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Wycombe from A-Z: W is for West Wycombe
When it came to the letter 'W' there were many topics for me to choose from.
This blog could have been the river Wye or even Wycombe itself however I decided to feature West Wycombe because it has a double 'W' in the name and often it's overlooked when talking about Wycombe.
Situated on the A40 the village of West Wycombe has remained largely unchanged for a hundred years or more.
What a real treat it is to visit an area and see buildings with proper wooden windows indeed there isn't a newfangled double-glazed window in sight as you walk down the narrow High Street.
The only thing that has changed is the amount of traffic passing through.
Where once the only through traffic consisted of stage coaches on their way to and from Oxford nowadays huge juggernauts and lorries squeeze gingerly down the villages main thoroughfare.
Talk of West Wycombe and the first thing that comes to mind is the golden ball, St. Lawrence's church on the hill and the Dashwood mausoleum which is visible for miles.
If you have ever ventured to the top of the hill you will know there is a large flat area at the top currently serving as a parking place for cars with the church at the far end.
Many years ago, in say the 1300's, if you ventured up the hill you would have found the village of Haveringdon situated at the top however over time the village was abandoned and resited in the valley at the bottom of the hill to become the village of West Wycombe that we know today.
There are several other notable attractions in the vicinity including West Wycombe Park and the Hell Fire caves.
The caves were excavated from the hillside as a scheme to find work for the local population during times of economic difficulty. Construction works were paid for by Sir Frances Dashwood who also remodelled the West Wycombe Road into the straight road that we know today.
Dashwood also founded the notorious Hell Fire club which held meetings in the caves and in the golden ball at the top of the church tower.
At one time the sprawling Dashwood estate was so large it included the parts of Wycombe we know today as Downley, Castlefield and Booker.
Nowadays the village, park and hill is owned by the National Trust with a mere handful of houses in the village still in private ownership.
Any blog on West Wycombe would not be complete without mentioning the excellent garden centre which is located in the old walled kitchen garden of the West Wycombe Park estate.
Despite being a historic village West Wycombe village has embraced the modern internet age with its own website which can be vied by clicking on link earlier in this sentence.
The village also has a volunteer run library, shooting ground, three pubs and three churches. Sadly the railway station which served the village was closed in the Beeching era.
Every time I visit West Wycombe with its lovely old buildings I think this is how Wycombe could have been if only the powers that be had been more protective of Wycombe's historic buildings.
What do you think?
*Maybe you would like to suggest other suitable topics for letters of the alphabet? If you have any ideas on what you think the letter 'X' should stand for just leave a comment and let me know.
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