Why you should move to Horsforth
PUBLISHED: 14:57 24 January 2014 | UPDATED: 14:57 24 January 2014
Joan Russell Photography
We visit one of the most popular suburbs of Leeds to find out what makes it such an attractive place to live
Historic Horsforth (it’s mentioned in the Domesday Book) is probably one of the most popular Leeds suburbs, just six miles from the city centre with a coveted railway station and cherished green spaces. Many of the residents would prefer to say they live in a large village or a small town because the place really does have plenty of character.
The town (it has just under 20,000 residents plus a town council) has been popular with commuters since the arrival of the railways in the 19th century. Back then Horsforth was believed to be the village with the largest population in England, continuing to grow through the decades thanks to the railways, turnpike roads, tramways and the nearby canal.
Today parts are designated conservation areas, one based around Town Street (the main shopping area), the other focusing on the Victorian villa developments at Newlay. And residents jealously protect its green spaces with vigorous campaigns against encroaching housing developments. Although, talk to any estate agent in the town and they will tell you that there is already a wide variety of housing ranging from one bedroom new build apartments to million pound properties, but more of that later.
One much treasured green space is Horsforth Hall Park, a large community park, open 365 days a year for leisurely strolls, bowls, cricket and live entertainment.
Horsforth also has a very distinct architectural style, mainly because of the steep number of buildings created using sandstone from local quarries (more than in any other part of Leeds). The town has a long and celebrated history of producing high quality stone. Not only did it supply the building materials for nearby Kirkstall Abbey, but it also provided stone for Scarborough seafront and sent its prized sandstone from Golden Bank Quarry as far afield as Egypt.
The High Street
Town Street, a narrow one way street packed on either side with independent shops, plus a supermarket, restaurants, pubs, including one named after the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, in honour of their Olympic triumphs in the men’s triathlon during the London 2012 Games. The sporting heroes who grew up in Horsforth and Paralympics champion cyclist David Stone, also from Horsforth, opened a new activity centre in what was once a library, and is now named the Brownlee-Stone Centre.
And talking of pubs and bars, Horsforth has an increasing number of them, at least 15 at the last count – unless you’ve heard differently and your maths is better than ours– including sports bars and wine bars as well as a pub that serves a wide range of traditional ales.
Call in at The Courtyard Café for locally supplied, fresh, healthy organic and tasty food. The café was set up after the closure of local day centres which offered care and support for individuals with learning disabilities. It’s a place for people to work, learn new skills, make friends and contribute to their local community. Find out more about the new Courtyard Creatives programme on 0113 258 1484 or go to their website thecourtyardcafe.moonfruit.com.
Television sports presenter and journalist Gabby Logan became first chancellor of Leeds Trinity University – its campus is off Brownberrie Lane, Horsforth - last summer. The Leeds-born broadcaster is a keen advocate for higher education and has a law degree from Durham University as well as an honorary degree from Leeds Metropolitan University. The main secondary school is the award-winning Horsforth School, a specialist science college. There are a number of state primary schools as well as an independent primary school in the town. Labour leader Ed Milliband and his brother David attended state primary schools in Horsforth while their father was a professor at Leeds University.
Horsforth is on the north-west edge of Leeds. It has its own railway station on the Harrogate-Leeds line, a good range of local buses (see wymetro.com for details) and is just minutes from Leeds-Bradford Airport. There’s a fair bit of free parking available in Horsforth. Top of your list to check for space should be Fink Hill, New Street and Station Road.
Horsforth has a very wide range of properties to buy and for rent from one-bedroom new builds to country period houses. There are at least half a dozen estate agents in the area some of them offering properties to let as well as for sale. Expect rents and market prices to be slightly higher in Horsforth because the town is so close to Leeds city centre and it has convenient transport connections to other Yorkshire towns and cities. ‘The property market has been flat but you do get good value for your money,’ says one estate agent. Here’s a sample of market prices: a four-bedroom townhouse £167,500, a three-bedroom semi £435,000, a three-bedroom terrace house £219,950, a three-bedroom detached £535,000, a six- bedroom detached house with land £1.695m.