The southern part of the parish, including St. Peter's Church and Ash village, is on the London Clay; but the greater portion, once including Frimley, covers the western side of the ridge of Bagshot Sands, which is divided from Chobham Ridges by the dip through which the Basingstoke Canal and railway run, and is known as Ash Common, Fox Hills and Claygate Common (now in Surrey Wildlife Trust and MoD use).
Ash Green is the community closer to the Hog's Back, along which the east-west A31 runs, and has Whitegate Copse and arable fields as a green buffer on all sides, though has no listed buildings.
The hamlet used to be served by Ash Green Halt. The railway station had two platforms and was situated on the Tongham branch of the Alton line before becoming disused in 1937 along with Tongham railway station and ultimately the branch closing. Though the tracks have been long removed, the stretch of land from Tongham through Christmas Pie, where the route of the branch line still exists, is a popular attraction for cyclists and walkers. Ash Green Halt's station building, complete with its Southern Railway-style sign, still stands and has been converted into a house.
From the prehistoric period, a few neolithic implements have been found and these are now in the Surrey Archaeological Society's Museum at Guildford.
There is no mention of a mill under Henley in Domesday Book, but it is certain that a mill existed at Ash from comparatively early times, for in 1322 the Abbot of Chertsey ordered a new windmill to be built at Ash. Windmills were comparatively new in England then, and it may have been in place of a small water-mill of earlier date. There seems no later record of it.
The two manors existed. Ash (Esche, 7th century; Asshe, Assche, 14th century) shares with the other a prominent social history starting with at least the Norman period of the Domesday book whose commissioners wrote "Azor granted [part of Henley known as Ash] for his soul to Chertsey in the time of King William. Later a 1279 chartulary of Chertsey Abbey records the prohibition of any perpetual title of institutions (as the Abbey states, vulgarly called the prohibition of mortmain) as led here to 11 acres in Ash with sufficient common pasture for his flocks and herds being held by Robert de Zathe, while Geoffrey de Bacsete (Bagshot) and his brother William had 28 acres. The Atwaters of West Clandon also held land in Ash. Nonetheless, from the church's freehold, overall control passed from 1537 in the Dissolution of the Monasteries to Winchester College. Henley, also seen as Henle, (14th century) and Suth henle and Henle on the Heth usually to distinguish Henley on Thames has hosted a long list of prominent figures. The de Henley, de Molyns , the crown as owner from Edward I to Charles I, Arthur Squib whose daughter married its next owner John Glynne, occupied briefly by the Duke of Roxburgh then via Glynne's granddaughter's husband, Sir Richard Child, created Earl of Tylney it then passed to ambassador and diplomat Solomon Dayrolles, upon whose death John Halsey bought it, whose family owned it from the 18th to 20th centuries.
The church is dedicated to St Peter, which distinguishes it from the other English places named Ash; Ash, in Kent, near Dartford, has a church to St Peter and St Paul.
Declared a parish, under Gilbert's Act, Ash was partly in the hundred of Godley and partly in Woking Hundred. It included in 1848 Frimley (a chapelry) and Normandy tything so altogether at that time had 2,236 inhabitants. The parish was and is intersected by the Basingstoke Canal and a branch of the South Western Main Line and comprised, with Normandy in, about 4,000 acres (1,600 ha), of which 2,041 acres (826 ha) were common or waste, see geology under Surrey, i.e. wet lowland heath; (and including Frimley, about 10,015 acres). The soil of Ash yielded sandstone, dug from its common, used for building for centuries; and:
[Locally] pebbles are found, susceptible of a bright polish, which are commonly called Bagshot diamonds. The village is long and scattered, and situated in a dreary part of the country: south-eastward of it is Henley Park, which, being on an eminence, forms a beautiful contrast with the wild heath around. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books [for land tax liability] at £15. 18. 11½.; net income, £473; patrons, the Warden and Fellows of Winchester College. The church [before] the dissolution of monasteries, was attached to the abbey of Chertsey... Dr. Young is said to have written a portion of the Night-Thoughts at the rectory-house, then the residence of Dr. Harris, who married a sister of the poet, and was incumbent from 1718 to 1759.
Young's poem is particularly noted for original adages such as "procrastination is the thief of time". Wyke near Worplesdon was added to the parish in 1880, however has changed parish council to that of Normandy.
In 1911 Henley Park, and two in Normandy were recorded as significant historic homes.
Henley Park estate can be traced back to the Domesday Book, when it was held by Azor, one of the guards of Edward the Confessor. The land was later owned by Chertsey Abbey, who leased it to the de Henley family. The estate passed through many hands, including the English Civil War rebel, John Glynne MP. Later tenants included Lord Pirbright, who entertained King Edward VII, and Sir Owen and Lady Roberts. During World War I, the house was used as an auxiliary hospital, and in the mid 20th century the estate was developed as a factory. It has since been restored to residential use.
The following are listed buildings:St Peter's Church – Grade II*
Azar Place – Grade II
Tudor House – Grade II
Ashe Grange – Grade II
Oast house, Stable, Barn south of Ash Manor House – Grade II
York House – Grade II
Hartshorn – Grade II
92 Ash Street – Grade II
Ashmead House – Grade II
Merryworth – Grade II
Ash Manor / Old Manor Cottage – Grade II
The Post Office – Grade II
Memorial Chapel- Grade II
In education, Ash has:Ash Grange School
Walsh (C of E) School
Ash Manor Technology College which is county supported and has 1,013 students aged 11–16.
A museum occupies much of the large cemetery chapel. There is a Surrey County Council library in the village with a helpdesk to assist also with the most common Guildford borough council services.
The Normandy Youth Club sponsors community-based programs targeting youth in the area (especially marginal groups and minorities) for the purpose of increasing exposure to educational opportunities and building community cohesion.
Ash United is the local football club, which currently plays in the Combined Counties League Division 1. The club is on Youngs Drive, opposite Shawfield Park.
There are few frequent bus services serving the village, connecting to Farnborough, Blackwater, Farnham and Aldershot. The parish is also served by Ash Vale railway station with a direct London Waterloo service.Samuel Cody, aviation pioneer, first human to fly a heavier-than-air machine in the British Isles, lived for the last two years of his life at Ash Vale, the neighbouring village in the same parish council.
of Henley Park (house):
John Glynne, owner
Solomon Dayrolles, diplomat, owner
Henry de Worms, 1st Lord Pirbright, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, tenant
Sir Owen Roberts, pioneer of technical education, tenant
The proportion of households in Ash Wharf, the central ward, who owned their home outright was 1.3% above the regional average. The proportion who owned their home with a loan was 3.7% above the regional average; providing overall a marginally lower proportion than average of rented residential property relative to that in Surrey, the district and the national average.
The average level of accommodation in the region composed of detached houses was 28%, the average that was apartments was 22.6%.
Ash is in Surrey Heath, which since its inception been won by a conservative. Local government is administered by Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council.
At Surrey County Council, one of the 81 representatives represents the area within the Ash division.
At Guildford Borough Council two wards are deemed appropriate, represented under the current constitution by two to three councillors.