Hot Spot: Towcester

Horses, trains and automobiles: both commuters and race lovers will be delighted with Towcester's amenities, says Robert Liebman
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The Independent Online

Towcester caters for racing lovers. Its eponymous horse-racing venue is on the edge of town, and the renowned motor-racing course Silverstone is less than five miles down the road.

Towcester caters for racing lovers. Its eponymous horse-racing venue is on the edge of town, and the renowned motor-racing course Silverstone is less than five miles down the road.

Towcester's fortunes rise and fall with local transportation. In the 19th century, the town was on a vital north-south route and supported many coaching inns. When trains replaced coaches, many of the inns closed, but the arrival of automobiles had a rejuvenating effect. Towcester's town centre today is a designated conservation area, as well as being in a convenient location.

"Properties here continue to sell well due to Towcester's strategic position at the crossroads of the A43 and the A5, with easy access to Milton Keynes," says estate agent Quentin Jackson-Stops. "The dualling of the A43 a few years ago has greatly improved access to the M40 and Oxford to the south-west, and the M1 is also only about six miles away."

Properties are pricey, although bargains are available: "The town lacks a north-south bypass, and houses in the town centre are affected by noise and fumes," says Jackson-Stops. "As a result, they sell for reasonable prices. The town's good facilities, including a leisure centre and several supermarkets, mean that villages in the vicinity are popular for commuters to London, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Banbury."

Edward Pepper of Stacks Property Search emphasises "the beautiful countryside north-west of Towcester. Many of the houses here have been built from Northamptonshire ironstone, with its distinctive red-orange tinge." Good village schools make this area, known locally as the Golden Triangle, popular with young London families.

THE LOW-DOWN

Getting there

London is less than an hour away in a two-step journey: a 10-minute hop to Milton Keynes followed by 45-minute train journey to Euston.

Attractions

Stoke Park Pavilions in Stoke Bruerne features two pavilions attributed to Inigo Jones and built in 1630 as part of a Palladian country house. A few miles west of Towcester is Canons Ashby, a 1710 house and gardens that also contain the remains of the Augustinian priory that gave the house its name. A few miles east is Salcey Forest, a former royal hunting ground that's now home to a mix of tree species, at least three varieties of woodpecker and walking trails.

Villages

There are golf courses at Whittlebury and Silverstone. Other popular villages include Everdon, Eydon, Farthingstone, Newnham, Abthorpe and Badby.

Schools

Sponne School in Towcester is an 11-18 comprehensive, and Winchester House in Brackley is a co-ed boarding and day preparatory and pre-preparatory for 3-13 year olds. Other area schools include Tudor Hall (Bloxham), Northampton High School (girls), Thornton College, Akeley Wood and Stowe School in Buckingham.

Prices

A one-bed terrace is £105,000 freehold and a two-bed maisonette leasehold is £106,995, but three- and four-bed detached houses rise to £195,000 and £269,995 at Taylors, who are selling larger executive homes for between £300,000 and £500,000.

Pretty

Church Cottage is a Grade II-listed, two-bed, thatched-roof, chocolate-box cottage dating to the early 17th-century and located in a corner of the churchyard, although it has its own private garden; £275,000 at Jackson-Stops. Agents Bartram are selling two, three-storey houses: a Grade II-listed, three-bed town house (originally a workhouse) for £249,500, and Windsor House, a three-double-bed detached house with detached garage near the town centre for £295,000.

Stoke Bruerne

This popular village is on the Grand Union Canal and is home to the Canal Museum and a primary school. Canal House is a three-bed, three-storey detached brick cottage overlooking the canal with three brick outbuildings; £285,000 at Jackson-Stops.

Caldecote

The spacious five-bed, L-shaped Chapel Cottage has a two-storey garage, c.£395,000. Even larger is Willow Barn, a listed barn converted five years ago. The two-storey, four-bed main house is linked by a 19ft garden room to a 60ft annexe; c.£750,000, at FPDSavills.

Silverstone

A red-brick, two-bed terrace is £135,000 and a two-bed stone semi is £195,000 at Taylors. Foxele is a contemporary, four-bed detached house built in 2003 with views overlooking fields; c.£525,000 at Bidwells.

Estate agents

Bartram, 01327 359164; Bidwells, 01604 605050; FPDSavills, 01295 228003; Jackson-Stops & Staff, 01604 632991; Stacks, 01296 715171; Taylors Countrywide, 01327 350687.

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