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Help us find a new area to move to

(23 Posts)
Freezingmyarseoff Mon 09-Feb-15 11:46:34

We're keen to move house to a new area but don't know where to start looking. The three most important factors are schools, train to Paddington and being near to hills. We want to be a bit more rural but not completely isolated, so a village setting would be great. DH is very keen to be near hills for trail running, mountain biking and general outdoor adventures. But he needs access to a train that goes to London Paddington. He works one or two days in London and is happy to go a long(ish) commute and stay overnight. We have 3 DC, DC1 in Y1 and DC 2 will start in Sept 16. DC1 is at an independent school now, but we're thinking we'd probably change to state schools for primary. However, we'd like to move back to an independent for secondary if we can.
We've considered Somerset but aren't convinced by the secondary schools (independent), and now are a bit stuck as to where to look next. We live in North Hants at the moment btw.
Any suggestions?

Spindelina Mon 09-Feb-15 14:48:16

What's your budget (ish) and what do you need to get for that? Would he cycle to the station, or do you need somewhere within walking distance or with parking?

Bath has good schools (state and independent), 90 mins to Paddington and quite hilly, but it's not a village and parking at the station isn't great.

yetanotherchangename Mon 09-Feb-15 14:52:56

Malvern?

Freezingmyarseoff Mon 09-Feb-15 18:15:36

We have a decent budget, £800k, possibly more. We're looking for 5 bed, a decent garden, garage & home office. Station parking rather than walking to the station. Would rather walk to schools, or primary at least.
I hadn't even considered Malvern so will look into that.

Biscuitsneeded Mon 09-Feb-15 18:40:06

Bath. Live in Freshford, step on the train in the village (change in Bath for Paddington). It's beautiful.

Somethingtodo Mon 09-Feb-15 18:48:51

You could also look up along the Chiltern Line - which goes direct to Marylebone - 5 mins walk to Paddington....then you have the Chiltern Hills to run up and down...great performing grammars in Bucks for secondary.

Spindelina Mon 09-Feb-15 20:53:13

It's SSTC, but this is walking distance to Bath station, with easy access to NT land to the east (it's only 4 beds and needs a bit of updating, but only £750k).

Freezingmyarseoff Mon 09-Feb-15 22:17:43

Thanks Spindling. Not so sure about Bath itself. Freshford might be worth looking at but DH much keener on the Malvern suggestion. It's trying to find the right balance between in the sticks (he'd love it) and being vaguely close to amenities. I know I'm the one who's going to be ferrying the DC around for the next 15 years.

Spindelina Tue 10-Feb-15 08:54:08

Freshford (and other villages nearby) are lovely. But, personally, I would always avoid having to change on my commute - it makes it so much more likely to go wrong.

I don't know Worcestershire at all, but a brief look at the timetables tells me that there are some trains direct from Malvern to Paddington that take 2.5 hrs, but it is otherwise a three hour journey to Paddington, changing in Worcester. Is that really OK?

If so, how about South Wales? There are direct trains Swansea to Paddington every 30 mins, which is a three hour journey; from Cardiff it's two hours. How would the Brecons do for outdoorsy? No idea about schools though, which is what made me suggest Bath.

Dimplesandall Tue 10-Feb-15 09:41:04

Malvern absolutely gorgeous but SO far and unreliable for trains. Wouldnt consider that far out for a regular - albeit part-time- commute. There are many options closer in - Oxfordshire/Bucks..

YokoUhOh Tue 10-Feb-15 09:42:07

What about train to Marylebone? We're North Oxfordshire and its 45 mins by train from Bicester North.

YokoUhOh Tue 10-Feb-15 09:43:10

Sorry Something x-post. Must be a good suggestion!

Freezingmyarseoff Tue 10-Feb-15 10:34:16

Interesting to hear about the trains from Malvern. DH would say trains ok but I'm not so sure myself. He's immediately discounted Bucks "because it sounds too boring". Arghhh <rolls eyes at him>

Dimplesandall Tue 10-Feb-15 10:41:40

The train is much slower on the Worc/Heref section than Oxon on. Think it even stops at one station for about 20 mins! Delays frequent also. A lovely route but personally would completely discount. Oxon?

senua Tue 10-Feb-15 10:43:41

Malvern has very good schools.

Spindelina Tue 10-Feb-15 10:47:44

And, btw, which secondary schools have you thought about in Somerset? What are you after? Between Wells, Taunton, Exeter, Sherborne, Downside, Millfield, Warminster, etc, plus the Bath, Bristol and Exeter schools, I'd have thought there was something in there to your taste?

Freezingmyarseoff Tue 10-Feb-15 11:06:08

You'd think so given that list. And quite probably we haven't researched enough but Millfield seemed too big, we'd rather they went to a day school rather than a boarding school with a handful of day pupils so ruled out Downside. I visited Wells Cathedral School & there was something that put me off, can't quite put my finger on it but it 's left me feeling unsure.
But further than that I don't know so much about schools in Taunton or Exeter I'll admit. Nor Warminister. And the daily school run into Bristol makes me shudder, rightly or wrongly.

Gibbsbasement Tue 10-Feb-15 11:13:42

Have you considered Wiltshire? Hills, trains, and schools.

Have a look at Dauntsey's. It's not that well known outside of the area, but highly regarded.

Spindelina Tue 10-Feb-15 11:47:08

Yeah, I'd shudder at the thought of driving into Bristol every day! But there are school coaches, and local trains/buses.

Not sure where you'd live in N Somerset that had easy access to a station with fast trains though - maybe west bit of Mendips and train from Weston? Further east (Frome way) it would make more sense to get a school bus or train into Bath. Further south and Taunton or even Blundell's would be easier.

Mrscog Tue 10-Feb-15 11:51:39

Another vote for Malvern here! Or What about the other side of Worcester? Evesham would be a faster commute, and near the Cotswolds and Bredon Hill?

Mrscog Tue 10-Feb-15 11:52:44

Plus they are going to upgrade the whole line from Worcester to Paddington at some point.

Freezingmyarseoff Tue 10-Feb-15 12:16:35

DH said he'd be happy to drive to Castle Cary and get the train from there. We're both quite drawn to the Mendips but I think we need to seriously consider other options

Spindelina Tue 10-Feb-15 13:30:38

Driving to Westbury would also be an option. In that bit of Somerset, if you want mainly day schools (rather than e.g. Warminster), I'd be looking at schools in Bath not Bristol. There are coaches from Frome / Midsomer Norton, and a lot arrive by train too. Lots of little village schools for primary.

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