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Counties > Hertfordshire > Aspley


APSLEY is well-liked for its sense of identity. It has Victorian two-bedroom terraces at around £230,000 within walking distance of the station and a large waterside development set round a marina on the canal where a swish two-bedroom apartment costs £210,000. Plans to build 325 new homes on nearby greenbelt have been given the go-ahead despite local opposition. Boxmoor is also worth looking at as a refuge from the modernity of Hemel Hempstead, to which it is now annexed. It still has a few canalside cottages. You can buy older two- or three-bedroom cottages for around £235,000, or spend from £370,000 to £800,000 on a smart modern detached house with four bedrooms. Sunday afternoon walks might take you close to Watford to Cassiobury Park beside the Grand Union Canal, which leads into Whippendell Woods – 160 acres of beech, oak and hornbeam.

Bovingdon, to the south-west, is another antidote to Hemel Hempstead. The centre still has a village feel to it, with a green and a good medieval hall house. House prices are 15 per cent higher than in Hemel Hempstead, though there has been a lot of modern development. β€˜To tell you the truth, Bovingdon is a bit of a nothing place but people who live there think they live in a village,’ is how one local cynic described it.

Good for: being just by the M25 and the M1, with good schools in Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Berkhamsted.
Local knowledge: the market, held on Saturdays on the site of the old Bovingdon airfield, has more than 500 stalls, selling everything from home-made pies to hand-sewn clothes.
London terminal: Euston
Journey time: 30 mins
Season ticket: £2796
Peak trains: 2 per hour
Off-peak trains: 2 per hour