LITTLE BARDFIELD, CM7 4TS
Phoenix House is situated in the centre of the village of Little Bardfield in north Essex. With a large garden backing onto open fields, this is the perfect place if you enjoy the countryside, walking and wildlife. Little Bardfield is in a very quiet location, surrounded by beautiful countryside and many other lovely villages. However, it isn't far from shops, schools and lots of things to do.
The M11 motorway provides fast access to the North and to London whilst the A120 takes you towards the Essex and Suffolk coast.
It is a 20 minute drive to railway stations on the Cambridge to London Liverpool Street line. The nearest underground station is 40 minutes away at Epping which is on the Central Line and has a large car park.
Great Bardfield : 1 mile
Finchingfield : 3 miles
Thaxted : 3 miles
Great Dunmow : 9 miles
Saffron Walden : 11 miles
Braintree : 12 miles
Bishops Stortford :15 miles
Chelmsford : 21 miles
Cambridge : 24 miles
Colchester : 30 miles
Central London : 50 miles
These photos. including the owl above, were all taken very close to Phoenix House. We are lucky enough to have a good variety of creatures that live in and around the village and visit the garden.
Our seed feeders attract lots of birds, from the more common small garden birds such as blue tits, sparrows and chaffinches to the more unusual woodpeckers (photo below), reed
buntings, bullfinches, gold finches and long tailed tits. Buzzards, sparrowhawks (photo below), kestrels and even the occasional heron can be seen in the garden and the fields beyond and sometimes, at dusk, you’ll be lucky and see a barn owl hunting (photo above) from the bottom of the garden.
Squirrels, hedgehogs, rabbits and foxes are regular visitors to the garden and, from time to time, we see muntjac deer. One can often be spotted from the kitchen window, sleeping under a poplar tree. Sometimes they come right up to the house to eat up any seeds dropped from the bird feeders.
From the footpath at the bottom of the garden, we have seen brown hares (left photo), roe and fallow deer and, recently, red kites have made an appearance nearby. A pole cat has been spotted a few times.
In the early summer, the sound of sky larks fills the air and, on a sunny evening, there’s nothing better than to sit on the bench at the bottom of the garden with a glass of wine, listening to the birdsong and watching the sunset.
FOOTPATHS & BRIDLEWAYS
In the village and the surrounding area there are numerous footpaths, bridleways and great places to walk so you’re spoilt for choice.
Dog walkers will particularly appreciate being able to get straight onto a footpath from the bottom of the garden without having to go anywhere near the road. Most of the paths are well used so they tend to remain accessible all year round.
On a sunny day, you can walk to the neighbouring villages of Great Bardfield or Finchingfield, stop for refreshments in the teashop or pub and then wander home. (Most of the pubs around here are dog-friendly).
Just a little further afield, there are 2 woodland areas which are well worth visiting:
Hatfield Forest (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfield-forest)
It’s only a mile to Great Bardfield where you’ll find a very well stocked village store, a butcher, an electrical shop, a book shop and a homewares and gift shop. Just beyond Great Bardfield, on the Braintree Road, you’ll find The Blue Egg (http://www.theblueegg.co.uk) with a post office, gifts and produce shop, cafe, florist and garden centre as well as The Nurture Barn (http://thenurturebarn.com) - a wonderful place to take babies and toddlers.
For larger supermarket shopping, you’ll find Tesco stores at Great Notley, Great Dunmow and Saffron Walden - all about 20 minutes drive away. Also in Saffron Walden you’ll find a Waitrose store and an Aldi. Braintree has Lidl and Sainsbury stores as well as a Tesco food and homewares store in the town centre.
Clothes and other shopping is also available not too far away. Braintree Freeport Designer Village (https://freeport-braintree.com) is a 20 minute drive and there you’ll find a large number of shops as well as a cinema complex (https://www.cineworld.co.uk/cinemas/braintree#/buy-tickets-by-cinema?in-cinema=8025&at=2018-01-02&view-mode=list), indoor bowling (https://namcofunscape.com/braintree), swimming pool, DIY superstores, garden centre and numerous restaurants in addition to a mainline station. From here, you can take a train to the huge shopping centre at Stratford.
The lovely town of Saffron Walden (http://www.visitsaffronwalden.gov.uk) is also worth a visit and has a good selection of high street names as well as several individual boutiques. You’ll find some very good furniture and homeware stores here. The cities of Chelmsford and Cambridge are approximately 30 and 50 minutes minutes drive and both have park and ride facilities and if you want to travel into London for shopping, there are mainline stations at Braintree, Stansted Mountfitchet, Bishops Stortford and Stansted Airport - all between 20 and 30 minutes drive from Little Bardfield.
Whilst Little Bardfield itself is a quiet and peaceful village, it is only a mile away from its more lively neighbour, Great Bardfield, with its school, shops, pubs, cafe and numerous societies and clubs. Little Bardfield has its own cricket club and here is a selection of other activities available in Great Bardfield:
The Nuture Barn for babies and toddlers (http://thenurturebarn.com)
Gt Bardfield Pre-School
Bardfield After School and Holiday Club
1st Finchingfield Scouts
Muddogs Youth Football
Community Choir and Orchestra
Yoga, Ballet and Zumba Classes
Exercise and Tap Classes
Painting and Pottery Classes
Great Bardfield has 2 pubs:
The Vine (http://www.vine-greatbardfield.co.uk)
The Bell (https://www.facebook.com/TheBellEssex)
In the centre of the village there's Cole's Cafe (https://www.facebook.com/colesbardfield/)
You can also get coffee and cake at Between The Lines bookshop.
Just a little beyond the village, on the Braintree Road, you’ll find Knead Food at The Blue Egg (http://www.kneadfood.com) where you can get freshly baked goods, lunches and snacks.
Braintree Freeport has a large number of restaurants and cafes to choose from, including Pizza Express, Bills, Las Iguanas, Nandos, Prezzo, Cafe Uno and Wildwoods. For some independent, non-chain restaurants, try Saffron Walden. Here, as well as the usual good pub fare, you’ll find Thai, Indian, Turkish, European and North African cuisines.
The present owners of Phoenix House work from home, relying heavily on a reliable and efficient internet connection.
Using their EE broadband connection, the current download speed is fairly consistently at around 8mbps with 2mbps upload.
This gives excellent Web surfing and is quick enough to stream video and TV without buffering.
The local towns of Great Dunmow, Newport and Saffron Walden have senior schools:
Helena Romanes, Great Dunmow (https://www.helena-romanes.essex.sch.uk)
Joyce Frankland Academy, Newport (http://www.jfan.org.uk)
Saffron Walden County High School (http://www.swchs.net)
Felsted School, an independent day and boarding school, is also not far away (http://www.felsted.org)
Watching the sun set from the end of the garden.
Looking back to house and garden from the field behind.
The garden from the house