If as you say you just want something simple and won't be going on anything rougher than a gravel track then don't bother with sus fork. As I said if you can stretch to the Marin Fairfax, you won't regret it, it'll feel light and nippy, the frame is much better than bog standard. The 700c wheels are probably the best size for what you need with lots of tyre size choices.
Makes up for having to trawl though pages of people arguing about the best type of fork ;)
Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.
Simple, that would do the job.. http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/hybrid-bikes/carrera-parva-mens-hybrid-bike https://www.evanscycles.com/jamis-coda-sport-2016-hybrid-bike-EV245102 http://www.wiggle.co.uk/avanti-giro-f-1-2016/ Best bet is this for £300, because it has internal hub gears, yes bit more but very nice. That extra £50 would soon be forgotten.. Its at quite a discount and the rear hub on its own is the best part of £100 on its own. http://www.rutlandcycling.com/369669/products/marin-fairfax-sc2-ig-2016-hybrid-bike-black.aspx http://www.marinbikes.com/gb/bikes/description/2016-fairfax-sc2-ig Info about the internal hub gears. http://www.edinburghbicycle.com/blog/why-nexus-8-hub-gears-bicycle/
Personally I'd look at the bikes at decathlon - such as this: http://www.decathlon.co.uk/rockrider-340-mountain-bike-grey-blue-id_8321326.html I've found them good value for money. The type of riding you're talking about would be fine with a basic bike like that - no need to spend a lot.