Wycombe Abbey conservation area
Wycombe Abbey and its park play a key role in the character of High Wycombe. The conservation area abuts that of the town centre, but is very different in character, with the main house (now Wycombe Abbey School) at the foot of Marlow Hill and a backdrop of grass and trees covering the hillside beyond, a view that can be seen across the town from Amersham Hill.
Wycombe Abbey (formerly Loakes Manor) was owned by the Earls of Shelburne in the 1700s. They were responsible for rebuilding the principal house in a Gothic style and engaging Capability Brown to landscape the park. The 2nd Earl also rebuilt the guildhall in the town centre and made improvements to the church.
In the 19th century the Abbey passed to the Carrington family who made further improvements, including donating land to the town for a grand civic avenue. When the building became a school in 1896, further boarding houses were built along Marlow Hill, designed by leading architect WD Caroe.
It is the parkland that plays a key role in the wider townscape, effectively forming a green belt of landscape between the valley bottom and the southern hills, bringing the countryside into the heart of the built-up area.