This parish is on the western edge of the county of Surrey, next to the River Blackwater, which forms a natural boundary with Hampshire. The restored Basingstoke Canal winds its way through the parish past Ash Wharf and the flashes towards Mytchett Lake.
East of the canal is Ash Common, an area of heathland designated as a Special Protection Area to preserve the habitat of three endangered species of birds, the Dartford Warbler, the Nightjar and the Woodlark. Ash Common is occupied by the Ash Ranges military training area. The population of Ash parish now approaches 18000 people, and there are three residential areas: Ash Vale at the northern end of the parish, Ash in the middle and Ash Green to the south.
The place name Ash is derived from ‘Aesc’ which meant ‘At the Ash tree’. An appropriate name, since ash trees spring up like weeds every year in the middle of the village.
The village of Ash grew up along Ash Street between the cross-roads (now the Greyhound roundabout) and the Moated Manor House which looked out over Ash Green towards the Hog’s Back. Ash was a farming community until the mid 19th century, and a number of the farmhouses have survived until today as residential properties or pubs.
The village grew rapidly after 1854, when the Army established the Aldershot Camp just over the border in Hampshire, and purchased part of Ash Common to use for rifle ranges. Ash Vale quickly developed as people moved into the area, local businesses flourished and houses were built to accommodate retired Army officers.
Click here to see the catalogue of the St Peter, Ash, Parish Records (1548-1962) held at the Surrey History Centre.
Click here to see the catalogue of the Ash Parish Council Records (1831-1959) held at the Surrey History Centre.
Click here to see the catalogue of the St Mary, Ash Vale, Parish Records (1885-1981) held at the Surrey History Centre.
Key buildings, sites, monuments and archaeology
- St Peter’s Church
- Elizabeth Parker’s tomb
- Cemetery Chapel
- Old Rectory
- Ash Grange
- Manor House with Moat, barn, oast house and stables
- Ash Green Farm
- Cannon House and Cottage
- Lavender Cottage
- Tudor House
- Azor Place and Barnhatch
- Post Office and adjoining house
- Bricklayers Arms
- Greyhound Inn
- Medieval pottery found in Ash – see some displayed in Ash Museum
- Bronze age hammer head found in Ash
- See Ash Museum’s website for a number of local history topics
- There is a parish map with pictures of historic buildings on Ash Parish Council’s website