All You Need to Know About Ottershaw Village in Surrey

Ottershaw is a pretty village in Surrey within easy reach of London by road or rail but still a world away from the hustle and bustle of the Capital. Local railway stations at Addlestone or West Byfleet offer direct services into Waterloo in as little as 30 minutes. For those looking for more flamboyant travel options there is the local Fairoaks Airfield – used regularly for private jets to get the rich and famous in and out of North Surrey.

Ottershaw offers all the charm of country living and traditional village life in an area that has a rich and vibrant history and a wealth of open spaces to enjoy in near vicinity. This village has a wonderful community spirit; here you will find a great many clubs, activities and places to visit for both children and adults.

The village holds an annual May Fair encouraging all the residents to play a part. There is an active Social Club which dates back to 1883 which host events for every age and taste including poker school, pool tournaments and family Wii competitions. Many Ottershaw residents are members of the exclusive Foxhills Country Club – facilities include golf, a spa, gymnasium, restaurant and hotel.

For the younger residents, there are long-established groups for beavers and rainbows, scouts, guides and rangers. Excellent local attractions such as Horsell Common and Thorpe Park are a few minutes away.

A significant landmark is Christ Church which was the gift of Sir Thomas Edward Colebrooke (1813-1890), who came to live in Ottershaw in 1859. He provided sufficient land from his estate for a church, churchyard and vicarage, paid all the construction costs and endowed the church with £100 per year. There is a popular junior school linked to this church.

Ottershaw’s famous residents include musician and actor, Oliver James who was born there. Historian John Romer, born and educated in Ottershaw. And the 2012 British Paralympic swimmer, Hannah Russell, lives in the village.

Ottershaw Park is an interesting historical estate. The old mansion house was built in 1760. In 1910 the estate was bought by Sir Fredreich Gustav Jonathan Eckstein, a wealthy gold miner. He demolished the old house and built a new mansion as a gift for this fiancé. It is said that she did not approve of the new mansion and refused to live in it. The house later became a school (1948) and remained so until 1981. This grand old estate has now been redeveloped into wonderful housing but during the period where it was not in use, the estate often provided the backdrop for the Benny Hill Show.

Ottershaw is considered one of Surrey’s hidden gems. Everything you need for day-to-day convenience is within easy reach including a choice of schools from primary to sixth form; local shops, pubs, post office, chemist and takeaways are all a short walk away.

Pyla Village Resort – Cyprus

Pyla Village Resort was completed in February/March 2007. Unlike other complexes which have been built since, Pyla Village Resort is one of the most spacious. There are eight separate blocks with 20 apartments in each block. That makes a total of 160 apartments. The resort is in a rural location, but how long that remains the case will depend on how quickly the area is developed.

Pyla 1 was the original name given to the site, because this was the first development by G. N. Hassapis in Pyla. Hassapis is one of the most respected developers is this part of Cyprus and anyone wanting to buy a property in Cyprus can be assured that if they buy a property in a Hassapis development, they are dealing with bone fide company and the quality of building is assured.

Since building Pyla 1, Pyla Palms has been built close by and a third site is under construction next to this resort by the name of Pyla Gardens (phase I) and one more complex is planned in the adjacent plot/field which is probably Pyla Gardens (phase II). All around the outskirts of the old village of Pyla, there are building plots reserved for new developments on which villas and apartments have been built or are being constructed. Larnaca and the surrounding area is a prime hotspot in Cyprus for property purchase as there are many plans to develop the area to attract tourism and investment. There are now plans for a Theme Park to built by the Russians and I understand that these plans have been passed but when construction will start; who knows?

The authorities have long talked of a golf course in the area. There are plans to develop a golf course at Tereseffanou and although apartments have been built in the area there is no sign of a golf course. It is most likely going to be completed by the end of 2010.

Pyla Village Resort has been built to modern standards. The apartments have been finished to a high standard and the apartments available for holiday rental have been furnished to a high standard according to the owners taste and the travel companies. The water supply in Pyla is very good and remains on for most of the time, whereas other regions in Cyprus suffer with prolonged interruptions in the water supply.

Pyla Village Resort has been built with the disabled in mind and wheelchairs can easily move around the site and all the apartments have lifts. The toilet by the pool is also designed for wheelchair access. Two years have passed and the resort still looks good, the grounds are managed and generally are kept neat and tidy and watered by an irrigation system. Unfortunately, some of the original tall palm trees have died and need replacing.

The Buffer Zone: Pyla Village Resort has been built in the ‘Buffer Zone’. This is a zone patrolled by the United Nations peace-keeping force. Being in the ‘Buffer Zone’ does not affect peoples’ comings and goings when using the resort. You can see to the north on the raised plateau, the Turkish flag and army lookout overlooking the area of Pyla. To the east on the hill you can see the UN flag and lookout. You can easily cross to North Cyprus at the border crossing just north of the village.

The other British military base is Akrotiri south of Limassol. The only problem of being in the Buffer Zone is that you are not allowed to take photographs. One UN official told me that the villagers do not like having photographs taken. As Pyla Village Resort is in the Buffer Zone, this means that strictly speaking residents should not take photographs of the resort. I do not think that anyone is likely to be challenged, though some of the UN personel reside in Pyla Village Resort. It is not all that apparent, especially if you drive to Pyla Village Resort from the Dekehlia road, but there are a few signs around (some of which are in poor condition) prohibiting the taking of photographs.

Tensions still exist between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who co-reside in Pyla Village and tolerate one another. The division is still apparent as you notice that some buildings have Turkish writing on them. The division is very apparent when you see that there are two schools in Pyla; one for the Turkish Cypriot children and one for the Greek Cypriot children. They are distinguishable by the fact that they have their national flag flying above the school.

Pyla Village Resort might not be set in the prettiest part of Cyprus; for that you need to go to the west side of the island around Paphos and North West including the Troodos Mountains. For obvious reasons, the North side of the island is not so accessible, though if you go to Nicosia the border has been opened up and you can walk through to the north side of the city. The north side of the island is still under Turkish occupation though visitors can cross over but you are not allowed to take your hire car there.

The Paphos region has been highly developed and property prices are that much higher in that part of the island. Pyla is situated about 15 kilometres east of Larnaca with easy access to the motorway network that will take you to other areas of Cyprus quickly. Ayia Napa on the east side of the island is only 20 minutes away by car and is easily accessible if you want to go there to be part of nightlife. Nicosia is 40 minutes away by car and Limassol one hour. Paphos is approximately 2 hours by car.

Larnaca Airport: Pyla Village is only 15 to 20 minutes from Larnaca airport when you take motorway route. The airport has been expanded and a new terminal building has been opened which has more than double the capacity of the old terminal. This is a sign of the planned improvements taking place in the Larnaca area which will eventually have golf courses and expanded marina and the ugly oil terminals re-sited. When all this will happen, who knows, but there are plans at least.

Driving in Cyprus: Cyprus is a popular destination for the British. It is good for the British and those from other countries that drive on the left; for in Cyprus the traffic drives on the left. Road signs are the same as you see throughout Europe, but what makes driving somewhat difficult is that the signs are in Greek. Not being able to read Greek, I find navigating a lot more difficult. Drivers from the UK will find driving in Cyprus relatively straightforward.You do have to watch out for Cypriot drivers as the accident rate is quite high.

As the annual mileage for a car is relatively low in Cyprus, cars only have to have an MOT inspection every two years; another reason that makes Cyprus a relatively low-priced country to live, especially when compared to the UK.

Signs of recovery: The whole world has suffered to some extent from the economic down-turn. Signs are now showing that a recovery is on its way. This means that Cyprus should see an increase in tourism again. It has been particularly hard for the British in that the UK pound has dropped in value against the Euro and has made Cyprus much more expensive for the British holiday-maker. Now, the pound is showing signs of recovery against the Euro and this should encourage the British holiday-maker to come to Cyprus again. Even if the British have been hit hard, this does not stop visitors from the rest of the world visiting Cyprus and choosing to stay in Pyla Village Resort.

In times of recession, it is known for crime rates to increase. One thing about Cyprus is that the crime rate is low. That does not mean you should not worry about having your possessions stolen, you still have to take precautions and not leave valuables on view and so be a temptation for thieves. The fact that Cyprus has a low crime rate means that there is less chance you will have anything stolen.

For details on Pyla Village Resort visit the link: http://www.pylavillageresort.com

Mawlynnong – The Cleanest Village In Asia

Mawlynnong, in the state of Meghalaya in India, is the cleanest village in Asia since 2003. We all know that awareness is the key to a better living. And the villagers of Mawlynnong has taken it upon themselves to create a difference. While India has a bad reputation for having unclean roads, chaotic urban jungles and intolerable pollution, Mawlynnong stands tall as a stark contrast. A journey through this village is overwhelming and inspiring to the senses.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the residents, like any other normal village. Mawlynnong consists of around 90 households, with a literacy rate of 100%. Situated in the rainiest part of the Himalayas, torrential rainfall engulfs the place for more than half of the year. The nearest market is in the next town, which is 2 hours away. However, these factors do not cause any hindrance to the daily lifestyle of the residents. They are energetic, and focused on making sure that they are spreading the message of protection and conservation of forests. They plant trees to make sure that the forest is safe and intact. Rainwater harvesting is also a common practice. The residents of the village do not throw dirt and waste everywhere. They make dustbins out of bamboo plants, and place these dustbins all over the village. The waste materials collected in these bamboo bins act as manure during agriculture. The village is a smoke-free zone too.

What To See There

Mawlynnong is famous for its picturesque beauty. It is a mountainous area, and trekking is common. So when you are in this village, make sure that you trek to the Living Root Bridge at a neighboring village, Riwai. It is actually a crime to miss this magnificent work of nature.

Next in line is the Sky Watch, an 85-feet high structure created with natural ropes and bamboo. You do not only get a bird’s-eye view of the entire village from the top, but also a panoramic view of the nearby Bangladesh border.

How To Get There

The village is 90 kilometers from Shillong. Shillong is the nearest airport. You can hire a taxi from the airport to Bara Bazaar market. You will find cars in the market area running till Mawlynnong.

The best time to visit this place is from October to April.

Where To Stay

There is a guesthouse in Mawlynnong, but chances are high to find it full. If you are in a mood to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of this magical place, it is better to stay with the locals. You can rent a room at a local house, and live like a local throughout your stay.