London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Commuting -

WILTSHIRE may seem a daunt­ing com­mute away but choose wisely and your ex­quis­ite vil­lage home, sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful coun­try­side, can be reached in a lit­tle over an hour.


Where is it? Seven miles south-east of Marl­bor­ough, in the heart of the North Wes­sex Downs. The com­mute: Great Bedwyn has its own rail­way sta­tion and ser­vices to Padding­ton take from 73 min­utes. An an­nual sea­son ticket costs £5,724. Plus points: this is a big, busy vil­lage in gor­geous coun­try­side. Marl­bor­ough is a smash­ing lo­cal market town to have on the doorstep, with lovely shops and restau­rants. And although the train jour­ney isn’t the fastest, hav­ing a sta­tion within walk­ing dis­tance helps.

“The com­mu­nity is very ac­tive with many clubs and so­ci­eties,” says buy­ing agent Linda Jef­f­coat of Stacks Prop­erty Search. “There are two vil­lage pubs, a post of­fice, and vil­lage shop. There is even a Miche­lin-star restau­rant, The Har­row, five min­utes up the road in Lit­tle Bedwyn.” To add to the ap­peal, Great Bedwyn Church of Eng­land School is rated “out­stand­ing” by Of­sted. And the down­sides? You’ll need a car to ferry kids to se­nior schools in Marl­bor­ough or Hunger­ford. There is a short­age of prop­er­ties on the market, par­tic­u­larly fam­ily homes, and when they do come up they sell at a pre­mium. Some homes in the vil­lage were hit by flood­ing in 2012. Prop­erty prices: you could pick up a twobed­room ter­race cot­tage for about £350,000, a four-bed­room de­tached pe­riod fam­ily house for about £800,000.


Where is it? Five miles from Chippenham, and within the south­ern half of the Cotswolds. The com­mute: trains from Chippenham to Padding­ton take from an hour and 14 min­utes, and an an­nual sea­son ticket costs £10,060. Plus points: when the much-de­layed elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the Great Western Rail­way reaches Wiltshire, sup­pos­edly this year, jour­ney times will be cut to about an hour. Prices are likely to jump as a re­sult. The vil­lage has gor­geous houses, a pub, a cou­ple of tea rooms, and is as pretty as they come. And the down­sides? High com­mut­ing fares. The near­est town, Chippenham, is a bit dreary so head to Bris­tol or Bath, which are both within 20 miles. There’s no pri­mary school, but one of the near­est is Trin­ity Pri­mary School, in Acton Turville, rated “good” by Of­sted. Cas­tle Combe is thronged with tourists in sum­mer. Prop­erty prices: be warned, they’re high. A two-bed­room cot­tage would set you back in the re­gion of £500,000. You could pay £1 mil­lion for a four-bed­room fam­ily house and £3 mil­lion for a large manor house with an acre or two.


Where is it? An­other of Marl­bor­ough’s satel­lite vil­lages, Rams­bury is seven miles north-east of the town and again within the North Wes­sex Downs. The com­mute: from Hunger­ford sta­tion, six miles away, ser­vices to Padding­ton take from one hour and eight min­utes. An an­nual sea­son ticket costs £5,580. Plus points: Rams­bury is a “stun­ning vil­lage in a very pic­turesque val­ley”, says Lucy Win­field, of Pri­vate Prop­erty Search. There are three vil­lage pubs, walks along the River Ken­net, and the M4 is handy. Lo­cals in­clude H&M boss Ste­fan Pers­son, one of the world’s rich­est men, who owns a 10,000-acre es­tate. The vil­lage pri­mary is rated “out­stand­ing” and Marl­bor­ough’s has ex­cel­lent sec­on­daries. And the down­sides? Fairly punchy prop­erty prices, par­tic­u­larly for pretty pe­riod houses. Prop­erty prices: a two-bed­room pe­riod cot­tage is about £250,000, with a four-bed­room pe­riod house from £750,000 to £900,000.

£895,000: a four-bed­room house at For­est Hill, Great Bedwyn. Carter Jonas (01672 647007)

£650,000: a four-bed­room de­tached cot­tage in Cas­tle Combe. Call Hamp­tons (01225 686084)

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