Smannell Parish Council
The parish of Smannell is situated to the north east of Andover, and incorporates the settlements of East Anton, Finkley, Little London, Smannell, Upper Enham and Woodhouse. These settlements are separated by farmland and interconnected by a matrix of footpaths and roads.
The name Smannell is thought to mean 'The place of the swineherds', a clearing in the forest where pigs were encouraged to grub out trees and undergrowth. There has been a settlement at Smannell and nearby Woodhouse since earliest times. The Saxons lived here and the Romans before them built two of their main highways through this district, the Portway and Harroway. Now, five roads meet in the centre of the village by the Oak Inn.
While Smannell is really only a hamlel, there is the church of Christ Church designed by William White in 1857 and very like his church at Hatherden nearby. Flint and brick outside with a peculiar bellcote lined with brick inside and patterned.
The positions of the settlements have their roots in early history, which has influenced the position of the existing roads and footpaths. Their historical function was likely to be utilitarian, in terms of access for farm and woodland and droving of animals etc, or strategic, with respect to the two principal Roman Roads intersecting on the boundary of the Parish.
The Parish is characterised by strong, rolling landforms, rising gently to domed hilltops and dissected by dry river valleys. A thick layer of chalk with flint produces softer contours and heavy moist soils which have retained their woodland cover. Sinuous woodlands cling to the steep slopes and with interconnected hedgerow networks, create a strong sense of enclosure in some areas.
The parish is situated on a major aquifer, a layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, chalk or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted. This provides a major water resource for Andover and its population. The soils are shallow in places allowing liquid discharges to appear in low lying areas.
A section of the parish is within the North West Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Wooded areas in the AONB are planted with beech and conifers which were once managed by the Forestry Commission but are now in private hands.