Quietways, a revolutionary network of cycle routes launching across the capital, is a Transport for London scheme linking suburbs to the centre and offering healthy, safe cycle routes to work, with the aim of encouraging home buyers to take their search to hidden, more peaceful neighbourhoods.
The network of clearly signposted tracks is already attracting home hunters, especially young families. Unlike cycle superhighways, Quietways run through back streets and parks and along riverbanks and canal paths.
Estate agents point to less traffic noise and pollution, and developers recognise the fresh demand.
The first seven Quietways straddle 15 London boroughs. Phase two, starting in 2018, will extend the network to all 32 boroughs.
The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has just launched Quietway routes, including one through Chelsea and behind Cheyne Walk. Here’s our pick of neighbourhoods to discover along the routes.
Waterloo to Norbury
“Balham has generous green space and some handsome period housing, yet the roads in and around it are busy,” says Paul Herring, manager of Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward in south-west London.
“Quietways will discover the pockets — Nightingale Triangle and Riggindale Road — welcomed by family buyers, many with three or four bikes, looking for reduced noise and pollution.”
The route runs alongside Tooting Bec Common and on to Streatham, where 214 flats in Streatham Hill incorporate the listed Art Deco façade of a former cinema.
The homes are a step up for the area, and there is a concierge, gym, cycle storage and underground parking, plus a new on-site theatre. Prices start at £345,000. Call 0333 666 2131.
Clapham Common to Wimbledon
Earlsfield and Southfields, good-value inner suburbs, are in line for a boost. Both have 15-minute trains to Waterloo and benefit from commons, playing fields, parks and the grassy banks of the River Wandle.
New-build homes are sprouting up to meet demand from buyers priced out of Wandsworth.
Cambium, in Southfields, offers modern , eco-friendly new-build townhouses and flats designed around an oak tree said to have been planted by 18th-century landscape architect Capability Brown.
The 110-home scheme includes an urban meadow and children’s play area. Some houses have rooftop gardens and garages. Flats start at £429,950, with houses from £1.14 million. Call 020 3817 7000.
Elephant & Castle to Crystal Palace
Walworth is gritty in parts, but this improving district on the Zone 1 cusp is great for good-value homes close to central London.
Colourful, quirky East Street Market and Sir John Soane’s Church of St Peter in Liverpool Grove are among the area’s attractions, while behind the high street are period gems such as Sutherland Square and a Church Commissioners’ estate of pretty terrace houses either side of Portland Street.
A rare conversion of a traditional warehouse, 34 Queens Row offers nine handsome apartments priced from £465,000. Call Caddington Blue on 020 7407 6033. BaSE17, named for the postcode, is a new scheme of 140 flats overlooking a small park. Prices from £530,000.
And coming soon is a former council depot and listed public baths at Manor Place, being turned into 270 homes by Notting Hill Housing.
Camberwell Grove conservation area survives virtually intact as a notable enclave of mainly late 18th-century houses and includes a hilltop square with views sweeping east-west from the London Eye to Canary Wharf.
A terrace of new homes, 64 Grove Lane continues the classical architecture in big duplex apartments, with off-street parking and outside space at the front and back. Prices from £1,595,000. Call Munday’s on 020 3318 8900.
Rosendale Road cuts across the South Circular at leafy Dulwich, alongside the playing fields of the private school. Boutique scheme 99 Thurlow Park Road has nine three-bedroom flats from £895,000. Call 0344 800 1635.
Aldgate to Hainault
The first phase of this route from Victoria Park to Barkingside runs parallel with the new Crossrail line, opening in 2018. This is not a glamorous area but borders huge green swathes such as Wanstead Flats.
Forest Gate retains much of its Victorian character and is a sought-after address in Newham. Woodgrange Estate, a conservation area with “village” status, comprises a cache of orderly streets with 1880s villas, some with front drives, distinctive original glass porches and decorative wooden detailing. Elsewhere there are plenty of family houses under £500,000.
Manor Park has some quiet backwaters such as Little Ilford. Parks, playing fields and the huge City of London Cemetery break up the many rows of terrace housing.
Regent’s Park to Cricklewood
This Quietway cuts through handsome St John’s Wood, unrelentingly urban Willesden Green and on to solidly suburban Dollis Hill.
Cricklewood came of age in the 1880s when Midland Railway Company moved its locomotive works from Kentish Town to Brent Sidings and built an estate of railway cottages, now coveted private homes, for its workers.
Dr Peter Border, who works for a parliamentary research body, lives in one of these and cycles daily to his office at Westminster. “I’ve always tried to avoid main roads but it’s not been possible. The Quietway will make life less stressful,” he says.
Today, Cricklewood attracts people looking for good-value space less than four miles from Marble Arch. Find the quieter streets either side of the bustling Broadway, especially Mapesbury Estate conservation area and roads surrounding 86-acre Gladstone Park.
Gladstone Village is a new micro neighbourhood where housing association Octavia Living is selling well-designed houses aimed at young families, from £775,000. Two-bedroom flats cost from £550,000, with shared ownership available. Call 020 8459 1133.
A vast £4.5 billion redevelopment of railway lands at Brent Cross and Cricklewood is another good reason to move to this area. There will be 7,500 homes, three new schools, four parks and a new Thameslink station with a 12-minute commute to central London.
Bloomsbury to Walthamstow
This Quietways route crosses Regent’s Canal into the East End heartland of Dalston, Haggerston and London Fields, passing through De Beauvoir, with its wide streets of classic villas and modest terraces.
Fifty Seven East, a new scheme of 85 flats, looms over this patch. From £540,000. Call 020 3862 3945.
Avoiding manic Hackney Central, the route skirts Hackney Marshes before reaching Walthamstow, popular with a new wave of young home buyers which is encouraging new street cafés and cocktail bars. Business here will be boosted by the Night Tube.
Foundry Mews is a new scheme of flats and townhouses on the site of a disused library car park. Through East Thames Group, 25 per cent of a two-bedroom flat starts at £106,250. Call 0300 303 7333 for more details.