Not just a pretty face – it’s the village that has it all
This beautiful and vibrant community in North Yorkshire has been declared one of the best villages in Britain. Sharon Dale reveals why.
WITH gorgeous stone-built houses surrounded by stunning North Yorkshire countryside, plus an historic hall at its heart, Hovingham certainly looks delectable.
But it’s far more than a pretty face with posh credentials, as Savills revealed when it rated Hovingham one of the best 12 villages in the country.
It has the kind of facilities of which most villages dream. It boasts a tiny but outstanding school with just 33 pupils, a village hall, church, Methodist chapel, bowling green, cricket ground, a village shop, deli, bakery, pub, a hotel and, to cap it all, a hairdresser has just opened up. It also has a monthly market. More shops can be found in nearby Helmsley and Malton about eight miles away, and in York, 20 miles away.
It is, says Barry Dinner, of Stephensons estate agents, “blessed”, which means that property is not cheap or easy to find. More than a third of the houses belong to the Hovingham estate, whose owner, William Worsley, lives in the aforementioned hall, which was the childhood home of the Duchess of Kent.
The rest start at about £200,000 if you’re very lucky, though there are handful of low-cost homes built by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust 20 years ago. Leeds-based Trilandium is building 24 new homes and eight will be affordable while the rest will range from £350,000 to £750,000.
Lucian Cook, director of Savills research, says: “The popularity of these villages is clearly reflected by the fact that properties change hands infrequently and for an identifiable premium. Detached house prices were more than 50 per cent higher than the county average.”
Those in Hovingham cost 73 per cent more than the Yorkshire average, but if you can afford to buy into the village, you’ll find a thriving community.
Farmer Mark Wilson , Hovingham born and bred, and chairman of the parish council says: “Fifteen years ago, the community was mainly people who had retired here, old families who had lived here all their lives and people who worked on the estate, but we’ve had a lot of new people moving in because Hovingham is perceived as an idyllic location. It’s a more lively place now and the new people have really got involved with village life.”
The cohesion was boosted by a “Communities Plan”, according to Mark.
“We sent out a questionnaire asking people what they would like to see in the village, and there was a great response that spawned action groups and really brought everyone together.”
The snow-clearing group had great success this winter when they rented a gritter, bought snow shovels and devised an action plan to ensure the footpaths in Hovingham remained clear.
“That really helped,” says Mark, who can only think of one small disadvantage to living there. “The traffic has increased and there is a through road, but I can’t really think of anything else,” he says.
Village shop owner Margaret Goodwill gets a lot of business from the through traffic, though after over seven years behind the counter, she is selling up to move to a house nearby.
Her property, which is for sale for £495,000, is the ideal live/work opportunity and includes the shop and four-bedroom living accommodation.
“You get to know a lot of people working in the shop, and it is a really nice community,” says Margaret. “That was apparent in the snow. Everyone looked after everyone else.”
The saleability of Margaret’s shop has increased thanks to the Savills survey, which gave Chew Magna, in Somerset, the overall Best Village title.
Barry Dinner, of Stephensons estate agents, says: “There are lots of villages in North Yorkshire that are pleasing to the eye but they don’t have all those added extras. Hovingham has everything: location and an incredible number of facilities for such a small village.”
REASSURINGLY EXPENSIVE: Picturesque Hovingham boasts an idyllic setting and range of facilities, and the prices reflect this.
The cottage incorporates the village shop. It has a kitchen, utility, dining room and shop, a sitting room, three bedrooms, plus bedroom four/studio on the second floor. Outside there are gardens and a garage.Contact: Rounthwaite and Woodhead, tel: 01653 600747, www.rounthwaite-woodhead.co.uk
Work has just started on this new development of four-, five and six-bedroom houses. There are 16 of them and eight affordable homes. Trilandium is investigating the possibility of using heatexchange energy-saving water heating. Contact: Trilandium, tel: 0113 233 8045.
This six-bedroom house has been extended to create a large family home with garden and garage.Contact: Rounthwaite and Woodhead ,tel: 01653 600747, www.rounthwaite-woodhead.co.uk