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The path to happiness: Demand for homes close to walking trails surges

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Walking has never had it so good. What used to be a chore is now the highlight of the day – part of our precious hour of outdoor exercise.

It’s good for us, of course. Apart from reducing the risk for everything from certain cancers to type 2 diabetes, walking has a positive effect on mental health.

‘People say they will continue to walk more when the Covid restrictions have ended,’ says Tom Platt, of The Ramblers Association. 

Ramble on: A walker on the coast path in Northumberland, home to Hadrianu2019s Wall

Ramble on: A walker on the coast path in Northumberland, home to Hadrian’s Wall 

So expect to see demand spiralling for homes near one of our 16 national trails or other scenic paths. Here are four favourites:

Wander around Wales

Spreading from the cockle beds of Penclawdd on the north of the Gower Peninsula, past surfing beach Rhossili and picturesque villages including Port Eynon, before winding up on Swansea Bay, this 39-mile stretch of the Wales Coast Path is a mass of contrasts. 

A stretch of the Wales Coast Path close to the village Port Eynon, north of the Gower Peninsula

A stretch of the Wales Coast Path close to the village Port Eynon, north of the Gower Peninsula

‘My favourite stretch is between Langland Bay and Mumbles,’ says retired accountant Cuan O’Shea, 68, who owns a flat in Langland. ‘There is a bay around every corner, seals play on the rocks and a drink waiting at Oyster Wharf in Mumbles.’

Property prices vary hugely. Detached homes sold for on average £175,000 in Penclawdd last year, according to Rightmove, while the average asking price in Mumbles has risen by 47 per cent since 2015, a larger five-year increase than any coastal area in Britain.

A terrace cottage there now costs about £300,000. Slightly inland, Bishopston, with its two good pubs, shops and excellent comprehensive school, has three-bedroom semi-detached homes which sell for about £320,000. It is a short walk to Pwll Ddu, which re-connects to the coastal path.

Trevone Bay is one of the popular locations on the path between Padstow and Newquay

Trevone Bay is one of the popular locations on the path between Padstow and Newquay

Cornish adventure

In three days after Julia Bradbury’s recent television programme walking the path between Padstow and Newquay, estate agents John Bray sold £16.3 million worth of homes. 

The villages, with their dramatic sea views and surfing beaches, are outrageously popular, none more so than Trevone and Constantine Bay. 

Other villages, considered a bit tired a few years ago, are also getting in on the act. Dated bungalows at Mawgan Porth are being knocked down and replaced by Grand Designs fantasy homes.

Even Newquay, which has been dogged by stories of messy stag weekends, is seeing an upturn. A four-bedroom terrace on Pentire Avenue will set you back £695,000.

‘Look inland for the best value,’ says Josephine Ashby, managing partner with John Bray. ‘St Merryn and Penrose are only a short drive from the coast path, yet their prices are considerably lower.

‘St Columb has interesting architecture and is a proper working village. You will pick up a good four-bedroom house for about £400,000.’

Thames challenge

The Thames Path runs for 180 miles between Woolwich, London and Kemble in Gloucestershire, but the most romantic Jerome K. Jerome stretch is between Henley and Oxford. 

Henley on Thames (pictured) is overlooked by a beautiful Chiltern landscape of wooded hills and green fields.u00A0The average house sale was more than u00A3700,000 last year

Henley on Thames (pictured) is overlooked by a beautiful Chiltern landscape of wooded hills and green fields. The average house sale was more than £700,000 last year

Here, you will find classic pubs such as The Miller of Mansfield at Goring, where the late pop star George Michael liked to drink, and vast riverside homes.

‘Thames frontage adds 30 per cent to the value of a home,’ says Nick Warner, of Knight Frank. ‘The most prized locations are those with flood plains on the opposite bank, ensuring nobody can build there.’

The average house sale was more than £700,000 in Henley last year and Warner suggests buyers look in Wallingford for better value.

‘It’s an attractive riverside town with good amenities,’ he says. ‘And it is probably 20 per cent less expensive than Henley.’

In Roman footsteps

A stretch of Hadrian's Wall near Houseteads Roman Fort.u00A0The Hadrianu2019s Wall trail has become incredibly popular over the past year

A stretch of Hadrian’s Wall near Houseteads Roman Fort. The Hadrian’s Wall trail has become incredibly popular over the past year

‘The Hadrian’s Wall trail has become incredibly popular over the past year,’ says James Middleton, regional partner at Garrington home search. 

‘The most popular stretch with walkers is between Hexham and Haltwhistle.’

Humshaugh, six miles from Hexham, has one main street, a tangle of lanes and some lovely old houses. 

A terrace cottage costs about £160,000. In Haltwhistle, close to a part of the wall that is spectacularly intact, a three-bedroom terrace house can be bought for less than £200,000. 



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Hotel Indigo debuts in Austria

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Hotel Indigo opened its first hotel in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Located a short walk from the city’s historic center, the hotel offers 158 guest rooms, a rooftop garden resembling an urban jungle, a restaurant, and a lobby bar.

 

Taking inspiration from a famed local architect, Otto Wagner, a key member of the Secessionist movement, guests will find touches of gold used throughout the fixtures in the bathrooms as well as intricate patterns, made famous by Otto, woven into the carpet design in the hallway, and the tiles behind reception. Otto’s love for gold, Art Nouveau design, and ornate patterns can also be seen at famous local buildings such as the Majolikahaus, a short walk from the hotel. From ground level, the building looks innocuous, but as guests look skywards, they will see the top floors are decorated with exquisitely sumptuous floral motifs in brightly colored porcelain and gold leaf, a hallmark of the new style.

 

Stefanie Augustin, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt, commented: “We are pleased to open our doors and accept our first guests into the first Hotel Indigo in Austria. We sit in the heart of the surrounding neighbourhood and strive to make all the locals proud, by helping to bring a bit of that external story in so guests can truly experience what Vienna has to offer.”

 

 

 

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Tolent secures Newcastle resi project (GB)

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Tolent will put up 135 ‘ultra-modern’ system-build homes, with designs selected from an architectural competition. Sunderland’s new Vaux neighborhood, being built on the site of an old brewery, will eventually have 1,000 homes, according to the plans, as part of a drive to double the number of people living in the city centre. The homes will stand alongside The Beam and City Hall – the latest development to rise from the ground at Riverside Sunderland. Construction work on the scheme is expected to start within weeks, forming the first of the new distinct neighbourhoods that will create city centre housing for up to 2,500 residents.

 

The properties are based on the winning designs in the Homes of 2030 competition, which was launched in March 2020, and managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, to encourage the design of environmentally-friendly homes that support people in leading independent, fulfilling lives as society ages.? Construction work on the development is due to start this summer and the first tranche of homes should be completed by the end of 2023.

 

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have taken this final step to get work started on our flagship residential scheme at Riverside Sunderland. The housing developments on Riverside Sunderland will be world-class, and Tolent is an ideal partner to deliver them, based locally and capable of building these aspirational homes.”

 

Tolent chief executive Paul Webster said: “Vaux neighbourhood is an amazing project that showcases the strides being taken in Sunderland to modernise the city centre. The world-class houses being built will provide a community fit for the future and an archetype for sustainable housing. As a truly local business, we are proud to be involved in the project and to showcase our ability to meet and exceed the capabilities of national contractors on a local level. The project will complement a number of local landmarks that we have constructed including The Beam, Beacon of Light and Echo Building. We have been working closely with the entire team since being appointed preferred bidder back in September and we can’t wait to get started.”

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BlackRock acquires Dagenham urban logistics development (GB)

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A joint venture (JV) between Chancerygatea fund managed by Credit Suisse Asset Management, and Hines has forward sold a 172,000ft² urban logistics development in Dagenham to a fund managed by BlackRock for an undisclosed sum. Dagenham Council has approved plans to speculatively build 15 Grade A urban logistics and industrial units at the development which is called Zephyr Park. The units range from 5,490ft² to 34,670ft² and are available leasehold and freehold. Construction is due to commence in August this year. The six-acre site was previously owned by wholesale electrical distributor Rexel UKSituated on Rainham Road between the A12 and A13, Zephyr Park is located less than half a mile from Hackman Capital Partners and Dagenham Council’s proposed €348.5m (£300m) film and TV studios.

 

Chancerygate managing director, Richard Bains, said: “Zephyr Park will be an outstanding urban logistics development which will generate continued investment and job creation for Dagenham. Forward selling Zephyr Park to BlackRock shows the strength in urban logistics as an asset class. It is also a testament to the high specification, a sustainable product we build as it attracts businesses to locate to our developments ensuring they are best placed to continue to grow. We look forward to working with Hines and BlackRock to deliver Zephyr Park and expect to achieve practical completion in summer 2023.”

 

Greg Cooper, Hines managing director, industrial and logistics, added: “We are pleased to have executed this opportunity to recycle this asset, with the value generated illustrating the unabating demand for high-quality logistics developments. It is an asset class which remains a key focus for Hines in the UK, and we are continuing to explore opportunities to grow our portfolio of both big box and urban facilities.”

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