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Article by Ruth Bloomfield

After a long and icy winter, spring is finally on its way, which means coming out of hibernation, off the sofa and planning new cycle routes, running paths and family rambles.

Experts agree that being out in nature has exceptional benefits to our health  – mental and physical, and the daily walks we all got used to during successive lockdown periods showed us all the value of having big open spaces  on our doorsteps.

Brentwood Park

Weston Homes picks its sites carefully to make sure that they combine easy access to a town centre and transport links with plentiful green and leafy open space.

1023 West, Brentwood, Essex.

This low rise, light brick and airy  development of attractive modern apartments is  only five minutes from Brentwood’s vibrant high street but it is also a short walk to the beautiful Weald Country Park, well over 500 acres of woodland, wildflower meadows, and open grassland. The country park is famous for its deer park full of fallow deer, and to keep you busy there is a café, children’s playgrounds and cycle tracks.

Brentwood also has golf clubs, riding stables, and is only twenty miles from the sandy beaches of Southend-on-Sea for days out during the summer.

1023 West, Brentwood

Prices at 1023 West start at £250,000 for a one bedroom flat, using the Discount Market Sale scheme (DMS). Two bedroom DMS flats start at £355,000, while market price two bedroom flats start at £425,000. And for really easy access to the great outdoors, all flats have their own private balcony or terrace, and residents share a south-facing courtyard garden.

The Venue, Hayes.

A modern new town centre is fast taking shape at this former industrial site in West London.

Its history is as a hub of factories and warehouses, this is also a surprisingly leafy section of the capital with long walks along the tow path of the nearby Grand Union Canal. This is also coming up to the best time of year to visit the

The Venue local area, Hayes

Woodland Trust’s fantastic display of bluebells at Gutteridge Wood. And there is a trio of huge parks – Lake Farm Country Park, Minet Country Park. And Colne Valley Regional Park.

Everyday needs will be more than taken care of with an on site mix of shops, cafes and restaurants, plus a gym, cinema, and a live music venue. And the site is only a six minute walk from Hayes and Harlington Station with its super-fast Crossrail services into central London.  Or in summer you could catch a show at the stylish open air theatre in Barra Hill Park.

The Venue, Hayes

Prices at The Venue start at £291,000 for a one bedroom flat under the DMS scheme (full market price: £349,995). Two bedroom DMS flats start at £351,000 (full market price: £369,000). All homes have balconies, and residents also have access to a fantastic podium garden.

Gun Hill Park, Aldershot.

Gun Hill Park is a most fortunate  regeneration zone. It has hundreds of acres of open space and the  nearby Surrey Hills and South Downs with some of the most beautiful protected countryside in Britain.

Gun Hill Park, Aldershot

Weston Homes is transforming a palatial and stunning grade 2 listed Victorian hospital at the heart of 371 acres of former military land – the  former hospital ,  will eventually contain 89 elegant apartments many with historic features, and 51 houses. Landscaped gardens, with seating areas and paths, will surround the building.

Across the wider neighbourhood – named Wellesley – there will be new shops, leisure facilities and restaurants, all surrounded by 272 acres of woodland (just a touch larger than Kensington Gardens).

Wellesley Woodlands, Aldershot

Aldershot, less than an hour out of London, was designed to accommodate a military garrison town. But not far away are picturesque villages and pubs,  the Lakeside Nature Reserve, dotted with streams, rivers, and ponds, and the  Basingstoke Canal. Aldershot Lido, which opened in 1930, is a great place to take an outdoor dip or you could head to Tilford, for a spot of wild swimming in the River Wey.

Prices at Gun Hill Park start at £285,000 for a one bedroom flat and £315,000 for a two bedroom flat. Three bedroom houses are priced from £499,995.