APSLEY is well-liked for its sense of identity. It has Victorian two-bedroom terraces at around £230,000 within walking distance of the station and a large waterside development set round a marina on the canal where a swish two-bedroom apartment costs £210,000. Plans to build 325 new homes on nearby greenbelt have been given the go-ahead despite local opposition. Boxmoor is also worth looking at as a refuge from the modernity of Hemel Hempstead, to which it is now annexed. It still has a few canalside cottages. You can buy older two- or three-bedroom cottages for around £235,000, or spend from £370,000 to £800,000 on a smart modern detached house with four bedrooms. Sunday afternoon walks might take you close to Watford to Cassiobury Park beside the Grand Union Canal, which leads into Whippendell Woods – 160 acres of beech, oak and hornbeam.
Bovingdon, to the south-west, is another antidote to Hemel Hempstead. The centre still has a village feel to it, with a green and a good medieval hall house. House prices are 15 per cent higher than in Hemel Hempstead, though there has been a lot of modern development. ‘To tell you the truth, Bovingdon is a bit of a nothing place but people who live there think they live in a village,’ is how one local cynic described it.