Dedham Vale in Essex – the new commuter hotspot

Brentwood is famous for TOWIE; Epping for Rod Stewart. Both areas of Essex are highly popular with young commuting professionals. There’s no denying the attraction; an easy commute into the City; great facilities, plenty of culture; and green space and countryside virtually on the doorstep. But prices have been on an upward trajectory for some time, and with modest four bedroom townhouses selling for upwards of £500,000, buyers are investigating alternatives.

The borders of Suffolk and Essex are becoming more popular with a younger generation. While none of us really know what post-Covid commuting will look like, it’s widely considered unlikely that we will return to the old normal.

Buyers have been looking at alternatives to the more traditional commuting areas, and while heading south west, south east and north west of the capital seem to be considered the most popular directions, buyers would be well advised to spend some time considering a move to the north east, into the further reaches of Essex and the Suffolk borders.

This is particularly relevant for buyers currently based in north London and the historically strong commuting towns in Essex, who, if they spread their wings a little wider, will find a lot to like.

Adding half an hour to the commuting time makes a huge difference to price and quality of life. More mature commuters who have had less restrictive commuting times have traditionally headed to the borders of Essex and Suffolk and mid-Suffolk; but we’re now seeing a younger generation looking at commuting times from Colchester and Manningtree, taking the beautiful Dedham Vale (and considered by The Times as one of the best places to live in ’21) into their search area.

Dedham Vale is the only AONB in Essex. From Manningtree at the mouth of the River Stour in the east, it stretches around 20 miles west, taking in all the beauty of Constable Country, and following the flow of the River Stour. Stand-out villages include East Bergholt, Stoke by Nayland, Nayland, Sudbury, Lavenham, Long Melford, and of course Dedham itself.

Both Colchester and Manningtree on the Great Eastern Mainline into Liverpool Street, with the journey time from Colchester around 50 mins, and from Manningtree around an hour. Trains are plentiful.

Like many areas, property supply in this area can appear short, but there’s a steady flow of new property coming onto the market, and a great deal that is selling quietly under the radar. Buyers could swap a four bedroom property in Epping for a four bedroom village property in Dedham Vale and keep 20% of the sale price.

But it’s not all about price. The lifestyle is exceptional for those who want to slow down a little and seek a vibrant community with incredible proximity to London and the coast.

Examples of what you can buy in Dedham Vale:

7 Bedroom detached house | Stratford Road, Dedham | £1,500,000 | Chewtonrose  

5 bedroom property for sale in Long Melford, Sudbury, CO10 – £760,000 (

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