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Living in Downley: The local area guide

The village of Downley can be found in county Buckinghamshire, perched on a hill overlooking the nearby town of High Wycombe. Whilst High Wycombe has been expanding to the point where it’s enveloped the surrounding villages, such as Downley, the village has worked hard to maintain its identity, roots, and general village aesthetic.

Traditions such as the annual Guy Fawkes parade have been maintained, and even High Wycombe itself clings to its past, with its annual ‘weighing of the mayor’. Today, it is a tongue-in-cheek event, but it was formerly held to ensure that the mayor was not “eating the town’s finances away”. The village is largely a residential area, with some local businesses and the much loved ‘commons’ in the centre.

Recognised as being an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty by the Government, the commons are protected, though it still bears the scars from its use as a tank testing ground during the Second World War. Used as a sports ground today by the local cricket and football teams, the commons are a central feature of the town, and symptomatic of the village's commitment to remain untainted by the large scale development in the surrounding area and its neighbouring towns.


The village is mostly made up of residents of English descent, with around 86% hailing from said country, slightly below the national average of 87.9%. Equal parts are Christian and married couples, both sitting at 59% of residents.

The village is typically residential, with many denizens working in nearby High Wycombe or commuting to London, which is only an hour away by car or train. Of those working commuters, nearly a quarter work as professionals. Beyond that, another quarter work as either senior management professionals, or executive directors.

The average age of residents is 39, slightly below the national average, but in keeping with the many families that choose to live in the region.


Buckinghamshire is unique in that it is one of few areas which still operate under the Tripartite system, where primary school students take the 11+ exams, which determines whether pupils might be admitted to grammar schools.

The Downley School is a primary school within the village that many residents send their children to for preparation for the exam, and it is rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted. Students with success in their 11+ exam often choose to attend the Royal Grammar School, a very successful academy with several famous alumni.

Those who don’t make the Grammar School grade often enrol in nearby Highcrest Academy, which, although not a grammar school, has an ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted.


The village is well positioned in terms of transportation, with the M40 only minutes away and connecting the village to London. Various A-roads are also in the general area, such as the A404, A40 and A4010.

The closest train station can be found in High Wycombe, only a ten-minute drive or fifteen-minute bus ride from the village. The train operates on the Chiltern Main Line, connecting to both Bristol and London. As for bus services, several run to surrounding towns and even as far as London, though often connections need be made in High Wycombe.

The coach services aren’t too refined, and are currently undergoing improvements, though the nearest major airport, Heathrow, is extremely close, only a thirty-five-minute drive away.

Amenities and shopping

The village is home to several small independent shops, as well as a few restaurants and pubs, the oldest of which, “Le De Spencers Arms”, is named after the famous Baron le Despencer, notorious for his founding of the ‘Hellfire Club’ in the 18th century.

For more high street shopping, High Wycombe is fast becoming a regional hub, with dedicated revitalisation efforts having proven extremely effective. The Eden Shopping Plaza has over a hundred storefronts, as well as a cinema, library, and bowling alley. With nearly 350,000 visitors a week, as well as a bustling High Street and other centres, High Wycombe offers a great deal in the way of shopping.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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