GREAT MISSENDEN The narrow main street lined with houses and shops from the 15th to 19th centuries gives Great Missenden an intimate air and makes it an attractive small centre within easy reach of central London. It is also just a short stroll from the surrounding woods. High Street shops provide for day-to-day needs. Apart from a private tennis club there is little entertainment for the young in terms of youth clubs and cinemas. But it attracts buyers from Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross who feel displaced by changes in their own neighbourhoods and come in search of old-fashioned peace and quiet. This is Roald Dahl territory – he is buried in the cemetery and the Roald Dahl Museum Story Centre is dedicated to him. A few born-and-bred residents live in the town centre, where 19th-century cottage conversions with two or three bedrooms cost up to £525,000. There is a good deal of later development within walking distance of the centre. Prices range from £270,000 for a three-bedroom semi to £375,000 for a newly built three-bedroom detached. There are also some handsome Edwardian houses set in mature grounds at around £1m. For a Thirties’ four-bedroom house in a couple of acres you might expect to pay £1m to £3.25m.
The surrounding villages have a pecking order headed by The Lee, a secluded community in the leafy uplands above Great Missenden. It has some of the grandest houses ever set around a tiny village green, and a picturesque pub. The rambling manor was for many years owned by the Liberty family, who did much to preserve the village. It is a conservation area so new development is frowned upon. There is ‘a little new money, but they keep the properties as they should’. The area is favoured by captains of industry, writers and actors distinguished enough to need shelter from the public gaze. There is nothing under £400,000 here, and the average is £725,000 for a four-bedroom cottage.
Next in line is Lee Common (these villages are sometimes satirically nicknamed Lee Posh and Lee Common), separated from Lee by the Liberty Estate parkland where village shows and fêtes take place. The houses tend to be smaller, built for workers on the Liberty Estate, but it benefits from having a village shop and local primary school. A four-bedroom, semi-detached 19th-century cottage would cost around £450,000. For Thirties’ houses overlooking green-belt farmland, look at South Heath. It has a sub-post office-cum-stores, and a likely price-tag of £625,000 for a four-bedroom bungalow.