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Flanked by rolling fields, and rural Surrey villages, The Shipley Bridge has been welcoming thirsty patrons through its doors for more than 150 years.
Tucked away at the bottom of an old country lane, The Shipley Bridge is a 19th century inn, with a whitewashed exterior and charming slate-tiled roof. Located in the Surrey parish of Burstow, a short drive from the lovely Harewoods Estate and the picturesque village of Outwood, it’s also just minutes from the edge of Gatwick Airport. So whether exploring the wonderful Surrey countryside, or stopping over before a flight, the Shipley Bridge is a welcoming destination for a delicious pub meal.
Sat between the villages of Smallfield and Copthorne, The Shipley Bridge offers easy access to Surrey’s charming villages and towns, as well as its magnificent countryside. Relaxing under the leafy trees in the wide-open beer garden on a summer’s day, it’s hard to believe that one of Europe’s most popular airports is just down the road. And in the colder months, when the open fires are lit and the cosy atmosphere is abuzz with people supping perfectly-poured pints of cask ale, this rustic old country pub has a special charm all of its own.Read more...
Whilst it’s difficult to date The Shipley Bridge precisely, the building itself is clearly visible on mid-nineteenth century maps, and is noted as an inn on maps from the 1890s. By the early 1900s meanwhile, the Shipley Bridge Inn was supplied by Southdowns & East Grinstead who, according to the hand-painted sign outside the inn, were ‘brewers of fine ale and stout”.
The inn’s name remains more of a mystery, however. The most plausible explanation would seem to come from the name Shipley, which derives from the Old English ‘sepelei’, meaning a meadow or pasture where sheep are kept. There is a little bridge just along the road from the pub, crossing the Burstow Stream, which at one time would have been used by local farmers to shepherd their flock from one grazing spot to another. The inn was surrounded all sides by open fields and farms. Indeed there is photographic evidence of small herds of cattle meandering their way down Antlands Lane past The Shipley Bridge, into the meadows beyond.
In the early 1900s, Antlands Lane was the main thoroughfare linking Horley in the west, with East Grinstead in the east. Local farmers would stop off en route to the market at East Grinstead, where traders from London would come to barter for their crops.
Burstow Parish meanwhile used to be one of the seats of the iron industry in the Weald, between the North and South Downs. Both the undulating chalk hills of the North Downs and the Surrey Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are easily accessible from The Shipley Bridge. Yet an even bigger draw is the lovely countryside around the Harewoods Estate, near the pretty village of Outwoods, only five miles north from the inn. Picturesque footpaths and bridleways criss-cross their way through farmland, meadows and woodland, taking in abundant wild flowers, ancient common, and open marshes where snipe and woodcocks come to nest.
Whether you are walking, or on your bike, The Shipley Bridge makes a great base from which to explore the Tandridge Border Path. This 50-mile circular walk takes you around Tandridge's borders... heading north towards Smallfield and on to South Nutfield, or south towards Copthorne then east towards Felbridge. It’s a fully waymarked walk that guides you through a rich landscape of open meadows, chalk hills and ancient bridleways. From the The Shipley Bridge, turn left and head east along Antlands Lane East, joining the trail on Church Road.
If you choose to follow the trail clockwise you’ll arrive at St. Bartholomew’s Church, a Grade I listed 11th century church with a wooden spire. The oldest part of the church, the nave’s north wall, displays both Saxon herringbone stonework and a blocked Saxon window, while a Norman window is still in place on the north wall. The church is the final resting place of John Flamstead, who was rector of Burstow until 1719. He was also the first Royal Astronomer to Charles II, and his work mapping star positions at Greenwich Observatory was instrumental in improving navigation at sea. A star commemorates his achievements, on the window above the altar.
Set in a unique location, and offering a tempting array of traditional pub classics, an ever-changing roster of seasonal specials, plus homely Sunday roasts with all the trimmings, The Shipley Bridge is special pub. Whether you are taking in Surrey’s many areas of outstanding natural beauty, or just fancy a hearty pub meal rather than whatever the airport has to offer, you’re sure to leave content when you pay a visit to The Shipley Bridge.Show less...