Country houses for sale

New commuter village: Crowhurst, East Sussex

Crowhurst, a village deva-stated by the Normans before the Battle of Hastings, is sweet and highly sought after, even though it doesn’t quite tick all the boxes in the quest for the ‘perfect village’. It has a primary school and one pub The Plough and there was a post office, but this has just been closed down under the Government’s post-office reorganisation scheme. ‘Crowhurst is basically not much more than a road with houses either side of it,’ says Matthew Alexander of local agents Rush, Witt and Wilson. ‘But it’s easy to commute to and from, and people who don’t want to live in Battle come here.’

The village is surrounded by playing fields and recreation grounds, and the houses are a mixture of period properties, mostly Victorian with a few modern ones, but its blessing is that is hasn’t been blighted by rows of red brick. ‘Crowhurst offers good value for money if you’re looking for a nice detached four-bedroom house a stone’s throw from the station. And it’s far quieter than Catsfield and Ninfield, which have main roads going through the villages,’ explains Mr Alexander.

‘The property market is stable, but people have to be a lot more realistic with their pricing. If something comes to the market that’s overpriced, it’ll just sit there. There’s a lot of interest at the moment for houses at about the £750,000 to £1 million mark. It’s the ones at about £450,000 to £500,000 that’re struggling. There are deals to be done, but you have to go that extra mile.’

Near Crowhurst, the average price for a two-bedroom semi-detached cottage is about £220,000, but large, family houses with land start at £500,000.

* Travelling time:

There’s an hourly service from Crowhurst station to London Charing Cross which takes one hour 35 minutes

* Schools:

Battle Abbey is a good private junior and senior co-educational school; Claverham Community College in Battle is a very good State secondary school; Claremont in St Leonards-on-Sea is a private nursery and preparatory school; Vinehall in Robertsbridge is a private boarding school for boys and girls up to the age of 13; and there’s the Church of England primary school in Crowhurst

* Shopping:

At Battle, which is a seven- or eight-minute drive away, you’ll find a good selection of smaller boutique-style outlets, such as tea shops, antique shops, bakeries, butchers and smart clothes shops. For a wider selection, Hastings has all the main chains you’d expect, with a shopping mall and two large supermarkets

* Eating and drinking:

Not a particularly good selection in the area, but The Queen’s Head in Icklesham has good food and real ale, plus fantastic views and a nice garden; The George at Rye is a new hotel with a good reputation; and there’s Siam 2, a newly opened Thai in Battle. But don’t forget that decent French meals (if you can negotiate the hit-and-miss quality of the cuisine in the Pas de Calais) are only a tunnel ride away

* Attractions:

Battle Abbey, which William the Conqueror built to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Hastings, is worth a visit; Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge, is a magical late-medieval moated fortification; Scotney Castle at Lamberhurst is a romantic ruined lakeside castle; and the gardens at Pashley Manor in Ticehurst are glorious. Plus anyone into steam trains would love a trip on the Bluebell Line

* Pros:

Lovely rural position, very quiet, pretty views and a doddle to commute from

* Cons:

Lack of facilities, including the absence of decent country pubs and convenience stores: ‘You can’t even get a pint of milk without

driving into town,’ adds Mr Alexander