CHORLEYWOOD The Victorian development of the railways created Chorleywood by making the lovely Chess Valley accessible from London. The M25 dominates and clogs up with traffic, but a scheme to widen the motorway is underway, which should alleviate the jams and make it possible to reach Heathrow in 20 minutes. Commuters tend to clog the lanes with their parking and leave the car park empty.
Nevertheless, people enjoy the large 250-acre common with its nine-hole golf course and the wonderful views across the valley – so much so that they are willing to pay £300,000 for a two-bedroom cottage, or over £800,000 for a four-bedroom detached period house in what is known as the station estate, a ring of Victorian and Edwardian houses built to take advantage of the first rail link with London. Berks Hill, South Road, Haddon Road and Hillside Road are all highly prized. The gated Loudwater estate once had the largest concentration of millionaires in the country. Prices are cheaper in the ring of Thirties’ and Fifties’ houses and outer ring of Seventies’ and Eighties’. In Chalfont Lane, where large properties on one side of the road are set in a couple of acres, prices start at around £2m; on the opposite side, in half an acre, prices are from £1m. There are a few small flats from £150,000 – a price that in Watford would buy a two-bedroom house – but first-time buyers in Chorleywood are young City types who can afford to start at £200,000. Two riding stables, a business park and local pub have been swept away to provide upmarket housing where two- three-bedroom apartments cost around £500,000.
In addition to the easy half-hour journey into London, Chorleywood offers a lively community, which makes good use of the public and club tennis courts, football and cricket pitches, and two village halls. The district beyond the village centre is very scattered. Houses trail up either side of the valley, leaving the shops in the bottom. This is inconvenient for elderly pedestrians, though there is a shuttle-bus service. Big shopping is done in Amersham and at markets in Watford. Local schools retain a very high standard and reputation.