Area focus: Montrose

Sarah Devine makes a strong case for moving to the Angus town of Montrose

The steeple of Old and St Andrew’s Church towers over Montrose’s High Street. Picture: Michael Gillen

Nestled on the edge of a two-square-mile nature reserve of international importance known as the Basin, Montrose is a charming 12th-Century burgh which prides itself on being a close-knit community and a welcoming haven for wildlife.

The east-coast town sits almost halfway between Dundee and Aberdeen, making it a strong location for commuters, and with an average property value of £177,909, it is an affordable option.

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Montrose – twinned with the northern French town of Luzarches – is the third-largest settlement in Angus, with a population of more than 12,000, and is a centre for international trade, while servicing the oil and gas industry.

After all, as the town motto says: Mare ditat, rosa decorat – The sea enriches, the rose adorns.

Overlooking the beautiful Basin, and on the mouth of the picturesque meeting point of the rivers North and South Esk, Montrose has certainly had a colourful history; the town survived not one but two Viking raids, the first in 980AD when a Scandic army sailed into the town along the river. Upon their second arrival, it has been recorded that Montrose was still suffering the ill effects of the first wave.

In 1136, Montrose was designated a Royal Burgh by King David I of Scotland, a move which helped its economy prosper before it flourished into a booming market town and fishing port.

Trade was at the core of the town’s economy, with salmon, hides and skins among the earliest exports, while wine and fruits were imported from France and Portugal throughout the 18th Century.

The town’s wealth is reflected in the grand architecture still standing today. The 67-metre steeple of the Old and St Andrew’s Church, built in 1793, towers above the town’s bustling High Street and was designed by renowned architect James Gillespie Graham.

The High Street, said to be the widest in Scotland, houses many impressive buildings such as the 14th-Century Town House and Montrose Library in the stunning Carnegie building.

A property here will most likely be a flat and cost an average £180,174, according to Rightmove.

East of the High Street is Dorward Road, which is home to a highly-desirable collection of large pink-hued detached and semi-detached houses with up to five bedrooms.

A home on this road costs an average of £235,392, but with an aspect overlooking Montrose Golf Links, it is sure to be at the top of any keen golfer’s list of living locations.

On the northern edge of town a more modern development of detached and semi-detached villas can be found on Mallard Drive, priced at an average of £218,833.

This quiet development includes three, four and five-bedroom homes and bungalows with gardens, driveways and garages.

East of the town centre is The Maltings, a cosy estate of flats and three-bedroomed houses, which would be well suited to families.

Montrose is surrounded by rolling hills and farmland, so there are plenty of rural offerings around. Nearby towns and villages include Ferryden, Hillside and St Cyrus.

Parents in Montrose have a choice of six primary schools – Lochside, Southesk, Ferryden, Rosemount, Borrowfield and St Margaret’s –while secondary education is provided by Montrose Academy, which dates as far back as the 16th Century and is set within a breathtaking neoclassical building on the town’s Academy Square.

The nearest independent school is Lathallan School in Johnshaven, offering day and boarding education, while the High School of Dundee provides day education.

Montrose has ample transport links and it takes just 45 minutes to travel to Aberdeen by train, and half an hour to Dundee.

It is also well positioned for anyone who enjoys uninterrupted coastal views and gentle strolls along sandy beaches, as Montrose Beach, as well as the nearby sands of St Cyrus and Lunan Bay, are unspoilt and never overcrowded.

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