Pennington Village is hub of community activity and local commerce. There are three schools, a day nursery, and two preschools, which together provide early through secondary education for ages three months to 16 years old. The recreation centre at Priestlands has a 25 metre swimming pool, a gym, and other sports facilities.
Pennington Common (an SSSI) and the Recreation Ground are used for outdoor recreation and sports. There is a footpath through Widbury’s Copse from the Common to Milford Road, and the Pennington Allotments are beside Deneside Copse. There are two pubs, a sports club, a scout hut, the WI hall, numerous shops, a variety of businesses, St Marks church and St Marks church hall.
As set out in the Future & Planning section, substantial residential development is proposed for the south-west section of the Pennington Village area (also the north-west section of the Lower Pennington area), both to the north and south of Milford Road.
Schools, preschools and nursery
Overall, the early years providers and schools in Pennington provide for an age range from 3 months to 16 years old.
Little Orchard Day Nursery
Little Orchard is situated in a converted house with a purpose built extension and garden, next to the WI hall opposite Pennington Common. The Nursery is split into three areas, Ladybirds, Pippins and Saplings, corresponding to age groups.
Little Wrens Pre-school
Little Wrens is situated in the cricket pavilion at Pennington Sports Field. Generally the ratio of staff to children is 1:4 (ages 2-3) and 1:8 (ages 3-5).
Pennington Village Pre-school
Situated to the rear of Pennington Infant School on Priestlands, Pennington Village Pre-School provides for children from 2 to 5 years.
Pennington Infant School
The infant school was built in 1967, replacing the earlier infant school that is now the white building in front of St Marks Church Centre (itself dating from 1886). The school’s headteacher is Miss Sarah Draper and the three previous heads were Mrs Thomas, Mrs Windram and Mrs O’Grady.
Pennington Junior School
The junior school is associated with the Church of England and was initially constructed in in 1960, replacing the earlier junior school that was in the Old School building that is now in the centre of Pennington Village (itself dating from 1852). The school’s headteacher is Mrs Saxby.
Priestlands Secondary School
Priestlands is a mixed 11-16 comprehensive school. Set in the 25 acre site of the former Priestlands farm and house, it is bordered by woodlands and lakes, and the schools own walled garden. The site is shared with Pennington Infant and Junior Schools and the Health & Leisure Centre. The premises includes a listed building (the former Priestlands House), which dates back to the eighteenth century and now houses superb facilities for Art, Business Studies and Health Education. There is excellent specialist Science accommodation, incorporating nine laboratories, an ICT suite and a prep room surrounding an open courtyard, which enables the school to offer a full programme in Science to every student.
Priestlands have had five successful Ofsted reports. In the last inspection (May 2012), under the new tougher framework, the school was judged Good. Inspectors told the school that Priestlands was better in every respect than in 2008, when it was judged Outstanding.
The headteacher is Mr Willsher.
New Forest Health and Leisure Centre at Priestlands
The Health and Leisure Centre at Priestlands is open to the public (as well as being used by the secondary school). The facilities are excellent and include a 25 metre swimming pool, a learner pool, a floodlit astro-turf, a fully equipped gym with 44 stations, fitness studios, a large sports hall for badminton, basketball and five-a-side, and treatment rooms.
Fitness classes include spin, body pump, body attack, zumba, HIIT, stretching, kettlebells, and aerobics. The pools open early in the morning plus offer regular lunchtime and evening sessions, which are complemented by further slots during the day. The centre also runs programes specifically for children, in particular during the school holidays.
External clubs using the Health Centre as their base are listed in the Activities section.
St Marks Church and Church Hall
St Marks is a CofE church, which has been at the centre of Pennington’s community since 1859, when it was built to replace a smaller chapel that had been on the same site. The church building is made from two tones of brick, and inside there are unique and beautiful wall paintings.
Services are held on Sunday and some Wednesday evenings (check the church website for the services scheduled and timings).
St Mark’s Church Hall, which is located away from the church and off of The Square in the centre of Pennington, is a great venue for meetings, sales, instruction classes, wedding receptions, birthday parties and is available for hire. The hall has its own dedicated parking. The church hall team have received the highest level of food hygiene for their facilities.
Pennington Common is part of the New Forest National Park, and is a Natural England SSSI. It is legally owned by the Lymington & Pennington Town Council, who manage the land for the benefit of the community.
The Town Council receives funding for managing the Common from Natural England and New Forest National Park Authority. The Town Council contracts with third parties to manage the Common in line with the guidance issued by these funding bodies.
Pride in Pennington is an ongoing campaign run by local residents to address the recurring issue of dog walkers not clearing up after their animals, which is dangerous to children who play on the Common and unpleasant for everyone else. There are also statutory penalties in place for dog walkers that don’t keep the Common clean, however enforcement of these laws by local authorities appears to be absent.
No longer do New Forest ponies graze the meadow grasses, or do workers wives use the gauze bushes to hang their laundry in the sun. The Common is now used for leisure pursuits, play, and events.
Activities on the common (also see Activities for more detail):
- Dog walking/walking
- Children’s playground
- Community rounders matches (organised sporadically)
- Horse riding
- The old gravel pit is redeveloped intermittently by the latest generation of BMXers/mountain bikers. Before the skatepark at Woodside was originally erected in 2003, the ‘BMX track’ on Pennington Common was in constant use.
Events held on the Common include:
- Coles Fun Fayre (annually)
- The Circus (annually)
- Until 2014, the Lymington & Pennington Community Carnival was – as the name suggests – a carnival that started on Pennington Common before passing through Pennington Village on its way to and then through Lymington. However, as of 2014 the organisers of the Carnival, Lymington Lions, have cut Pennington out of what is now ‘Lymington’s Carnival’.
- Since summer 2016, the Pennington Residents Association – Events Committee have held an annual summer event on the Common. In 2016, this took the form of a very successful Donkey Derby (see our Blog for photos and newsclippings related to the event).
Pennington Recreation Ground
Previously part of the Yaldhurst estate and acquired by the previous Borough council, the recreation ground is used by local football teams including youth club Lymington sprites, and mens teams of AFC Pennington.
The grounds are also used for dog walking, by the scouts and Little Wrens preschool, and for an annual fireworks display organised by the Lymington Rotary Club.
The Musketeer is very popular with local residents, in particular on quiz nights (Tuesdays), Folk music nights (Thursdays), and during the beer and cider festival in August.
The pub has been listed in the Good Pubs Guide, and is listed as an Asset of Community Value by New Forest District Council.
The pub was built in 1905 on the site of its burnt-down predecessor, the Lion and Lamb. It has a lounge bar, with open fires and pew-like window seating, a family room (often used for meetings by community groups), and a noteworthy inn sign. Home-cooked meals, soups and sandwiches are available lunch time and early evening. The adjacent building, with semi-circular windows, was built as a stable but never used as such.
The White Heart
The White Heart is a traditional 200 year old inn sitting on the border of Pennington & Lymington, and attracts visitors from a wide catchment.
With a traditional bar area, contemporary lounge, large restaurant and garden there is plenty of space to relax, unwind, enjoy a drink, light snack or a full three course meal.
The White Heart runs a quiz night every Monday, and runs its own beer and cider festival in the summer.
Sports and social club
Pennington Sports and Social club is the 2016 Club Mirror Community Club of the Year!
The offering includes low bar prices, Sky and BT Sports packages, live music, pool, snooker, darts, jukebox, skittles, monthly family events & disco, children’s outdoor play area, free WiFi, gaming machines and an annual beer and cider fesitALE.
The 1st Pennington Troop joined 1st Lymington in 1999 because no leaders could be found . This led to the two groups amalgamating and Lymington scout hut being sold in 2004. The new group called 1st Lymington and Pennington moved to the Pennington HQ which has better parking facilities and Pennington recreation ground next door. A new Minibus & Mess Tent was acquired before a new Oak Floor was laid in the hut in September 2006 . An extension to the end of Scout Hut was built (December 2006) with a new Office and Large Tent store.
Pennington Womens’ Institute
Pennington W.I. was formed in 1923. The hall has wooden floors, a fully functioning kitchen, and a stage.
The W.I. meet regularly at the hall for talks, meetings, stitching, quizzes, crafts, lunches, community events and fundraising. The W.I. also take excursions including theatre trips and more.
The hall is available for hire.
The allotments in Pennington can be leased from the Town Council for growing your own fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. They are a fantastic sight and a hub of activity.
Newlease and Widbury’s Copse
The Newlease and Widbury’s copse runs from near to the top of Pennington Common to Milford Road. A footpath runs through the copse parallel to Avon Water and passes by residential areas including The Oval, Efford Way, and Deneside Copse. At Deneside Copse, the path passes Pennington Allotments, which are a hive of activity, and then runs downhill to Milford Road.
At Milford Road, we’d suggest crossing over and turning right. Walk for 50 metres and you’ll see another footpath heading south across the fields of Lower Pennington. The path can be followed down to the marshes and The Solent Way, or straight across to The Chequers Inn (via the path that passes from Lower Pennington Lane to Ridgeway Lane next to Northfields Nurseries).
Shops and businesses
The 20 businesses and shops located in and around Pennington Village Square and at Fox Pond are listed below. These businesses are listed north to south.
Note that since Pennington has a full service accountancy firm in its centre, there are also a lot of companies registered in Pennington Square who are not physically located in the area. A list of all companies legally registered in Pennington Square is provided here, but these are not detailed below.
For as long as we can remember, this family run business has been selling used cars on Ramley Road next to the Common.
Lymington Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic:
Run by local couple Helen and Matthew Ruane, these Chartered Physiotherapists combined have 17 years experience both in private practice and the NHS.
Underwood Barron Chartered Accountants:
From its offices in Southampton and Pennington, Underwood Barron have provided accounting and taxation services to a wide range of family businesses and their owners since 1965. The firm can also act as registered auditors. There is a wide range of age and experience amongst the firms three partners and twenty staff.
Tesco Express & OneStop:
These shops – both ultimately owned by Tesco – provide a selection of daily groceries to Pennigton residents.
(No website link considered necessary!)
Barry Framptons Ltd:
Operating from next to the Square, this successful local plumbing and heating business is well known in the wider community.
Hofgartners’ Cutting & Color Lounge:
A friendly, family run salon that has been creating beautiful hair design since 2004 to a high professional finish.
Pennington Fish & Chip Shop:
For as long as we can remember, there’s been a chip shop in Pennington square. The shop is very popular locally, as evidenced by the reviews we’ve found online:
Pennington Mobility & Pharmacy:
A family run business, the pharmacy has been open since 2002 and expanded next door into selling mobility and living aid products in 2009.
JH Joinery & Forest Oak Builders:
With over 50 years combined experience in the building trade can rely on the co-directors Ray Whitlock and Rob Smith to get your project done to the highest standards.
Belmore Lodge (Colten Care):
Belmore Lodge is a Colten Care home, part of an independent and family–run group who aim to set the highest standards in all aspects of care for the elderly. There are 55 well-appointed bedrooms, each with ensuite facilities.
Based at Pennington Cross, Thorp Motors are a used car dealer and have been established since 1968.
Shell Petrol Station:
Petrol, Diesel, and a car wash. (No website link considered necessary)
based at Foxpond, Hills are a family-run car dealer specialising in Sports and Prestige cars. Hills have over 60 years experience in the motor trade and have established a reputation for stocking some of the finest examples available in the market today.
A great Chinese takeaway based at Foxpond, which also offers delivery. (No website known)
Based at Foxpond, Roadrunner’s team are car part specialists who stock and can quickly order all types of auto parts.
Situated at Foxpond, Forest Tandoori offers mouth watering Indian takeaway made with the freshest ingredients from a chef with over 35 years of cooking experience.
A convenience and groceries shop from the national McColls chain situated at Foxpond.
(No website link considered necessary)
Tres Bon Fish & Chips:
A high quality fish and chips shop based at Foxpond. Again, the online reviews are fantastic: