Leafy, picturesque and boasting some of the most sought-after properties in the Midlands. In our continuing series leading up to the launch of The Birmingham Post's new property magazine, on Friday, Emma Pinch takes a stroll through some of Warwickshire's most desirable locations
If Shakespeare were alive and scribbling today and he'd sold the movie rights to Disney and made a mint from merchandising, chances are he'd still be in Warwickshire, but living in leafy Lapworth.
Stratford is lovely, but Lapworth's shady lanes and long drives offers better protection against paparazzi spotting you while you're picking up a paper.
Handier for the airport, it is all the better for hopping on a flight to Tinseltown for share option showdowns with studio execs, and for all these reasons it tops the list of Warwickshire's most desirable districts.
The county's central location means it has excellent transport links with the rest of the country, and the rest of the world. Add to that leafy backwaters, miles of canals, country pubs, and historical attractions for exploring at the weekend, it comes as no surprise that almost half of the most expensive roads in the top 100 across the West Midlands are to be found there.
The top three areas in Warwickshire are Lapworth, B94, and Knowle and Dorridge in B93 - just a few miles from each other around the M42, M40 triangle - and CV35, Wellesbourne, incorporating the desirable villages of More-ton Morrell and Moreton Paddox. An average Lapworth property changes hands for #374,112, while a home in Knowle or Dorridge costs #323,098. In CV35 a home goes for #301,324.
For sale: Kingswood Farm, Old Warwick Road, Rowington, B94. #750,000.
This handsome Grade II listed property with country views to the river dates back to the 1670. It has been adapted inside to a high, modern standard but maintains a cottage ambience.
Four-bedroomed, it has a lounge, kitchen, breakfast, utility room, shower room and a double bedroom with en-suite shower room. Upstairs there are three further bedrooms, one with an en-suite bathroom and separate WC.
There is also a 0.65-acre garden, with a separate garage and several outbuildings, with the option to buy a 2.38-acre adjoining paddock.
John Shepherd, Hockley Heath
The perfect getaway from rat race
After a tiring journey home on the M42, the winding roads of Lapworth are a tonic. And if it's a nice evening, make that a large gin and tonic, sipped on the verandah of the award-winning gastro-pub, the Boot Inn.
Home to about 2,000 residents, Lapworth boasts a canal marina and 100 miles of footpaths and attracts scores of sight-seers at the weekends. It is the nearest village to Solihull which can properly be described as 'in the countryside', and as such enjoys a strong community spirit.
Keen on keeping crime levels low, locals pitched in a few years ago to raise money for a tiny hump-backed police station to be built near the village hall.
Older residents remember the days before the motorway was built and speak wistfully of its former tranquillity - you can hear the traffic on it from some places - but thanks to the efforts of residents it still retains an idyllic village feel.
Jasper Carrott, Andy Townsend and Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, all Lapworth residents, would no doubt agree.
For sale: 26 High Trees Road, Knowle, B93. #575,000.
This five-bedroomed detached house comes with a double garage and a well-maintained back garden,
which backs onto Copt Heath Golf Course.
Downstairs there is a spacious hall, fitted cloakroom, lounge, dining room and a kitchen, breakfast and utility room. Upstairs the master bedroom comes with an en-suite bathroom, there are four further bedrooms, and a family bathroom.
Good school has magnetic pull
In the picturesque village of Knowle, Arden School has a magnetic pull for families of school-aged children.
The village is often mentioned in the same breath as Dorridge, which lies just a mile and a half away. They share Dorridge station, although Knowle is slightly bigger in terms of amenities and its centre.
"Arden School is a very successful state school and being within its catchment area is much sought after," said Michael Cutler, partner at upmarket auctioneers, surveyors and estate agents John Shepherd.
"People, especially those with families or who are retired, move out from Birmingham to Knowle or Dorridge, because both have more of a village atmosphere. There are also people coming to work in Soli-hull or Birmingham from more rural places who don't want to live in a city.
"Dorridge train station has a service which takes you into London Marylebone," he added. "We find people move down to London for work, find it too pricey to buy there, so they move and commute."
Wellesbourne and environs
Village steeped in history
At the heart of the ancient rural landscape of the Midlands is Wellesbourne, a village of approximately 6,500 people set six miles west of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Wellesbourne is first mentioned in historical records as Welesburnan in 840 AD and later as Wale-borne in the Domesday Book.
It contains a number of picturesque buildings as well as a working water mill and a wheel-wright's workshop named Chedham Yard, which recently won the BBC's Restoration competition.
Now the most desirable areas around Wellesbourne are a string of villages including Moreton Morrell, Moreton Paddox and Charlecote - including Charlecote Park where Shakespeare is alleged to have poached deer -
Hampton Lucy, Ashorne and Lighthorn.
"These are the places people now want to live in CV35 when they come looking for property in the Wellesbourne area," said James Oliver, of Knight Frank.
"They lie either side of the Fosseway, the Cirencester to Leicester Roman road, and have good access to the M40, London and Oxford. In Stratford there is a good selection of state, grammar and private schools.
"They are generally fairly small, rural, historic villages, except Moreton Paddox which is built in the established gardens of a manor house that is long gone. For day to day shopping you would probably go into Wellesbourne, and Stratford for more comprehensive facilities."
For sale: the Old Post Office, Post Office Lane, Lighthorne, Warwickshire. #550,000.
The Old Post Office is situated in the heart of Lighthorne along a no-through road. It is a period cottage made of local stone, offering a stone inglenook which houses a multi-fuel burning stove. It boasts exposed beams and french doors onto the rear garden.
Downstairs it also has a dining room, sitting room with study with cloakroom and utility room, and a farmhouse-style kitchen and breakfast room. Upstairs there is a master bedroom with en-suite, three further double bedrooms and a single bedroom, together with a family bathroom. There are mature gardens to the front and rear and a separate garage.
Knight Frank, Stratford.