The dream of moving to the country still holds strong for many but there are usually caveats. Buyers want rural splendour but they also want easy access to amenities, good road links and a community. That’s why the pretty market town of Hawes is one of the most popular property hunting grounds in the Yorkshire Dales.
It hit the headlines recently when it was dubbed “one of the most self-sufficient places in Britain” and this looks set to increase its appeal, according to local estate agents.
The town, which has a population of 1,500, has been boosted by the Upper Dales Community Partnership, a not-for-profit social enterprise spearheaded by dynamic local councillor John Blackie .
“In other communities they say, ‘Why isn’t the government providing for us?’ Here we say, ‘If you aren’t going to provide for us, we are going to provide it for ourselves,’” he said when asked why the partnership had decided to take out a lease on the town’s petrol station. It was threatened with closure and would have left residents with a 36-mile round trip to fill up.
The UDCP already runs the post office, library and community minibuses, which were all set to be axed before it stepped in.
“Hawes is a very independent, proactive town that is keen to do business with the outside world and that is very much part of its appeal,” says Brian Carlisle, of JR Hopper estate agents, which has an office in the town.
Being well blessed with natural beauty, shops, a GP surgery, pubs, cafes, a primary school and world-famous cheese from the Wensleydale Creamery, means that property there commands a premium of about 10 per cent above less well-served towns and villages. Two-bedroom terraced houses start at about £180,000 and three-bedroom properties go from £200,000.
According to Brian Carlisle, buyers include local people, along with incomers, who are “those who want to leave the rat race; active retirees; those who want a holiday home and those who can now work mostly from home.”
Buyers who don’t want the hustle and bustle of the town look in the surrounding hamlets and villages, including Gayle, Appersett and Burtersett. At the moment, they are frustrated by a lack of property for sale – a situation affecting most of the UK.
Homes priced sensibly are selling quickly, according to Tim Gower of Robin Jessop estate agents, who has identified a trend for big spenders from London and the Home Counties paying up to £500,000 for a second home in and around Hawes.
“They recognise that the town is ideally placed. You can get all over the Dales from there and it’s a 45-minute drive from both the M6 and the A1. It’s also within striking distance of the Lake District, which is within an hour away.
“If they want to rent their property out, the holiday let market is very buoyant ad shows no sign of saturation,” says Tim.
Getting out and about from Hawes is easier than you might think. It is in the centre of the Dales with roads running off in all directions.
You can also get the train to Leeds from Garsdale station, which is a ten-minute drive away. It runs on the Settle to Carlisle line and takes one hour 40 minutes. It’s a long journey but the compensation is that you get to ride over the remarkable Ribblehead viaduct.