WENDOVER The beautiful National Trust countryside of the Chilterns attracts a lot of walkers to Wendover. The tables outside the bistro cafés make a picturesque setting for a refreshment stop. Part of the Icknield Way, Europe’s oldest highway, runs through the broad High Street, which is cobbled and tree-lined and offers lively shops, restaurants, banks, a post office, and a library. There are many period houses, from Georgian all the way back to the enchanting thatch-and-timber row of Coldharbour Cottages, said to have been a gift from Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. Infilling has been carefully done and blends well with the mature buildings. A three-bedroom semi costs around £235,000; a new five-bedroom house, £600,000. There is a first, middle and secondary school in the town and three golf courses in the neighbourhood, plus tennis, bowls and squash clubs, church societies and handsome old inns to gather in. Yet the town safeguards privacy by being too big for everyone to know everyone else’s business.
At the turn of the century Weston Turville, north-west of Wendover, was breeding Aylesbury ducks for the London market and making straw plait for the Luton hat industry. Its older properties are on the eastern edge of the village, but they are well outnumbered by the modern developments. Family houses range from three-bedroom semis at £249,000 to four-bedroom detached houses at £455,000 or more. There is a small parade of shops, two good pubs, tennis courts and golf. The village has a combined first and middle school; older children go to grammar and secondary schools in Wendover or Aylesbury.