Nestling in the heart of the West Berkshire Downlands, West Ilsey is a quintessential English village, at its centre is the cricket field and local pub -The Harrow. Its thriving community, the stunning scenery & rich local history dating back to beyond the Doomsday book make it a wonderful place to both live and visit. This small pretty village is set in a hollow beneath the nearby Ridgeway path with beautiful, stunning, rolling countryside.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | AMENITIES & FACILITIES
It has a village Hall that is available for hire and hosts dining evenings, dance lessons, children’s activities under 5’s, stay and play and much more.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | FOOD AND DRINK
Located in the peaceful Berkshire village of West Ilsley, The Harrow is a traditional, family run country pub, which serves good quality homemade food and an excellent selection of wine and beer. Overlooking West Ilsley cricket grounds, it is in the perfect spot to enjoy lunch and drinks while watching a game.
They are also conveniently placed for anyone walking The Ridgeway path wanting to relax for a while before continuing their journey.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | SPORT
There is a Cricket Club in West Ilsley and walking is a regular pursuit.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | SCHOOLS
The local school is the Ilsleys Primary School. It is a small, friendly village primary school, that believes in providing the best opportunities for children of all ages and abilities. They strongly feel that we “achieve more together” and can really make a difference in our children’s lives by building a partnership with the families. The children demonstrate outstanding behaviour and really are a joy to teach. The staff are fully involved in the daily life of the school to ensure that the children get the most out of their learning, enjoy their school and make a positive contribution to the community.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | COMMUNICATION
There is a local website and WIN newspaper can be located there with local information. There are also notice boards outside the village hall.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | CHURCH
All Saints Church is part of the East Downland Benefice.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | HEALTH
The local Doctor’s Surgery is the Downland Practice
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | TRANSPORT
There is a bus service and Downland Volunteers.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | PARISH COUNCIL.
There is a Parish Council.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | OTHER
There is West Ilsley Stables and Dennis Coakley. There is also The Ridgeway that runs just above the village.
WEST ILSLEY | WEST BERKSHIRE VILLAGES | HISTORY
West Ilsley was also the original home of the Morland Brewery – which now lives on only in the brands of beer (Morland Original and Old Speckled Hen) which are brewed by Greene King plc.
Farmer John Morland set up a brewery in1711, and the local ale and porter was sought after in London’s pubs, until the West Ilsley operation relocated to Abingdon in 1887.
West Ilsley had a tough time when Italian Archbishop Marco Antonio de Dominis arrived in the village in 1616 after a row with the Pope in Rome. He scoured local leases for loopholes, extracting £1600 from tenants until villagers complained to the Church. He left for Rome -but was tortured by the Inquisition.
When not clearing the Highlands of rebel clans after the Jacobite rising, The Duke of Cumberland, or ‘the Butcher’. trained horses in West Ilsley from Kates Gore. Although the house has now been demolished, it contained many works of fine art.
Both the leys have strong connections with horse racing, although there are only three stables left these days. Two major stables belonging to Hugh Morrison (East) and Mick Channon (West) and a smaller (but growing) stables in West Ilsley run by Denis Coackley. In the 19th century, champion racehorse Lord Lyon was trained in East Ilsley and went on to be one of the most successful horses ever.