SAWBRIDGEWORTH is a low-rise town set in the fields and woods between Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford, and – though at this point you are in Hertfordshire – this is where you begin to see the distinct local building styles of Essex: steep tiled gables and dormers, overhanging upper storeys, timber and weatherboarding. The town has two primary schools, enough shops for day-to-day needs, including bakers and butchers, and a farmers’ market. There are all the usual societies, plus a lacemakers’ group. Horse-riding is popular with local children. Flats by the river overlooking the marina attract commuters, who also benefit from being little more than five miles from Stansted Airport. Famous nearby residents include Posh and Becks who keep their English base here. Two bedrooms cost £180,000, three bedrooms £260,000. Older three-bedroom semis can be bought for £250,000.