The West Sussex village of Fittleworth, which has a population of around 900, has benefited recently from a greatly improved rail service from Pulborough to London with more trains per hour, especially in the rush hour, and 15 minutes cut off the journey time.
The heart of the village is made up of 16th to 18th century properties, set around the Swan Inn. There are few Victorian and Edwardian properties here, while on the outskirts of the village centre is quite a large selection of post 1900 houses with just a few small infill developments of new terraced cottages, set in secluded closes.
The majority of buyers in the village are the early retired, singles and professionals; it particularly attracts those who like rural living with easy access to the city. However, it’s not very popular with families as it only has a village school, church, one pub and small village shop. ‘Fittleworth is similar to most rural villages in the area with properties in the main being priced between £400,000 and £800,000. There are far fewer smaller/first time buyer homes available,’ says Bill Aikenhead of Henry Adams and Partners. ‘There has been pressure on prices in all ranges with less buyers registering in the lower price bracket. Supply has now definitely exceeded demand and it’s moved to being a buyer’s market with offers coming in 5 to 10 per cent lower than owners’ original expectations.’
Two-bedroom terraced cottages are priced from £250,000, a modern three bedroom terraced cottage from £270,000, a four bedroom terraced house from £350,000, an individual detached four bedroom with a large garden from £600,000 while a five/six-bedroom house with a little land starts from £750,000.
Travelling time: It’s a ten minute drive to Pulborough from which it takes, on average, 1hr19mins to London Victoria.
Schools: Fittleworth Church of England First school; Arundale, which is a private co-ed prep school in Pulborough; Windlesham House – another co-ed prep school in Storrington; The Weald, which is a secondary school in Billingshurst; Midhurst Grammar School has a good reputation and Seaford College, which is a small and friendly public School in Petworth.
Shopping: Fittleworth is half way between Pulborough and Petworth (about three miles from each). People tend to go to the former for their main necessities as there’s a Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s there and to the latter for non-necessities as there’s a good deli, a couple of butchers, several coffee shops and many antique shops in town.
Eating and drinking: The 14th century Swan Inn in Fittleworth is known for its good food and ales; The Well Diggers Arms in Petworth is a tiny pub with a good reputation especially for its steaks and The Black Horse in Byworth is a distinctive pub with garden and lovely position. For smarter restaurants, you have to go to Chichester and its environs, where you’ll find several good options.
Attractions: Petworth House – a 17th century National Trust mansion with gardens by Capability Brown; Parham House in Storrington, a fine 16th century house with both gardens and parkland open to the public; the Roman Villa at Bignor; Goodwood Racecourse – for both horse and vintage car racing and the Chichester Festival Theatre.
Pros: Fittleworth is a pretty village in a rural area with lovely views and it’s as easy to reach the coast as it is London.
Cons: For a really good choice of shops, you need to go as far as Chichester.
House for sale: Cotford is a charming cottage built in 1620, which was once the home of writer Ford Madox Ford. It has four bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom and balcony, living room with beamed ceiling, inglenook fireplace and leaded windows and large kitchen/breakfast room with an Aga. In the 2- acre grounds, there are very pretty gardens, a summerhouse and architect designed oak double garage with lower level study and storage. The house is set down a mile lane and has stunning views through ancient woodland to the surrounding countryside. £1.2m through Henry Adams & Partners, 01903 742535, www.henryadams.co.uk