GERRARDS CROSS Easy access to London by rail and road – M40, M25 and M4 all within spitting distance – has given the area around Gerrards Cross a reputation for being one of the most expensive in the country. Definitely not for the first-time buyer, this is classic stockbroker belt with tree-lined roads and grand Victorian and Edwardian houses in half an acre or so for up to £2.5m. There are some modern infills but these, too, are big and luxurious. Five-bedroom detached houses go for £800,000 to £2m. Locals have fought and lost a battle to stop Tesco elbowing its way in – they feared the loss of their much-loved butcher and patisserie. There is an M&S, an excellent book shop and fashion boutiques specialising in the super-thin. The population of commuters takes off early, leaving the centre to its small-town trading, and the common to dog-walkers treading the paths once haunted by highwaymen. Properties south-east of the town should be visited several times in different parts of the day as noise from the motorways can be a problem in some roads. Golf and tennis are the main sports. Both private and secondary schools have high standards and are well liked.
South of Gerrards Cross is the village of Fulmer, with its wonderful foodie pub The Black Horse, infant school and well-kept gardens. A Grade II listed, two-bedroom detached cottage set in generous gardens costs £650,000. Further west is Hedgerley, which has two shops and a pub, a strong community spirit, summer fête and active conservation group. The lanes are lined with three- to four-bedroom detached houses with large gardens, selling at around £695,000. Lots of walks can be had from the back door here.