DATCHET Only a mile from Windsor, Datchet has avoided being overshadowed and retains a village personality. Physically it is compact and shaped like a letter H with two cross-bars. The left of the H is on the river (one of the ports of call in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat); the right is on the village green and the two cross-bars are High Street and Queens Road. The railway runs up the middle, regularly halting traffic at the level crossing (including Government ministers complete with police outriders on their way to see the Queen). Most of the houses here were in the upper price bracket until a couple of decades ago when new estates aimed at first-time buyers began to appear. Studios and one-bedroom terraces cost between £90,000 and £140,000. Elsewhere, Victorian three-bedroom semis are from £450,000 to £600,000; detached houses with 150ft gardens and 45ft frontages are from £635,000. Southlea Road is desirable and has some large 18th-century houses at £1m or more. Datchet has always attracted London commuters and there is a large station car park. The other strong connection is with Heathrow: both ground-staff and aircrew favour the village for its pleasant atmosphere and easy access to the airport. There is a post office, two pubs, a library, a Montessori, local primary and secondary schools. On the second Thursday of each month there is a village market, selling home-made and home-grown foods and handicrafts. There is a local golf club (the course acts as a flood plain when the river rises), a water-ski club, cricket (sometimes the village musters a showbiz eleven), sailing and a boatyard on the river which does daily hire. The strong community spirit is reflected in the monthly newsletter, The Datchet Chat.