Why it's time to move to Rickmansworth
PUBLISHED: 16:07 21 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:32 20 February 2013
Theatre, shops, water and plenty of outside space, this is a town that offers an idyllic slice of Hertfordshire life, as Pat Bramley discovers...
IN an ideal world, a home by the sea might be your dream come true but if you need to live near London for work you can hardly do better than Rickmansworth.
In this leafy south-west corner of Hertfordshire even the local authority is called Three Rivers.
The commuter town of Ricky is a waterside haven. Its blessed with having the Grand Union Canal, the rivers Colne, Chess, and Gade and a 41-hectare aquadrome all within walking distance.
Move here and boating, watersports and wildlife spotting can be activities on your doorstep, yet on work days you could be in Marylebone or Baker Street in 30 minutes.
Rickmansworth has many and varied advantages as a place to live.
The schools are among the best in the country, the shopping centre includes many family-run independents well able to hold their own against local branches of Waitrose, M&S and Tesco and you can even park for free in the high street for 20 minutes or for two hours without putting money in the machine in public car parks.
Road: Junction 18 of the M25 is about a mile from the town centre. From there it should take no more than ten minutes or a quarter of an hour to reach the M40 or M1.
Rail: Commuters from Rickmansworth have the choice of the Chiltern Line into Marylebone or the Met into Baker Street and the City.
Air: Heathrow and Luton are each about half an hour away via motorways, assuming no hold-ups.
Private and state secondary schools are among the best in the country and thats no exaggeration.
St Clement Danes School at Chorleywood, officially within the district of Rickmansworth, was rated outstanding in all 31 categories at its Ofsted inspection in October last year.
Fee-paying Royal Masonic School for Girls was given an outstanding rating last year both by the Independent Schools Inspectorate and Ofsted.
And Rickmansworth PNEU girls prep school for ages three to 11 is in the top ten out of the 253 English schools in the Independent Girls Schools rankings, only four places behind Roedean.
The third weekend in May is one of the high spots in the towns calendar. Narrow boats from all over the country moor up at Rickmansworth this year on Saturday May 19 and Sunday May 20 to take part in the annual canal festival.
But every weekend throughout the year there are opportunities to make the most of your free time and it neednt cost you money.
Within easy walking distance of the town centre, the largest of the Aquadromes three man-made lakes, Stockers Lake, is a bird and wildlife sanctuary with hides on shore for birdwatchers. Batchworth Lake is fished for carp during the open season and is also used by a water ski-ing club.
Bury Lake is for sailing, windsurfing and canoeing. Youll also find enthusiasts with remote-controlled model boats competing to out-do each other. A couple of miles up the road from the town centre, walk through the meadows of the Chess Valley.
If youre a culture vulture, theres a council-owned theatre/cinema/event complex appropriately named Watersmeet as well as a library which is open every day apart from Wednesday and Sunday.
Sport? Famous Moor Park Golf Club is a championship course but theres also a public pay-and-play course next door. Rickmansworth Cricket Club is one of the oldest in the country. The William Penn Leisure Centre has all-weather pitches, squash and badminton courts and all kinds of kit to keep you fit as well as a lovely new pool.
How much to live here
Expect to pay 200,000 at least for a newly built one-bedroom flat in the town centre although older properties further away can be closer to 150,000.
Savills starting price for a two-bedroom apartment recently was 232,000. A two-bedroom Victorian cottage was on the books for a few pounds short of 300,000 and half a million is currently the norm for a three-bedroom semi in a good road. A four-bedroom detached house on Rickmansworths popular Cedar Estate is likely to be 700,000-800,000.
Further towards Chorleywood, a smart house in somewhere like Valley Road will be in the seven figure league, obviously.