Medstead has a very lively community life, with the area’s many riding stables bringing an equestrian feel to the area. Local activities range from Scouts, Cubs and children’s drama to gardening and model car racing. There are badminton, tennis and bowls clubs, and the village team plays cricket in the Hampshire League. The amateur Medstead Players present two shows in the village hall most years, and a fête is held on the village green each July. The local pub, the Castle of Comfort, is a child-friendly inn with a family garden. Jane Austen, after whom the development is named, lived just three and a half miles away in Chawton, where her house is today a museum of worldwide importance.
From Alton railway station, just over five miles away, trains leave for Farnham, Woking and London approximately every half hour. The journey to London Waterloo takes just over an hour. Local bus services run to Winchester and Alton, from where there are connections to Farnham and Guildford. Junction 7 of the M3 is less than 11 miles from the development, and the M25 London Orbital Motorway is just 40 minutes’ drive away.
The Watercress Line
Austen Fields is just yards away from the route of the Watercress Line, a popular heritage steam railway that runs from Alton to Alresford, adding some spectacular colour to the local landscape. In addition to their normal services, which stop at Medstead station, the line carries ‘Specials’ including Santa and Real Ale trains.
The small selection of shops close to Austen Fields includes a hardware store, a butcher, a greengrocer and a café bar. Around half a mile away on Winchester Road there is a pharmacy, a Tesco Express, an off-licence and, a little further on, a Co-op food store. Medstead village has a grocer and newsagent, and a hardware store that incorporates the village post office. There is a good mixture of supermarkets, high street stores and independent traders in Alton, five miles away, and an even wider choice in Winchester, 13 miles to the east.
There are facilities for recycling glass at both Medstead Village Hall and in the car park behind the shops in Winchester Road, where there are also receptacles for textiles.
Education & Health
Medstead C of E Primary shares a site with a communityrun nursery, and there is additional nursery provision at St Lucy’s Preschool in Medstead Manor, managed by the Convent of St Lucy. Medstead is in the catchment area for Amery Hill Secondary in Alton, an Academy school that was awarded Leading Edge status in 2010. The Watercress Medical Group, with six GPs and full nursing and dispensary support, is just a few minutes’ walk from the development, and there is a choice of dentists in Alton.