Commuting routes to beat the fare rises: Woking and High Wycombe

With rail fares rising again, commuting to work can be costly but pick the right route and a village home can still be within budget
Chobham High Street in Surrey
Chobham High Street in Surrey, seen as a "proper old-fashioned period village"
A commuter's lot is rarely a happy one and now that train ride to work is going to become cripplingly expensive, too.

The latest research shows one in 10 trains arriving in London is late and even the train companies accept that one in five rush-hour trains is horribly overcrowded. And from January fares will rise by twice the rate of inflation, an average of 6.2 per cent extra.

In these austere times every extra cost is a real burden so anyone considering living outside London while remaining in work in the capital has to pick their commuting route with care.

Most people want to find a low-cost route with a high-class destination. Fortunately, there are idyllic village locations to suit all budgets within easy reach of reasonably affordable commuting stations. We've done the legwork for you.

Alight at Woking

24 minutes to Waterloo (season ticket £2,780; 2013 price* £2,952; weekly price increase £3.31)

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Woking smartmap
Not Surrey's prettiest town, Woking is, however, surrounded by some very pretty villages. Chobham, on the River Bourne, has ancient woodland, open fields, and a 1,400-acre common.

The high street has a good range of independent shops, and The Four Horseshoes pub, where drinkers can watch horses being shod by the local farrier, is a treat. Tim Harriss a partner at Knight Frank, is a big fan of this "proper old-fashioned period village".

A top-end period house with three bedrooms would cost from about £750,000. Alternatively, Sean Wickes, a director of Waterfords estate agents, says about £480,000 would secure a Victorian semi with three bedrooms. A manor house and land would go for around £1.6 million.

For schools, Valley End CofE Infants' School is rated "outstanding" by Ofsted, though St Lawrence CofE primary school is only rated "satisfactory". For older children the glittering prize is Gordon's School in nearby West End (catchment area allowing).

Another great and more affordable village is Horsell, two miles from Woking station. You could buy a three-bedroom 20th-century terrace from £275,000, or a four-bedroom detached house for £600,000.

Five-bedroom cottage in Horsell
£750,000: an exquisite View sold house prices in High Wycombe
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There are some lovely Chilterns villages in the hinterland of High Wycombe. Lane End has masses going on, with dances, bridge matches and a pre-school in the village hall. There are a couple of pubs, a small high street, though parents be warned: the village primary school is only rated "satisfactory" albeit improving by Ofsted. For senior school things look up as the village is within the Wycombe Grammar School catchment area.

Neal Wood, an associate director of Hamptons International, said a Victorian cottage at the heart of the village, would cost around £250,000. A three-bedroom detached Twenties house would cost around £500,000. At the top end you could buy a chunky family house on the outskirts, with land and outbuildings, for around £1.5 million.

High Wycombe smartmap
The village of Frieth is about 6.5 miles from High Wycombe, and is a quieter and more expensive option than Lane End, with some lovely, traditional brick and flint houses.

Gary Mealing, director of Hunt & Nash, says three-bedroom houses start at about £450,000, while you would pay a minimum of £850,000 for a four-bedroom detached house. Converted barns sell at around the £1 million mark.

Frieth has two crucial ingredients of a cracking village: a green and two pubs. Sadly its village shop has closed, and Frieth CofE Combined School is only rated "satisfactory". Nonetheless the village remains popular.

"It is one of the best of the Chiltern villages," says Mealing. "You are close to Henley and Marlow, the M4 and the M40, and it is very pretty indeed."

*2013 train fares based on an average increase of 6.2 per cent.

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