We're thinking of relocating from suburban Surrey to Wokingham or Crowthorne(v near to dh's work). Any thoughts?
I've had this vision of living in a little market town with a sense of community - would the area be anything like that?
There's a lot of residential areas as far as I can see in both areas, but I don't know what living on a residential estate would be like - would I have to drive everywhere? I'd love to be within walking distance of a great primary school (dd due to start Sept 2011).
I'd appreciate any thoughts at all - too many possible options whizzing round my head for WAY too long now!
Both are quite nice. They are quite quiet, but they really don't feel like little market towns with a sense of community. There's not much more than a petrol station or corner shop & chinese takeaway anywhere other than the main centres (Wokingham/Crowthorne).
There are some lovely houses (if you have the money) and some average houses (also if you have the money!). It's a reasonably expensive area. Have a look on www rightmove co uk (haven't done it as a link as I'm not sure if that's allowed or not??).
The schools seem fine - but haven't used any of them. The kids in the area are always 'nice kids'.
The area feels safe day & night (but I'm not easily scared either - so you'd have to see for yourself).
The train station is pretty good and has a taxi rank outside.
Bus links aren't bad.
LOL anything else you'd like to know??
PS: That's all coming from a 'lived in Wokingham' but know Crowthorne a little perspective.
Lots of pubs/cafe's/restaurants too
Thanks so much, it's great to have some insider knowledge! I've had a look on rightmove and I like the fact that they both look quite leafy and Wokingham especially seems to have lots of green space. It is pricey but believe it or not compared to where we are now you get a lot more for your money!
Basically I'm just desperate to make the right decision about where to bring the children up. Are there any areas that seem to be particuarly popular with families? Do you mean there is no sense of community at all?
Sorry, too many questions! I think anywhere is going to be a shock - I'm not mad on where we are now but it is damn convenient for almost everything!
No, not too many questions!
It's nice to move to an area where you get more for your money than where you currently live
There are some areas that aren't great (as in all places) and there are other areas that are just normal, suburban living. They are both nice enough - but not what I would call a community - though, maybe my impression of that might be different if I had had children there? I also think that unless you live in a real 'village' (and not even then), that there are few places around that have a real sense of 'community' these days. Everyone is busy with their own lives.
If you want to, tell me the area you are coming from and I might be able to give you a better comparison.
I don't think either of those places have a great deal for children - but it depends what you are looking for doesn't it. It is (well the street we lived in anyway) the kind of place where I wouldn't have any worries letting the children 'play out'.
What is your vision of a good place to bring children up?
I live fairly close to these two towns and know them well as I used to work for a big local letting agent and they were "my patch".
Wokingham is a market town and the schools are very good so property prices in the catchment area of these are higher than they should be, IMO.
Crowthorne is a smaller town with a High Street with nothing but Lidl, and a few charity shops.
It depends what you want really and how old your DCs are.
Wokingham would win for me as the DCs when old enough can go into the town, do their own shopping and get the train further afield.
There is a train station in Crowthorne but it is not main line adn I fear I would be forever taking the DCs to places.
When I lived in Wokingham a few years ago, everything seemed to be closing down!
High st had all but gone
Hi, I've lived in Wokingham for nearly 19 years now, my DC were 1.5 and 3.5 when we came here, so they've grown up here. Maybe that (and the fact that I work in a local primary school) is why I disagree with ChippingIn, I do think there's a good sense of community here - I can't remember the last time I went into town & didn't meet someone I know. There are lots of clubs & societies too and well-supported charity Carnivals twice a year. I'm not so well up on stuff for younger children though, as my two are now in their 20s.
Wokingham is expensive, but lovely. Its now getting a bit more varied ethnically, which is good, but it still cant be described as anything but predominantly white mc.
The council have major redevelopment plans, which will probably involve a lot more housing & a relief road along the line of the railway to the south of the town, as well as plans to revamp the town centre - there have been a lot of those over the last few years but they have so far come to nothing - the last one foundered when they got to the final planning stages before the council realised that they didn't own M&S's car park which they were planning to build over - and M&S said No....
The town centre currently has a lot of cafes, estate agents & smallish shops, as well as M&S, there's a nice library a Waitrose in the middle of town & Tesco to the south; Sainsbury's is in Winnersh or Bracknell.
Reading is about 8 miles away, with a good shopping centre, Bracknell is about 6 miles the other way but I haven't been shopping there for years - last time I did, it was frankly crap; it may have improved since, but I always go either to Reading, Camberley or sometimes Guildford.
I live in the southern part, not far from the big Tesco. There are about 30 nursery/infant/junior schools in the borough - a lot of the primaries are actually separate infant & junior schools. We're in the catchment for Wescott infants/Westende Junior, but the catchment areas are rather strange & need to be studied carefully before you choose your area - children from quite close to us also go to Walter County Infants/St Paul's Junior or Emmbrook Infant/Junior. There's also a high achieving over-subscribed Catholic Primary school, St Theresa's, but no corresponding Catholic Secondary.
I actually work at one of the Wokingham junior schools, & I don't want to (a) appear biased or (b) out myself, so it's a bit difficult to give advice also because there are so many schools & I dont know a lot about many of them but feel free to ask any questions.
Secondary schools are another area where there's likely to be a lot of change in the near future - one school has recently closed-Ryeish Green, in Spencer's Wood, which had had falling numbers for years. The council want to build a new school to the south/west, possibly on the site of Arborfield Garrison which is closing - the strong rumours are that they will do it by moving The Emmbrook School which tends to flood whenever there is a heavy shower, but this is being strongly resisted by the parents who live nearby, and lobbied for by those who live in the south (I told you the catchment areas were complicated Embrook's is actually in two completely separate lumps.)
If you live on the west side of the middle of town, the catchment secondaries are actually single sex - The Holt (where DD went) for girls and The Forest, which is actually in Winnersh to the north for boys. DS didn't go there, as he got into Reading School, which is a state grammar, about 8 miles away. On the East side of town is St Crispin's, which is a smallish mixed school, but there are rumours that the council want to extend it massively. There are other schools further out, but I don't know a lot about those. Also several private schools, including Ludgrove where Princes William & Harry went.
Don't know if this is the kind of stuff you want, but I'd better stop boring you....
Thanks so much everyone, you have no idea how great it is to have some clarity!
A lot of the houses we've been looking at online do seem to be on the west side of Wokingham which I was hoping would be in the catchment for Walter / Hawthornes schools (they seem to have the best OFSTED scores?).
I think TBH I'm going round in circles trying to find a place which may not exist. I'm originally from a really small village where everyone knows each other, and where I live now is really convenient and you can get anything you want whenever you want. Those two things just don't exist in the same place, do they?!
Anyone know anything about day nurseries? DD has one more year but DS is only 7 months so would need part-time daycare (that is if I manage to get a job!) BTW great to hear there are lots of secondaries, I teach English so if anyone hears of any part-time jobs going...!
Rambling now, any more info greatly appreciated. Really.
While we're in the area does anyone know aything about Finchampstead? You seem to get a lot for your money compared to Wokingham and the OFSTEDS seem pretty good...although not as good as Hawthornes.
Any advice gratefully received
Finchampstead is a nice area, but a bit remote & you really need a car - there's no station & the buses are not very frequent.
My husband drives to work as they pay his petrol (and he's not always office based) and I have a little car to rattle around in so I think problems may only arise when the DS's are teens and wanting ferrying around everywhere. That seems so far off at the moment! I am very tempted...
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I've just moved to the area from London. All a bit of a shock to the system!
I have a 17 month old little boy and I am a single mum (still working in London but have moved there to be near my parents).
I'd love to know of any local groups or ways of meeting other mums.
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Why not have a look at Binfield, I lived there for 8 years and I really liked it. It's just the other side of the A329 from Wokingham. It has a good mix of houses and green space - easy to get into Bracknell for shopping (which has improved - I think they have an M&S now! Definitely have a Waitrose).
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