The Fulling Mill (Andrew Mathewson - Wikimedia)
The Watercress King and Queen at the bottom of West Street
Tornado creates excitement at Alresford (Peter Trimming - Wikimedia)
The Sussex Jazz Kings parting a crowded Broad Street
The Sussex Jazz Kings open the Watercress Festival
The Watercress King and Queen set off in style!
New Alresford's Famous "Broad Street"
The early morning sun picks out East Street
West Street with a shaft of Early Morning Sun
A handsome Georgian town, Alresford (pronounced ‘Allsford’) is the perfect place to spend a weekend whilst playing our course. Ideal for gentle strolling, there is plenty to see in the town and by its picturesque riverside. Voted Country Life’s “Favourite Market Town” in the South East, Alresford is known for its specialist shops, old-fashioned inns, smart bistros and traditional tea rooms. It is also known as the UK’s capital of watercress farming and as the home of the Mid-Hants Steam railway – the Watercress Line.
Why not come for a weekend and enjoy our gem of a course and this gem of a town!
Explore Alresford via its own fact-filled website: www.alresford.org
A Brief History
Alresford’s clear chalk streams have attracted people for many centuries with evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman occupation on numerous sites in the area.
Henri de Blois, brother of King Stephen and Bishop of Winchester, is credited with the idea of building the Great Weir or dam and designing the town of Novum Forum, which soon became New Alresford. He died before the completion of the project and Godfrey de Lucy, his successor as bishop (1189-1204), finished Alresford’s T-shaped town centre as we see it today.
During the reign of Henry VIII, clothiers, dyers and tanners were recorded as living here and fulling and corn mills operated. A fine example of a 13th century fulling mill straddles the River Alre (sometimes spelt Arle). Follow the riverside walk to discover this pretty thatched and timber-framed building, now a private residence.
The town’s history is punctuated with fires despite the abundance of water in the area. The buildings you see today rose from the ashes of a series of great fires in the 17th century.
Watercress has always grown wild in the chalk streams and ditches in and around the town, and was probably picked and eaten by local people for centuries. It was far too perishable to be transported by horse and cart and so only became a commercial proposition when the railway arrived in the 1860s. You can still ride the Watercress Line today – hop on board one of the powerful steam locomotives for the 10-mile trip to Alton, or simply take in the sights, sounds and smells of the superbly restored station.
© New Alresford Chamber of Commerce