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Hertfordshire’s Best Villages: villages around Stevenage

PUBLISHED: 09:23 03 January 2012 | UPDATED: 15:51 21 March 2016

Why it's time to move to Stevenage Villages

Why it's time to move to Stevenage Villages

Picturesque villages with close-knit communities, all within easy reach of a bustling town full of amenities as Pat Bramley learns...


ACCORDING to experts who measure these things, the area that is covered by woodland surrounding Stevenage ‘can only be matched by places like the Forest of Dean’.


Certainly the new town, despite its excellent shopping and leisure facilities, has not been regarded as a particularly attractive example of post-war development but the surrounding villages are a rural idyll by contrast.


Those fortunate enough to live in pretty spots like Walkern, Aston, Benington, Datchworth and Old Knebworth enjoy the best of country and town.




Education


Each of these villages has a primary school while independent co-eds in the area include St Christopher’s and Sherrardswood, both catering for pupils from nursery age to sixth form. There are also two top ranking girls’ private schools within a six-mile radius of Stevenage – The Princess Helena College and St Francis College.


In the state sector, The John Henry Newman Catholic has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted and a new headteacher arrived this term at The Barclay School, one of the government’s specialist technology colleges.



Shopping and free time


Each village has at least one traditional country pub and these thriving communities are determined to safeguard their environment and support all things local.


The conservation village of Walkern has an annual fair, a youth club and a private art gallery based at the studio of artist Stephen Lowe.


In Aston there was considerable excitement when ancient wall paintings were discovered in two of the bedrooms of a cottage opposite the Pig & Whistle.


Each February crowds turn out to see the snowdrops in the grounds of the Georgian manor house at Benington Lordship and the daffodils at Easter while music lovers come to the famous rock and pop concerts at Knebworth House.


In Stevenage, the 120 acres of Fairlands Valley Park have been described as ‘the green jewel in Stevenage’s crown’. The sailing centre is one of the UK’s top free visitor attractions and they also have instructors for mountain biking, orienteering, wall climbing and more.


Stevenage football club is another major draw as is The Gordon Craig Theatre and the ten-screen Cineworld Multiplex.



How much to live here?


Tracey Kosmalski, director of Putterills in Old Stevenage, says properties in the outlying villages carry a premium because of where they are and the close proximity of Stevenage and all it offers.


Expect to pay: from £190,000 for a two-bedroom cottage; from £250,000 for a three-bedroom semi; around £400,000 for a four-bedroom detached.

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