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Commuter's ideal home - a rural idyll just two hours from the capital

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: April 26, 2014

Willow House

Willow House

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ADRIAN McNay spent five years of his working life commuting to an office in central London from the little village of Norbury.

“I’d leave the house at 7.20am and be at my desk in London at 9.05am,” he says.

“Some of my colleagues, who actually lived in the south east, many only a few miles away from work, used to take just as long. They were astounded that my journey from rural Staffordshire took the same time as theirs.”

Adrian feels a degree of sympathy for such people.

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“Not only are they missing out on quality of life, they’re also paying huge amounts of money for tiny one-bedroom flats in London,” he says.

Willow House, Norbury, provides quality of life in great abundance.

“Sometimes you feel like this is the perfect holiday home,” says Adrian, who is the managing director of a software company.

“I regularly commute to our offices in Manchester and Reading, and living here makes such journeys very straightforward.

“But when I get home I’m in a very desirable place, quiet and peaceful, but close to everything you might need.”

The “holiday” feel includes the fact that Norbury Junction, just half a mile from Norbury itself, is a thriving hub of the holiday canal business, with a local pub, cafe and craft shop which pulls visitors from far and wide. Norbury is a village of between 30 and 40 homes, quite off the beaten track, but with quick links to the motorway network, the mainline railway from Stafford and the airports in Birmingham and Manchester.

Adrian and his wife, Elizabeth, who works in nearby Gnosall, moved to Willows House 12 years ago.

Their sons Jack and Sam have, more or less, made the move away from home, leaving Adrian and Elizabeth to rattle around, somewhat, in the five bedroom house.

“We’re looking for something smaller, maybe a three-bedroom house in north Shropshire or Cheshire,” says Adrian.

They’ll be sorry to leave Willows House, though. It was built in the 1980s, using reclaimed brick from the old village school, so has a very traditional appearance.

Willow House may look like a well-established home which has stood in its third of an acre plot for many decades, but it is very much a 21st century home inside.

There are all the comforts one might expect from a modern home, but the impressive interior is reminiscent of a stylish period property of a grander age.

So, if quality of life is important to you, this is a house which is well worth investigating.

“We have felt very fortunate to have lived in such a lovely part of the world,” says Adrian.

“And I’m sure that whoever takes it on will feel the same.”

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