Why it's time to move to Ware
PUBLISHED: 21:28 12 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:07 20 February 2013
A picturesque town with a river running through it - it's no small wonder people are flocking to buy a home here, as Pat Bramley discovers
JILL Rawlinson moved to Ware two years ago to take on the job of town clerk and says she was immediately struck by the strong sense of community.
What I thought was great is that it still has a thriving traditional high street. The shops are mainly independent retailers. There arent many multiples.
Theres so much for people to do, she enthuses. Theres the river and the festival and Rock in the Priory and facilities for all kinds of sports and special interest groups.
Its a really nice town.
Wherever you go in this friendly place, once the premier malting centre in England producing brown malt for porter, youll find Jills sentiments repeated. And whats more, property prices arent as high as in some neighbouring towns. But how long might that last?
All ages are well catered for, from nursery through to higher education.
There are eight state primary schools and three state secondaries.
For parents who choose the private route, co-ed St Edmunds College accepts pupils from nursery age through to sixth form.
The Ware campus of Hertford Regional College, partially redeveloped in 2009, works with local employers to offer an earn-while-you-learn scheme providing apprenticeships in a wide range of careers. Its also a specialist business centre for degree students.
Rail: Fast trains reach Liverpool Street in 45 minutes.
Road: The A10 links with the M25 and M11. The A414 takes you to towns like Hertford, Harlow and Chelmsford and the A1(M) shoots northwards to Hitchin, Baldock, Stevenage and up to Peterborough.
Air: Stansted is 13 miles away.
At last count there were 22 cafes, restaurants and takeaways listed on the community website and 28 pubs remember Ware was a malting town in the 18th century and tradition dies hard. For weddings, special occasions and any time you really want to treat yourself, of course theres five star Hanbury Manor.
As for sports, it must have about the best facilities for a town of its size in England.
Hertford Rugby Club, one of the countys leading clubs, has its home ground in Ware with a floodlit pitch and midweek as well as weekend fixtures. There are seven adult teams and a mini rugby section.
Hertford and Ware Athletics Club is based at Wodson Park Sports & Recreation Centre on a 25-acre site donated by a farmer. As well as an athletics track, the centre has a multi purpose sports hall, astro turf hockey pitch and facilities for football, rugby, American football, indoor bowls and basketball, badminton, martial arts and much more.
The other main sports venue is the Priory Grounds where theres putting, tennis, a Lido for outdoor swimming in the summer, also six rinks for outdoor bowls, a basketball court and heaven knows what else. Anglers can fish on the River Lea in the Priory Grounds though you need a licence for that you name it, you can enjoy it to championship level in Ware. Theres even a Kennel Club listed Dog Training Society, one of the largest in the country.
How much to live here?
Current prices on local agent Ensum Browns website suggest you can expect to pay from 125,000 for a one bedroom flat, from 160,000 for a two bedroom pad, 230,000 upwards for a three bedroom terraced house and from 350,000 for a four bedroom detached. A four/five bedroom country house on the agencys Fine & Country list has a guide price of 725,000.