Selborne is situated within the South Downs National Park and is the largest of the three villages in the Parish. It was made famous by naturalist Gilbert White and is home to many fascinating walks, rare natural sights and beautiful views particularly from the top of the Zig Zag Path carved into Selborne Hanger, part of the Hanger’s Way and a route straight up to Selborne Common.

The village is home to Gilbert White’s House and the Oates Collection – a museum which attracts tourists from around the world to view the home of the eighteenth century naturalist and the exhibits of Lawrence Oates who went with Captain Scott on the fated expedition to the South Pole in 1912, and Frank Oates, famous for his journey to the Victoria Falls. Located at the museum is White’s Cafe which also currently houses a village shop.

The village is also home to Selborne Pottery, La Luna Coffee Shop and the Selborne Arms Public House, along with a church, primary school and a recreation ground with playground, pavilion and pre-school.

The Plestor

Opposite Gilbert White’s House, The Wakes, is The Plestor, the village green and former play place of the children. The Plestor is surrounded by listed buildings and leads to the church and the war memorial. If you pass through the churchyard you will reach the Lythes.

St Mary’s Church

St Mary’s Church at the top of The Plestor is open during daylight hours. It was built about 1180 probably on the site of a Saxon church, and has one of the oldest clocks in Hampshire, although with only one hand! It contains two fine stained glass windows commemorating Gilbert White. The first depicts Francis of Assisi, the parish of Selborne and the birds mentioned in ‘The Natural History of Selborne’; the second was dedicated to mark the bicentenary of White’s death. In the churchyard can be seen the grave of Gilbert White and the base of the famous Yew Tree believed to be 1400 years old but sadly blown down in the storms of 1990.

For further information please click here.

Shops, Pubs, Restaurants and Accommodation

The shop at Gilbert White’s House offers an interesting selection of unusual gifts and books and is open when the house is open.

White’s Cafe is open 10am-4pm and currently houses a village shop. Click here for further information.

The Selborne Arms serves a wide selection of local produce from its extensive menu and offers a wide selection of real ales, wines and hot drinks. It is a listed building with a large garden and play area and has real fires and a friendly atmosphere. Click here for further information.

La Luna Coffee Shop offers sandwiches, cakes, hot drinks and a very warm welcome.

There are several places in an around the village which offered bed and breakfast.

For further information click here.

The Lythes and The Hanger

The Lythes to the east of the village and The Hanger overlooking the village with its zig-zag path cut by Gilbert White and his brother, are part of the 275 acres of National Trust meadow, woodland and common and are open all the year. A leaflet describing the walks over the land is on sale in the village Post Office and in the shop at Gilbert White’s House, or visit the National Trust web page on Selborne Common and the Lythe for more details.

Gilbert White’s House

The Rev. Gilbert White (1720-1793) was author of the world famous ‘Natural History of Selborne’ and is regarded as England’s first ecologist. He lived in The Wakes for most of his life. The rooms have been furnished in the 18th century style and include items of his furniture, beautifully embroidered bed hangings and portraits of his family. The original manuscript is also on display.

The garden is well documented by White and has been restored to its 18th century form. Well established is his ‘Quincunx’, Six Quarters displaying many of the fascinating cultivated plants known to White and a naturalists garden with pond and native species.

His brick path leads to the stone ha ha, sundial and part of his fruit wall and, in the park, a revolving ‘Wine Pipe’ surveys the parkland and magnificent beech clad hanger.

Old varieties of vegetables and hot beds for melons and cucumbers add further interest. There is always a good selection of unusual plants for sale.

The Oates Museum

Two interesting exhibitions commemorate the Oates family and their exploits. Captain Lawrence Oates accompanied Scott to the South Pole and uttered the famous words “I am just going outside. I may be some time” as he left his tent to walk to his death: relics of their ill fated expedition are on display. His uncle, Frank Oates, was a remarkable Victorian explorer and his journeys to South America and South Africa are graphically illustrated.

Field Studies Centre

Courses for students from schools and colleges on natural history and the environment are led by highly trained staff. For further details click here.

Selborne Common – information provided by the National Trust Selborne Local Committee

The whole of Selborne Common is designated as ‘open access’ land under the Countryside Rights of Way (CROW) act and is therefore open to walkers. There are also two routes which horse riders can use. To help both riders and walkers, blue topped posts marking the statutory bridleways and permitted route on Selborne Common are clearly marked. The statutory bridleways, which can be used by horse riders, run along the western boundary of the common from east Tisted/Selborne Road to the west end of Gracious Street at Northfield Hill. There is also a statutory bridleway link from Newton Valence to the common, to view the map please click here.