to stunning countryside whilst having a selection of amenities on the doorstep and excellent commuting options.
The villages near Petersfield enjoy the convenience of their proximity to the small market town and appeal to those seeking a home in a more rural setting.