Village life popular drawcard
Today Property Weekly begins a series of articles featuring small outlying towns and suburbs of Palmerston North. This week Sue Emeny visits Ashhurst and discovers what makes it such a good place to live.
If you are looking to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a village lifestyle but with all the advantages of city living, then Ashhurst could be the perfect place to buy a house. Ashhurst, with a population of about 3500, is a typical small rural New Zealand town but is just 10 minutes from Palmerston North.
Sitting on the doorstep of some of the region’s most beautiful scenery, drive through the village and head to the beautiful Pohangina Valley.
In catering for families, the village has a school, a kindergarten, childcare centre and play centre. Ashhurst School caters for children up to Year 8 and has a role of 400.
At the heart of the community is the Village Valley Centre. It has a basketball court, squash courts, a good kitchen and lounge space for meetings. It is the venue for the annual Ashhurst Craft Fair.
Other facilities include good summer and winter sports grounds. Ashhurst Domain is a large multi-purpose park, which includes a camping ground, a lookout to the wind farm, a cemetery and canine area. Lincoln Park is the home ground of the local rugby team, AshhurstPohangina RFC, and there are several other small parks dotted around the village.
Despite being a small town, residents are well served by local businesses including two supermarkets, hairdresser, fish and chip shop, cafes, hotels, dairy, petrol station, as well as industries servicing the village and rural areas.
While Ashhurst no longer has its own doctor and pharmacy, there is a medicine depot. Transportation is provided with a bus service that runs between village and Palmerston North.
An added attraction is The Herb Farm, just a two-minute drive away. This features a retail shop, almost a hectare of themed gardens and self-guided garden walk and kid’s quiz. A cafe provides fresh food in the indoor/outdoor setting and a seminar room is perfect for hands-on workshops, business meetings or seminars.
Harcourt’s real estate agent Paul Weldrand says Ashhurst is definitely a good area to buy in.
"Prospective purchasers have a great choice of property throughout the Ashhurst area, be that from a smaller family home to a substantial lifestyle block.
‘‘Many recent subdivisions have seen an availability of new properties that can be purchased for less than in the immediate Palmerston North suburbs.
‘‘For those buyers looking for the olderstyle homes, there is choice aplenty with turn-of-the-century character homes being seen throughout the whole area. Ashhurst is certainly becoming a great place to live with the real estate prospect being very attractive to many."
The old and the new:
St Mary Magdalene Church, wind turbines and the Valley Village Centre provide a unique contrast in Ashhurst.
School days: Ashhurst School is highly regarded by local families. It has a role of 400 and caters for children up to Year 8.
Popular place: Nestled in amongst tall shade trees is a barbecue area and playground, popular attractions at Ashhurst Domain.
James Candish, owner of the Village Valley Automotive, grew up in Ashhurst. He moved to Palmerston North to work but after five years moved back to Ashhurst four months ago with his wife. They were able to buy their new dream home for $100,000 less than a similar house in Palmerston North, enabling them to buy the business as well. ‘‘House prices are a whole lot better and we’ve had a lot of support with the business from the locals.’’
Rex Brosnan has lived in Ashhurst for 17 years and thinks it’s a great place to live and work. He owns Ashhurst Mower Centre on Cambridge Avenue, a business that he started from home. ‘‘There are good-sized sections, which are great for families, and there’s everything you need here – an excellent school, a fire station and petrol station and there’s no rush-hour traffic.’’
Pete Munn has lived in Ashhurst for ‘‘20-odd years’’ so he reckons that makes him ‘‘almost a local’’. He has operated a lawn-mowing business during that time. He enjoys Ashhurst’s rural atmosphere.‘‘It’s a good little village and the people are friendly.’’