Villages near Hitchin(6 Posts)
Firstly - I'm new on Mumsnet and I'm wolf in sheep's clothing - please be gentle with me...
My other half and I currently live in Kent, but we're looking to move North of London and really like the Hitchin/Letchworth area. But we're a little more comfortable deeper into the country, so I was wondering if anyone had any views on the surrounding villages: St Ippolyts/Gosmore/Pirton/ Preston?
Our key factors are:
1) Commute: we need a reasonable commute into London. At the moment we have 1 train an hour and it takes 45 minutes assuming no Southern delays - so more like an hour if you're lucky, but we're hoping for a few trains an hour and around 45 mins travel time.
2) Primary schools: looking forward a couple of years we'd like to be close to a decent primary school - one that is not impossible to get into and we're not religious (I wouldn't mind if the little one played the 3rd lobster in the nativity, but if it's "praise the Lord" every morning - I'm not cool with that.)
3) Housing: we'd need at least 3 bedrooms, and a garden big enough for a small number of ducks/chickens. Our budget will be around the £400-450k mark.
Does anyone have any (relevant) thoughts?
All the areas you've mentioned are really nice and quite picturesque. However I think the commute would be fairly long as I don't think any of them have a train station. So you would have to factor in driving into Hitchin and parking to get the train which will add time and expense to your commute. The traffic in Hitchin is fairly heavy and seems to be getting worse.
You might want to consider Letchworth although not too sure about schools there (although I hear lordship primary is good). Quick to London and more affordable than Hitchin. If you want to go further out there is also Arlsey, Stotfold and possibly Henlow (all using Arlsey station).
The prices in this area seem to still be rising so you may have to think about what you can compromise on.
You could probably get a 3 bed in Hitchin but you would probably have to pick between garden size and school (and the 3rd room is usually a box room).
I agree check the commute into Hitchin in the morning as Hitchin traffic is pretty horrendous although the train service is very good.
That's a lovely area though.
I would also look at Clifton (commute from Arlesey)
and Weston (baldock or Letchworth trains)
Hi there - I live in St Ippolyts (on the Gosmore side - the village is kind of split in two by the Hitchin road)
THere are loads of trains into London from Hitchin, the fast ones are under half an hour into King's Cross. I cycle there from St Ipps and it takes me about 10 minutes. DH drives as he drops the kids off and I think it takes him a bit longer. With no traffic, it's a 5 minute drive into town.
Primary schools - the way it works in North Herts, you get priority for your nearest secular school. So we essentially have a choice between St Ippolyts and Highbury Infants in Hitchin. I have looked around both in the last week (applying for a school place this year) and they are both good schools. St Ippolyts has the edge for me in lots of ways though, enough to get past the 'church' side of things (we are atheists but from Jewish background, so not C of E in any way). The very first thing the headteacher said was to ensure us it was "a village school first, then a church school". I can give you more details about this by PM if you like, but essentially, it operates a catchment area, which has been widened recently, before any criteria about church going.
Housing - very little in that price range comes up in the villages. We have a large three bed with plenty of garden but it cost us £440k a year ago, so think it is worth more now. Also, it was a total 70s museum and we have had to completely modernise, including rewiring, re-plumbing, re-plastering, new bathrooms and kitchen, the works. So you may end up with a bit of a project. Saying that, there are smaller three beds, including older houses with downstairs bathroom etc, and there are some 60s built houses over on the East side of St Ipps in a really nice location near a park and backing onto woods.
Other villages worth a look would be Ickleford - has a good primary, don't know if it's church; Willian and Wymondley - although very few amenties like shop, pub etc in Wymondley. Willian, I would check where you might end up for secondary school - these are better in Hitchin than in Letchworth. Codicote is also very nice, but I think your commute would be from Welwyn there. Baldock is a small town, but might be worth a look. Don't know if there are lots of big gardens there.
If you do move to St Ippolyts/Gosmore and get some chickens, come and say hello - I am thinking of getting some when life is a bit less crazy (currently still renovating while juggling a part-time job and two under-4s!)
Thanks so much for the responses. We did a drive by and checked out all the areas you suggested (plus a few other places because we got lost). St. Ippolyts was lovely - we're now on the house hunt.
I think we may have to compromise somewhere down the line. I saw someone looking at Hitchin ended up in Royston - does anyone know anything about Royston.. does it have a country feel? Country pubs? Primary schools etc.?
Thanks very much everyone!
We live up the A10 from Royston, over the border in Cambridgeshire, and this whole area is absolutely lovely! Loads of countryside, close to lots of stations and main roads, really good schools and yet masses of countryside and a proper community atmosphere in almost every village.
Royston is nicer that it might first appear We do nearly all our shopping there, big Tesco, small Morrisons, high street independent shops, excellent industrial estate for every diy need, lots of pubs and a few decent restaurants. Also fab leisure centre, sports club on the Heath, and the free town centre bus. Not sure about the schools but they operate on a 3 tier system (primary, middle, high), whereas we are on 2 tier (primary, secondary).
Lots of nice villages around - north of the A10 are Dunton, Wrestlingworth, Guilden and Steeple Morden, Litlington, Bassingbourn, Ashwell. South are Therfield, Barley, Reed, Barkway. Some have stations which serve the stopping train between Cambridge and KX. Most have excellent village primary schools which are mostly feeder schools for Bassingbourn Village College or Melbourn Village College.
Gamlingay is also really nice, loads of countryside around and lots of farms, farm shops, etc.
Do PM me if you'd like any more info.
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