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Moving to Cambridge - recommendations for villages?

(46 Posts)
joeybopp Fri 12-Oct-12 13:19:27

My husband and I have recently moved to Girton with our young baby but we are just renting here and looking to buy. We cannot afford to buy in Girton and are looking for recommendations for villages. Our budget is 200K for 3 beds which we realise is not a lot for the area. Good schools are top of our priority list. We are both Oxbridge educated ourselves but won't be able to afford private education for our son. My husband works in the city centre (Huntingdon Road) and I am currently a stay at home mum although I'd like to return to work when we've finished our family! We currently attend a city centre church and would like some green space for walks (we have just moved from Sheffield where green space is abundant!)

BlueChampagne Fri 12-Oct-12 13:37:37

Have a look at Hardwick - easy to to commute to city by bike, local pre-school and primary school, and Comberton Village College all rate well according to Ofsted.

BlueChampagne Fri 12-Oct-12 13:37:52

Also post in MN local for more suggestions!

GrendelsMum Fri 12-Oct-12 15:51:08

As BlueChampagne says, this question gets asked quite a lot in the MN Local Cambridge section!

If there isn't anything available in Hardwick or Comberton themselves, have you thought about Cambourne? Or you could try Bourne, which is lovely and has all the walks on your doortep, but with some much cheaper houses, but I think you're then starting to be beyond bike commuting distance.

guineapiglet Fri 12-Oct-12 20:30:22

Hi - we used to live in South Cambridgeshire - station at Meldreth - good links into Cambridge and London - good schools at Melbourn, Bassingbourn, local shops in Royston. Lots of lovely walks and very rural areas around, a great place for small children - they usually have to do 6th form in Cambridge.

MyNeighbourIsHorrid Fri 12-Oct-12 21:06:03

Cambourne is known locally as Crimebourne, don't go there! All the south Cambridge villages are lovely, but north is cheaper. Swavesey, willingham, etc are easy cycling (via airfield road in Oakington). Loads being built just past Trumpington.

alienreflux Fri 12-Oct-12 21:08:41

Cambourne is a shit hole just saying! grin

joeybopp Sat 13-Oct-12 13:38:53

Thanks for the suggestions. I've heard Cambourne is a bit of a love it or hate it kind of place so I'm not sure whether to risk it. Also I've heard they are building a new secondary whereas we're keen on Comberton Village College. For 6th form we'd be hoping for Hills Road (early days though!!)

West and South would be our preferred options I think. We had considered Ely too as train link is very good but I've heard secondary education is not great there and we don't want to be worrying about moving. There seems to be a few places available in Hardwick and better transport links to Cam than Bourne & Comberton. Is there much going on for families? I will post in the local forum too - I'm new to this!

Hopandaskip Mon 15-Oct-12 02:09:09

Does it have to be a village? I grew up in Newnham croft and it is like a village in town with lovely walks nearby.

Hopandaskip Mon 15-Oct-12 02:09:35

oh probably too expensive, sorry, didn't see budget.

evilgiraffe Mon 15-Oct-12 15:54:45

How close to Cambridge do you want to be? Fenstanton is nice, plus has a shop/church etc. Fen Drayton is the neighbouring village, much smaller but friendly and has a nice pub and primary school as well as a nature reserve. Swavesey, Willingham, Over, Longstanton are all nice and have a variety of old and new estate houses, and are all on the guided bus route. Swavesey has a Village College so good for primary and secondary. Dry Drayton is nearer Cambridge and beautiful but seems to be more expensive - nice though! Histon and Impington are okay too and nearer to Cambridge, the Village College in Impington is okay and has an associated sixth form and large amount of special needs provision.

CambourneMum Tue 16-Oct-12 13:17:37

I've lived in Cambourne for 10 years on and off, with a couple of years in another nearby village. The amount of snobbery about the place in the surrounding area is incredible!

If you are looking for a community with lots of young families, plenty of community groups aimed at babies/toddlers/children and families, cycle lanes and pavements everywhere so you can walk everywhere with a buggy, and plenty of reasonably-priced property, I would visit the place before writing it off.

It has a Morrisons, a pharmacy, doctor, dentist, sports centre, library, and so on, so you can do lots of stuff without having to drive everywhere. Some of the other more picturesque (and pricy) villages have few or no facilities so you spend a fortune in petrol. It also has a regular bus service to Cambridge (several times hourly throughout the day), and you can cycle all the way on paths and cycle tracks. It is surrounded by a country park with miles of footpaths, several lakes, woodland and meadows, which is fantastic for cycling, running or simply going for a stroll.

It is currently in the catchment of Comberton Village College, and a new secondary school is being built in Cambourne itself which will be run by Comberton Village College. There are also 3 primary schools in Cambourne.

On the downside, it is a modern community (first houses completed in 1999) so there are no traditional buildings, the pub is pretty naff, and of course if you happen to reveal to parents from other villages or Cambridge itself that you are a Cambournite, they are react with amazement, as the local paper has persistently presented Cambourne as a rough place full of problem families... this is not the experience that me and most of my friends have had living here!

joeybopp Tue 16-Oct-12 15:18:33

Thank you so much cambouremum for your opinion. Which part

joeybopp Tue 16-Oct-12 15:23:24

Thank you so much cambouremum for your opinion. Which part of cambourne do you live in? Are there better/ worse areas to live (I'm also a bit confused by the three parts of cambourne) and is there much variation between the schools? When you say the new school will be run by comb village college, how will that work? From
What you say about green space it sounds worth a visit. I also agree a few shops would be useful . The main concern I have is its reputation and the feeling of not being near the country but is visit would certainly help with the latter

joeybopp Tue 16-Oct-12 15:27:15

P.s. we have moved from Sheffield which often receives a poor rep but the area where we lived is supposed to be the wealthiest suburb outside of London and was gorgeous!

CambourneMum Wed 17-Oct-12 15:55:06

I've lived in both Great cambourne and upper Cambourne. Basically, Great cambourne was started first so looks leafier and more established. Also, because the developers originally said the idea was three interlinked villages, the housing density in some parts of Grt Cambourne is much lower than in some of the more recent areas of Cambourne such as Upper Cambourne - the developers are trying to squeeze more houses in so there are fewer front gardens, green verges etc. The interlinked villages idea seems to have fallen by the wayside now, and the three areas are all joined together, accessible by footpaths through woodland and the country park as well as via road. It takes me less than 5 mins to walk from my house to the countryside. There are also several large green spaces throughout the villages, with brilliant play areas, landscaping etc. Oh yes, there are also allotments available in Upper and Great Cambourne.

Some of the houses have very overlooked gardens but if you look carefully, there are always a few that overlook a green, or a cycle path, or face away from most of the others. There are both second-hand and new-build houses available, and some of the prices are very reasonable, especially compared to Cambridge city prices. The area round Morrisons seems to be seen by some as a trouble-makers area, but I haven't been affected by any antisocial behaviour here. Private and social housing is fairly mixed up and it's not always obvious which is which.

I don't know much about the primary schools, the oldest one is Monkfield Park school, then the Vine School and finally Jeavons Wood. They all look as if they have lovely facilities, but I'm not sure how full they are - Cambourne has a very high birthrate. The new secondary is going to be run by the Comberton Trust, the overall management will be by the Principal of Comberton V.C. (Stephen Munday) and he has appointed a head (she is currently at Comberton VC). I imagine that if you contact CVC they would be happy to give you more info about the new school.

If you want to get a feel for the place, perhaps you should pop over one morning (preferably a sunny day!) and have a good stroll around. Check out the windows of the estate agents, go on developers' websites or visit their show homes. The Church runs a community cafe every weekday morning from 8.45am to 12, staffed by volunteers and selling cappuccinos etc, and people there are very friendly, and will be happy to talk to you about the local community, if you ask! Have a wander and see what you think.

GrendelsMum Wed 17-Oct-12 16:41:20

I think that CambourneMum is quite right - print off a map in advance so you know where the country park and so on are, take the bus to Cambourne and have a good look round. You can probably then take the bus back to Hardwick, look round there, and then go back into the centre of town.

FWIW, I have large numbers of relatives living in Cambourne: 1 family loves it, 1 family likes it, 1 family thinks its fine although they'd probably rather live somewhere else and 1 family absolutely hates it. So I think it's a case of whether or not it suits you!

joeybopp Thu 18-Oct-12 11:04:57

Thanks we went for a drive yday but I still have very mixed feelings. In some ways I loved the look of it - modern, clean, but I think we would need to spend more time looking around like you suggest. Are houses generally well built? Do you know whether they are maintaining their value? Grendelsmum, are you able to provide any insight into why your relatives love/hate the place? The one thing I did feel is that I felt a long way out of cam and perhaps I'd like to be closer. Sorry about all the questions! Me and my LO are full of cold today so I'm doing some more research!

evilgiraffe Thu 18-Oct-12 11:41:57

If you want to be closer to Cambridge then most of the villages are probably too far out. Have you considered staying in Girton? Otherwise, Histon, Milton, Trumpington may be worth looking at. Milton has a country park and is easy to get into Cambridge from, and especially good if you work at the science park. Coton and Madingley may also be worth looking at. Coton will be an easy commute by bike or car for your DH getting to Huntingdon Road, too.

joeybopp Thu 18-Oct-12 16:11:39

Thanks evil giraffe but much as we'd love to live closer to Cambridge those villages are well out of our price range. You also suggested some other villages to the north which I will look into.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 18-Oct-12 16:20:39

Hardwick is horrid, I spent 8 years there as a child and hated it! I do go back at least once a year but it hasn't improved IMO. I've been gone 19 years now but I still hate it. It's essentially one huge estate and an older part of town. The older bit is lovely and there are some gorgeous huge properties down there but that bit is very pricey. The estate is not at all rough but very generic and dull.

I am biased though because I now live on the Sussex Coast and I love it!

My parents are always telling me how good Comberton Village College is but I can't say I noticed when I was therehmm Admittedly that was a lot of a few years ago but it was supposed to be good then!

Comberton is nicer I think. A bit more of an established village and a little closer to Cambridge. Also easier access to the Secondary school if you want it. Doesn't appear to have a shop anymore thoughconfused

Barton is nice, used to have a nice pond. As does Comberton by the way....

Doyouthinktheysaurus Thu 18-Oct-12 16:21:21

<apologies to any Hardwick dwellers>

GrendelsMum Thu 18-Oct-12 20:52:08

I've dropped you a PM, JoeyBopp.

cheapskatemum Thu 18-Oct-12 21:02:00

I'm off to Longstanton again tomorrow, there's a very good second hand car garage there! Lots of new houses being built, my satnav doesn't have half the roads in Longstanton on it! Trumpington looks like it's going to be huge, the amount of new property being built there. A lot of it seems to be flats rather than family homes. There is a fantastic Waitrose there though smile

NanBullen Thu 18-Oct-12 21:21:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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