ETCHINGHAM is popular because it is reasonably good to look at and has the convenience of its own railway station. The village winds up the hill from the railway, offering a sprinkling of traditional weatherboarded properties among the 18th-century houses and a Fifties’ estate. There is also a modern development opposite the village hall. Etchingham has a general store, post office and a butcher that has been in the same family for generations. There is a much-loved primary school and the Etchingham British Legion Club where people meet for billiards and darts. A small semi in the village might cost around £200,000; a three-bedroom detached house down one of the lanes would be around £250,000 to £350,000.

Burwash is more attractive than Etchingham and is well known for its striking High Street of white weatherboarded and tile-hung houses, tea-rooms, brick footpaths and lime trees. Not so well-known is its warmth and friendliness. Prices are higher than those in Etchingham, for though it is further from the station, it is prettier. On the edge of the village are some five- and six-bedroom modern houses, each one set in half an acre of garden, selling for £600,000 to £800,000. Half a mile away is Bateman’s, where Rudyard Kipling lived and wrote Puck of Pook’s Hill.

To the north-east, back over the border into Kent, is Hawkhurst, a village in two halves. Housebuyers would probably avoid the half that contains the junction of two main roads in favour of an area known as The Moor in the neighbouring valley. This has a large village green, playing fields and small shops and cottages. A two-bedroom terraced house will cost around £180,000; a three-bedroom semi, £250,000; a four-bedroom detached modern house, £400,000. A four-bedroom period house in one of the lanes will fetch over £500,000. Both Hawkhurst and its much smaller neighbour, Sandhurst, are within the catchment area of Cranbrook School, one of the most highly respected schools in Kent, run on traditional grammar school lines. Hawkhurst is also the setting for Marlborough House private prep school.

Good for: within striking distance of the sea at Hastings, Benenden private school for girls and Cranbrook excellent grammar school.

other stations nearby...

County:East Sussex
London terminal: Charing Cross
Journey time: 79 mins
Season ticket: £3520
Peak trains: 1 per hour plus 3 per hour to Cannon Street
Off-peak trains: 1 per hour