Relocating to... the North Essex countryside

Relocating to... the North Essex countryside

If you’re relocating to the local area and decide that St Margaret’s is the right school for your child, rest assured that you will be very warmly welcomed into the St Margaret’s family and we will make sure the transition is as easy and smooth as possible. You are welcome to come in for a private tour at any time, during the school day or school holidays and we can arrange a meeting with our Headteacher either in person or online. If all goes well and a place is available, we will arrange a Taster Day where your child can experience a normal school day at St. Margaret’s. They will be allocated a buddy from their year to accompany them throughout the day in lessons, at school lunch and any extra-curricular activities going on. They will also have the chance to meet our teachers, who work closely with parents and pupils to ensure a smooth academic transition.

So, you’ve found the right school, and we’re sure that the local area will work for you too! Here are some of our favourite places and spaces, things to get involved in and ideas for day trips within easy reach of our happy school.

You can have the best of both worlds living out here in North Essex – beautiful rural villages steeped in history combined with access to modern amenities, shopping centres, train stations and major roads.


The commute

Transport links are excellent. Greater Anglia routes take you directly in to London Liverpool Street, via Stratford or out to Norwich. Chelmsford train station is a half hour drive from us, where a train into London takes just 35 minutes. Braintree train station is just 4.5 miles away, also with direct routes to London. Other train stations close by include Cressing, Kelvedon, Witham and Marks Tey.

The M11 is handy as is Stansted airport. Colchester, Chelmsford, Bishop’s Stortford, Ipswich and Cambridge are also an easy commute.

Living in rural Essex

Being at the junction of Essex/Suffolk and Cambridgeshire there is a host of wonderful senior schools easily accessible and this means that you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect location for your family home.

Gosfield is a small village with a big community feel, including a community run village shop, allotments, fetes, pantos and scarecrow trail. There are scenic walks, a nature reserve, golf course and watersports activity lake. Our pupils benefit from golf lessons at the Gosfield Lake Golf Course just next door and enjoy scenic cross-country routes along the course.  Halstead itself, is a traditional market town with the River Colne running through the heart of it, providing a beautiful river walk. The town is home to numerous independent boutique shops, family butchers and bakers, cafés and restaurants.

There are lots of quaint, historical villages and small towns close by, such as Great Yeldham, Sible Hedingham, Castle Hedingham, Great Henny, Earls Colne and Coggeshall, all with a strong community feel and lots to do. Finchingfield is described as the ‘most photographed village in England’, winning awards for its traditional picturesque setting. Great Bardfield, located in a conservation area, is a place of enormous charm with medieval buildings and wonderfully varied houses and cottages dotted along its streets.

Owing to our success rate at 11+ and scholarship attainment, we help lead the way to the best senior school destination for your child, including the four desirable Essex Grammar schools, located in Colchester and Chelmsford.

Family Life

There are lots of days out, activities and clubs for the whole family to enjoy. From days at the beach, visits to historic castles or quintessentially English Countryside walks to village pubs/tea shops – you will never be bored!

Here are just a few top picks that our families enjoy:

Days Out

Cressing Temple, Hedingham Castle, Colchester Zoo, punting in Cambridge, picturesque wool towns of Lavenham and Long Melford, silk weaving in Sudbury, Marks Hall Estate, Clare Country Park, Hylands Country Park, Colchester Castle & Park, Notley Discovery Centre & Sky Ropes, Colne Valley Railway, paddling boarding/kayaking at Paper Mill Lock, Dedham or Bures and days to the beach including Frinton, Walton and Mersea.

The Flitch Way is a former railway line that passes through 15 miles of rural Essex between Bishop’s Stortford and Braintree. The route is a favourite with joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, horse riders and families looking to escape the traffic. Interesting sites along the way, include Victorian railway stations, Hatfield Forest and Great Notley Country Park.

In the 100 acres at Great Notley Country Park you will find Essex’s longest play trail – 1.2km – including a giant see-saw, climbing forest, tyre swings, sand pits, rope climbers, slides, forts and a water play area. It is also home to Sky Ropes, making it a great place for all ages to explore.

Entertainment & Activities

Freeport Designer Village, Colchester Leisure World, various ten-pin bowling & cinemas, Jump Street & Clip n Climb, Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Rollerworld & Quasar and The Mercury Theatre.

Sports & Clubs

For Beavers, Rainbows, Brownies, or Cubs try the Halstead & Colne Valley Scouts Group.

There are a whole host of local football, rugby and cricket clubs with youth teams.

Tennis, dance, gymnastics, horseriding, martial arts and water sports clubs – plenty to keep your children active! Not forgetting the parents, there is a wide range of gyms, fitness clubs and spas including Gosfield Lake Golf Club, The Essex Golf & Country Club and Maison Talbooth.

Eating out

There are plenty of family and dog friendly pubs around the area, some on lovely walks or cycle ways, like The Henny Swan, The Fox Bulmer Tye, King’s Head Gosfield and the White Hart Great Yeldham.

There are many farm shops and cafes serving delicious homemade cake and locally grown produce including the Greenstead Green Farm Shop & Café, Spencer’s Farm at Wickham St Pauls, The Blue Egg Great Bardfield, Tarka’s Café Baythorne Hall, the Fox & Herb in Halstead, The Blackhorse Café and Blackwell’s Farm Shop both in Earls Colne.

For an evening out you might try The Boathouse Restaurant in Dedham, Riverside Spice in Earls Colne, Ranfields Brasserie in Coggeshall, Baroosh in Chelmsford, Milsoms or Pavilion in Colchester.

There is lots more to learn about our beautiful area at

The St Margaret’s Family

When you join St. Margaret’s our active and friendly Parents Association will welcome you to the family. The PA plays a vital role in school life, and organises many social and fundraising events including Bake Sales, a Family Funday, a Christmas market, the annual Summer Ball and much more. There is always plenty going on with something to suit everyone and involving the whole family. The PA also holds second-hand uniform sales throughout the year, and the extensive costume library is available to every parent at St Margaret’s.

For those working parents that struggle to attend school day assemblies and plays, we have our communications app called Cognita Connect, where we post updates, photos and video clips, so you don’t miss out on celebrating your child’s achievements and performances.

Visit Us

If you think you might enjoy living in Gosfield, Halstead or any of the idyllic rural villages or in one of the bigger communities, then why not arrange a visit to find out how we can help your family settle into your new happy life?

01787 273050
01787 472134