This idyllic Surrey village sees demand from families way outstripping supply

Shamley Green is the epitome of a quintessential Surrey village. At weekends, the gentle thwack of willow can be heard across the village green as spectators from the adjacent Red Lion pub watch the the local cricket team take on their rivals; the village green is also surrounded by period properties which adds to the aesthetic appeal.

The surrounding countryside is beautiful with direct links on to the Downs Way which provides mile upon mile of walking, riding and cycling opportunities across to Blackheath and Farley Heath.

Shamley Green however, has a lot more to it than merely resembling a set from Midsomer Murders. Many Londoners choose it as their first move out of the city, due to the choice of good property and excellent schools. Once they move, many families then tend not to leave: it is common to find some 3rd generation families still here thanks to the vibrant social calendar and close knit community found in the village.

Local schooling is excellent; there is a village nursery, pre-school, C of E Infant School and a Montessori school. Many children are enrolled into the independent Longacre School, which is tucked away behind the village green a very popular choice for local families. St. Catherine’s School and St. Catherine’s Prep School in nearby Bramley are held in high regard, and Cranleigh School and Cranleigh Prep are other very popular choices.

The Speckledy Hen Café and Deli opened some two years ago by some local mothers and has fast become the “go-to” place for locals. Many mothers from Longacre choose to drop in on their way to or from the school run. The cafe has recently introduced a tea menu for children, which helps when picking up siblings from school at various times. The Deli stocks a great range of products, boutique home wares, and fresh flower posies and the whole café has a lovely country feel and a small courtyard to the rear which captures the summer sun.

The Red Lion pub and the Bricklayers Arms are focal points for the village, while the church is set back form the road leading out of the village and is home to an active Choir group.

The village is understood to have been the childhood home of Sir Richard Branson and also the inspiration behind the name Alfred Hitchcock gave to his film production company “Shamley Productions”. Shamley Green’s most obscure claim to fame however is being the set of the 2013 Horizon documentary ‘The Secret Life of a Cat’. 30 resident Shamley Green felines were fitted with GPS collars and cat cams and filmed during a 24 hour period to see just what cats get up to in their day and how far from home they actually do roam.

Shamley Green is also the home of Santa Fir, the largest independent Christmas tree grower and farm in the UK. The farm brings in reindeer around the festive season, to the delight of the children in the village, and families come from miles around to get their Norwegian Spruce come December.

Some consider one of the only downsides to Shamley Green is the commute. Whilst excellent for family life, commuters are looking at up to a 90 minute journey to London. Although trains run frequently from Guildford into Waterloo within 34 minutes, the morning run into Guildford can be a lengthy one due to traffic. Getting a seat on the train is never guaranteed at  busy times, as the Portsmouth Harbour – Waterloo line is a busy one. Some clients I have worked with make the journey on a scooter, which deals effectively with any traffic congestion problems en-route to the station, which has undercover secure motorcycle parking.

House prices in Shamley Green tend to remain at a premium as it is considered to be one of the best villages around Guildford. Although there are fluctuations in line with the general economy, on the whole the demand drives this premium.

The houses immediately surrounding the village cricket green and duck pond tend to be period properties from 18th century, and range from cottages to larger period houses from the Victorian and Georgian era. In the streets adjacent to the green and village centre are a good selection of 2/3 bedroom semidetached houses, predominately Victorian, but also character houses from 1940’s onwards.

There are other character properties on the outskirts of the village, including a small residential development of modern properties built in the late 1980s. Moving further out of the village, particularly up Woodhill Lane and Stroud lane, are large family homes and country properties with varying amounts of acreage and leisure facilities, including tennis courts and swimming pools. This area is popular with those who wish to keep a horse as the area is interspersed with miles of countryside dotted with bridleways.

Buyers tend to be commuters who need a good rail link into London (where most go from Guildford) and traditionally have been Londoners moving out to the country for the first time, many with young families, but wanting good access back up to London.

The village is good for welcoming new families: a Newcomers Evening held in the Red Lion pub twice is well attended by the local villagers wishing to welcome in the new residents. In fact so warm is the welcome, that some fathers on the early Waterloo train have organised a regular friendly five-a-side football kick-around at one of the local public schools, before retiring to the pub for a pint and a curry. In addition, the book club is particularly well attended. With so many families in the village, there are many excellent opportunities for children and parents to meet and socialise.

Once families are in the village, they tend not to move again until they downsize or make an upwards move; downsizers tend to move back towards the centre of the village to one of the smaller properties with more manageable gardens which does free up some of the larger family properties, although on balance there are often more buyers than available houses. Demand remains highest for the 35-45 age group.

In Shamley Green, there is no such thing as an undervalued road or an area for a bargain. Demand remains strong throughout the village. On the whole, owners tend to renovate and extend properties rather than knock-down and rebuild. Many of the smaller Victorian semi-detached properties along Sweetwater Lane have had roof extensions to make the most of the space available rather than move.

Shamley Green is very likely to remain a prime village attracting a premium price tag. Offering such a good quality of life for families and the access to the lovely countryside around, not to mention the good transport links into Guildford and London, together with the fact that much of the area is classified a Conservation Area and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, means that planning development is kept to a minimum. The selection of excellent schools and local amenities also, really does tick most boxes for buyers.

House prices examples in Shamley Green (all approximate):

* 2/3 bedroom terraced/semi period cottage with small garden: approx. in excess of £550,000 – £600,000
* 4/5 bedroom period house with garden: In the region of £1m plus
* 5 plus bedroom, substantial period country house with 5 plus acres: approx. in region of £3m plus

For more information, please contact The Buying Solution Home Counties Office