HIGH WYCOMBE has left behind the wool and furniture industries upon which it was founded in order to embrace modern industries. The result is a myriad of housing from large Victorian piles to Thirties’ semis and modern houses which fan out on either side of the valley within a spit of the M40. But the feeling is that it became overblown in the Eighties and that a ‘knock-down rather than expand’ policy is a better one. One- and two-bedroom maisonettes start at £110,000, and there are plenty of starter homes for first-time buyers in the £130,000 bracket. At the upper end of the scale, a four-bedroom detached will cost £645,000. The smart places to be are on the fringes of the town in Downley, Daws Hill and Bourne End. There is a variety of schools with excellent reputations – Wycombe High and Wycombe Abbey public school for girls for girls, John Hampden and the Royal Grammar for boys. Shopping opportunities have expanded greatly with the opening of the Eden scheme in the middle of town, which also includes a 12-screen cinema, bowling alley and restaurants. The Swan Theatre attracts celebrity acts and pre-London runs.
Sought-after villages are to the west and include Lane End, which has a pretty, cottagey High Street with a pond, and Stokenchurch, where 18th-century brick-and-flint houses start at £200,000 for two bedrooms. Both villages have basic shops and a post office, and a range of modern housing from £180,000 for two-bedroom cottages to £350,000 for a family detached. Farms and smallholdings in this area can run into millions of pounds.