CLIDDESDEN is the modern name of the village known variously in the past as CLERESDEN, CUDDESDEN or CLEDESDENE. “Valley of the rock” or “rocky hill”, from the old English (clyde + denu) has been suggested as a possible origin of the latter name, while a suggestion for Cleresden is that the name continues the Clere place name of Norman times as part of a series from Highclere through Kingsclere to Cleresden.
CLIDDESDEN lies in a valley marking the northern edge of an area of undulating downland, characterised by chalk over flint deposits and clay-capped plateaux on the higher ground. Large scale agricultural activity has contributed to the “open” nature of the landscape leading to some hedgerow loss. This openness means that views are broad and largely uninterrupted, giving a sense of space and tranquillity.
Despite the wide views across the surrounding countryside, Cliddesden itself lies largely concealed in the folds of the valley and the tree cover within the village. This tree cover is an important contributor to the character of Cliddesden within the landscape, with the horse chestnuts at Church Farmhouse being a good example of mature and valuable trees
The village and its environs are identified within firm boundary indicators, comprising the ridge of higher land to the south and east, the M3 Motorway running from south-west to north-east and Hackwood Park to the east.
Cliddesden is at the start of the downlands and there is a dramatic contrast between the densely developed townscape of Basingstoke and the area to the south-east of the M3 with thinly scattered villages and hamlets such as Cliddesden, Winslade, Farleigh Wallop and Ellisfield, and occasional isolated farms.