So whilst I haven’t been to every single village in Hertfordshire, I reckon I have ticked off a good chunk! Now everyone knows I love a wonky house and a thatched cottage, but where can you even find them in Hertfordshire? Life seems to be all about the Cotswolds but let me tell you, there are lots of beautiful places away from here.
I am not native to Hertfordshire but I have lived here for the past 3 and a half years and it looks to be where my life has settled now. I won’t lie, the transition from rural Northamptonshire to a new town just north of London was not the easiest. My therapy has been heading out of my odd little town and into the tranquillity of the countryside.
Along the way I have found a number of little gems, and not necessarily ones you will see on other lists. For whilst there are a couple of well known and very beautiful villages in Hertfordshire, I prefer the hidden ones, the ones in which people live rather than visit.
A tiny village just a few miles from the bustling town of Hitchin, I am not talking about the large town up north, but the picture-perfect sprinkling of rose covered homes nestled within the central Hertfordshire countryside. I found Preston by accident, you see I like to take the back roads, and one time I drove back home from Ampthill in Bedfordshire, I stumbled across this village.
With a small village green, a pub, a telephone box, post box and primary school, Preston might be small but it actually has nearly all the amenities you would need. It even has a rather posh private school, Princess Helena College, educating girls aged 11-18. The only sound you will hear are the birds, the odd car, children playing and the odd rumble of an aircraft, this place isn’t too far from London Luton Airport, but I wouldn’t say the planes are intrusive at all.
My dream village, this is ideally where I would like to end up living. The only problem is, it is SO idyllic that the price tag suggests I won’t be moving there any time soon. This village feels far more Suffolk than Hertfordshire, but I guess that makes sense seeing as it is in the far east of the county, not far from Bishop Stortford. Oh yes, I also know that Hertfordshire does not border Suffolk, but it is closer than the rest of the county okay?!
Off the main road, Much Hadham is a peaceful little haven with a pub, cafe/tea room, primary school and post office, this is the kind of place you would dream of raising your children in. I do feel as though village life in England has a bubble effect, almost like you are not apart of the real world, and you can definitely feel that here. Take a visit for yourself if you want to feel a million miles away from anywhere else…
Situated right on the Cambridgeshire border Ashwell is a large village with a small, historic centre. The first time I visited was early spring, and the village was plastered with posters advertising the annual Easter duck race, as soon as I saw them I knew I would fall in love with this place.
Ashwell is a beautifully preserved village appears in the Doomsday Book as a market town. Those who visit can expect to see exactly how this part of England would have looked in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the 14th-century church dominating the skyline. If you like pub grub, you have a number of establishments to choose from, and if you prefer a more delicate meal, tea and cake is available from Rhubarb and Mustard!
A small village split by a ford and home to a bright pink pub, Braughing is the epitome of village life. Braughing has been a home to people since the Iron Age and many of the listed buildings boast medieval origins. Traditions include a wheelbarrow race every July, as well as the celebration of Old Man’s Day, dating back to the 1500, ‘s recognising the life of local farmer Matthew Wall who fell out of his own coffin at his funeral…alive! His grave is now surrounded by brambles so the sheep can’t get at it…
There are many other lovely villages I could include, but I will end with Ayot Green, by far the smallest village of them all. Ayot Green sits above the A1 close to Welwyn, and whilst there are just a few houses here, it is a place I love to visit and feel at peace. By far the quietest of all the mentioned villages, Ayot Green sits around a large green area lined with trees, it is also home to a couple of great pubs, including the Red Lion which in my opinion offers the best roast dinner in Hertfordshire!
Have you been to any of these places? Or are there any others you would add to the list? Let me know!