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In addition to the local services, our Living in Southwater guide will give you a sense of what life is like in Southwater – its history, its culture and its recreational activities.
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What Is Life Like In Southwater?
Southwater is a large village in the Horsham District of West Sussex. With a population of over 10,000, the village offers some big town amenities without sacrificing its quaint character. The real beauty of the village comes from its idyllic countryside location; you only have to walk a few minutes outside the village centre to be surrounded by greenery and fresh air. However, Lintot Square – the heart of the village – is just under four miles south of Horsham’s town centre, so neighbours are always close by and the village never feels isolated.
Much of the older housing in Southwater dates back to before 1940, but there has been significant housing development since the 1980s. The expansion of the Timbermill development, for example, created over 2,000 homes. Popular residential areas include Blake’s Farm Road, Nutham Lane, Hazel Close, New Road, Station Road and Great Lime Kilns. Newer developments are often designed with the village’s history in mind, featuring historic details such as Victorian-style lamps to blend in with the older areas.
Southwater’s landscape has hardly changed since the 19th century – beautiful trees still grow in the village and an abundance of wildlife (birds, rabbits, deer, butterflies), can still be found. For those looking for a peaceful but vibrant community near to large towns as well as the great English countryside, Southwater is an ideal location.
Ancient And Modern History Of Southwater
Southwater’s history traces back to 4500 BC, evidenced by archaeological finds in the village. Other artefacts show the beginning of a trading society around 500 BC. The village’s structure remained loose up until the mid-1800s, when a church, school and railway station had all been built.
In 1890, Southwater Brickworks opened, supplying bricks that were used to build Victoria Station and the sewer system in London, as well as air-raid shelters during World War II. Millions of red bricks were produced there until its closure in 1981. The brickworks site is now the Southwater Country Park.
Southwater’s name comes from its location south of the river Arun that runs through Horsham. The name’s first mention occurs in documents from 1346, with the spelling ‘Suthwatre’.
Days Out In Southwater
The Southwater area has many options for days out with family and friends.
Southwater’s larger neighbour, Horsham, offers fun activities, including The Horsham Museum & Art Gallery with rotating exhibits on archaeology, culture and art, and Huxley’s Bird of Prey Centre which houses over 70 majestic birds to view.
The historic Downs Link path runs by Southwater and makes a perfect setting for long walks and bike rides. Stretching 37 miles from Steyning down to Shoreham-by-Sea, the path runs along stretches of disused railway which makes it relatively flat and great for gentle cycling.
For a great day out, Southwater Country Park is the village’s gem. Covering 90 acres and located in the home of the former brickworks, the park has three lakes, a visitors’ centre, a café, a skatepark and an adventure playground for children. The newly opened dinosaur attraction features a climbing volcano, jungle swings, and aerial walkways – all in a prehistoric themed space. There is also a water sports area for kayaking and canoeing lessons.
Things To Do In Southwater
Southwater has kept its village character as it has grown. This is most visible in the newly developed village centre, Lintot Square, which received a major investment in 2006. It provides a range of amenities, including a Co-op for groceries, a florist, a hairdresser and a beautician. The restaurant scene is small but lively, with several family-friendly pubs (The Cock Inn, The Bax Castle, The Hen & Chicken, and the The Lintot), as well as various takeaways for Indian, Chinese and fish & chips.
For sports enthusiasts, Southwater Leisure Centre is open seven days a week and offers a state of the art gym, as well as fitness classes. There are also many local youth and adult sports teams such as football, cricket, badminton and netball. The local bowls clubs is another popular sporting group.
Best Schools In Southwater
Southwater has several excellent schools that perform well on Ofsted inspections.
Pre-schools, nurseries and primary schools include:
- Castlewood Primary School
- Southwater Infant School
- Southwater Junior School
- Southwater Village Hall Pre-School
Southwater does not have its own secondary school, however nearby facilities in Horsham include:
- Christ’s Hospital
- Tanbridge House School
- The Forest School
- The Millais School
Transport In Southwater
Southwater is connected to nearby towns and major cities via a strong transport network.
Southwater no longer has a rail station, but regular Southern trains connect nearby Horsham rail station to London Victoria, Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour. Christ’s Hospital rail station, near Horsham, also provides service to London and Bognor Regis.
Bus And Coaches
Frequent bus service to Crawley, Horsham and Worthing is offered through Metrobus. Services usually run every 15 minutes.
Gatwick Airport is the nearest international airport, about 20 miles away and accessible by train, the A24 and the M23. Brighton City Airport is 18 miles away and accessible by the A24 and the A283.
The A24 provides access to Horsham, Surrey and Brighton.