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*Moving to Saffron Walden, Essex , in August - does anyone live nearby?*

(549 Posts)
SaffyCat Mon 31-Jul-06 23:05:25

I am moving from Surrey to Saffron Walden in mid-August with my husband, 7yr old son and 1yr old daughter. We don't know anyone in the area yet and I would love to meet other local mums (am happy to drive a few miles) and also to find out about toddler groups/recomended family activities.

Bluebear Tue 31-Oct-06 18:23:34

Thank you 2boysmacca - was wondering about how much competition there is for places (moving from London where catchment for our local school is down to 3 short roads now!), as one of the houses we are looking at is outside of the town...Have also looked at Friends since it appears to be the only school with a nursery/pre-school...not sure I really want to go down that route though. Are there any pre-schools (except the church one) that you know of?
We liked the sound of R A Butler (children are nursery/infant age) as K semar is open plan and my son has hearing impairment so is not happy in noisy environments.
Would be very grateful of any local knowledge!

2boysmacca Tue 31-Oct-06 19:28:20

Yes, Shire Hill nursery. It has wonderful reports and a waiting list as long as your arm. My eldest has just started there this term and is loving it. There is also Bell nursery and Golden Acre, both are good, so I have heard. Where in SW are you looking to move?
Came from London myself, moved here with the knowledge that we'd be in RA Butler catchment, only to find they'd changed it 6 months before. Arghh!!!
Guess it depends on age he is. This year SW had a low birth year so people got first choice as to schools. However my sons nursery year was over subscribed so people were turned away.

Bluebear Tue 31-Oct-06 19:55:50

Eldest is in year 1 at the moment - little one has just turned 3 and in this area is in a 3 mornings only pre-school, due to start nursery pre-school september 07. It's frustrating that after lots of hassle getting a school place for my son and then finding matching pre-school place for my daughter and thinking I'm all sorted until secondary school - dh has taken a job near cambridge and we need to move.
We are putting our house in London on the market in early January (getting some last minute decorating and things done first), and so have not been looking very hard in SW - seen one house in the town near the schools and dh is looking at one this week which is out of town but nearer to the station (I'll still need to commute back to London but thankfully at off peak hours most of the time).
I'm guessing my daughter is too young for the pre-schools you've mentioned but I might have a chance of a place for next September maybe (crosses fingers)..thanks for the info, I tried the council website and ofsted but couldn't find anything!
Am also stressing about childcare, at the moment we have a nanny who we share with another family (since my children are at school/pre-school for quite a number of hours and I am back from work by 3pm most days) - can't afford a full-time qualified nanny and couldn't find any childminders on the list that do school pick-ups - ho hum!

How long have you lived in SW? We fell in love with it on first visit (had originally been looking nearer cambridge) Are there areas to avoid (it all looked lovely to me!)? Any where you particularly recommend? There don't seem to be many houses on the market but I was wondering whether they are selling before they get put onto the websites.

2boysmacca Wed 01-Nov-06 07:59:18

We've been here just over a year. I love it, especially after SE London. If you're looking near the station, I take it you mean Audley End, in which case Wendens Ambo is in the catchment for RAB - strange but true!
Your youngest isn't too young, Shire Hill take them from 2.5
It's not a great commute into London, One Rail is not very reliable but if you're based in the city I guess it's not too bad. If you rely on other connections it's tedious.

Caribbeanqueen Wed 01-Nov-06 08:20:44

Hi bluebear, I remember you were looking at Cambridge - what made you prefer SW? Will you definitely be going with that choice?

Bluebear Wed 01-Nov-06 18:36:55

Thanks - yes I mean Audley end - good to know it's in RAB catchment!
I know that the train line isn't great, but the Cambrige-Kings X line has had loads of problems this year too...and at least I work odd hours (I'll be leaving v early and coming back v early most days).

Caribbeanqueen - we had a couple of days looking around central cambridge and villages north of cambridge and we didn't feel 'at home' there. I was brought up in Essex and spent time in SW as a child and had good memories of it, so we had a little visit one weekend and we loved it - it's the 'right size' for us - not as big as cambridge and not as tiny as the villages. And being only 30mins away from my family helps as well!

SaffyCat Wed 15-Nov-06 11:46:54

Hi All , Shortly after I started this thread in August my computer decided it didn't like this website and wouldn't let me log on! It has now changed it's mind and it's great to see that there are a number of Mumnetters in and around Saffron Walden. We (dh, ds7 and dd19m) moved to SW in mid-August and are really enjoying it. Somehow people here seem so much more friendly than in South London, there is a great sense of community and lots going on when you know where to look. We have started to make links with people but would love to meet more. Would anyone like to meet up for coffee/to play with little people in the park/other?

Also to Blue Bear - I had similar concerns about finding childminders who could look after my little one and collect my son from school. This problem was solved through using the R A Butler late play club for my son and finding an exellent childminding couple in SW who I would recommend strongly if you are interested.

laurasmiles Mon 20-Nov-06 14:48:37

I've found this thread very useful too. We are selling our flat London and moving to Saffron Walden. The paperwork has been a bit slow so it may we're likely to move in january as opposed to before Christmas. If you do manage to get a little group going or some offers to meet up for coffee do let us know how it goes! I'd love to join you all when we finally arrive. Thanks
laura plus son 22 months and daughter 13 weeks.

2boysmacca Mon 20-Nov-06 17:49:06

I know how that feels, it took us 5+ months to complete on our place!

englishspringer Thu 30-Nov-06 14:36:57


Just joined the site so hi. we have recently moved to Wendens Ambo (2 miles Saffron Walden) - we moved here in September from Loughton and absolutely love it. We have one boy aged 3.5 and I am pregnant again - (another boy, due in March)

School and nursery choice are proving difficult for us - our little one cureently attends Crocus and we ahve an au pair to drop off and collect but he does not like it there - anyone know any other good nurseries?

2boysmacca Fri 01-Dec-06 13:05:07

what about the one in Wendons Ambo?

Bluebear Sun 17-Dec-06 22:03:37

EnglishSpringer - Hi, we have had an offer accepted on a house in Wendens Ambo so hopefully we will be neighbours sometime in 2007!
There is a pre-school/nursery in W A but it's moving to Arkesden for a short while whilst the village hall is being refurbished - it sounds good, but I haven't been able to get in touch with anyone on the only phone number I have. It only covers half days though - do you need one that covers a full day?
I have a 5 year old ds and a 3 yr old dd - and am stressing about schools for ds and nurseries for dd and whether to continue with a nanny or get an au pair etc. And in the meantime trying to sell our London house.

Bluebear Sun 17-Dec-06 22:06:35

Saffycat - did you have any problems getting your ds into RAB? I rang to enquire about the application process and was told very definitely 'You won't get a place here - we're full and nobody's moving'. Ds is Year 1, and I would be a lot happier if I thought he had a small chance of getting into the catchment school.

SaffyCat Mon 15-Jan-07 21:08:22

Hi Blue Bear, sorry for long LONG delay in replying - this feels like the first chance I've had to draw breath since Chrismas! I was offered the only available year 3 place for my DS at RAB. It does seem to be the most popular school in SW. I did also look at Katherine Semar and although the buildings look a bit tired, I was very impressed with the headteacher and everything that I saw going on. There was a good working atmosphere about the place - oh, just re-read messages and perhaps it might not suit your son. It did not strike me as a noisy environment though, maybe it would be worth a visit. How is the move going? Have you managed to find a buyer for your London house?

Bluebear Wed 17-Jan-07 18:27:38

Hi, How are you enjoying life since your move? Hope you had a good Christmas in your new home.

Our London house goes on the market in 3 weeks ( We still have to finish a few DIY jobs first ) far the owners of the house we are buying in W A are sticking with us so fingers crossed for a move in a few months.
I'm hoping for a long time between exchange and completion so I can put my application into RAB and hope that someone in year 1 moves away! We were told the only school spaces in S W are in the C of E school, and we are not C of E, so we have been toying with the idea of putting the children into Friends, as it has spaces and seems...well...friendly , would probably try and move them back into state school if RAB gets a place for ds, and hopefully dd will get offered a place at RAB by the usual application process.
Yes, we were worried about the 'open-plan' ness of Katherine Semar - doesn't work well for a child with hearing impairment, and he is soo shy that I would be so much happier if I thought he could go to school with the neighbour's children.
I guess I'll just be a big bundle of worry until we move and the school/childcare issues just sort themselves out

englishspringer Thu 01-Feb-07 20:18:46

long time no speak - been very busy planning for new baby, builders in, looking for schools etc.

Does anyone know of any groups that i could attend with the new baby (it is due in 6 weeks) looking to meet mums in the area as i am new and don't know anyone yet. Any advice would be appreciated.

2boysmacca Thu 01-Feb-07 20:36:52

Hi Englishspringer. I think I've said this before but your best bet would be tots and tiddlers at the Bell Nursery in SW. It starts at 10 (or maybe 10.15) every Thursday. They are pretty friendly in there and they'll help you out with other groups.

Millarkie Tue 13-Feb-07 14:18:29

Hello, Nice to see lots of people from Saffron Walden. We are moving to Wendens Ambo in April (hopefully).
Englishspringer, can't recommend any baby groups yet, but you're welcome to come round for a cup of tea when we have moved in. I have a 3 year old too. Can I ask how quickly you recruited your au pair? I think I might need one, but I haven't employed one before and I'm not sure how easy it is in a 'rural' area. Thanks.

sophus Thu 15-Feb-07 20:13:16

hi all
I live in SW, first baby due sept. Would love to get to know people generally in the area - especially in anticipation of being stuck at home on maternity leave....For those of you not yet moved here can offer some general info (although not much child centric stuff yet obv).

Millarkie Tue 20-Feb-07 16:56:29

Hi, Sophus, and congratulations!
I think we'll have to arrange a mumsnet meet-up in SW later on in the year!

englishspringer Wed 21-Feb-07 19:28:23


Thanks for the advice about the Bell - however, it is closing down. i contacted the NCT and they have given me big long list.
Very excited that other mums are mvoing into the village - we seem to be the only parents and children in the park - there seems to be a lot of older people - would be great to have another little boy for my little man to play with.

The au pair - she is fantastic and has been with us for 8 months, she is our 4th one and there are 4 other famalies in the village who have an au pair as well. we have used cambridge aupairs and also a website called - thsi has proved to be our best resource as you can vet the candidates yourself etc. and don't just get an agency dumping anyone onto you. Our aupair goes out with abut 10 other aupairs who live in and around Saffron Walden - she is very sociaable and studies in London 3 days a week. she does drop off at nursery and pick ups.

let em know when you are close to moving and we can arrange that ted - our house is having major rennovation work at the moment so it is a building site - hoping it will be finished by the end of MAy in time for the summer!

Millarkie Wed 21-Feb-07 20:31:42

Hi EnglishSpringer - I'm very glad to hear that there are a few au pairs in the village. I've looked at aupairworld and also greataupair. but haven't contacted any so far as I am still pretty nervous about it. I need someone I can trust with the kids for a few hours at a time since I work so not sure if au pair will be 'sensible' enough?. I have found a nursery nurse who is looking for part-time work though so I'm going to interview her next time we go up to S W.
I know what you mean about living in a building site - we have spent 4 years renovating our current house - just got it perfect and dh accepts a job in Cambridge and we have to move We are buying a house on R Lane. The current owner is very chatty and has been insisting that there are other children in the village for my 2 to play with and has even said that she will introduce us to the neighbours!
We have some building work to do to the new house too - but hopefully will be able to pause for breath before arranging it.
Did you look into the W A pre-school? I have the contact details somewhere if you want them.
We haven't exchanged contracts yet but I'm hoping to move about Easter time - and then I'll put the kettle on for the SW mumsnetters hee hee.
Oh and my 3yr old is a girl but a real tomboy!

Sophus - A non-babycentric question for you! Is it really hard to get on the train from Audley end to LPS? The people I work with have been teasing me and saying I won't be able to get on a train, let alone get a seat because they are all overcrowded. I'm aiming at getting a train before 7am, surely it's not really that bad <hopeful emoticon>

USAUKMum Thu 22-Feb-07 08:26:04

Milarkie -- Don't live in SW but in Bishops Stortford (down the train line) and I used to get the train before 7am and got a seat . The good thinig about Audley End is that you get trains there that start in Cambridge, then only stop is AE before continuing south to Liverpool St. But trains are crowded and service not as good since one took over.

stump Thu 22-Feb-07 08:56:32

Hi everyone

Sorry for butting in on the conversation. I'm pregnant with my first baby - due May 18th so not too long to go now. I've lived in Newport for almost 3 years but don't really know anyone in the area. Would love to be in touch with new mums or those who are expecting. I used to work at the Bell school and know about it closing - does anyone know if the toddlers and tiddlers group will be relocating? Or are there any new born baby groups in the area. Would love to know about them if there are!

claire xx

Millarkie Thu 22-Feb-07 15:42:30

USAUKMum - thanks I will try to ignore my sniggering colleagues then.

Stump - you're not butting in - room for everyone! I'll put another scoop of tea in the pot for you .
Has anyone looked on to see if there is info on tots and babes sessions on there - it's pretty good for more 'local' info.

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