Sonning Common is a village and civil parish in a relatively flat part of the Chiltern Hills (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) in South Oxfordshire, 2.5 miles north of Reading and 3.5 miles from Henley-On-Thames. The name is literal from its historical status of common grazing land belonging to Sonning parish.
As of 2017 Sonning Common's population is 3105 in over 1600 households.*
Most amenities are to be found on Wood Lane which has a health centre, village hall, shops, restaurants and a small supermarket. Sonning Common also has The Herb Farm garden centre (with a Saxon layout maze) and a gymnastics club.
There are three children's playgrounds, three public houses and public land, Millenium Green which was created to celebrate the turn of the Millennium.
Sonning Common has a primary school, and a secondary school called Chiltern Edge. There is also a special needs school, Bishopswood which serves the wider area.
During the English Civil War the village itself did not exist: being an area of open land east of the route between Reading and Oxford, which was King Charles I's headquarters. In 1647 after the end of the first civil war, the King was imprisoned at nearby Caversham House (now the location of BBC Monitoring in Caversham); however he was allowed out under escort to play bowls at an inn (latterly called "The King Charles Head") near Goring Heath.
The site of the village has been called "Sonning Common" since at least the 1640s, long before any fixed settlement existed. The name derives from its historical status of common grazing land belonging to Sonning parish. Both places have been spelt 'Sunning' after the Old English 'Sunna', a Saxon chief.
Mapledurham is a small village, civil parish and country estate beside the River Thames in southern Oxfordshire. The Mapledurham estate owns much of the village and parish. It includes the Mapledurham Watermill, a historic and still operational watermill on the River Thames, and Mapledurham House, an Elizabethan stately home.
Because of its picturesque situation, and lack of through traffic, Mapledurham has been used as a set for several films, including the 1976 thriller The Eagle Has Landed. The village, house and mill form something of a local tourist attraction, and on summer weekends the village can be reached by a boat service from Reading
Mapledurham is also the name of an electoral ward in Caversham Heights marked by a sign at the top of Woodcote Road (A4074). This part of Caversham Heights includes Mapledurham playing fields and pavillion.
Kidmore End is a village and civil parish in South Oxfordshire 6 miles north of Reading.
The village is dispersed into four built-up streets or small clusters of homes and has half-timbered cottages, housing ranging from early Georgian to a few late 20th century and early 21st century homes and a public house, the New Inn.
Saint John the Baptist parish church was built in 1852. The village school was opened in 1856 and is now a Church of England primary school. The nearest shop, café and small business services are in Sonning Commong, half a mile away.
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Sources and Links
Wikipedia on Sunna, a Saxon Chief https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunna_(Saxon_chief)
* Sonning Common Parish Council http://www.sonningcommonparishcouncil.org.uk/index.php
The Chilterns http://www.chilternsaonb.org
The Herb Farm http://www.herbfarm.co.uk
Kennylands Gymnastics http://kennylandsgymnastics.com
Sonning Common primary school http://sonningcommonprimary.co.uk
Chiltern Edge secondary school http://www.chilternedge.oxon.sch.uk
The Butchers Arms public house http://www.thebutchersarmspub.co.uk/Development
The Hare and Hounds public house http://www.hareandhoundssonningcommon.co.uk
Bird in Hand public house http://www.birdinhandsonningcommon.com/home.php
Mapledurham Estate http://www.mapledurham.co.uk/
Mapledurham playing fields http://www.wadra.org.uk/mapledurham
The New Inn, Kidmore End http://www.thenewinnkidmoreend.co.uk/