Hot Spot: Worksop, Notts

Good value, distinguished buildings and easy access to north and south all make this town a popular place to buy in, says Robert Liebman
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The Independent Online

Located just north of Sherwood Forest, Worksop plays the Robin Hood card to attract tourists in general and emphasises its link to the Puritans and the Pilgrim Fathers to lure Americans and history buffs.

In fact, the town and surrounding area have a welter of lesser-known attractions. As the "Gateway to the Dukeries", Worksop is bordered by a cluster of majestic estates built in the 18th century when each of five dukes appropriated a piece of the forest for his personal use. (Where was Mr R Hood when we really needed him?)

A market town with Saxon roots, Worksop has an 1103 Augustinian priory church, a 14th-century gatehouse, a river, a canal and a fair amount of period properties. The nearby town of Retford is also architecturally distinguished.

Never mind all that. For many local residents, Worksop means two things: accessibility and affordability. "Some of our buyers are locals who will stay here forever, who buy as they move upmarket and later on buy a bungalow, but we are also getting a lot of new people who have no connection to the town at all," says Tim Beer, an estate agent with Reeds Rains who grew up in Worksop and has been selling properties there for 16 years. "These new people just want the good access. Some people work locally but a great many work in Sheffield, Leeds, Rotherham and Doncaster, and properties here are cheaper."

A train line complements a good road network. "Sheffield is 30 minutes by train from Worksop to Retford, which is on the main line. We are on the A57, which goes directly to Sheffield, and the M1. We are also not far from the A1."

In the first quarter of this year, Beer reports, prices rose about 5 per cent.

THE LOW-DOWN

Getting there

Worksop is 20 miles east of Sheffield and seven miles from junctions 30 and 31 of the M1.

Schools

Worksop College is an independent, non-selective school for boys and girls of ages 13 to 19. The area's state-school system is undergoing massive changes, with three secondary schools condensing to two, some schools closing, and students in years 12 and beyond being taught in a post-16 centre.

The Dukeries

The Duke of Newcastle's 3,800-acre Clumber Park is famed for its Limetree Avenue, possibly Europe's longest double avenue of lime trees, which leads to Bodley's chapel and Clumber Lake. It is now a National Trust property open to the public. The Duke of Kingston's 350-room Thoresby Hall is a privately owned hotel in Thoresby Park, which also hosts markets, traction rallies and craft fairs.

Organic grocery, one preservative

Mr Straw's House is the family home of a prosperous grocer much as it might have been - indeed, actually was - in the 1920s and 1930s. William and Florence Straw's Edwardian semi was inherited by their sons but neither generation was keen on modernisation. The property is now run by the National Trust.

Prices

Flats are rare and houses are relatively affordable. Two-bed terraces are available for as little as £60,000, and three-bed semis and terraces start between £70,000 and £80,000. A period two-bed, two-reception mid-terrace is £82,500 at Nottingham Property Services, and a four-bed, three-reception detached house on a corner plot is £195,950 at Whitegates.

Creswell

Four-bed detached houses in Creswell, three miles south of Worksop, cost between £135,000 and £145,000 at Nottingham Property Services. Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge whose numerous caves harboured ice-age stone tools, animal remains (including woolly mammoth) and recently discovered cave art.

Worksop North

A recently built detached house in Gateford, with dining room, conservatory, four bedrooms (one en suite) and detached double garage with parking for four cars, is £189,950 at William H Brown. A three-bed house with conservatory in Carlton in Lindrick is £142,950 at NPS. In Langold, a two-bed end terrace is £64,950 at Whitegates, and a three-bed end terrace with attic room, conservatory and detached garage is £84,950 at NPS.

Retford

William H Brown has a modern three-bed detached house in Rampton at £122,950, and a three-bed period semi in Clayworth at £189,950, and, at the other extreme, the Grade II-listed, seven-bed, five-acre Kingshaugh Manor in East Markham is £900,000. Eight miles east of Worksop, Retford received a royal charter from Henry III in 1246, and has several notable Georgian and Victorian buildings including St Swithun's and St Michael's, a large Victorian Methodist Church, and a handsome Town Hall.

Estate agents

Nottingham Property Services, 01909 481986; Whitegates, 01909 481600; William H Brown - Worksop 01909 500505, Retford 01777 704248.

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