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Thames Valley Area Guide: Ascot

Principally known for being the home of the Royal Ascot Racecourse, Ascot is a small town in East Berkshire. It also has a reputation for being one of the most expensive places in the UK, both to rent or buy a property.

In this guide, we take a close look at what Ascot has to offer its residents as well as focus on the demographics, facilities and our top picks for things to do in the town.

Ascot: A Snapshot

Life, and the facilities, in Ascot tends to be focused around the racecourse with the main high street running parallel to the course itself. You can find all of the essential services including a supermarket (Tesco Express), banks, library, police station, cafes and small independent shops.

explore the ascot area

Ascot is a commuter town with a small high street. Image via Geograph.

The town is also the site of the local NHS hospital, Heatherwood. Though it has no emergency facilities, it is the closest facility for minor injuries to the surrounding area of Bracknell, Sunninghill and Bagshot.

Notable residents of Ascot include Chris Evans and Marti Pellow as well as being the home of both Ringo Starr and John Lennon for a time.

Of course, the face of this small commuter town changes entirely during Royal Ascot Week when the racecourse plays host to the world’s most famous horse race meeting. Dating back to 1711, the event (and the build-up) has a huge impact on local services including trains, traffic and businesses.

Ascot: The Detail

Part of the civil parish of Sunninghill and Ascot, administration of the town itself is split between Bracknell Forest Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead unitary authority.

It has long been a part of the Crown Estate and the racecourse is still technically owned by the Queen. The history of Ascot and its racecourse can be dated to the early 18th century when Queen Anne noted the open heathland was an ideal place to gallop. Not five miles from Windsor Castle, she founded the racecourse and the first meeting was held in 1711 to contest for Her Majesty’s Plate.

Location

Ascot is situated 10 miles to the east of Bracknell and south of Windsor. Like Bracknell, Ascot is well located for the M3, M25 and M4, being just a ten-minute drive from the former.

Ascot is also on the main Reading-Waterloo line being under an hour from London Waterloo. You can also change at Ascot for services to Aldershot, Guildford and Bagshot.

thames valley area guide asoct

Ascot is less than an hour by train to London Waterloo. Image via Wikimedia.

Demographics of Ascot

Categorised by the Office for National Statistics as being a commuter suburb, Ascot is part of Bracknell Forest Borough Council.

At the last census report, a total of 5,753 residents were recorded in a total of 2,228 households, being split as follows:

  • Detached house or bungalow: 718
  • Semi-detached house or bungalow: 1011
  • Terraced house or bungalow: 185
  • Flat, maisonette or apartment: 297
  • Caravan or other mobile or temporary structure: 17

The occupations of residents in Ascot is varied but the majority are employed in professional or senior roles:

  • Managers, directors and senior officials: 16.6197%
  • Professional occupations: 22.2183%
  • Associate professional and technical occupations: 17.0775%
  • Administrative and secretarial occupations: 11.5845%
  • Skilled trades occupations: 8.9789%
  • Caring, leisure and other service occupations: 8.9437%
  • Sales and customer service occupations: 5.1761%
  • Process, plant and machine operatives: 2.7465%
  • Elementary occupations : 6.6549%

The vast majority of resident are either in very good or good health (87.6%) with just 0.49% being in very bad health.

27% of the population are under the age of 18 with 16% over the age of 65, the median age is 40 years old.

Education

Ascot itself has a couple of primary schools with South Ascot Village Primary School and St Francis Catholic Primary School, classed as being ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ respectively in their latest Ofsted reports.

There are also several independent schools including Heathfield School, the LVS and Papplewick as well as St George’s School, The Marist Preparatory School, and St Mary’s in neighbouring Sunninghill and Cheapside. St George’s has the prestige of being attended by Princess Beatrice of York; St Mary’s was the school of choice for Caroline, Princess of Hanover.

Secondary education is provided by the Charters School in Sunninghill which is an ‘Outstanding’ school.

Our best picks for…

…eating out.

La Sorrentina on Sunninghill High Street has a great reputation for its Italian food including seafood, steaks and classic pasta dishes. It’s a modern restaurant but is far from pretentious and doesn’t have a price tag to suit the local property prices.

eating out ascot

Reviews for La Sorrentina are excellent. Image via website.

…live music.

Jagz is situated right outside the train station and has a reputation for incorporating several entertainment venues in one. It offers a nightclub, bar and live music platform. During the summer, the place can get exceptionally busy and during Royal Ascot Week there is always a big queue to get in.

However, off-season, there are plenty of events being run including Northern Soul, tribute acts and even cabaret nights. It’s a popular but intimate venue and offers membership if you want to be guaranteed entrance.

…picking up a gift.

Little Wishes on Ascot High Street is a cute little boutique gift shop offering an intriguing selection of toys and inspirational knick-knacks.

It’s quite small but stock changes all the time so it’s worth dropping in to see what’s new. Little ones can play with the train set play table whilst you enjoy a browse.

They are open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

…a sweet treat.

On the high street you can find a small bakery, Anne-Marie Patisseries that serves some wonderful cakes and bakes. It’s best to hit the shop as early as you can as most of the best treats are sold well before lunch. It’s a small shop but they often have a few tables outside on sunny days where you can get a coffee.

…horsing around.

Of course, no experience of Ascot would be complete without spending some time at the racecourse. Whilst the main event of Royal Ascot Week is certainly worth attending, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the facilities on offer at this landmark location. As well as other racing events, you can also experience open air cinema, fine-dining plus some great events.

They regularly hold the festival of Food and Wine, Beer Festival and fireworks spectaculars. See their website for details.

ascot area guide

Ascot wouldn’t be Ascot without the racecourse. Image via Flickr.

Housing in Ascot

The overall average house price in Ascot is a whopping £871,508 which is 45.49% more than nearby Sunningdale and 83% more than Winkfield Row.

The majority of houses that have been sold over the last few decades have been detached where the average house price is £1,449,697. A semi-detached property is priced at around £530,936 with flats being £595,703.

House prices over the last 12 months have increased by 8% and by 22% since 2014.

ascot house prices

House prices in Ascot are among the highest in the UK. Image via RightMove.

If you are considering a move to Ascot or looking to sell your home then we would love to hear from you. We think it’s important that you know all you can about an area before you buy property and, as trusted local estate agents, we think we are well placed to give you all the information you need.

Property Assistant is an independent, family-run estate agent serving clients across the Thames Valley specialising in property sales and lettings. Contact us today on 0118 912 2370 to discuss your plans for your next move.

Featured image via Geograph.

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Cost of Living: Wokingham Compared

Often ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK, Wokingham is a popular commuter town for people working in cities like London, Winchester and Oxford or commercial towns like Reading, Bracknell and Basingstoke.

You can find a more comprehensive guide about why Wokingham is so popular in either our Thames Valley Area Guide or Wokingham: The Happiest Place to Live. But, in this guide, we wanted to look at the cost of living in this popular market town.

Cost of Living: Wokingham vs London

No-one will be surprised that the cost of living in Wokingham is lower when compared to the nation’s capital. London has a reputation for being an expensive place to live and, in January 2018, was ranked the highest cost for property rents in Europe for the third year running. But, how does the overall cost of living in Wokingham compare to the capital?

cost of living wokingham

A Wokingham is a popular commuter town for people working in London. Image via Wikimedia.

According to the global crowd-sourcing database, Numbeo, you would need around £3,388 in Wokingham to maintain the same standard of living that you can achieve on average in the capital. This is based on a figure of £4,400 per month for living and renting in London.

This is made up of the following differences in the following important indices:

  • Consumer prices (excluding rent) are 13.87% lower.
  • Consumer prices (including rent) are 24.71% lower.
  • Rent prices are 38.68% lower.
  • Restaurant prices are 4.04% lower.
  • Grocery prices are 16.15% lower.
  • Local purchasing power is 57.67% higher.

Restaurants (Wokingham vs London)

There is little difference in the cost of restaurant prices between London and Wokingham with the main difference being in the cost of alcohol.

  London Wokingham Difference
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant  £    15.00  £    15.00      0.00 %
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course  £    50.00  £    47.50      -5.00 %
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)  £       5.50  £       5.00      -9.09 %
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught)  £       4.50  £       3.80      -15.56 %
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)  £       4.50  £       3.60      -20.00 %
Cappuccino (regular)  £       2.68  £       2.60      -3.14 %
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)  £       1.22  £       1.21      -1.24 %
Water (0.33 litre bottle)  £       0.95  £       0.98      +3.12 %

 

Markets (Wokingham vs London)

The cost of groceries in Wokingham are all cheaper than in London with the only exception being rice and water from a standardised list of items used to compare shopping costs.

  London Wokingham Difference
Milk (regular), (1 litre)  £       0.92  £ 0.85      -7.37 %
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)  £       1.07  £ 0.90      -15.42 %
Rice (white), (1kg)  £       1.46  £ 1.50      +2.72 %
Eggs (regular) (12)  £       2.15  £ 1.90      -11.80 %
Local Cheese (1kg)  £       5.77  £ 4.70      -18.53 %
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg)  £       6.69  £ 5.25      -21.48 %
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)  £       8.61  £ 7.00      -18.66 %
Apples (1kg)  £       2.03  £ 1.98      -2.45 %
Banana (1kg)  £       1.06  £ 0.89      -16.15 %
Oranges (1kg)  £       1.74  £ 1.20      -31.01 %
Tomato (1kg)  £       2.36  £ 2.20      -6.87 %
Potato (1kg)  £       1.36  £ 1.00      -26.38 %
Onion (1kg)  £       1.17  £ 1.00      -14.36 %
Lettuce (1 head)  £       0.81  £ 0.59      -26.10 %
Water (1.5 litre bottle)  £       1.02  £ 1.05      +2.97 %
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)  £       8.00  £ 7.00      -12.50 %
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre bottle)  £       1.63  £ 0.88      -46.37 %
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)  £       2.07  £ 1.23      -40.35 %
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)  £    10.00  £ 8.50      -15.00 %
wokingham cost of living

The average cost of a weekly shop is lower in Wokingham than in London. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Transportation (Wokingham vs London)

Surprisingly, whilst the overall costs of transportation in Wokingham are lower, it is local transport which is more expensive. This will be no surprise to regular bus and train users and just validates the good value that Transport for London offers its users.

  London Wokingham Difference
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)  £           2.50  £           4.50      +80.00 %
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)  £      132.00  £         65.00      -50.76 %
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)  £           3.45  £           3.90      +13.04 %
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)  £           3.00  £           1.50      -50.00 %
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)  £         30.00  £         10.00      -66.67 %
Gasoline (1 litre)  £           1.21  £           1.14      -5.79 %
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 (Or Equivalent New Car)  £20,000.00  £ 18,000.00      -10.00 %
Toyota Corolla 1.6l (Or Equivalent New Car)  £20,336.93  £ 23,000.00      +13.09 %

 

Utilities (Wokingham vs London)

The cost of gas, electricity and water were all higher in Wokingham than in London though internet and mobile charges are lower.

  London Wokingham Difference
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment  £  135.61  £155.25      +14.48 %
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)  £       0.11  £     0.10      -7.53 %
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)  £     28.89  £   27.50      -4.81 %

 

Sports & Leisure (Wokingham vs London)

Reflecting the higher rental and business rates, entertainment and leisure facilities in London are much higher than in Wokingham.

  London Wokingham Difference
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult  £    48.08  £   30.00      -37.61 %
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)  £     11.33  £   10.00      -11.76 %
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat  £     12.00  £   10.00      -16.67 %

 

Childcare (Wokingham vs London)

Comparing the cost for childcare, Wokingham is also significantly cheaper than the capital.

  London Wokingham Difference
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child  £   1,125.75  £    766.67      -31.90 %
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child  £15,852.94  £6,000.00      -62.15 %
childcare costs wokingham

Childcare costs are lower in Wokingham than in London. Image via Flickr.

Rent (Wokingham vs London)

Though property rental prices in Wokingham are higher than the national average, compared to London, they are much lower.

  London Wokingham Difference
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre  £         1,628.35  £1,250.00      -23.23 %
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre  £         1,181.22  £    850.00      -28.04 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre  £        2,984.96  £1,400.00      -53.10 %
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre  £         1,975.19  £1,275.00      -35.45 %

 

Property Prices (Wokingham vs London)

The overall average price of a house in London was £619,181 compared to £473,331 in Wokingham; that’s a difference of 23.56%.

Salaries & Financing (Wokingham vs London)

Though the average salary is lower than in London, the cost of a mortgage is cheaper.

  London Wokingham Difference
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) £2,358.74 £2,800.00      +18.71 %
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate 3.15 2.9      -7.69 %

 

Cost of Living: Wokingham vs Reading

Compared to Reading, Wokingham is, surprisingly for some, cheaper when it comes to achieving the same standard of living. In fact, you would need £3,511.32 to maintain the same lifestyle in Reading as you would in Wokingham.

This is broken down as follows:

  • Consumer Prices in Reading are 10.67% higher than in Wokingham
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Reading are 3.27% higher than in Wokingham
  • Rent Prices in Reading are 10.11% lower than in Wokingham
  • Restaurant Prices in Reading are 3.12% higher than in Wokingham
  • Groceries Prices in Reading are 24.51% higher than in Wokingham
  • Local Purchasing Power in Reading is 17.53% lower than in Wokingham
reading vs wokingham compared

Reading is more expensive to live than Wokingham. Image via Flickr.

Cost of Living: Wokingham vs UK National Average

Compared to the rest of the UK, the cost of living in Wokingham is higher with costs in each of the following key areas breaking down as follows:

Restaurants

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant  £            12.00  £           15.00 20.00%
Meal for 2, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course  £           45.00  £           47.50 5.26%
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)  £              5.00  £             5.00 0.00%
Domestic Beer (0.5 litre draught)  £              3.50  £             3.80 7.89%
Imported Beer (0.33 litre bottle)  £              3.50  £             3.60 2.78%
Cappuccino (regular)  £              2.55  £             2.60 1.92%
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle)  £               1.17  £             1.21 3.31%
Water (0.33 litre bottle)  £             0.88  £             0.98 10.20%

 

Markets

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Milk (regular), (1 liter)  £              0.89  £             0.85 -4.71%
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)  £              0.95  £             0.90 -5.56%
Rice (white), (1kg)  £               1.21  £             1.50 19.33%
Eggs (regular) (12)  £              1.86  £             1.90 2.11%
Local Cheese (1kg)  £              5.33  £             4.70 -13.40%
Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless), (1kg)  £              5.82  £             5.25 -10.86%
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)  £              7.66  £             7.00 -9.43%
Apples (1kg)  £              1.82  £             1.98 8.08%
Banana (1kg)  £              1.00  £             0.89 -12.36%
Oranges (1kg)  £               1.64  £             1.20 -36.67%
Tomato (1kg)  £              1.80  £             2.20 18.18%
Potato (1kg)  £               1.17  £             1.00 -17.00%
Onion (1kg)  £              0.93  £             1.00 7.00%
Lettuce (1 head)  £              0.73  £             0.59 -23.73%
Water (1.5 liter bottle)  £              1.00  £             1.05 4.76%
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)  £              7.00  £             7.00 0.00%
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)  £               1.56  £             0.88 -77.27%
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)  £               1.71  £             1.23 -39.02%
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)  £               9.30  £             8.50 -9.41%

 

Transportation

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)  £               2.40  £             4.50 46.67%
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)  £             60.00  £           65.00 7.69%
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)  £               3.00  £             3.90 23.08%
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)  £               1.55  £             1.50 -3.33%
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)  £             20.00  £           10.00 -100.00%
Gasoline (1 liter)  £               1.17  £             1.14 -2.63%
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)  £     18,000.00  £   18,000.00 0.00%
Toyota Corolla 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)  £     18,107.19  £   23,000.00 21.27%
local transport wokingham

Overall, transport costs in Wokingham are higher than the UK national average. Image via Wikimedia.

Utilities

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment  £           140.47  £         155.25 9.52%
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)  £               0.14  £             0.10 -40.00%
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)  £             26.05  £           27.50 5.27%

 

Sports & Leisure

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult  £             31.32  £           30.00 -4.40%
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)  £               9.66  £           10.00 3.40%
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat  £             10.00  £           10.00 0.00%

 

Childcare

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child  £           846.37  £         766.67 -10.40%
International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child  £     12,863.14  £     6,000.00 -114.39%

 

Rent

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre  £           752.57  £     1,250.00 39.79%
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre  £           601.66  £         850.00 29.22%
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre  £       1,204.02  £     1,400.00 14.00%
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre  £           928.29  £     1,275.00 27.19%

 

Property Prices

The average UK house price is currently £211,625 compared to £473,311 which makes house prices in Wokingham a staggering 124% higher.

Salaries & Financing

 UK National  Wokingham  Difference
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)  £       1,795.04  £     2,800.00 35.89%
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate  £               3.23  £             2.90 -11.38%

 

Property Assistant Wokingham are local estate agents working in the Keller Williams Network. We offer a refreshing change from many people’s perception of property agents. A family run business with a focus on offering a professional but personable service, we pride ourselves on telling our clients what they need to know, not what they want to hear.

If you are considering a move, in or around the Thames Valley area, then we’d love to hear from you; renting, buying, selling or downsizing, we call help you find your perfect home today.

Featured image via Geograph.

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Thames Valley Area Guide: Binfield

With a population of around 9000 people, the village of Binfield is a small Berkshire parish occupying land between Warfield, Shurlock Row, Bracknell and Wokingham. A part of the Bracknell Forest District Council, it is classed as an urban town but enjoys a rural feel with plenty of its own facilities yet enjoying easy access to some great transport links.

In the latest in our series of Thames Valley Area Guides, we take a closer look at the parish of Binfield including some historic information, facts and figures as well as offering our suggestions on the best the village has to offer.

Binfield: A Snapshot

The history of the village of Binfield dates back to the 14th century when the area formed part of the royal hunting grounds of the Old Windsor Forest. The parish’s oldest pub is though to have been the headquarters for the Royal gamekeepers and marked the centre of the hunting grounds. Certainly the building was used for lodging royal guests as well as harbouring parliamentarian soldiers during the civil war.

stag and hounds binfield pub

The Stag and Hounds is an important historic building. Image via Geograph.

As the surrounding woodland was cleared after the Enclosure Act of 1813, the village grew around local farms with agricultural workers and landowners settling in the area. Private dwellings and small communities grew around the existing landmarks of Binfield Manor (built in 1754), All Saints Church (7th and mid-19th century) and Binfield House (built in 1776).

As well as agriculture, the area was once known for its brickmaking with the Brick & Tile Works once occupying the site of the John Nike Leisure Centre. It was from this venue that bricks were used to build the Royal Albert Hall.

For a small parish, Binfield has plenty of great facilities including a community social club (Binfield Club) local post office, bakery, village shop and pharmacy. You can also find a local Co-Op, Chinese takeaway, barbers and hair salon, florist, fish & chip shop, coffee shop, boutique charity shop and nail and beauty parlour.

Binfield: The Detail

Location

Situated to the north east of Wokingham and the north west of Bracknell, the boundaries of Binfield village have slowly become blurred over the years. Once enjoying rural isolation, the area actually extends far beyond the central village which most people associate with this small parish. Stretching north to the M4 at Shurlock Row and south, beyond the A329 to Peacock’s Farm and the new Jennett’s Park development, Binfield effectively joins the two towns of Bracknell and Wokingham, east to west.

Enjoying the same great transports links as its neighbours, the village is well located for access to the M4, M3 and M25 as well as the A30. It is a popular commuter town for Bracknell, Reading and London as well as Windsor, Staines and Slough.

Both Bracknell and Wokingham have great rail links, both being situated on the Reading-Waterloo line with the latter also offering direct access to Gatwick and Guildford.

newbold college binfield

Newbold College, Binfield. Image via Wikimedia.

Demographics of Binfield

Binfield actually shares a ward with Warfield and the census data and statistics are shared across both parishes.

  • 22% of the population are aged under 17, 63% are aged between 18 and 64 with the remaining 15% being of retirement age.
  • The ethnic diversity of Binfield is predominantly white (88%)
  • The unemployment and long-term unemployment rates are below the mean average for the district.
  • 10.2% of the residents have no qualifications.
  • 58% of the population are in very good health, 31.8% in good health, 7.8% in fair health, 1.9% in bad health and 0.5% in very bad health.

Of the 18 wards which make up Bracknell Forest, Binfield with Warfield have the 15th most deprived population with 7.2% of children at risk of living in poverty. This is lower than the overall average of 11.7% for the district.

Education

Binfield has no secondary schools of its own but does have a primary school which feeds students into either St Crispin’s in Wokingham or one of the schools in Bracknell like Garth Hill, Brackenhale or Easthampstead Park.

The Binfield Church of England Primary School was last inspected by Oftsed in 2018 whereupon it received a ‘Good’ rating. The report maintained the previous assessment of ‘Good’ from 2013 with the report demonstrating positive developments in leadership and management, safety, behaviour and quality of teaching. The school has a positive spirit and a strong ethos ‘to make learning utterly irresistible for all pupils and staff’.

The village also has a pre-school and an independent day school, the Seventh Day Adventist Newbold School for ages 2-11.

Our best picks for…

…eating out.

Binfield is home to a fine dining Indian & Bangladeshi restaurant, the Daruchini Brasserie. A newly opened establishment, the restaurant is situated on St. Mark’s Road and has been receiving some excellent reviews. Running a takeaway service and a Sunday buffet, the menu covers some well-known and popular dishes as well as some speciality chef’s recommendations and Bangladeshi specials.

eating out binfield daruchini brasserie

Serving a cracking curry and some interesting dishes, Daruchini in Binfield. Image via website.

…getting a pint.

You are spoiled for choice in the small village of Binfield with some excellent traditional English pubs in the immediate vicinity. There are three good pubs in Binfield:

The Jack O’Newbury is a Freehouse and is well-known in the area for its excellent range of real ales. It is a popular pub in the summer with a large beer garden in addition to its indoor skittle alley, great menu and friendly welcome. In winter months, a real open fire is yet another temptation to stop in for a cosy evening.

The Victoria Arms can offer you more of the same with a lovely traditional interior complete with log fire, well kept gardens and a nice selection of ales and food. At present, the pub is part of the Fullers Brewery but the place has a homely feel to it with lots of personal touches. Fleeces are on hand for customers to use if they get chilly sitting outside in the evenings and dog biscuits are given out for ‘well-behaved owners’. There is always a good social scene here and you can find live sports as well as quiz nights and other community events.

Located between Binfield and Warfield, The Stag & Hounds is the oldest pub in Binfield with parts of the historic building dating back to the 14th century. Once used as a hunting lodge for Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the pub is reportedly the site of the centre of the old Windsor Forest. They have a modern dining menu and excellent choice of beer. It gets very busy in the summer so if you visit on a hot sunny day, be prepared to wait a while.

…a bit of the countryside on your doorstep.

Pope’s Meadow in Binfield is a small area of parkland which offers a little respite for locals. Sized at around 13 acres, this local wildlife site has a toddlers playground, orienteering course and kickabout area. There is a small pond with picnic benches and it is a popular place for cyclists, dog walkers and ramblers (the meadow is part of the wider Bracknell Forest Ramblers Route). Holding a Green Flag award, Pope’s Meadow is named after one time resident of the adjoining manor the 18th century poet, Alexander Pope.

…Some Alpine Fun.

Binfield is home to one of Bracknell’s most popular leisure venues, the John Nike Leisuresport Complex. The home venue for the Bracknell Bees Ice Hockey Team, the facility incorporates a Permasnow ski-slope, ice-skating rink, hotel, spa and nightclub.

Not only can you enjoy skiing, snow-boarding and skating but snow-tubing as well. The Alpine Lodge Bar and Restaurant is a great place to recover from an exhilarating experience whilst you watch others on the slopes.

john nike ski centre binfield

The dry ski slopes at the John Nike centre have been a dominant feature since it was built in 1985. Image via Geograph.

Housing in Binfield

According to data recorded by the Land Registry, the average house price in Binfield is currently £462,959 which is broken down as follows:

  • Terraced houses – £425,064
  • Semi-detached houses – £488,049
  • Detached houses – £645,541

The average price of a residential property in Binfield is similar to Warfield (£462,959) and Wokingham (£473,331) but more expensive than Bracknell (£350,905).

Year on year, house prices in Binfield have risen by 4% and 17% versus 2015.

Building stock in Binfield ranges from period properties to modern homes, however there is predominantly a large supply of family-sized houses as opposed to starter homes.

Almost 50% of the total 3625 dwellings in Binfield with Warfield are detached.

If you are considering a move to the Binfield area and would like to know more about local amenities, house prices or anything else that might affect a relocation then we’d love to help. Property Assistant Wokingham is a local estate agent offering a range of personal but professional services designed to make your next house move an easy one. Contact us today on 0118 912 2370 to discuss your plans.

Featured image via Geograph.

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Arborfield: Thames Valley Area Guide

Arborfield is a civil parish of the Wokingham district and is a small village many people simply drive through on their way to work. Well located for local amenities and boasting some hidden gems of its own, this quiet area benefits from lower housing than neighbouring Barkham, Swallowfield and Winnersh.

In this guide, we take a little look at what Arborfield has to offer.

Arborfield: A Snapshot

The area we refer to as Arborfield is actually made up of two sister villages; Arborfield Cross and Arborfield Village. With no boundaries, the two have merged over the years and, with the exception of postcode purists, are collectively known as Arborfield.

Situated around 4 miles west of Wokingham and 4.5 miles to the south east of Reading, the village is situated on the A327 road which links Reading to Farnborough.

the coombes arborfield

A rural community with great commuting links, Arborfield lies on the edge of the Coombes woodland. Image via Geograph.

A small sleeper (or commuter) village, Arborfield is characterised by its association with the British Army. To the south of Arborfield lies the garrison site which was used by the armed forces between 1904 and 2015 when it was vacated. The site is now under development to provide an estate of around 3500 new homes accompanied by a new secondary school and retail units.

The garrison was originally opened as a remount depot supplying horses for ceremonial and operational purposes and continued its operation until 1937. The purpose of the site was then changed to provide technical schooling for army apprentices and maintained this important training function being the depot of the REME (The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). During the Second World War, reservists were trained at the site and the garrison also hosted the Royal Artillery on the run up to the D-Day operation.

The site was also home to the REME Museum from 1958 to 2015.

arborfield garrison

Now closed, the garrison was home to the British Army’s REME. Image via Geograph.

The village benefits from a popular primary school, new secondary school, a village convenience store,  three pubs, two garden centres and two great farm shops. One of the pubs, The Swan is currently closed but there is talk that this 17th century coach house may once again reopen as a community pub. There is also a great recreation ground with play facilities and some lovely woodland walks that join the parish to neighbouring Barkham. Bordered to the west by the River Loddon, the parish extends to join Farley Hill and Swallowfield in the south and Sindlesham in the north. Made up of Arborfield and Newland, the boundaries include the Bear Wood Lake and Golf Course

Arborfield: The Detail

Location

Arborfield benefits from being 10 miles from junction 4a of the M3, 4 miles from junction 11 of the M4 and on a main road to Reading, Farnborough and Wokingham. Basingstoke, Bracknell and Camberley are all within a 30 minute commute and mainline train services to London being accessible from the neighbouring stations of Earley, Winnersh, Wokingham and Reading.

Demographics of Arborfield

At the 2011 census, Arborfield had a population of 3,115 people and was classified by the Office of National Statistics as being:

  • A prospering suburb
  • A village surrounded by inhabited countryside
  • A blue collar community: Older Blue Collar

Education

The Coombes Primary School was last inspected by Ofsted in  May 2016 and was issued with an overall effectiveness rating of ‘Inadequate’. The school has since closed and become an academy with leaders and managers praised in May 2017 for “…taking effective action to bring the school out of special measures”.

Bohunt is a brand new secondary school opening to service the increased capacity for schooling requirements with the planned redevelopment of the old garrison site. Opened in September 2016 to Year 7s, the school will eventually reach a capacity of 1500 pupils. The facility is managed by the internationally acclaimed Bohunt Educational Trust who run the Bohunt School in Liphook (winner of the 2014 TES Overall School of the Year).

bohunt school arborfield

Bohunt is now in its second year and the school already has a great reputation. Image via website.

Arborfield Towns and Villages

Our best picks for…

…eating out.

Not to be confused with The Bull at Barkham, the Bull Inn (at Arborfield Cross) is a traditional English pub offering a great menu by resident restaurant professionals Nadege, Bruno and Pio. A family run business, the trio have experience working in Michelin starred restaurants and offer a great a la carte menu as well as a cracking Sunday roast. They also serve real ales and are very friendly but it’s definitely the food that will get you coming back. Do book in advance to avoid disappointment as they can get pretty busy.

…a bit of retail therapy.

Though Arborfield is pretty small, there are three great places to stop in on and we can’t decide between them so forgive us for being on the fence.

Our first pick is Lockey Farm; a great family run new farm which opened in 2002. The farm shop includes an on-site butcher and a delicatessen with a whole range of locally produced produce. Fourth generation farmers, The Adams family expanded the business in 2012 by opening a coffee shop and crazy golf course as well as a children’s play area. You can even feed and pet the animals on site. It’s a lovely place to spend an hour with the kids and you will always come away with something delicious and/or unusual to eat.

lockey farm arborfield

The farm shop at Lockey is a hit with locals and offers some great treats. Image via website.

Our second and third picks are for Henry Street Garden Centre plus Pudding Lane Nursery. The former stocks a huge range of plants (specialising in roses) and garden equipment and has a lovely café whilst the latter is a specialist nursery. Formerly part of the Newlands farm, Pudding Lane is a little small holding

…a bit of the countryside on your doorstep.

The Coombes is an important woodland area which separates Barkham and Arborfield and is recognised as being a diverse habitat for local wildlife. It offers a lovely range of circular walks taking in views across Bear Wood Lake and is popular with dog walkers, ramblers and families. It is home to several geocaches and has recently become a great hideaway for ‘Wokingham Rocks’; a Facebook group where members decorate and hide stones around the area for children to share and collect.

We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to recommend another local farm shop, Wysipigs. Situated in the heart of the Coombes and accessed up a dirt track off Mole Road, the farm shop sells tea, cakes and pork products as well as ice creams in the summer.

…Something for the Mind, Body and Soul.

Local business Oh So Yoga provide an excellent service offering a variety of classes from their garden studio. As well as Ashtanga, YIN and Yoga Flow, they also run pregnancy yoga sessions. Run by a really friendly and well-qualified instructor, classes are suitable for beginners and well-seasoned fans of yoga.

Housing in Arborfield

Housing in Arborfield is quite diverse and includes some large detached properties with good sized plots as well as 1950s and 1960s homes plus in filling with more recent additions. There is also the new development of homes at the old garrison which incorporates new buildings and refurbished army housing. The main road features a mix of 1970s and 1980s semi-detached and detached houses as well as bungalows. To sum up, whilst the housing stock may be small (but growing) there is huge diversity.

The average price paid for property in Arborfield for the last 12 months was £398,716 which is significantly lower than the same metric for Wokingham which averaged £480,552.

If you are considering a house purchase in and around the Arborfield area and would like to know more about your options then contact Property Assistant. We like to make sure that homeowners know as much about an area as possible before making a decision on a new property. For more Thames Valley Area Guides, see the rest of our blog.

Featured image via Geograph.

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Thames Valley Area Guide: Twyford and Hurst

Nestled in a rural idyll between Reading, Maidenhead, Wokingham and Henley-on-Thames, the villages of Twyford and Hurst enjoy excellent commuter links, access to great facilities and community driven country life.

These two parishes of the Wokingham district share many similarities but are also very different.

In the next of our Thames Valley Area Guides we look at these two locations and share some history, detailed information as well as out top picks for some great things to do around Twyford and Hurst.

Twyford and Hurst: A Snapshot

Twyford is a common name in England and there are nine other villages that share the name. Coming from the Anglo Saxon for double ford, Twyford does indeed sport two fords, both across the River Loddon. Similarly, Hurst is also a common name (from the Old English meaning wooded hill) and there are five others around England.

Twyford covers an area of 263 acres whilst the more rural Hurst covers a space of 2,009 acres but with around half the population. In fact, Hurst is the largest parish in the Wokingham district.

Twyford

Until the advent of the railway station at Twyford in 1838, this rural settlement was a small agricultural village marked only but it’s position on the Bath Road as a commuting post. Wool merchants from the west would travel to London stopping along various points along the way with Twyford being a popular choice for a hospitable welcome along the way. Many coaching houses prospered in the village as a result. The addition of a turnpike in 1718 gave the area some additional income.

twyford railway line

The addition of a railway line in the 1830s helped boost Twyford’s population of commuters. Image via Flickr.

Though farming has historically been the backbone of the community other industries prospered with a silk factory being built in 1800 (latterly becoming a corn mill) and, until 1937, several cottages housed silk weavers. Basket and lace work also former a part of the local economy.

The Wee Waif Inn on the A4, situated on Twyford’s border with Charvil, is named after Edward Polehampton who was taken in by the landlord of the Rose and Crown Inn when but a poor and impoverished child. Polehampton grew to be a wealthy man and left the village a large sum of money to build a school and chapel. His wishes were that the new chaplain would teach the boys of Twyford to read and write. The local school is also named after Polehampton.

Today, Twyford is still a busy commuter town and, though now off the A4 since a bypass was installed in 1929, sees a lot of traffic passing between Wokingham and Henley.

New housing estates have joined the community to Whistley Green, Ruscombe and Charvil and the centre of the village now boasts a number of small independent shops and restaurants as well as several larger chain shops including a Tesco Express and Waitrose.

The community in Twyford is an active one and the village hosts several small events during the year including the popular arts and entertainment festival, Twyfest.

twyford and hurst golden cross pub

A traditional 18th century pub, the Golden Cross plays host to lots of live music. Image via Flickr.

The area surrounding Twyford still holds plenty of rural charm and the River Loddon which passes to  the west of the village is a preserved habitat for lots of wildlife.

It’s an affluent area and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, lives just a few miles west of Twyford in neighbouring Sonning.

Hurst

Known formally as St. Nicholas Hurst, this large parish of Wokingham is largely set to agricultural land but also incorporates 450 acres of the Dinton Pastures country park. Hurst was originally called Whistley but the name was changed in 1080 when the parish church was dedicated to St Nicholas.

Village life once centred around the Castle Public House (formerly the Bunch of Grapes) which originally served as a church house and bakery.

Hurst is still a quiet rural village with a couple of shops, pubs and a school. It is mainly an access route between Wokingham and Twyford but is a very affluent area of Wokingham’s district.

Twyford and Hurst: The Detail

Location

Twyford and Hurst both sit alongside the River Loddon six miles to the east of Reading and 6 miles to the north of Wokingham. Two distinct villages, Hurst is slightly closer to Wokingham and borders the parish of Winnersh.

Both villages have easy access to the A4 and are around 15-20 minutes from the M4 or M40.

Twyford has its own railway station which sits on the Reading to Paddington line and offers direct access to London, Slough, Oxford and Henley-on-Thames.

Demographics of Twyford and Hurst

At the last UK Census in 2011, Twyford was recorded as having a population of 5,791 people in 2,537 households with Hurst having roughly half this number with 2,886 people in 1,107 households. In fact the density of the population in Hurst is just 1.44 people per hectare compared to Twyford which reaches 22.02 people; by comparison, Winnersh has a population density of 15.25 people per acre (you can find out more about the Winnersh area in our Thames Valley Area Guide, here).

dinton pastures hurst

The Dinton Pastures Country Park in Hurst is a popular place for families. Image via Flickr.

The majority of residents in both Twyford and Hurst are economically active though one in ten of Twyford’s population is retired. The average age of the population in both villages is 41 vs a slightly younger 38 in Winnersh.

The dominant employment of people living in Hurst is characterised by senior positions including directors and managers of industry with 22.6% enjoying this rank (vs 14.8% in Twyford and just 4.6% in Winnersh). This is closely followed by employees in professional occupations and administration. Interestingly there are proportionately more residents in both Twyford and Hurst who come from manual and caring professions than in Winnersh.

Overall, health in the area is considered Good to Very Good (Twyford 87%, Hurst 90% vs Winnersh 88%).

Education

There is a village primary school in Hurst, St. Nicholas C. of E (rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted) as well as the Colleton Primary (rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted) on the borders between Hurst and Twyford. Twyford itself has the Polehampton Infant and Primary School (both rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted).

Secondary education is provided by The Piggott or parents have the choice of Wokingham or Reading Schools.

Local childcare is provided by an early learning centre based in Loddon Hall in Twyford, Freckles Nursery.

Our best picks for…

…country pub.

The Green Man in Hurst is a first class country pub that consistently impresses on its warm welcome and good honest pub grub. The pub has held a license for over 400 hundred years and has a great range of real ales. In the summer, the garden is a great place for a pint in the sun and during the colder months you can expect a cosy traditional English roaring log fire.

green man hurst berkshire country pub

The Green Man is a quintessentially British pub and is a great place for a pint. Image via website.

The Duke of Wellington in Twyford offers much the same kind of welcome. With open log fires, this charming 18th century coaching house is dog friendly and is a popular place for families, particularly after a Sunday romp on some of the neighbouring trails. They serve craft beers and offer a good value traditional lunch menu.

…the great outdoors.

The Loddon Nature Reserve in Twyford is our top pick. It’s a wonderful place to walk with children and dogs and takes in some great bird watching along lakes and the River Loddon. Shallow fringes of the water are home to snipe, tufted duck and pochard. The Berks, Bucks& Oxon Wildlife Trust regularly runs family discovery days even in the winter so it’s worth checking their website for details.

Of course, Hurst also offers the ever popular Dinton Pastures Country Park. Offering water sports facilities, the Dragonfly Cafe, a new adventure play park and fishing spots, this 450-acre reserve incorporates many miles of pleasant walks, woodland, lakes and meadows. Great for a Sunday stroll whatever your fitness level; you can even book a ride on a Segway if you don’t fancy breaking a sweat.

…supporting local shops.

For the young at heart, the Berkshire Dollshouse and Model Shop in Twyford is a real treat. Selling custom built dolls house and dinky furniture sets as well as stocking a huge range of model railway accessories, this little shop is the village’s former fire station. We can also recommend the boutique charity shop that supports Mercy in Action. As a couple who love a bargain, this shop has had the Mary Portas treatment and stocks a select range of quality items including some designer labels.

The Hurst Bakery & Provisions store changed ownership in 2006 and has since cut a new market in the local area with their home-made Indian food. Awarded 5 stars by Wokingham District Council for hygiene, the shop serves the local community as a takeaway, café and with its catering business.

…somewhere to eat out.

The Castle Inn, Hurst is an independent 16th century pub that serves an excellent evening menu. Using locally sourced food from farms such as Hurst Manor Farm and Ashridge Manor, head chef Matt prepares classic, seasonal dishes and regular Sunday roasts. The addition of a log burning stove makes this pub a real cosy hideaway for a good meal.

castle inn hurst

The Castle Inn was the village’s church house and bakery. Image via Flickr.

Twyford has several Indian restaurants, each as good as the others but our choice is The Mita’s. A friendly restaurant that serves great Indian food , the dining area is small and welcoming and the atmosphere is always good. They serve a buffet on Sundays and customers can even bring their own drink along to help keep costs down.

Housing in Twyford and Hurst

The housing stock in Twyford is a real mix compared to areas like Hurst and Winnersh with a variety of detached, semi-detached and terraced homes as well as flats.

Type of Property Twyford Hurst Winnersh
Detached 37% 60% 47%
Semi-Detached 30% 23% 21%
Terraced 19% 8% 19%
Flat, Maisonette or Bungalow 14% 7% 10%
Caravan or Temporary Home 0% 1% 3%

House Prices in Twyford & Hurst

Over the last 12 months, property sales in Twyford have seen the most movement across detached homes with an average price of £596,075. Semi-detached properties and terraced properties sold for an average of £442,613 and £370,563 respectively.

The overall average house price in Twyford is currently £476,603 which is not markedly different from this time last year.

By comparison, house prices in Hurst are an average of £743,500 which shows a 9% increase, year-on-year.

For more information about any area in the Thames Valley including house prices as well as local facilities, background and characteristics, contact Property Assistant. We take pride in understanding our local area so we can help property buyers make the right decision about where to buy their next home. Call us today on 0118 912 2370.

Featured image via Flickr.

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5 Reasons to Use a Property Search Agent

Want to know why you should be using a property search agent to find your next home?

When you are looking for a house to buy you may have some strict criteria that you aren’t willing to negotiate on. This can sometimes make finding the right home a bit of a struggle; the less compromise, the narrower the search field, particularly when it comes to your budget.

On top of that, you may be under pressure with the sale of your existing property to find a new house quickly.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Reasons to Use a Property Search Agent

Using a property search agent can help speed up your search for the right home as well as save you money and even hit the jackpot when it comes to finding a house that ticks all your boxes.

Here’s five reasons why you should be using a property search agent.

Not All Properties Hit the Internet

It might come as a surprise but not all houses hit the internet immediately when they go to market. Sometimes this is a result of delays in marketing but could also be a preference by the vendor. Property search agents make it their business to get advance notice of any new homes for sale in your search area.

Utilising a network of professionals is an important part of being able to offer this advantage and search agents build connections and foster strong relationships to be able to deliver this service.

property search agent

Finding the right house is about more than just searching the internet. Image via Flickr.

Free Up Your Time

Searching for that perfect property can take a lot of time, not just in the initial stages of identifying possible opportunities but also in arranging viewings, discussing suitability and exploring the surrounding area.

With a property search agent, you don’t just get access to potential homes as soon as they are available, you also get to take advantage of a professional service that can do a lot of the donkey work for you. After all, why have a dog and bark yourself?

A good property search agent will quickly assess homes that meet your criteria and only alert you to those that are suitable meaning you don’t waste your valuable time.

Save Money

As well as saving you time, a property search agent can save you money. Of course, there is a cost associated with wasted trips to view houses that aren’t suitable but we mean when it comes to negotiating the price on ‘THE one’.

As experienced property professionals, a good agent should understand the current markets and any local factors which can influence the asking price. As a result, they are able to advise you on your offer price or even undertake the negotiations for you. The result can often be many thousands of pounds in savings.

save time and money buying house

Save time and money by using a professional property search agent. Image via Pixabay.

Important Local Knowledge

If you are moving into a new area then using a property search agent can circumvent much of the research needed before choosing the right location. From schools to transport links, local amenities to quirky local laws, a good agent can give you an overview of the area you are searching in before you even seriously consider it.

Not only can this help prevent problems further down the road but may help inform you of a more suitable location where your budget could go further and your needs are better met.

Get Professional Support Every Step of the Way

A property search agent’s job doesn’t end when your offer has been accepted and should continue until you put those keys in your new front door.

As property professionals, your agent provides assistance at every stage of the contract process giving you third party advice and support that is independent from the estate agents who are managing the sale of the house. Having a knowledgeable property professional in your corner can help reduce the length of time it takes to complete your purchase and certainly remove much of the stress.

As a local agent in the Thames Valley, Property Assistant provides a dedicated property search service for all clients. We can help you find the perfect home in the right area for you, quickly, with less stress and saving you time and money.

To find out more about our property search service, call Dan or Julie Lawry on 0118 912 2370.

And, don’t forget to register for our free copy of The Complete Guide to Buying a House

Featured image via Zoopla.

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Wokingham: Compared to the Rest of England

Though the Wokingham area (as a unitary authority) has a population density of over 125,000 people, the town itself is home to just 30,000 people. A small market town nestled between Reading, Bracknell, Windsor and Camberley, Wokingham consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the UK. Good schools, excellent transport links and comparably low house prices for the south of England, Wokingham is a sought-after location for families, professional people and retirees.

As one of the towns in our area, we thought it might be fun to look at how Wokingham compares to the rest of the UK when it comes to those all important factors when choosing somewhere to live.

Stats on the Wokingham Area

Deprivation

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the IMD Deprivation Score for Wokingham is 5.7; the lowest in the country. The score uses several indices to produce an overall score and includes information taken from:

  • Income
  • Employment
  • Education, Skills and Training
  • Health and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Social Housing and Services
  • Living Environment

The data is also calculated in proportion to the effects of income deprivation on children and older people.

The local areas of Bracknell (10.5), West Berkshire (10.2) and Reading (19.3) all fall under the average score calculated for England (21.8).

Education

For the period 2015/16, 70.9% of GCSE students in the Wokingham area achieved 5 (or more) A*-C grades which ranked the area 3rd in England just behind Kingston upon Thames (74.6%) and Richmond upon Thames (73.4%).

wokingham area good schools

The Wokingham area has a reputation for excellent schools and students can expect great results. Image via Pixabay.

Crime

Reported cases of violent crime in Wokingham were recorded at a rate of 7.2 incidents per 1000 households for the period 2015/16. This placed Wokingham as the second lowest area behind Rutland at 6.7 cases per 1000 households.

Employment

Long term unemployment in Wokingham is the second lowest in the country at 0.8 cases per 1000 people of working age (just behind Oxfordshire with 0.7 cases).

Health

According to the 2011 census, 54% of residents in Wokingham rate their overall health as Very Good (compared to 47% nationally) with more recent data from the ONS showing us exactly why.

  • 8.8% of residents in Wokingham are smokers which is the second lowest in England and way below the national average of 15.5%
  • The rate of smoking in pregnant mothers in the Wokingham area is 4.8% and places the area at 14th in the national league table.
  • The rate of teenage pregnancy in Wokingham 8.1 females (aged 15-17) per 1000 and is far lower than the national average of 20.8 and the regional average of 17.1. This places Wokingham 3rd lowest in England with Bracknell Forest being 2nd.

It’s not all good news though and Wokingham doesn’t perform as well in a few areas including obesity.

  • The prevalence of obesity in children (by Year 6) in Wokingham is 14.6% which is lower than the national average of 19.8% but still high.
  • 63.3% of adults in Wokingham are also classified as obese and is broadly average for England (64.8%).
wokingham area health stats

Obesity levels are high in Wokingham for both children and adults. Image via Pixabay.

The average life expectancy for Wokingham’s residents is high at 81.6 (male) and 84.8 (female). The best performing authorities in England record ages of 83.4 and 86.4 respectively placing Wokingham in 9th and 12th position.

However, infant mortality rates are high with 3.9 cases per 1000 cases of live births. Whilst this is equivalent to the average in England, it is twice as high as the lowest rate of 2.0.

Suicide rates are one of the lowest in the country at just 6 cases per 100,000 people and is only behind Central Bedfordshire on the national index.

Social Indices

Statutory Homelessness is an indicator of people in priority need and is measured in cases per 1000 households. In Wokingham, the rate is measure at 0.6 which is lower than the regional average of 0.8 and significantly lower than the worst affected areas which measure 8.9 cases of homelessness per 1000 households.

The percentage of children in low income families in the Wokingham area is 7% which is the lowest in England. The average for the region is 14.7% with the rest of England being 20.1%; the worst performing authority has 39.2% of children under the age of 16 living in a low income family.

Broadband

Though the UK average broadband speed of 16.5mbps is falling well short in the global rankings (31st as of August 2017), much of the Wokingham area enjoys access to super-fast broadband with speeds of up to 300mbps.

broadband speed wokingham

Wokingham has some of the highest broadband speeds in the country. Image via Pixabay.

In Urban locations, three in four properties receive broadband speeds of 10mbps or above whereas in the country, 67% of ISP’s fail to reach these speeds.

Fortunately, most of the surrounding area also enjoys access to the same speeds.

Bizarrely, the worst performing areas in terms of broadband speed in the UK are in London and include Westminster, Lambeth and the City of London; the reason appears to be density rather than simply one of technology.

And the best?

Tamworth in the West Midlands, Adur in West Sussex and our own Reading.

Recycling

Here is where the local area is falling down nationally and we should hang our heads in shame. For the period 2015/2016, Wokingham was ranked 243 out of 351 authorities with just 38.0% of our household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting.

When it comes to the golden boys of the UK, South Oxfordshire District Council can take pride in first place with a 66.6% recycling rate (West Oxfordshire comes in 6th and Oxfordshire comes 16th).

Wokingham’s closest neighbours performed as follows:

Rank Authority Recycling Rate
60 West Berkshire District Council 51.8%
120 Windsor & Maidenhead Borough Council 46.7%
244 Bracknell Forest Borough Council 38.0%
296 Reading Borough Council 32.1%
327 Slough Borough Council 26.8%
329 Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council 26.3%

If you are interested, the worst performing authority was the London Borough of Newham with a recycling rate of just 14.7%.

wokingham area stats recycling

Could do better! Wokingham sends 62% of its waste straight to landfill. Image via Pixabay.

Property Prices

The average house price for the Wokingham area for July 2017 was recorded £411,964 which is 14.98% higher than the national average of £358,307.

The average for the area breaks down as follows:

Area Detached House Semi-Detached House Terraced House
Bracknell £644,707 £388,873 £300,501
Reading £608,666 £379,032 £302,250
West Berkshire £562,596 £340,240 £274,474
Wokingham £628,971 £389,104 £306,015

If you are considering the Wokingham area as a location for your next property move, either to buy or to rent, then we can help you find your perfect home. Property Assistant is a family-run estate agency providing clients with independent advice tailored to your needs, not ours.

We’d welcome the opportunity of discussing any property matter with you so why not give us a call on 0118 912 2370.

You might also find our area guide on Wokingham useful.

Data for this report has been compiled using information from Public Health England, the Office of National Statistics, Ofcom and Let’s Recycle.

Cost of Living Comparison: London vs Reading

Reading, the county town of Berkshire, is just a 30 minute train journey away from London and shares many of the same conveniences that Londoners enjoy, at a fraction of the cost. In fact, the cost of living in Reading can be up to £1,000 a month cheaper.

In this guide we take a look at the cost of living in Reading compared to London and bring you the latest statistics between the two places to live.

The Overview

Taking the latest data and comparing the same standard of living, the cost to live in London vs Reading is £1,166.42 higher per month, breaking down as follows:

  • Rental prices in Reading are 47.08% lower than in London
  • Consumer prices in Reading are 9.41% lower than in London
  • Restaurant prices in Reading are 5.95% lower than in London
  • Local purchasing power in Reading is 40.43% higher than in London.

In fact, the only thing more expensive about living in Reading is in the cost of groceries, which are 1.09% higher than in London, and utilities. Gas, electricity and water for an 85 sq m apartment costs 29.74% more in Reading than it does in London.

riverside reading great place to live

Only half an hour by train from London, Reading is a cheaper place to live. Image via Wikimedia.

So, factoring in the short commute to London, why would anyone want to pay more to live in the capital?

Not convinced? Let’s dig in to this further.

Leisure

The average cost of a standard monthly membership to a fitness club in Reading is £24.90 compared to £45.81 in London. A saving of £20.91 or 45.64%, you can almost afford to go twice as often!

Even things like the cost of a cinema ticket are lower in Reading with a ticket for a film on international release costing almost 20% less (£12.00 vs £9.70 per seat).

Childcare

The average monthly childcare fees are in the region of £1,080 in London with similar provisions costing 5.24% less, saving £55 a month. Small beans across the board but it all adds up. Private schooling is even lower with annual fees being around 18% cheaper in Reading.

Property Prices

According to Right Move, the average cost of a home in London topped £607,000 last year with apartments (the main housing stock in London) being £537,000. In Reading, the average house price is just £417,153. That’s a staggering difference of £189,847!

Renting is just as cost effective in Reading with an average one bedroom flat costing £885 per month in the centre of town vs £1662 per month in the centre of London. Head to the outskirts of London for a better deal and this reduces to just £1,180…outside of Reading, this falls to £743.

Transport

Commuting in London is an expensive part of monthly wages and can cost upwards of £1500 per year using an Oyster Card for Zones 1-2. In Reading, average costs of travelcards are 57% lower and allow you access to neighbouring towns including Wokingham, Maidenhead, Winnersh and even Oxford.

Taxis are also cheaper with the average cost of a 1km journey being 30% lower in Reading and a one-hour wait being 25% lower.

cost of transport london vs reading

No underground in Reading but far cheaper transport costs. Image via Pixabay.

Running a car is cheaper in Reading without the need to pay the Congestion Charge and factoring in better miles to the gallon with less time spent idling in traffic. Yes, Reading does get congested during rush hours but not nearly as badly as Central London.

Groceries and Markets

As we said in the intro, the overall grocery bill in Reading is around 1% higher, but there are many ways in which costs are still lower in Reading.

  • A litre of milk is 24.13% lower whilst bread is 3.57% higher
  • A dozen eggs will be 11.87% lower with chicken being similar in price
  • A 1.5l bottle of water is 26% lower but a 0.5l bottle of beer being 11.63% higher

Bizarrely, being in the country, Reading charges more for its beef and cheese than in the capital (26.07% and 46.63% higher respectively).

cost of living reading (2)

Overall, a 1% increase in groceries should be scant reason to keep you in London. Image via Pixabay.

Average Salary

Okay, so it’s cheaper living in Reading than it is in London but surely you can earn more money in the city, right?

Wrong.

The average monthly salary after tax in London is £2,218 vs £2,308 in Reading. That 4% increase goes a lot further with a lower cost of living.

Quality of Living in Reading

We are going to let the stats speak for themselves here….

London Reading
Purchasing Power Index Moderate 78.56 High 109.9
Safety Index Moderate 52.58 High 64.19
Health Care Index High 68.01 High 78.78
Climate Index Very High 88.44 Very High 88.11
Cost of Living Index High 91.38 Moderate 83.12
Property Price to Income Ratio Very High 24.08 Moderate 8.27
Traffic Commute Time Index High 47.68 Low 33
Pollution Index Moderate 58.95 Low 23.26
Quality of Life Index Moderate 108.9 Very High 180

The Take Home? Reading or London?

There is no doubt, and no surprise, that living in Reading is cheaper than living in London and quality of life much better. The only motivating factors for staying in the capital come down to commuting times and a preference for city living. Granted, the commute to London from Reading takes you to Paddington and anyone working in Canary Wharf or the city could still face a lengthy journey but there are many benefits to living outside of London.

We have helped numerous families, couples and single professionals escape city living to enjoy the rural benefits of a life in Berkshire. If you want to join them and find out more about what the Thames Valley can offer you then contact Property Assistant today to get further information on your property search. Why not check out our area guides to the surrounding towns of Winnersh, Wokingham and Crowthorne.

Featured image via Pixabay and Wikipedia.

Unless stated, all facts and figures have been derived from the online comparison database, Numbeo.

The Walters Family and the Wokingham Area

The name Walter can be found in many places around the Wokingham area including the Walter Infant School, the Walter Arms PH and Walter Road in Woosehill. Some of the most impressive buildings in the area also bear the same influential name, John Walter III, including St Paul’s Church, Bearwood Mansion and the ornately designed Walter Cottages overlooking Bearwood Recreation Ground.

The family whose name is synonymous with all of these buildings was that of the Walters; John Walter, founder of The Times newspaper and grandfather to John Walter III, a publisher and politician who lived in Sindlesham. It was John Walter III whose involvement shaped many areas of the local community.

Bearwood and Sindlesham

Living in Bearwood House, Sindlesham, Walter built a model village surrounding the green we now know as Bearwood Recreation Ground and incorporates the chocolate box Walter Cottages and Bearwood Primary School. The ‘village’ adjoins the estate of Bearwood Mansion, now Reddam House (an independent day and boarding school) which was originally built by his father, another John Walter.

Bearwood Mansion was designed by Robert Kerr and built in 1865 and remains one of the most impressive country seats of its time. Art and Architecture historian, Nikolaus Pevsner, described Bearwood House as ‘…one of the major Victorian monuments in England’ likening the building more to Blenheim Palace than to the ‘poky villas’ occupied by most ‘pygmies’.

bearwood house john walter wokingham

The impressive building of Bearwood House is a legacy of the Walter family. Image via Wikimedia.

John Walter III: Churches, Schools and Roads

Funded entirely with his own money, St Paul’s Church was built between 1862 and 1864. Situated on the Reading Road, the church has an impressive 170’ spire housing eight bells (recast in 2005 following damage sustained during a lightning strike). The church is an important hub for many community events in Wokingham.

John Walter III was also responsible for the building of the adjoining school of St Paul’s (now Walter County Infant School). Moved to do so as a result of the public outcry that followed the publication of The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. A rector in neighbouring Eversley, Kingsley’s fictional account of a chimney sweep encountering poor conditions was a satirical look at the class divide for children in Victorian England. As a recently defeated MP looking for re-election, John Walter III was prompted to make changes in his local community and built the school, parish rooms and the clock house which stands at the junction of Shute End and Station Road.

water babies charles kingsley wokingham

Prompting national social change, Water Babies got to John Walter. Image via Wikimedia.

We shouldn’t be too cynical about his motives as he already had form in the area of building schools with Finchampstead C of E also laying claim to John Walter III’s as a benefactor. The school still celebrates Founders Day on 8th October, Walter’s birthday.

John Walter III is also credited with creation of the grand avenue known as Wellingtonia Avenue. Spanning the woodland area of The Ridges and linking Finchampstead with Crowthorne, the road was planted with 100 giant sequoia trees as a monument to Lord Wellington.

John Walter III: Lasting Legacies

As well as the architecture around Wokingham that can be attributed to the Walters family, including many copycat designs, there are also some other lasting legacies in Berkshire.

John Walter was a reformist and a liberal, putting his wealth and influence behind social change and agricultural improvements. He invested in the first steam plough in Berkshire hoping to stimulate better tilling practices and improve the economy of farming for the farmers. Walter was also influential in the breeding of livestock including the South Down sheep and Berkshire pig.

wokingham walter family berkshire pig

A contributor to the survival of the Berkshire Pig, John Walter III was a major breeder. Image via Flickr.

In 1859, John Walter established the Corps of Commissionaires, now the oldest security company in the world, with his brother, Sir Edward Walter. The company was founded on the principal of finding work for ex-servicemen (particularly those that had fought in the Crimean War) and still provides jobs for ex-military, police and fire personnel today.

Known simply as ‘the Squire’ in and around the area, his death caused much sadness to parishioners and was a huge event at the time. A cortege of 12 coaches accompanied by numerous wreathes and mourners, including MPs, employees and the Mayor of Wokingham, left the Bearwood estate on the short journey to St Catherine’s Church, Sindlesham. John Walter was interred in the family grave and a monument can be found in the graveyard.

The influence of the Walters family has left a unique imprint on the Wokingham area and is one of the many rich and diverse historical associations the area has. Having lived in the area for years, Julie and I are both fascinated with local history and are always surprised by the way houses, parishes and communities are affected by characters from long ago. We like getting to know the area in which we live and have plenty of information to share with anyone looking to move to the area; historical and practical. You can find out more information about Wokingham, as well as other areas of the Thames Valley, in our area guides.

For more information about how Property Assistant can inform you about the area you want to live, contact us on 0118 912 2370.

Featured image via Wikimedia. 

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Thames Valley Area Guide: Winnersh

The civil parish and village of Winnersh is one of several districts that make up the Borough of Wokingham and is a popular spot for families seeking that combination of good location with cost-effective and convenient living.

Lying just two miles to the north west of Wokingham and sitting on the convenient London Waterloo to Reading main train line, Winnersh has plenty to offer anyone looking to relocate to the Thames Valley.

In this guide, we take you through the benefits of living in Winnersh along with practical information about the area including some history and a snapshot of the local amenities.

Winnersh: A Snapshot

The parish boundaries stretch to the east along the Reading Road to Old Forest Road and to the west as far as the River Loddon. To the north, Winnersh borders the A329(M) and then runs to the south as far Bearwood College and Arborfield, including the estate village of Sindlesham.

carters hill farm sindlesham

Incorporating Sindlesham, Winnersh has many beautiful old buildings. Image via Wikimedia.

A reasonably new settlement, Winnersh was originally a sub-parish of Hurst being known by its descriptive name, Winn (meaning meadow) and ersc (meaning stubble field). Largely an area of cultivated land along the route between Wokingham and Reading, residential areas began to extend from Sindlesham and Hurst in the 19th and 20th centuries until Winnersh became its own, more sizeable parish, around the 1930s.

A sleeper town characterised by modern housing developments and estates nestling alongside more traditional developments and rural and historical buildings, the area is one that many people underestimate in both size and facilities.

Winnersh: The Detail

Location

Winnersh is located two miles from Wokingham and just six miles from Reading. It lies on it’s own junction with the A329(M) which offers quick access to the M4 as well Bracknell and the M3. Served by two train stations, Winnersh and Winnersh Triangle lie on the Reading/Waterloo rail line and is just one stop away from Wokingham which offers direct access to Guildford, Gatwick and Redhill.

winnersh area guide

Convenient for Reading, London and the M4, Winnersh is well situated. Image via Andrew Hackney, Geograph

The Reading Road runs through the centre of the district and is a busy commuter route between Wokingham and Reading but the area also incorporates many residential roads, estates and recreational areas.

To the west is the Winnersh Triangle (see Trade and Commerce); a large junction between the Reading Road and the A329(M) joining the parish with Woodley, Lower Earley and Earley.

At the heart of Winnersh lies Winnersh Crossroads; the junction where Reading Road is dissected by King Street Lane and Robin Hood Lane. From 1840, King Street farm operated at this site, known as Winnersh Corner, which became known as Allnatt Farm in 1935. The company who owned the site, Sale Tilney, assembled tractors for the US markets until around 1952 when the site was sold to Crimbly Crisps. Producing snacks including nuts and raisins, a factory operated on the site until Hewlett Packard acquired the land for their UK headquarters.

HP stayed at Winnersh Corner until the mid-1990s when Sainsbury’s built a supermarket on the site. Originally opened by Lord Sainsbury himself in 1997, the supermarket has been improved in recent years and is now double the original size.

Winnersh: Trade and Commerce

Winnersh Triangle is a development by the Slough Estates Group that was built in the 1980s and now covers an 85-acre plot. Home to Jacobs, Virgin Media, Grant Thornton and Keysight Technologies, the industrial park is an important centre of commerce for the Thames Valley.  Once the UK headquarters to both Microsoft and Sage, Winnersh Triangle has a number of useful facilities on site including a fitness centre, spa and swimming pool.

The Reading Road is also home to plenty of large businesses as well as local traders. The development on Gazelle Close has a large Pets at Home which includes a useful veterinary surgery, Halfords and Wickes. Traders along the Reading Road include photographers, convenience stores, hairdressers and takeaway restaurants.

Local Amenities

The parish is lucky enough to have a large supermarket at the heart of its community with Sainsbury’s being conveniently situated on the Winnersh Crossroads. Almost 40,000 sq ft in size, the store provides a lot of jobs in the area as well as offering convenient grocery shopping in addition to a wide range of books, entertainment, digital appliances and homeware. There is also a pharmacy, travel money facility and café on site.

The parish has 75 allotments on the Reading Road and after years of long waiting lists, currently has some available.

The Winnersh Community Hall is a hub of local activities and regularly runs public events as well as being open for private hire. There is a fully licensed bar on site and the hall can hold up to 190 people. Lots of clubs and groups meet here including the Wargames Association of Reading, the Ballroom Dance Club and the Community Partnership.

winnersh community centre area guide

The hub of community groups, Winnersh Parish Hall is available to hire. Image via Parish website.

There is a library adjoining the Forest School on Robin Hood Lane which is part of the wider and well-stocked Wokingham authority. The range is good but other books can be ordered in from the central collection for a small fee.

The Bearwood Recreation Ground is a popular sports hub for football clubs and also has a really exciting play park featuring an outdoor gym, climbing rock, table tennis table as well as basketball and volleyball courts. The play area is one of the more popular locations in the district for young families.

At Winnersh Triangle, there is a large multi-screen cinema operated by Showcase which is a great place for teens to catch up with friends on the latest movies.

The River Loddon runs along the west of the parish boundaries and offers a pleasant walk south through Lower Earley towards Arborfield or North past Dinton Pastures and Whistley Green. Dinton Pastures itself borders Winnersh Meadows, a 25-acre site made up of wildflower meadows, ponds and orchards. Home to the Great Crested Newt, this important habitat is popular with dog walkers, naturalists and families looking for a spot of fresh air.

winnersh meadows area guide

The popular dog-walking area of Winnersh Meadows is a relaxing country park. Image via Wikimedia.

Education

The parish has two primary schools and one secondary school within its boundaries but lies in the catchment of many other Wokingham schools (see Wokingham Area Guide). Winnersh Primary and Wheatfield Primary Schools are both measured as ‘Good’ by Ofsted with the latter attaining ‘Outstanding’ in Early Years Provision. The all boys secondary school, The Forest, is a former grammar school and was identified as ‘Requiring Improvement’ in its last Ofsted report (2016). The most recent reports identify that the areas flagged for concern in this report are no longer a focus of monitoring by the Department for Education.

Wokingham itself has an excellent reputation for the quality of its schooling and remains (along with its location) one of the main reasons for relocation to the Thames Valley area.

Our best picks for…

…those green fingers.

Winnersh has a large Wyevale Garden Centre at the Winnersh Triangle crossroads that is one of the more popular places locally to get bedding and gardening accessories. Housing a small café and offering a good selection of landscaping and seasonal products, there are several small traders operating on site to provide other shopping opportunities. Christmas time is a great place to visit as they transform the centre into a magical world full of indoor and outdoor decorations.

…a spot of pampering.

Nirvana Spa is a luxurious oasis of tranquility offering relaxation, beauty treatments and indulgent experiences. The water is all-natural and pure enough to drink, with the exception of the Dead-Sea salt water flotation tanks. You can buy various memberships or treat yourself to a single visit to include any number of reviving treatments including massage, facials, wraps and pedicures. The spa has a great national reputation for providing excellent facilities.

nirvana spa winnersh facilities

The tranquil spa at Nirvana, Sindlesham is one of the area’s highlights. Image via Nirvana website.

…a good meal.

The Walter Arms in Sindlesham was built in the 19th century and has undergone many transformations over the years including its time as a speciality fish restaurant (when it was known as, ‘A Fish Called Walter’) and as a fine dining eatery. Since 2005, this traditional pub has been owned by the Oakman Inns and Restaurants group. The pub now serves Mediterranean flavours using a charcoal-fired grill. The menu changes to incorporate the best seasonal produce but is of a high standard at reasonable rates.

…a bit of the countryside on your doorstep.

Winnersh Meadows is a part of the original land acquired by Slough Estates forming part of their commercial development at Winnersh Triangle. Featuring an outdoor gym, running routes and picnic tables, the land was given back to Wokingham Borough Council and is now a lovely rural spot to explore.

…getting a no-nonsense pint.

The George on Loddon Bridge Road is a chain ‘Chef & Brewer’ pub but is run by a friendly management  team with welcoming staff. The outside space sits alongside the River Loddon and can be a nice quiet place to grab a pint in the summer. Traditional food and good cask ales make this a pleasant spot.

george pub winnersh river loddon

A nice place for a pint, The George is beside the River Loddon. Image via Des Blenkinsopp, Geograph.

Housing in Winnersh

The housing stock in Winnersh is very diverse and includes everything from affordable estate housing to luxury modern detached homes. There are retirement properties as well as starter homes, character properties, flats and bungalows all offering a wide choice for anyone looking to move to the Winnersh area.

The average house price in Winnersh is £496,124 which compares to Woodley at £380,643 and Hurst at £675,389. The average house price in Wokingham is similar at £477,459.

A terraced property is likely to cost around £348,950 with a semi-detached home being valued (on average) at £399,077.

If you are looking to relocate to the Winnersh area and want to find out more about the community as well as the kind of property for sale then Property Assistant can help you. Not only have we relocated our own home to Winnersh in 2017 but we have years of experience helping others buy and sell property in Winnersh.

To find out more about our range of services for buying a house in Winnersh, contact us on 0118 912 2370.

Featured image via Wikimedia.