Case Study

A Cross-Counties Move for the Perfect Downsize

Swapping their much-loved Surrey village of almost 50 years for a new life in the East Sussex countryside was something of a family affair for John and Francine.

A Cross-Counties Move For The Perfect Downsize

The couple enjoyed five happy decades in their much-loved family home in Thames Ditton, originally drawn to the location for its proximity to the countryside and river, alongside an easy commute for work. A setting which continued to serve them well into their retirement, that they’d never considered living anywhere else.

So much so, when it came to making the move to a more manageable home, they set their sights on a new build within the local area. New build seemed very attractive all round,” Francine explains. “No decorating or alterations were needed, which meant we could move straight in. And there was no upward chain. Having made the decision to downsize, we really didn’t want to delay in view of our age!”

Unable to find a suitable new build home in their much-loved home county, they turned to other life priorities for inspiration: their family. Their eldest daughter had settled in East Sussex, in the High Weald AONB close to the border with Kent. She suggested Hillbury Fields, just 10 minutes away, in a village her parents had always loved. And she was spot on. “We instantly took to the house and the small development. It’s away from the High Street but very near it, which is ideal. The houses are very well designed and in keeping with the local style, while the ponds are a great feature and a lovely outlook to have from our home. Our daughter has a friend locally who was an interior designer, working in London for some 50 years, and she was very impressed by the quality and design of the builds.”

 Unfortunately, their journey to their new home wasn’t as smooth as their finding it with the buyer of their existing property turning out to be less than reliable. “We really didn’t want to lose this home – it was all very nail-biting stuff. Thankfully, Fernham Homes were very understanding and patient.”

John and Francine finally moved into their new home last October (2023) just in time for a relaxing Christmas with the family down the road. And with their very own local turkey from the famous Mabel in Stonegate – a farming hero of the local community for over 40 years.

“We are very happy here. It’s a comfortable modern house, nice and warm. I’ve even surprised myself and quickly gotten the hang of the induction hob. I l love it – it heats soup in less than a minute!! We love the light (even in December) there are so many windows.”

They have also quickly gotten well into life in Ticehurst: “The village is very friendly and we’re looking forward to joining some of the groups in the area like the Petanque club, the Art Society and the History Society. The local pub, The Bell, is marvellous and has craft fairs and there’s lots of local markets like King John’s nursery and Burwash Community market. There’s also lots of National Trust properties nearby; we often go to Bateman’s. 

 “As much as we loved Thames Ditton and I never thought I would want to live anywhere else, we are really appreciating this part of England. There’s lots of exploring to be done. What’s not to love?!”

Prices at Hillbury Fields start from £324,950 for a one-bedroom home with study. For more information, visit Hillbury Fields.