Opposite Gilbert White’s House, The Wakes, is The Plestor, the village green and former play place of the children. Opening onto The Plestor is The Old Bakehouse Craft Centre which houses a number of small businesses, including a pottery a picture framer and glass studio.
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. 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 base of the famous Yew Tree believed to be 1400 years old but sadly blown down in the storms of 1990 and the grave of Gilbert White.
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Shops, Pubs, Restaurants and Accommodation
Selborne Post Office, a Post Office and fully stocked village store selling a wide range of goods including sandwiches.
The shop at Gilbert White’s House offers an interesting selection of unusual gifts and books and is open when the house is open.
There are two pubs in the village, The Queens (currently closed) and The Selborne Arms, which provide tea and coffee as well as lunch and evening meals. Light lunches, coffee and afternoon teas are also available at the award winning Tea Parlour in Gilbert White’s House.
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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 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 restoration to its 18th century form is nearly complete. Already established are his ‘Quincunx’, Six Quarters displaying many of the fascinating cultivated plants known to White and 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.