Buckinghamshire & Berkshire Life: Towns & Villages - Available now
PUBLISHED: 10:48 26 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:48 26 July 2016
Our brand new pictorial guide, Buckinghamshire & Berkshire Life: Towns & Villages is available now.
It soon became clear, even before we set off on our travels around Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, that this was going to be a ‘work in progress’. Did you know there are at least 750 places in our two counties, from the big beasts like Milton Keynes and Reading to hamlets like Honeyburge near Boarstall in Buckinghamshire or Honey Bottom in West Berkshire?
Just how do you fit them all in 60 pages? The truth is you can’t… so this will have to be a first taste as we sample some of the treats and return for more courses in the future.
But our starter does reveal some interesting facts. The first is that for all the growth, from new towns springing up and new roads whizzing up and down Buckinghamshire and across Berkshire, we have retained so much beautiful scenery. Our counties are quite remarkable – no one is ever far from stunning views or leafy lanes whether their front door key works in the wide open spaces of Aylesbury Vale or close to Slough, next stop London via the magnificent Burnham Beeches. We have an abundance of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, from the Chilterns to the North Wessex Downs.
Also of note is just how much some recognisable features of both counties have shaped our lives over the centuries and continue to do so today. The first is our waterways, both the canals and natural rivers, where many of the earliest settlements began to grow and trade.
The next is shared history, from the arrival of the Romans, where they settled and built roads, through to the English Civil War swirling backwards and forwards across both counties. And then there is the industrial revolution, from furniture production in High Wycombe to just about everything, but especially biscuits, in Reading.
The third key is the arrival of the railways – very much responsible for the Victorian Berkshire Boom and linking communities in Buckinghamshire so that the likes of Gerrards Cross or Amersham-on-the-Hill would grow from little more than agricultural hamlets to the thriving places they are today. Some of these places were ‘dying on their feet’ as the more mobile headed for brighter lights until people such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel and thousands of navvies arrived to transform lives.
So today we bring you a journey across our two counties, the people, places and house prices(!) that reveal a little about how we live. There will be more to come and we’ve also discovered more tiny hamlets and pubs which just have to be visited in our magazines in months to come.
Until then, enjoy this little trek across both counties, clock up hundreds of miles with us without leaving your chair.
Jan Raycroft, Editor