High Wycombe/other areas - opinions please(16 Posts)
We are looking at moving in the next 18 months. Currently in the South East after having moved down from Leicestershire and I'm really not happy here. It just isn't me for many reasons. Husband works in central London so as long as he can get to his work in a max 1 hour 45 then that's fine.
I've visited Bucks often but only one town in particular - but I know the surrounding countryside in The Chilterns is very pretty as we went walking there. Access to good walking is very important to me as we are a 'get your wellies on and go for a trudge on a Saturday' kind of family. Rolling hills - peaceful countryside - not man made parks/paths.
Thinking about going to look at High Wycombe as a starting point. I like the fact is has good access into London, decent schools (although correct me if I'm mistaken here), shopping and access to the countryside. Think we could just about find a 4 bed house within our budget. Keen to hear what people think about HW - the good and the bad. Open to other areas though so fire away!
These are the things important to me -
Clubs - dancing and Scouts
Not more than 1 hr 45 to central London
Access to countryside - lots of walking footpaths, not so much 'parks'
Places to go out to such as National Trust
Good facilities - nice swimming pool etc
Shopping - not more than 30 min to a proper shopping centre with John Lewis etc
Decent supermarket - e.g. Tesco Extra
Not much to ask is it?
These things, other than commute time, are all basically non existent where we live now - our family life and balance is just not what it was. I really want to get it right this time.
I would be really grateful for any opinions and suggestions on areas. Would like to be more north than south of London though as feel really cut off from everything down here and would like to be able to get back and see friends in the Midlands more easily.
Schools are excellent but the house prices reflect that. John Lewis isn't very big and is out of town. There is a lot of expansion planned in hazlemere and you need to look at the route for hs2 if you are looking further out.
I'm from HW but we live in Milton Keynes now as the housing prices are better. Into Euston takes 45 minutes and my DH commutes to Canary Wharf in about 1hr20. We have much more countryside here than you'd imagine and lakes, woods, country parks.
If you use the search facility here on MN looking for High Wycombe, this has been discussed loads of times.
You can plough through them & finds some helpful info.
I haven't got time to comment in detail now (despite being in HW!) but will try & input this eve.
Thank you both! Mummyshortlegz - it's interesting that you are in MK. That is the other place we will look at. I have been once before but only saw the most inner bit - great John Lewis but I was put off by so many housing estates and wasn't sure there was enough countryside - however, I've since lived in a village (very unfriendly!) so wouldn't mind a newer house on an estate so much now. I used to live on an estate as a child and I always feel sad that my children can't ride a bike in the road like I did! I also only saw a tiny bit of MK so probably wasn't getting a totally balanced view of it. When we go and see it, where would you suggest we look? Open to nice housing estates not too far from countryside and villages where DH can drive to station quickly,
Daisies - would love to hear your thoughts on HW later and I'll have a look at previous posts - thank you
Stony Stratford is a good area as they are building a lot there. There is also broughton gate to the east that is expanding. Both are the borders of the town and surrounded by country side. Mk has a massive cycle network and it is possible to get everywhere on redways away from cars.
We used to live in Olney just north of MK. It was great. 15 mins to anywhere (MK centre, the gym at Willen Lake, the big Tesco) and I worked in High Holborn and the train was 45 mins into Eustonand 10 mins on tube. House prices in North Bucks are a lot cheaper than South Bucks too.
Thanks, Allthebest! That's useful. Does Olney have any facilities there itself? Where would one take the children swimming for example? I'm not the world's bravest driver so it would be important that things were fairly simple to get to! Also - is it possible to do proper countryside walking from Olney? Many thanks xx
Olney is a little market town with shops and restaurants etc and is famous for its pancake race but main things like swimming, snowdome, cinema are in MK itself which is really easy to get round as its on an American grid system. The roads are H or V (horizontal or vertical). Then numbered so directions sre go up v5 and turn left at H4 (which is after H3 or before H5). So as a newcomer its really easy to find your way everywhere
Thanks Allthebestnames. Really appreciate the info x
I was going to advise on areas within HW - the nicer places surrounding the town within 5 miles or so but it looks like you're able to go further afield which is good
Having seen your ideal, I'm not sure HW completes your wishes. The closer to the town centre you are the fewer footpaths/country feel you get. The shops are 'ok' but the town is split very clearly between the brand new bit which makes the old bit feel very old & dirty.
Thame is an old market town with plenty of individual non-chain shops yet easily accessible to Haddenham & Thame Parkway train station which goes to London. It has a sports centre & library.
Loads of fields & country walking 2 minutes out of town on foot plus numerous villages within 4 miles.
The link is for clubs & groups because you mention them in your OP.
Princes Risborough has less shops (realistically they're charity shops and estate agents with a few, individual ones) but the trade-off for that is the walks at Whiteleaf, Bryants Bottom, Looseley Row (& surrounding areas) and the Phoenix Trail.
You have Princes train station & Monks Risborough train stations which also take you to London. It also has a sports centre (albeit smaller) & library.
Chiltern Railways provide the service for both Risb & Thame.
Marlow is popular but I don't know enough about it to post.
You could go the other way from HW & look at Beaconsfield but your budget will determine if that's a viable option.
Wendover & Great Missenden have all the walks you'll ever need and are stunningly beautiful as well as offering the commute but the latter doesn't have a sports centre.
HS2 will damage this so look at this for more info.
I think you have enough to mull over for now (what with MK in the mix as well) so won't bombard you any further
Mk is great. You have the Redways which are purpose built footpaths and if you drive around you will see some nice 'pockets'. I don't know it or Olney well enough to comment further.
come back with questions if you have any
Wow, that is SO helpful Daisies, thank you so much! I will mull over what you have said and look at the other areas you mentioned in more detail. I seriously can't believe a total stranger would take the time to reply with such detail - thank you! I'm sure this may generate more questions x
Hello anyone have any idea what loud water is like in high Wycombe ?? What are the schools like?
Loudwater is near the M40 and not so good in my view. Downley, Lane End and Terriers are quite favoured. Marlow is VERY Expensive!
Holmer Green is popular as a large village with commuters. Also Little Kingshill and Hazlemere.
Thame in Oxfordshire is great but the station is not in Thame. Slightly better than Princes Risborough and larger. Bucks has grammar schools but Lord Williams at Thames is very good.
Leighton Buzzard would be worth a look for commuting to Euston and Berkhamsted is perfect if you can afford it. You could also look at Chesham and Amersham which are Metropolitan Line underground going to Aldgate.
Hey op, I'm in bucks, via london having grown up in Leicestershire!
I love it here.
We live in a little village with beautiful walks and there's some great NT places nearby... Cliveden, Hughenden, West Wycombe.
My village is sliiiightly cheaper as there's an estate on the outskirts and a little industrial due to being 3 mins from the M40, but this rarely impacts my family life!
Up the hill is flackwell heath a really pretty village as is Bourne end and Marlow. Beaconsfield is great too with a few nice shops and a 25min ish train into Marylebone, but pricey!
We tend to drive to Hillingdon (15mins) and catch the tube into central London for work.
If you want some more info, let me know.
We have put in an offer on loudwater and we didn't really have a proper think about the schools and now I'm panicking. Carrington infant school and the marsh school is the nearest primary schools they have 'good' ofsted ratings but after reading their reports I am not convinced. It doesn't help that We stupidly didn't have a look at the schools before putting the offer in. At the moment it's in the early stages but should we take the offer off and look at other areas after all this move will be a long term one and our children's well being and education is very important to us.
Looks like I'm not the only one to come on here to suggest MK instead of HW!
As far as countryside goes, I think MK is one of the greenest towns around with acreage of green space per head of population - there's the Parks Trust which has loads of parks and woods and countryside that it manages for people to use - ranges from little local parks through to glorious big wildlife reserve areas and wonderful woods. Have a look on their website... Plus there's 'ordinary' lovely countryside around too for longer walks and exploring a bit further out.
One of the things it does really well (except for the new Broughton Gate development ) is to separate out the main through traffic from the living areas. Which means that as you drive through it you seem to be mostly on dual carriageways so you don't really get to see the pretty bits - but actually it's really inspired (Venice and the Barbican in the City are the two main other places that do this!) - it means that it's effectively a collection of villages - the main roads are known as grid roads, they're not in a perfect grid but an approximate one that follows the landscape, so the bits with the houses in are known as gridsquares and are effectively villages. Some are brand new developments so they will have less character, but many are based on the old original villages that were here and fitted into the new city... the one I live in has a Norman church, a village green, plenty of pretty old houses and a good community feel. There are lots of nice villages around too, but obviously they take a bit longer to get into the station from in the morning so might add to the commute time.
I know you said your dh has to get into central London - but which tube stops are specifically good for him? Not needing to change tube lines once in London can help to cut down on travel time quite a bit (or at least not needing to change two or three times!) in the morning when stations are busy and it's not as easy to nip along the platform. Working out which stations feed his work tube stations and then seeing which towns those stations have lines to is another good way to see where to go. And thanks to the joys of fast and slow trains, some destinations that are further away from London by road than others will be quicker to get to by train as you can get fast trains to them.
It's definitely worth coming and exploring some of the real MK rather than just the centre - it's very easy to get completely the wrong idea about it - but many people that live here really love it.
(If you want more info on what MK has to offer, search on mumsnet for MK - there are lots of threads on it, I know I've put plenty of info about it on here in the past but sorry, haven't got time to do that today!)
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