KINTBURY is an unremarkable and yet endearingly compact place, named by one newspaper as one of the top ten most sought-after villages in 2007. It sits on the Kennet and Avon canal deep in agricultural Berkshire, where its position attracts an element of tourism. There is a full range of house types and prices, from new developments for first-time buyers to executive detached houses. Locals fear that too many commuters – who don’t join in village activities – are moving in and sending prices ‘through the roof’. Anything with three bedrooms costs more than £200,000 and even a starter home can cost £190,000.
Two miles away is Inkpen, a village strung out so thinly that you can’t locate its centre (six hamlets have merged imperceptibly over the centuries). It is worth looking at, however, because of its position in the shadow of the Berkshire Downs. Steep winding lanes carry you hundreds of feet up to magical windy walks, and panoramic views from the gibbet on Walbury Hill.