WITH a history traced to the Domesday book, the picture-perfect English village of Compton makes up part of the Octagon parish.
Situated near the Hampshire border, peaceful Compton is well-known for the rolling hills and peaceful countryside.
But delving a little deeper into village life reveals a cheerful community.
Julia Moulton sits on Compton Parish Council.
“The community is very close and small enough for most people to either know each other or know of each other,” she said.
“A strong community spirit lives at the heart of this rural parish. Within living memory, there was a number of small shops, including a butcher, baker, shoemaker, as well as the general store and post office.”
Jo Stickley is manager of the pre-school.
“We have been providing childcare for 25 years and operate from Compton Parish Room every weekday,” said Jo.
“We include regular visits to the shop, the church, the school, the mobile library bus and various village gardens to encourage and develop the children’s interests.
“Our school visits help to remove the mystic of big school, ensuring a smooth transfer into school life for the young children.
“We are often found around the village and the surrounding woods and fields, using our renowned walking rope and florescent jackets to keep safe. Whenever anything interesting is going on, we are there watching and commenting!”
“Last year the vicarage’s walled garden was developed for our use by kind permission of the vicar and his wife and with great support from parents and the community as part of our 25th anniversary,” said Jo.
Families are also lucky to have a good primary school on their doorstep.
“Compton and Upmarden Primary School had an Ofsted inspection just before Christmas. It was considered to be a good school where behaviour and safety were outstanding,” said a spokeswoman for the school.
“We were also mentioned in the national press as being one of the top 20 primary schools in the country. A significant event this year is that headteacher Joan Burnett is retiring at Easter after 12 years at the school.
“The new school hall, completed 18 months ago, has had a major impact on the school and community, providing a wonderful space for a wide range of events.”
The school has close connections with St Mary’s Church. The church is part of the Octagon group of parishes which takes in the eight churches of Compton, Forestside, North Marden, East Marden, Racton, Stansted, Stoughton and Up Marden.
The village is home to Littlegreen School, which caters for boys who have social, behavioural or emotional difficulties. Pupils play a big part in community life, and in December they swam a combined total of 100 lengths at the Westgate Leisure Centre.
“It was great to see them all working together for such a good cause,” said teacher Kate Clark.
Picturesque Compton is a popular place for those who enjoy the great outdoors. A six mile long equestrian cross-country course is set at 100 Acres Farm and residents haven’t missed a trick converting farm buildings into luxury holiday destinations to attract tourists.
But the heart of the community lies in the busy village shop.
“The award-winning local Village Shop and Tea Room is a fantastic success story, bringing the local community together and acting as a welcoming haven for residents, cyclists and walkers looking for a friendly place to take a coffee break and catch up on current news,” said Cllr Moulton.
“The shop also provides opportunities for youngsters to gain their first experience of working with the public.
“The way of life may have changed in this rural, picturesque part of the world, but the strong sense of community lives on.”