Friday, January 30, 2009

Offer accepted on green door

The photo above is the studio/office/shed/dugout/what ever, down the bottom of the garden

HARTLEY WINTNEY Hunts Cottages, Hunts Common

The thud of leather against willow is a sound that has resonated in Hartley Wintney since 1770. In fact, the Hampshire village’s cricket club holds the honour of being the oldest in the country.
Cricket has been played on the green every season ever since — another claim to fame for longevity. And it’s this sense of history and continuity that gives Hartley Wintney its special character.
The first evidence of a settled community in the area is recorded in the 13th century, with reference to a place called Hertleye Wynteneye. But it wasn’t until the 18th century that the modern village came into being when it became established as a coaching stop on the London to Exeter road, now the A30.
Today, with its many listed buildings and its conservation area status, echoes of the past remain in Hartley Wintney. To ensure the village remains unspoilt in the future, its preservation society keeps a watchful eye on any planning proposals.
In addition to the buildings, natural features have also survived, such as the medieval Dilly Pond, which thanks to villagers’ conservation efforts, has recently been restored to its former glory having become silted up and overgrown through years of neglect.
And for residents and visitors who like to get out and about, the area offers several beautiful walks, all different in character.
Of particular interest is Hazeley Heath. Because of the rare plants and wildlife found upon it — particularly rare birds — the heath is part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area.
It has a diverse range of habitats with some dry, sandy stretches as well as marshy wetland and wooded sections.
In contrast to the stark wildness of the heath, the famous Mildmay Oaks provide gentler, greener surroundings.
The trees were planted in 1807 by Lady St John Mildmay, in response to a call to landowners for more timber for shipbuilding by Admiral Collingwood after the Battle of Trafalgar.
Fortunately, the trees avoided the lumberjack’s axe and have now grown into mature specimens providing pleasant walks within the plantation.
Similarly, the Community Orchard is another place where locals can take a leafy stroll in a historical setting.
The trees were planted on Hunts Common in 2000 by the parish council, with the aim of maintaining the orchard’s traditional use as an area for communal activities.
It was also designed to be a living museum through the planting of a specific selection of apple trees and species of berries and nuts, some of which were once found only in Hampshire and south-east England.
It is these rural suroundings, coupled with the strong sense of community often associated with village life, that make Hartley Wintney such a desirable area to live.
As Gavin Myers of Carsons puts it: “Hartley Wintney is a place for people who want a little slice of traditional England with red telephone boxes and duckponds, and who also like an outdoor life.
“It’s great for activities such as dog walking and horse riding, and there is also a nine-hole golf course. I would say it’s a niche market for a particular group of people and, because of this, the village has a special place in the hearts of those who live there.”
Traditional it may be, but that doesn’t mean the village is cut off from the outside world or stuck in the past.
Richard Day of Hamptons says: “Hartley Wintney has some interesting and quirky little shops, but when it comes to everyday shopping, it’s easy to get to other centres.
“Fleet is just down the road, then if you want something a bit bigger, there’s Camberley and Basingstoke nearby. And for serious shopping, Reading with its excellent selection of shops, is just half an hour away.”
Add to all this the fact that the area boasts some excellent schools, both state and private, and it is little wonder that houses in Hartley Wintney tend to sell quickly when they become available.
Steve Tetlow of Mackenzie Smith has worked in the area for 29 years. “This is a desirable area and it always will be, so when houses come on the market, provided they are correctly priced, they don’t hang around for long,” he said. “But right now, we could do with more houses for sale.
“We’ve seen a lot of activity so far this year and serious buyers seem keen to buy.
“This is good news from the seller’s perspective, but not so good for buyers as there is less choice at the moment.
“We don’t have problems selling the houses, it’s the shortage of properties that is more frustrating.”
But although there’s evidence that some would-be vendors are sitting tight at the current time, anyone looking to buy in the village can take heart from the fact that there will always be those people who have to sell - often referred to as the ‘three Ds’ — divorce, debt and death — so it’s worth keeping an eye on the market to see what’s new.
And there is a varied housing stock to choose from.
“Although there are a number of older, unique houses, there are also some newer ones too, so it’s not a place just for people looking for a Grade II listed home,” continues Gavin Myers.
“But one of the problems we face as estate agents is lack of availability of properties for sale, as they don’t come up very often. It also tends to be a seasonal market, with the majority coming on the market in the spring and summer.”
The knock-on effect of this is that, although as elsewhere, there has been some price correction, generally speaking, values have held up well in the village.
“In a recent survey carried out by, Farnborough and Fleet, which encompasses Hartley Wintney, have been listed in the top ten of areas in England and Wales which have seen least downturn in property prices,” says Richard Day.
“In Hartley Wintney, it’s very much a question of supply and demand. The demand is always there, but the supply is restricted, partly because it’s a village, so there are fewer houses, and also because once people move there, they tend to stay for years.
“This means houses sell well. We recently sold a three-bed-room terrace house at £240,000 within days of it coming on to the market.
“And yes, the area is expensive, but it caters for everyone, so you can pick up an ex-local authority house for about £180,000 through to a four-bedroom detached house from about £375,00, right up to country homes at more than £1,000,000.”
With prices now more affordable than they have been for some years, Steve Tetlow believes this is an ideal time to buy a slice of Hartley Wintney village life, if that is your dream.
“In a strong market, houses in Hartley Wintney attract a premium, but in the current market, this is not true to such an extent,” he said.
“This means, for buyers, it’s a great time to buy as houses have become so much more affordable in the village.
“In fact, this could be a golden opportunity because once the market recovers, houses in this area will quickly become very expensive again, which could mean a missed opportunity for anyone who leaves it too long.”


Angie said...

Very informative!!! But is this the house you are buying in England? Must have missed reading about it.

travelbugs said...

We have put an offer in and it has been accepted. Yes it is the one. But who knows we might be out moneyed if you know what I mean, someone else with the cash might offer more. It is a buyers market, loads on the books. This house is just right for finishing up in - ha ha.

travelbugs said...

Are you talking about the one in the picture, it is that one. Not any they are going on about in the piece I copied from the internet.