We all – well most of us – dream of a life in the countryside in a lovely village with a welcoming community.
But of course, that comes at a ridiculously high price now, that’s only affordable for the very few.
Upmarket estate agents Savills is reporting a post-pandemic rise in demand for rental homes in the most desirable countryside locations – and according to Savills’ agents out in the field, that’s mostly from people who have sold up in the city and are renting while they wait for their dream home to come on the market to buy.
But, just like some streets in Bristol are seen as much more desirable and in-demand as others, some villages have that great reputation that, weirdly, a similar looking village just down the road doesn’t have.
And because house prices are all about demand and supply, that affects the average price of a house.
“People want villages that have a bit of everything, from schools to stunning countryside, with accessibility to cities and transport infrastructure,” Frances Clacy, analyst at Savills, told The Telegraph. “Less well-trumpeted factors count too, such as the main road through the village should only lead to other villages,” she added.
So where are the most in-demand villages around Bristol? Savills have compiled a list of the one village in each county in Britain where it seems everyone wants to live (or at least everyone who comes through the door of Savills local office).
Wellow (13 miles from Bristol)
Average house price: £954,993
Somerset’s poshest village, according to the Telegraph – and they’d know – has an eye-watering average house price, and that’s mainly because it’s three miles south of Bath, and still just in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Knight Frank’s Francesca Leighton-Scott said Wellow has a “vibrant community with an excellent pub, the Fox and Badger, a well-stocked community-run village shop, a church, primary school, monthly newsletter, two flood-lit tennis courts, a playground and stables’.
Shirenewton (19 miles from Bristol)
Average house price: £474,775
Monmouthshire’s nicest village, according to the Telegraph, is just the other side of Chepstow. The Welsh side of the Severn has been opened up to people from Bristol, and London for that matter, with the scrapping of the Bridge tolls, and demand is soaring.
Shirenewton is the biggest of three villages – the others being Mynyddbach and Earlswood – in between the Usk and Wye valleys in the Monmouthshire hills, with views that stretch down to the Severn Estuary.
“It has a sense of community that rivals other villages,” says Mike Watkins, partner at Mr and Mrs Clarke, told the Telegraph.
“You make friends mainly through the dog-walkers of the village, and at the crossroads of the three villages.” It is famous for its Christingle service, to which two ladies bring real donkeys, adds Watkins. There is a primary school, pubs, and yoga in the Church Rooms.
Avebury (35 miles from Bristol)
Average house price: £422,413
Wiltshire’s most in-demand village might not be the most expensive, but it seems everyone wants to live in Avebury.
Because this is Wiltshire, this is something a little different. There are plenty of villages with thatched cottages and 17th century pubs in the middle bit of Wiltshire between the M4 and Salisbury Plain, but Avebury is situated within Europe’s larges Neolithic stone circle.
And that means an endless stream of tourists, hippies, mystics and pagans who revere Avebury and flock to walk among the standing stones.
The manor house is also a museum, and the whole village is managed by the National Trust – so finding a place to live there is a real challenge.
Average house price: £799,348
Gloucestershire’s poshest village is not to be confused with the tourist trap of Bourton-on-the-Water, eight miles to the south.
Bourton-on-the-Hill is a quintessential Cotswold village which has managed to stay off the schedule for the buses full of American tourists, and remains a rural village on the northern edge of Gloucestershire that has kept its proper country pub, the Horse & Groom. Amelia Craven, of estate agents RA Bennett Broadway, said The Hill has a mix of small, characterful cottages right up to large detached houses that will set you back a couple of million.