Commuter towns in north and east London: top locations for more space and greenery — from Cockfosters to Purfleet

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The third and final part of our home search of the London Outer Orbital Path — the Loop — on behalf of post-lockdown buyers seeking more space and greenery, takes us from Cockfosters to Purfleet, through coveted north and east London suburbs before reaching the raw beauty of the Thames Estuary marshlands.

Close to Hertfordshire, on the edge of the green belt, Cockfosters and its prosperous neighbour, Hadley Wood, form a hinge between town and country, with several renowned golf courses including one with a Georgian clubhouse set on a hill surrounded by parkland.

Highstone House is a traditional-looking scheme of flats in gated grounds, halfway between the two locations. Prices start at £795,999. Call Shanly Homes on 01494 683917.

Nearby Trent Park was a Tudor hunting ground and is now a smart new address. The 413-acre estate’s listed mansion is surrounded by nature trails, bike paths, lakes, woodland and a wildlife sanctuary.

Developer Berkeley Homes is building clusters of semis and detached houses plus new apartment blocks in 56 acres of private grounds, while older structures including a former dairy are being converted.

There’s a gym within the original orangery, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts and a courtesy shuttle bus to Oakwood Tube station, which has 26-minute trains to King’s Cross on the Piccadilly line.

Prices from £565,000 to £1,995,000. Call 020 3944 1855.

New homes near Enfield, north London

The River Lee and the Lee Navigation brought industry to Enfield in the late-Victorian period but there’s plenty of green space, too, while eco-friendly new districts are sprouting up on big parcels of “brownfield land”.

The biggest of these is Meridian Water, 210 acres next to Lee Valley Regional Park, a vast green swathe stretching from Docklands to Hertfordshire. The £6 billion project is bringing 10,000 homes.

A new railway station opened last year with 25-minute trains to Liverpool Street. It’s early days but worth exploring.

Elements is a development of 993 homes opposite nearby Ponders End train station, which links to the scheme via a new square. Prices from £330,000. Call Countryside on 020 3797 1868.

Green hotspots in east London and Essex

The Loop continues on to the suburban strongholds of Chingford and Chigwell, with giant green “back gardens” in the form of Epping Forest and the Roding Valley.

Oaklands Hamlet, set in 53 acres on the outskirts of Chigwell, has a tree-lined entrance avenue, a village green and incorporates a new country park. Detached houses cost from £699,950. Call Countryside Properties on 020 3930 2690.

Foreign exchange broker Jamie Monk, 26, works at Canary Wharf. “I loved the idea of being surrounded by parkland and greenery while still being so well-connected to central London.”

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Well connected: Jamie Monk works at Canary Wharf and has bought a flat at Oaklands Hamlet in Chigwell, aiming eventually to trade up to a house there. He praises the green space and the transport links to central London (TIM ANDERSON)

He paid £275,000 for a one-bedroom flat and expects to trade up to a house.

Past Chigwell, the route meanders through woodland and farmland, making this one of the most rural sections of the Loop.

Yet it’s still well connected, via the Great Eastern main line and Central and District line Tube.

The Crossrail bonus in Essex

Crossrail is also reaching into this part of Essex. Havering, London’s most easterly borough, is getting three Crossrail stations, at Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood.

Onwards to Upminster Bridge, on the District line. For decades the town has been shifting from farming to a garden suburb.

To the north and south is green belt. Follow the River Ingrebourne to Rainham, developed into a London suburb after the First World War.

A new train station is being built at Beam Park, a former Ford factory being turned into a 3,000-home neighbourhood on the c2c line connecting the City to the Essex coast.

Prices from £240,000. Call 020 3733 1592.

New homes for rent and sale in Purfleet

The Loop ends at Purfleet’s awesome riverside marshes and mudflats, one of the UK’s richest wildlife habitats.

Purfleet is a key part of the Thames Gateway development zone stretching from Docklands to Tilbury. It has a big freight terminal but the town is a conservation area, too, with a military garrison that’s a scheduled Ancient Monument.

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New homes for families: 2,850 new houses will be aimed at young families who want to rent or buy

A £1 billion town centre regeneration has the green light from Thurrock council. This will bring 2,850 new homes, a new train station, two schools and one of Europe’s biggest media villages.

A giant coup for the area is the relocation of the Royal Opera House set production workshop and costume centre.

Other arty organisations, such as Acme Studios, which provides affordable workspace for artists, have followed.

The 143-acre waterfront site will get a new boardwalk esplanade, plenty of green space and woodland plus new flood defences.

Homes, to be built by Swan Housing, will be for rent and for sale, with at least half of modular construction, an eco-friendly factory system that keeps prices more affordable.

The aim is to encourage young families in particular to settle. To register, call 0300 303 2500.

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