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SANDY is as plain as can be – an old Bedfordshire village that acquired a station and then sponged up overspilling Londoners into its large council estates and yellow-brick streets. It is perhaps a shade cheaper than Biggleswade. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has its headquarters outside the town at Sandy Lodge, and there are some pleasant woodland walks. Two of the more expensive places to live are the large Victorian houses along Bedford Road, which can be a little noisy because of proximity to the A1, and the modern houses on the riverfront at Mill Lane. The average price of a two-bedroom house in Sandy is £130,000. Two huge housing estates, Ivel Park and Fallow Field, offer five-bedroom homes which cost £290,000.

Beeston, on the southern edge of Sandy, is divided by the A1, and quite a few properties are blighted by it. Nevertheless, the conservation area with the green, old thatched cottages and blacksmith’s forge offers pleasant relief from some of the other, drearier villages in the area. Tempsford, to the north, is also spliced by the A1. Its wartime aerodrome was used by the Special Operations Executive to drop secret agents into occupied France. The new Salford Meadow development has three-, four, and five-bedroom houses from between £190,000 and £300,000.

Good for: the A1, more affordable housing, schools in Bedford.
Local knowledge: it was from Tempsford's old aerodrome that Glen Miller took off for his final flight.

other stations nearby...

London terminal: Kings Cross
Journey time: 45 mins
Season ticket: £3560
Peak trains: 2 per hour
Off-peak trains: 2 per hour