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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. 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.
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