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Counties > Suffolk > Stowmarket


STOWMARKET has a strategic position just on the lip of the Suffolk prairie. Beyond the A45 all the last dimples in the countryside have been ironed flat, and the trees and hedges unpicked from a landscape that blazes yellow with rape in the summer. Little two-up-two-downs cost £110,000; modern, three-bedroom detached houses £160,000 to £175,000. Haughley is pretty enough to have been colonised by commuters to Bury or Ipswich. It combines new developments on the outskirts with an intimate old village street and a green with a 60-ton parish coal-house on it, built in 1861. It also has shops, restaurants, and a strong interest in organic farming (this is where the Soil Association experiments with pesticide-free crops). Aspall Cyder at Debenham nearby makes cider and aged cider vinegars. Wetherden has not been developed quite so much, and its preoccupations are firmly agricultural and horsey – point-to-points are well attended. Newmarket is not that far away. A four-bedroom detached house in either village could be expected to cost around £380,000.

Local knowledge: Lady Even Balfour lived at Haughley and carried out crucial experiments on two farms here before helping to found The Soil Association in 1945.
London terminal: Liverpool St
Journey time: 85 mins
Season ticket: £5160
Peak trains: 3 per hour
Off-peak trains: 3 every 2 hours