Any Saffron Walden MNers here?

(33 Posts)
Happ1ness Wed 16-Jan-13 10:16:07

OK, so it's officially Essex but pretty close to Cambridge smile

We're moving out of North London to Saffron Walden as soon as we've found a place (soon, fingers crossed). DP and I both work in London, although I will be working quite a bit at home (2-3 days per week) so reducing the commute quite a bit (thank god).

Have a 4 year old DD who is in reception and am looking at schools for her - does anyone have any pearls of wisdom/recommendations? Do many of them have breakfast/after school clubs?

Is there much to do in the town for kids? I know about the museum and Audley End but that's about it.

Angel515 Wed 16-Jan-13 19:40:07


We live in Saffron Walden, and we really love it here. We moved up just over a year ago from east London and have never regretted it. I've got two daughters, aged 18 months and 3 months, so I'm not really in the know regarding schools just yet. I do know that RAB Butler is very popular and is supposed to be the best (I may be wrong for any other SW mums reading this so please don't bite my head off, hee hee), I've also heard good things about Katherine Semar's.

Anyway, it's a lovely town, lots to do, lots of local events and always quite bustling. We have found there's a lovely feeling of community too, particularly moving up from London where we didn't really know our neighbours. There are loads of toddler groups and things going on for younger kids. I don't think you'll regret it!

Feel free to get ok touch when you move up, if you fancy meeting up. I don't think I've helped much, but good luck with the move!

Happ1ness Thu 17-Jan-13 14:15:59

Hi Angel515 - thanks a lot for the info. I checked out RA Butler as the place we're looking at this weekend is in its catchment area - it looks great, as does Saffron Walden High School (OK, so DD is only in reception at the moment smile)

I'm really looking forward to the sense of community that is often so lacking in London; I count us as being quite lucky as there is somewhat of a community atmosphere where we live (N8), but nothing like you'd get in a town or village.

Would be lovely to meet up when we eventually move, which I hope will be in the next couple of months. I'll PM you when I know.

Biscuitsgalore Mon 21-Jan-13 11:20:33

Hi Angel and Happ1ness, hope you don't mind me joining in this thread. Angel, it's great to hear your views on SW as we are too moving to the area if things go through with our house and we are coming from West London (leaving family and friends), hoping we're making the right decision! Supposedly moving in the next few months. Glad things worked out for you with your move, it's hard balancing up whether moving from london with family and friends is the right thing to do but I'm hoping it is as we'll be much closer to my husbands work so will see alot more of him!!

Happ1ness, I hope the move goes well for you, RAB is the school we're looking at as well however I know Katherine Semar is very good too, I don't know much about St Marys but have heard its on its way up as well so that's really good. We have had our offer accepted on a house and just sorting finance etc, what stage are you at? I have been on Rightmove alot for SW so we could have looked at the house you have your eye on as the RAB catchment is pretty small i think.

Happ1ness Tue 22-Jan-13 12:17:37

Hi Biscuitsgalore not at all - the more the merrier. We were pipped to the post on a property last weekend unfortunately so back to the drawing board for us, ah well, it'll happen (although DP got all maudlin and defeatist about it smile). We're only renting initially as DP's equity is in another house (with his ex wife) so wouldn't have seen the same place. How old are your DC?

Hope your move goes smoothly.

Biscuitsgalore Fri 25-Jan-13 19:50:13

Hi Happ1ness,
Sorry to hear about your house, there's never really that much about for SW so it seems like you have to be quick. When we were looking though Estate Agents were saying that once we get to February there should be a bit more about, those for rent and for sale as we were looking at both so fingers crossed for you and your DP! It's pretty stressful this moving malarkey with children. Has anything else come on you've liked the look of?

My DC are 5, 3, 2 and 8 months so have been looking into the whole school thing quite a bit, we're getting there with our move just trying to work out whether to push things through asap or delay things to the summer, we'll see. I do know the area quite a bit so if you do need any help with anything let me know or a sounding board I'd be happy to help if I can. Happy if you want to pm me if it's easier.

Fingers crossed you find something soon!

chocolatecake13 Sun 27-Jan-13 08:46:26

Hi there (hope you don't mind me crashing your conversation), Great to hear that there are other Londoners making the move. We've sold our flat in London and will be moving up to SW as soon as we can find somewhere to buy! We haven't (yet!!) got any children but hopefully will do soon and therefore school catchment area is a consideration. We saw a house in Newport yesterday we really like. Anyone know anything about Newport Primary School? I hear good things about Newport Free but not sure about the Primary.
Also, Angel515, I have my heart set on living in SW but dh is really keen on this house in Newport - what do you think about living in Newport over SW?
Thanks guys (and sorry for all the questions!!)

waybuloony Mon 04-Feb-13 22:32:25

Hi all,
Just wanted to quickly post to say that we're also moving to Saffron Walden. Next week in fact! And like you Happ1ness we're moving from north London (N10) so just up the hill from you!
It's all a bit daunting and I was really nervous about it but this thread has reassured me that there are plenty of others making the move too. If anyone wants to meet for a coffee then please pm me. My dc's are 4 and 18 months.
Good luck with the respective house moves/house hunting!

Happ1ness Tue 05-Feb-13 15:05:23

Hi all.

waybuloony you are indeed just up the hill from us! Good to hear that you've got a place sorted, good luck with the move.

There really hasn't been anything much new in the way of houses on the market over the past week or so, but haven't given up hope. I hope your estate agent was right Biscuitsgalore and things start to pick up soon as I'm chomping at the bit to get out of London (keep looking at my small mould ridden flat and almost crying).

Biscuitsgalore Fri 01-Mar-13 22:37:42

ladies, how are you doing? i have finally exchanged so can breathe a sigh of relief.

waybuloony - how did your move go, do you feel a little bit settled? I may bump into you around town, my dc are of a similar age. i hope you're finding your feet ok.

Happ1ness - hang on in their!! have you seen anything lately? keep your eye on rightmove as you know things move really quickly, if i can help in anyway let me know. we are hoping to move in the next 3 weeks i think and am sure you won't be far behind!

chocolatecake13 - how's things going with you? we did look into newport as well but for me it was just that bit too quiet and i wanted to be able to walk to a few shops etc. it depends what you fancy really.

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing Sat 02-Mar-13 19:29:34

Joining late, but reading all threads as hoping to receive a welcome in SW in about a month - moving from South Africa via Suffolk (ex North London!). DD older - 10, but I am still looking to connect with new people and hope to meet some interesting bods through MN... Am 'outing' myself, as am concerned that I am 'pipper' of Happ1ness' property. Timing is exact. Need to clear this up so that I'm moving into the area clear of any bad if it was me I am very sorry...sad

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing Sat 02-Mar-13 19:32:51

On re-reading, Happ1ness - did someone pip you to a rental? Then it wasn't me. smile

Happ1ness Mon 04-Mar-13 14:10:53

Hi all

Fantastic news Biscuitsgalore! Do you have a move date?

waybuloony how did it go? You all settled?

It's been a very busy few weeks, we've found a place and are moving in on the 28th of this month. VERY excited.

We've had a bit of a nightmare schoolswise as the 3 that I applied for didn't have space by the time we got the paperwork through to submit the application - but have just had word that she's been offered a place at our 4th and is 1st on the waiting list for our 1st (our priority catchment school). Just trying to sort out a breakfast club/childminder for the days I'm going to be at if anyone has any bright ideas I'm all ears smile

chocolatecake13 we looked around Newport last weekend as we were checking out the school (was on our reserve list), it looks very lovely although a little sleepy - the school has a good ofsted report (which I'm sure you've already seen, and it was on our reserve list. It didn't take very long to drive from SW to Newport and I think at least the 301 bus goes between the 2.

Don't worry ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing it wasn't us - your conscience is clear smile Whoever did pip us did us a favour anyway as the place we've eventually ended up with is really lovely.

I'm definitely up for a meet-up if anyone else is interested.

Happ1ness Tue 05-Mar-13 20:10:53

Just realised that not only did I repeat myself in the above post, but I committed the cardinal sin of opening brackets but not closing them ..... tut tut

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing Wed 06-Mar-13 23:45:13

HappIness - congrats on your house - am mightily relieved to be home and dry! Will just have to duck into doorways whenever I see someone with small fry and pram heading my way in case I am consumed with guilt and spend all my time saying 'sorry' to complete strangers for no reason whatsoever. Look forward to meeting anyone who apologises for grammatical errors. Man after my own heart. Just completed MA in Creative Writing so Two Pees (Pedantry and Proof reading) at OCD level!

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing Wed 06-Mar-13 23:46:04

Oh NO! Happ1ness. Ha! Hoist with my own petard. Classic.

Biscuitsgalore Thu 07-Mar-13 16:46:45


I am glad to see this thread is still alive and well and your journeys are all progressing!!

Happ1ness - wow the 28th is soon, congratulations! sorry to hear about your school, the whole school thing is nearly worse than the house thing! We have just also managed to get ours sorted as well, ds starts after Easter (we complete on the 22nd), when is your little one starting? there seems to be a bit of movement i've heard in the schools at the moment so you never know. re childminding, i know a bit about the area as have looked into nurseries etc and childminding quite a bit so if i can help let me know. i am also a registered childminder so when the time comes may even be able to help out.

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing - ha ha you're post made me laugh! i'm glad you have a clear conscience. I am wondering if I pipped happ1ness to the post re schools but am too scared to ask outright!! (sorry happ1ness if I did, please feel free to tell me your first choice and i'll tell you!). when are you planning on being in sw?

tea time for us so must go, keep in touch and let me know your news and i feel a meet up coming soon.

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing Thu 07-Mar-13 18:28:47

FY all your Is; we don't have place at RAB for mid year start in May, but do have id year place in Y5 at Katherine Semar. Hey ho. Anyone know if Katherine Semar Junior is on the way up to as outstanding as its Primary rating? In fact, anyone know anything about it at all? Have 10yr old G&T DD who needs to be extended. Is it a good school? Friendly?

Happ1ness Thu 07-Mar-13 18:55:38

You're all making me giggle - getting all worried you've pipped me to the post to various things .... I'm a 15 stone black belt in karate don't you know, so you better watch out ;)

RAB was first choice as we're spitting distance (and it's bloody good), KS 2nd and St Thomas Moore 3rd.

She didn't get in to any of them sad but we've got a place at St Mary's which, although doesn't gave a great ofsted rating (although this was in 2009, and they're in the middle if having another done ... so fingers crossed), does seem to be highly thought of with the parents as have managed to speak to a few.

She's 1st on the list at RAB so will see how it goes at St Mary's and decide what to do if/when they call.

Fortunately managed to sort out a childminder for the mornings, so another thing ticked off the list.

DD's starting on the 16th April so same time as yours Biscuitsgslore. We're moving on the 28th, so a week after you - almost in sync smile

We were there last Saturday, just dropping something off and doing some measuring (making sure the furniture fits). We had lunch in the pub around the corner from the market square, The Cross Keys I think, it was lovely - very much looking forward to the occasional Sunday lunch in there.

Biscuitsgalore Thu 07-Mar-13 21:16:55

Ha ha Happ1ness, black belt! We did actually get RAB however I've just realised your little one is going into reception and mine is yr1 so it wouldn't have been me. I looked into the other schools quite a bit as well. Katherine Semar, supposedly great and know a few people who really rate it, would have been over the moon with that KS however yep full up. We looked around st. mary's the other week and i liked it as i was sure that's where my ds would get in. i was happy with it, again i know someone who has a child their and they say great things about it, it's on it's way up and the parents really get involved and love it. its just a shame that you're so close to RAB, that was my concern as well, like you say, when a place comes up at RAB you could consider moving.

although we complete on the 22nd don't think we'll move in until after Easter, not really sure though, things change daily!

funny you mention The Cross Keys, we went other weekend and nearly stopped in there but ran out of time. We're back up on Mon to measure up/see what work needs doing before we move in.

ohgodmumyouresoembarrassing i can't claim to knowing much about the schools but i have heard Katherine Semar overall is a brilliant school and yes really friendly. No idea about their G&T I'm afraid.

happ1ness - you seemed to have ticked a good few things off your list, you sound very organised compared to me, maybe I'll make a list!

Happ1ness Mon 11-Mar-13 15:25:44

I am the spreadsheet queen - I fall to bits without a list.

Our small 2 bed flat is looking increasingly like a furniture warehouse due to stockpiling stuff before the move (that's what happens when you double your space in 1 move!). We did a 600 mile round trip this weekend to collect a bed from my mum and dad's for the spare room - needed to get it now as they're coming to stay for Easter (and keep DD entertained whilst we sort the house out), never again though - I'm knackered!

Feeling pretty good about St Mary's after speaking to some more people about it, we're all off to see it on Wednesday, makes it all seem very real.

How's everyone doing?

Biscuitsgalore Wed 20-Mar-13 15:35:43

sounds like you've been busy Happ1ness. this moving malarkey is knackering and we've not done the half of it yet!

How did it go at St Mary's?
Wherabouts is your house, is it close to town? we looked to rent at first as well but really couldn't find much about in terms of houses.

we'll we're busy packing, complete on fri but staying with my mum for a few days just to finish the term off here then off to SW over Easter. quite excited now. find out in a few weeks what school my younger ds got into as well.

Hope everyone is else well and everything going to plan! next we'll be discussing things to do and places to go!

Happ1ness Thu 21-Mar-13 10:13:12

It went really well "Biscuitsgalore", and it looks like as of September DD will be in a class with a total of 17 kids - which is really great. Apparently the next reception intake is oversubscribed. Is it me, or is there currently a rather large exodus to Saffron Walden taking place? A couple of the schools mentioned to me that they've seen a sharp rise in the amount of applications they've received over the last couple of months.

Really loved the school; the outdoor area (they have an adventure playground!) was fantastic. We were taken in to each of the classrooms; the kids all seemed to be behaving themselvessmile and they were well equipt and airy. DD's teacher seems v nice. All in all I'm pleasantly surprised as I wasn't expecting it to be quite as nice.

We're at the top end of London Road, very close to the Uttlesford council offices and around the corner from the High Street. We were incredibly lucky to get what we did; rental houses seem to be few and far between. How about you?

We're still in the midst of packing, place is a mess, but only a week left to go before move day. We've managed to time the move with the last day of term, so we'll hopefully get away with doing the move whilst DD is at school/after school club and be done for 6 when she finishes - it's like a military operation! Worst comes to worst and we've got friends over the road who can step in to help out.

Hope all the rest of you are doing well?

justbananas Fri 12-Apr-13 18:46:51

Well here is another one...

We are looking to rent in SW within the next 3 months. DD and DS are 7 and 4. Will have trouble getting DS in as he will be starting in reception and we already have applied for local london schools north london already, before we decided to move (oh dear!).
Really feel SW seems a pretty and safe and nice place to live. Again I will be commuting to north London 2 or 3 times per week so hopefully I could manage that.

Hello everyone smile "waves"

Bananas x

Happ1ness Mon 13-May-13 12:13:00

Hi Justbananas - sorry about the late response, I'd assumed this thread had died! Have you found anywhere yet? The rental market seems to be a bit slow at the moment.

The commute is quite nice I've found; the morning trains are the new ones (laptop chargers and proper tables), and you usually get a seat from Audley End, plus the countryside views beat fried chicken takeaways and pound shops which my old bus journey supplied me with!

Lots of luck, and if you fancy throwing the kids in to soft play and having a coffee once you've moved let me know.

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