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Nice villages to live in Essex???? Help!!

(59 Posts)
dani141 Fri 07-Mar-14 15:42:28

We're looking to move into Essex to be closer to family but we know very little about the areas!

My husband works in South London and has to drive to work (cannot use trains as he works as a printer so sometimes has to work into the middle of the night when no trains are running!) so we cant really go any further north than a couple of miles above Chelmsford or as far as Maldon. So we're looking for a really nice, but affordable (£300k for 3 bed house) village, anywhere in that search area! We would like a village (rather than town or outskirts of town) with a few shops and school (we have 2 young children).

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :-)

MrsCosmopilite Fri 07-Mar-14 15:51:27

If you're needing to get into London you need to be able to get to the A12 quite easily. Having said that trains run into London up until around 2am, and then from around 5 but there may not be a connecting underground service.

I was looking in Maldon recently but found it rather overpriced.

Chelmsford is quite a vibrant town, but may be a bit noisy. Writtle (just down the road from Chelmsford) has a nice atmosphere and it's easy to get into town.

Blackmore, Ingatestone and East/West/South Hanningfield and Mountnessing are all reasonably near. As are Billericay, Ongar, Danbury or any of the Rodings.

We're buying in one of those areas and are buying a 3-bed around the range you're talking about. (don't want to put too much personal info here but happy to fill you in by PM)

Why not go onto rightmove and put in Chelmsford as your "central" point, and then go 5-8 miles outside that zone. You can then have a look on Google/Streetmaps at the towns/villages?

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 07-Mar-14 16:51:47

Hatfield Peverel. Lovely village just north of Chelmsford and easy access to A12.

dani141 Fri 07-Mar-14 20:10:04

Thank you for your recommendations :-) I've put them on all our list for another look around this weekend.

We've spent lots of time looking on the map and even done a fair amount of driving around the villages you mentioned, but its difficult to know what a place is really like just by driving around! Its nice to hear recommendations from people that know more than us!! :-)

We did like to look of Writtle and Blackmore. We looked at Danbury but were informed by the estate agents there that our budget was 'far too low to be able to buy in Danbury'!!!!

Any other recommendations or info would be great, PM is fine with me :-)

We haven't seem much of Hatfield Peverel so I will add that to the list as well!

Thank you :-)

SimLondon Fri 07-Mar-14 20:30:10

Ingatestone is great, Blackmore is nice but much smaller and only has one shop. Ingatestone has a bit more going on.

MrsCosmopilite Fri 07-Mar-14 21:10:14

Blackmore hasn't much in the way of shops. The Hanningfields are close to the reservoir (nice for walks, bird-watching), and not too far from Chelmsford -for shopping.

Writtle is similarly close to Chelmsford. Like Blackmore it has a lovely village green and duck pond. It has a few shops (including the Tiptree franchise tea rooms adjacent to the College campus.

Billericay has a great High Street. Ingatestone has a quaint one, and isn't far from bigger towns with more shops.

There's also Shenfield - High Street's not brilliant but it has some small supermarkets, chemists, standard stuff. And loads of trains per hour into London.

dani141 Sat 08-Mar-14 22:07:11

Thank you, that's great info!

Writtle and Blackmore seem quite appealing at the mo, although the Hanningfields location would be more of a preference as our family live in Colchester so possibly slighter close to them than Writtle and Blackmore?

When I rang a couple of the estate agents in Chelmsford they gave me some suggestions and among them were Writtle and Hanningfields, but also High Easter and Great Leigh's, any opinions on them?!

Blondieminx Sat 08-Mar-14 22:10:33

Shenfield will also be on Crossrail.

Stock is nearer the A12 than Billericay and is very nice.

MotherOfDragon Sat 08-Mar-14 22:52:01

How about south Woodham Ferrers?

ConfusedPixie Sat 08-Mar-14 23:02:11

Writtle is lovely, my sister live don the green until recently and it's a few minutes off of the A12.

MrsCosmopilite Sun 09-Mar-14 10:05:41

Writtle to Colchester would be something in the region of a half-hour drive, as it's pretty near Chelmsford, and the A12.

Funnily enough, I'll be in Writtle next week.

minibmw2010 Sun 09-Mar-14 13:08:33

Kelvedon is nice, a bit further from London that you might want, but also about a 30 min drive from Colchester.

dani141 Mon 10-Mar-14 15:24:40

Thanks for all the info :-)

We spent hours driving around all the recommendations yesterday! We liked quite a few places and worked out that the ideal location to get the best of both worlds for distance to family and for work would be the area around Danbury, Hanningfields, Woodhams etc. But we struggled to find a village that had a shop (never know when we might need milk at 8pm!!) and a school etc, rather than a Hamlet! ...
Any recommendations on villages we missed/didn't come across in that stretch of Essex that ticks these boxes??

I don't mind if the village is on the large side if it means a village shop and school, just so long as it's not as big as a town! A 'nice' village with a £300k budget seems so hard to find at the mo! I must sound so fussy, this is such a big move for us that I really want to get it right!
Thanks again for everyone's suggestions and help so far, it's really appreciated :-)

hiccupgirl Mon 10-Mar-14 15:38:39

What about somewhere like Galleywood? Technically part of Chelmsford but very much on the outskirts, very close to the A12, has shops, library and village school, lovely common and woodland.

My friends had the same problem but ended up going for the south (cheaper) side of Danbury, lucky them!

mistlethrush Mon 10-Mar-14 15:42:36

A friend lives in Tollesbury and it has a thriving village community - just east of Maldon.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Mon 10-Mar-14 15:49:51

Danbury, writtle and the villages around Chelmsford are quite pricey and you won't get a lot for your budget there. The closer you get to Shenfield the more expensive you get.
The Easters are lovely but a bit of a way from anywhere, dunmow is nice as are the villages on the way to there from Chelmsford such as Ford End and Barnston, not sure about shops though.
One place to look at is Great Totham between Maldon and Witham, cheaper than Wickham Bishops which is next door but the villages share a lovely primary and only a couple of miles from the A12
Also look at Feering and Kelvedon and perhaps Coggeshall

minibmw2010 Mon 10-Mar-14 22:36:22

Kelvedon has an excellent primary. As has coggeshall which is the next village nearest. (Friends live in both villages). Both places have shops but Coggeshall doesn't have a train station.

Blondieminx Mon 10-Mar-14 23:39:02

Coggeshall is 10 mins from both Kelvedon rail station but it takes a good 15 mins to get from Kelvedon to Chelmsford so it is that bit further out than you'd initally said. It is VERY nice there, my best friends mum and granny both live there. If you are looking out that far, then you may also want to consider Aldham (Marks Tey mainline rail station is 5 mins away).

Tollesbury is pretty but the transport links aren't that great.

From what you've said following the drive around, it sounds like you'd like Wivenhoe but it is further out than you wanted to be. It has a mainline rail station, 2 primary schools, a co-op and a handful of small independent shops (and is getting worse for traffic year on year as more people move in!).

minibmw2010 Tue 11-Mar-14 09:05:54

Wivenhoe is lovely, we have friends there, it is getting busier though as a big new development of housing being started there soon.

dani141 Tue 11-Mar-14 22:02:51

We would love to go up towards Kelveden, Coggeshall direction as my parents are just south of Colchester, but it is just that bit too far for my husband to get to work. Sometimes he starts or finishes work at 3 or 4am in South London so trains aren't an option so we have to consider road links instead! We stayed in a hotel in Wivenhoe a few weeks ago and it was lovely, just further than we can go.

Great Totham is also that bit too far, Tollesbury seems lovely but I agree road links aren't great!

We liked the Easters and all of that area but the road connections aren't great which adds too much time onto his journey.

Frustratingly Danbury is ideally situated and has a co-op, schools etc but wow there seems to be a premium for houses there!! ���� The agent in Danbury suggested Bicknacre as an alternative, seems extremely affordable, which confuses me! We know nothing about Bicknacre! Any thoughts on Bicknacre?

I think it's official... We may need to loose one of our search criteria! We're too fussy! ;-)

Thanks again for all your suggestions and info, we would've been so stuck without all your comments :-)

Spickle Tue 11-Mar-14 22:48:48

Bicknacre is nice but I just drive through it, not actually lived there. House prices reasonable. Sandon is also nice - went on an open gardens day there last year. It has a nice village green, close to the A12, good secondary school, might be worth a look. Stock is lovely - drive through it regularly but can be pricey.

minibmw2010 Wed 12-Mar-14 20:37:00

I think Billericay is your town. There are good school, it's 20 mins on the train and easy access to the A12.

MrsCosmopilite Fri 14-Mar-14 10:45:43

Mini yes, great shops in Billericay. Plus other shopping centres at Basildon and Chelmsford are not far. Plenty of easy access to the countryside, and roads connect pretty well.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Fri 14-Mar-14 12:18:06

The trouble is you don't get a lot for £300k in Billericay....

dani141 Fri 14-Mar-14 14:22:01

We had noticed Billericay was pricey...! :-))

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