Over the air­waves

BBC Sur­rey’s Mark Carter can’t quite get enough of his ‘ home­town’ and thinks ev­ery­one should pay a visit

Surrey Life - - Inside -

Mark Carter fills in for James Can­non

God­stone is a truly splen­did vil­lage. Okay, so I may be a tad bi­ased, as it’s been my home for the past six years but in that time I’ve been con­stantly in awe of not only the stun­ning scenery and the range of fab­u­lous pubs, restau­rants and cafés but also a gen­uine sense of com­mu­nity.

First, the food. Many years ago, long be­fore mov­ing to God­stone, I was told by an old work col­league that The Coach House was the place to re­ally im­press a po­ten­tial part­ner. While it might not have de­liv­ered on the prom­ise of un­re­quited love, I’ve been back to this tra­di­tional din­ing es­tab­lish­ment on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions. The Steak Diane, cooked at the ta­ble, tastes sub­lime. Then there’s the newly re­fur­bished White Hart over­look­ing God­stone Green. Un­til re­cently, this was part of the Beefeater chain and while al­ways a friendly at­mos­phere, it was in des­per­ate need of a facelift. This year, that wish was fi­nally granted, and £2mil­lion later, this gem of a build­ing is now once again back to its best. The for­mer coach­ing inn, dat­ing back to the 16th cen­tury, has been metic­u­lously ren­o­vated whilst main­tain­ing many orig­i­nal pe­riod fea­tures. And for day­time din­ing, I’ve also got to men­tion the mag­nif­i­cent Green Rooms, where you’re al­ways guar­an­teed a warm wel­come from hus­band and wife team Jeremy and Sylvia. They were wor­thy fi­nal­ists in the 2017 Sur­rey Life Food and Drink Awards too.

As you can tell, food plays an im­por­tant part in my life, al­though you’d never tell from my svelte fig­ure. That said, God­stone is also the per­fect place to walk off all of those ex­tra calo­ries and each time we ven­ture out as a fam­ily, we’re still dis­cov­er­ing as yet un­ex­plored pub­lic foot­paths and bri­dle­ways. There’s a won­der­ful jaunt, for ex­am­ple, that takes you from God­stone to the neigh­bour­ing vil­lage of Tan­dridge. Or, if you’re feel­ing fit, make your way to the top of Til­burstow Hill for a com­mand­ing view over the Weald.

God­stone is also a great place to bring up a fam­ily. My chil­dren Lily and Wil­liam are mem­bers of the lo­cal Beaver and Cub packs and par­tic­i­pate in a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties, from coun­try­side ram­bles to the mov­ing Re­mem­brance Day pa­rade, where each Novem­ber they march from the scout hut on the Green to the his­toric St Nicholas Church, pay­ing their re­spects to the God­stone men and women who lost their lives in con­flict. In fact, there is a very in­for­ma­tive slot in the lo­cal Par­ish mag­a­zine each month, which fo­cuses on this as­pect of the his­tory of the vil­lage. This de­light­ful lit­tle book­let also high­lights just how many other clubs and or­gan­i­sa­tions there are in the vicin­ity, en­abling you to re­ally im­merse your­self in lo­cal life.

To quote that overused cliché there re­ally is some­thing for ev­ery­one in God­stone, from the Womens In­sti­tute through to clubs ded­i­cated to pho­tog­ra­phy, clocks, walk­ing and much more. Not so long ago, we even passed an en­joy­able Sat­ur­day evening in the White Hart Barn, savour­ing the de­lights of the “Pud­ding Club” – I kid you not – and ev­ery­one clapped as a range of de­li­cious desserts were brought in from the kitchen. We seem to be back on the sub­ject of food once more... There’s a pat­tern emerg­ing!

“As you can tell, food plays an im­por­tant part in my life, al­though you’d never tell from my svelte fig­ure”

*James Can­non is on hol­i­day

- Tune in to Mark Carter’s Laid Back Sun­day, each Sun­day af­ter­noon from 3pm to 5pm on BBC Sur­rey. Lis­ten on 104/104.6FM, DAB, On­line and Free­view 722 and don’t for­get to vote for your BBC Sur­rey Com­mu­nity He­roes 2018 - email he­roes@ bbc.co.uk be­fore mid­night on Oc­to­ber 7.

WITH MARK CARTER

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