Hot Spot: Brockenhurst, Hants

Nestled in the depths of the New Forest, the large village of Brockenhurst is a picturesque as it is charmingly eccentric, says Robert Liebman
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Shopping on Oxford Street? Watch your wallet. Shopping in Brockenhurst? Watch your step. "Brockenhurst is a charming and thriving village with a great sense of community and surrounded by miles of picturesque open forest," says John D Wood estate agent Kevin Allen. "It also has cattle, donkeys and ponies who wander up and down the main shopping thoroughfare." Another unusual Brockenhurst feature is its watersplash, a ford formed by the merged waters of two streams that flow across Brookley Road. It even acts as a water supply for the aforementioned cattle.

Shopping on Oxford Street? Watch your wallet. Shopping in Brockenhurst? Watch your step. "Brockenhurst is a charming and thriving village with a great sense of community and surrounded by miles of picturesque open forest," says John D Wood estate agent Kevin Allen. "It also has cattle, donkeys and ponies who wander up and down the main shopping thoroughfare." Another unusual Brockenhurst feature is its watersplash, a ford formed by the merged waters of two streams that flow across Brookley Road. It even acts as a water supply for the aforementioned cattle.

Established by William the Conqueror as his royal hunting ground, Brockenhurst is the largest of the New Forest villages, convenient for the coast (Lymington is less than five miles south) as well as the capital. "We have a strange combination of locals and commuters, with many buyers who are London-orientated, doing two or three days a week in town and spending the rest of the work week here with their families," Allen adds. "Schooling is well catered for with a junior school and a popular sixth form college that has a wide catchment area. The M27 for the M3 is nine miles north and Brockenhurst has the added benefit of a mainline rail line to Waterloo. Brockenhurst also has interesting specialist shops including a brilliant butcher and a delicatessen to match anything in Harrods food hall". National Park status was recently conferred on the New Forest, and the jury is out on the long-term effect of this change on property values. "The current market is very strong with many properties sold before they come to market officially, especially at the high end," says Allen.

THE LOW-DOWN

Getting there

Brockenhurst to Waterloo is approx. 90 minutes. The north-south A337 links Lymington, Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst with the M27. Lymington has a ferry to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight.

Events

Brockenhurst hosts the three-day New Forest Show at the end of this month (27-29 July). Events include show-jumping, cattle and sheep displays, art exhibitions and local crafts.

New Park

The New Forest's designation as the country's first national park in 50 years was announced last week [Monday, 28 June]. Most of the New Forest consists of Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Attractions

The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu has more than 250 vehicles, including landspeed record-breakers Bluebird and Golden Arrow. The Sammy Miller Museum in Lymington contains a historic motorcycle collection. Buckler's Hard, where several of Lord Nelson's ships were built using New Forest oak, has a Maritime Museum.

Schools

Brockenhurst has a CE junior school and Brockenhurst College, which offers sixth form and adult education. Hordle-Walhampton prep is near, and Priestlands secondary is in, Lymington. Of the public schools, King Edward Grammar is in Southampton, and Durlston Court and Ballard are in New Milton.

Pros and cons

What do the locals think of their village? The Vital Village Report reveals all, based on approximately 570 (out of a total of 1475) questionnaires and an oral survey. http://www.brockenhurst-newforest.org.uk/vital_villages.pdf

Prices

A 3-bed semi in Fox Pond near Lymington is £237,000. In Brockenhurst, a 3-bed terrace with single garage in nearby block is £290,000, at Walsh. A 3-bed neo-Georgian end terrace with small garden and garage, £315,000 at Fells Gulliver. Some three-bedders are much more expensive: a chalet bungalow with brick studio and 70' garden is c.£429,950 at Fells, and a detached Victorian with 3/4 receptions, c.£475,000 at Walsh.

Family houses

A 3-bed section of a large country home with spacious conservatory, large vegetable garden and one-bed self-contained annexe, £c.565,000. The 5-bed 3-storey Tile Barn House with brick double and single garages on approx. one acre, c.£795,000; both at Fells Gulliver.

Posh postcode

The 5-bed 3-reception Thornby has a double garage, heated outdoor swimming pool, on c.0.8 acres, £1.55m. The Graces is a large (3790 square feet) house with swimming pool and summer house; £1.35m at John D Wood. Both properties are on Armstrong Road, "which is definitely the SW1 of Brockenhurst, where starting prices are over £1m," says Kevin Allen.

Estate agents

Caldwells, 01590 675875; Fells Gulliver, 01590 624085; John D Wood, 01590 677233; Walsh, 01590 622138.

Comments