New homes in Bedfordshire are perfect for quiet life
A new baby gave the Bowden family a perfect reason to swap London life for one of Taylor Wimpey's new build houses in Bedford at Heritage Park
With a new arrival on the way, swapping their life in the capital for a countryside property in Bedfordshire made sense for John and Marianna Bowden.
The couple had enjoyed the hustle and bustle that came with living in the big city, but found they preferred the thought of life in a quiet new home in Bedfordshire now that their first child was on the way.
Baby Sofia arrived in autumn 2010, and within a few months the Bowdens had sold their Putney home and upsized to one of Taylor Wimpey's new build properties in Bedford at the leading housebuilder's delightful Heritage Park development.
"We knew we could get so much more for our money if we moved out of London, but we were still surprised at the size of the new homes in Bedford that we could afford," says Marianna (34).
"We'd been looking around at different developments outside of London, but as soon as we found the five-bedroom 'Ashbury' here, we fell in love with it.
"It's a massive home, we love having three floors to roam, three bathrooms and all those rooms. The Taylor Wimpey homes at Heritage Park stood out for us over other houses from other housebuilders because there is no compromise on the layout.
"We found other houses had big bedrooms, but were let down by small kitchens and living areas, or vice versa. But with Taylor Wimpey everything is perfectly proportioned, so we get good-sized bedrooms and really roomy living space."
Although the Bowdens' big move was little over 40 miles distance-wise, life at the development in the new village of Lakeview seems a world away from South West London for the young family.
"It did take a while to get used to the tranquillity of the development," says Marianna. "It's so different to city life, but we love being in such a relaxing environment - it feels safe and secure and the perfect place to bring up children.
"There's a lake nearby where we can take our dog and Sofia out for a walk, and there's a play area near our home which will be perfect for her when she's a little older."
The well-regarded Lakeview Primary School at Heritage Park was another big draw for the Bowdens, and particularly Marianna, who is a teacher herself.
"I've had a look around the school and been very impressed with what I have seen," she says.
"The facilities are wonderful, it did well in its first Ofsted report last year, and from what I hear there are some very good teachers there - it's amazing to have such a school on your doorstep."
Heritage Park's well-connected location means John (34) enjoys a manageable commute to his job with a financial services business in Canary Wharf.
"His journey takes two hours, door to door, which is pretty good when you consider people living in London itself can often have a commute of at least an hour," adds Marianna.
"And, the commute is worth it when you are coming home to such a peaceful, wonderful place!"
House-hunters can choose from a fresh release of homes at Heritage Park, where three-bedroom homes are priced from just £190,000 and five-bedroom designs from only £370,000.
Heritage Park is part of Lakeview, the first of four villages, which will make up the self-contained, sustainable town of Wixams, three miles south-west of Bedford.
Designs for the new community draw on the best traditions of Bedfordshire's market towns and homes will benefit from new shops, community and leisure facilities, schools and employment areas, in addition to 300 acres of sports pitches, parklands and green open space.
Each of the four villages will have its own centre, play and landscaped areas, and each will be within easy reach of Wixams town centre.
A new transport network puts bus stops within comfortable walking distance of the homes, a new railway station will provide quick links to London and nearby towns and cities, and an extensive network of cycleways and paths will make getting around a breeze.
Beyond the town boundaries, the re-aligned A6 and the A421 Bedford southern bypass put the region's major commuter routes, including the M1 and A1, within easy reach, while those travelling further afield will appreciate that Luton Airport is just 15 miles away.
For days out, Wixams lies amid beautiful countryside and close to a wide range of established visitor attractions, including Woburn Safari Park and Wild Britain, Gulliver's Land theme park and the Millennium Country Park in the Forest of Marston Vale.
Property-hunters can find out more by visiting the Heritage Park Sales Centre, located in Brooklands Avenue, Wixams, Bedford, MK42 6AX, and open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday.