Stockbridge is one of the smallest towns in the UK with an approximate population of 559 people (2016 figure though the increase is expected to be minimal) made up of somewhere in the region of 310 households which are almost all owned or mortgaged by its occupants. Some of the towns historic buildings still stand from their early erection, such as the 18th century Old Town Hall, seeing a mix of modern and Grade II listed buildings which gives Stockbridge a stunning and unique character.
The towns high street is a popular shopping spot filled with independent and boutique shops offering a range of unique clothing and accessory items. Those with a keen eye may even see the trout swimming in the River Test which flows under the high street! Voted the “best foodie street” in the 2010 Google Street View Awards, shoppers can grab refreshments in a one of the tea rooms, pubs or restaurants serving local produce or purchase some of these local fineries in the delicatessen or traditional butchers. Alternatively, go direct to the source by paying a visit to Danebury Vineyards to taste of their award winning still and sparkling white wine or head to Bombay Sapphire’s Gin Distillery for a gin cocktail making masterclass or a tour of the glass houses and grounds.
The oldest fishing club in England, The Houghton Fishing Club, was founded in 1822and still meets in Stockbridge today. The Club is very exclusive in its membership base and has executive rights of over 13 miles of the trout filled waters in and around Stockbridge.
Fishing isn’t the only outdoor sport enjoyed in and around the town though – shooting is a massive recreation in the area and attracts visitors to enjoy trips run by The Glorious Game Team or local sporting agencies including a guided deer stalking and “Shoot With Your Camera” excursion which is an opportunity for attendees to learn about deer in their natural habitat. Horse riding is also a popular pastime and Stockbridge Riding School offers lessons and trips in the surrounding countryside and the towns notable chalk hill and grassland, Stockbridge Down, in all seasons.
There are an abundance walks that can be enjoyed year-round with much of the areas beauty spots and surrounding countryside under the care of the National Trust. Ramblers can walk from the High Street to Stockbridge Marsh beside the River Test or for spectacular views either make their way up to Stockbridge Down or to the Iron Age hill fort in Danebury.
Nature lovers can head to Longstock Water Gardens where hundreds of water plant and flowers (including 40 different types of waterlilies) sit in the 6 acres of water and woodland grounds. The Water Garden attracts visitors from all over the world to see the species originated from an array of countries and to stroll around the woodland walk. Horticultural fans will also enjoy looking around Houghton Lodge Gardens which was a contender in Country Life magazine’s “England’s Favourite Country House” and plays host to many weddings and events throughout the year.
History fans may also head to the historical priory and country estate of Mottisfont Abbey. The house museum regularly features different art exhibitions and visitors can take a stroll around stunning gardens featuring a walled rose garden including ancestral species. Also located a short drive outside of the centre of Stockbridge next the Air Corps Centre is the Army Flying Museum, a popular attraction thanks to its huge collection of over 40 historic aircrafts and interactive exhibits to learn about the history of flying in the British Army.