Why it's time to move to Hadley Wood

A tranquil place to live in Hertfordshire but with London on its doorstep, Hadley Wood is proving a popular location, as Pat Bramley discovers

WHY is Hadley Wood so highly regarded as a place to live? Because it’s only 11 miles from the centre of London yet if you’re walking the dog in the woods or playing golf on the course designed by the landscaper who was responsible for Augusta, home of the US Masters, you could believe you are weekending in the country.Estate agent Nick Staton has been selling houses in the village for 25 years. He says he’s seen countless couples start off in a small cottage or flat and, as the family has grown, helped them move to successively larger properties until they’ve reached the ultimate big house standing in its own grounds guarded by high wrought iron gates.‘Then after the kids have left home they come to me and say “Nick, we no longer need so much space but we don’t want to leave the village. Could you find us a luxury apartment or a little cottage?” We have both on the books at the moment. There’s everything in Hadley Wood from a small Georgian cottage for �300,000 to a palatial residence for �10m.’He adds, ‘Even high profile people who’ve bought a big house for the privacy like living in the village.‘They walk down to the shops and appreciate the sense of community even if they tend to keep themselves to themselves and don’t take part in the activities.’Turnover at the village branch must be one of the highest of any estate agency of a comparable size in the area. ‘We’re doing exchanges every 72 hours,’ Nick reports.


Most well known fee-paying schools within a reasonable distance of Hadley Wood operate a coach service which runs through the village while the two state primaries for local children both have a good reputation.St Martha’s Convent at Hadley is one of the leading Roman Catholic independent day schools for girls between 11 and 18. Pupils of all faiths are welcomed.


Look good and feel good. Judging by the shops, that’s what does the business. The small parade includes a fitness studio, healthcare shop, beauty salon and a hairdresser. There’s also a supermarket for everyday needs, Statons the estate agent and a restaurant.


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The par-72 6,514-yard course at Hadley Wood Golf Club was designed in 1922 by Alister MacKenzie. Ten years later he drew up the plans for Augusta. Even those who wouldn’t know a wedge from a niblick can enjoy a refreshment at the 19th hole in the magnificent Georgian clubhouse.The local lawn tennis club is also noteworthy – it’s one of the oldest in the UK dating back to 1890. The football club has 13 youth teams starting with under-eights and rising to under-16s by which stage many have moved up a league and are being groomed to become semi pros or professionals. In recent times, three have been signed by Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Watford.The community centre, run by Hadley Wood Association, is the main venue for dance classes, the playgroup, bridge club and other regular events.But maybe you’re a dog walker, not into organised sport or team games. No worries. Trent Country Park, off the Cockfosters Road, was a former hunting ground of Henry VIII and others of his dynasty. You can still walk there for free and roam among forests and wooded gorges but these days the wildlife is protected.If you fancy afternoon tea then head along to the beautiful West Lodge Park Hotel which also has a well regarded arboretum for an afternoon walk.But if it rains and you feel like a shopping spree or a theatre treat, hop on the train and whizz up to town. It’s only half an hour away. That’s where Hadley Wood scores. Ask the WAGS. Premier league footballers figure highly among the residents living in those big houses.

Getting about

Air: West Lodge Park Hotel on the Cockfosters Road has a private helipad in the grounds. Heathrow and Luton airports are about 35-40 minutes by car depending on traffic.Rail: Fast trains into the city from Hadley Wood station in the centre of the village reach Moorgate in 35 minutes. Annual season ticket including onward journey on the underground: �1,904. Otherwise commuters pick up the Piccadilly line from Cockfosters tube station or the Northern line from High Barnet underground station.Road: J24 of the M25 is just down the road. The A1, A1(M) and M1are also close.