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.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

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

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