Area Guide: The quaint Hertfordshire village of Lemsford
PUBLISHED: 10:23 30 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:15 30 January 2017
The village of Lemsford was established in 1858. It is three miles from Hatfield, on the south east side Brocket Hall Park, and known for its large mill on the River Lea.
Historic St John’s Church was built as a memorial to the sixth Earl Cowper and has an impressive window and a steep narrow spiral staircase. It has a lively active congregation and welcomes families. Society osteopath Stephen Ward – who was significant in the scandalous Profumo Affair of 1963 – was born in Lemsford in 1912.
Mum-of-two Maria Baggaley, 35, moved from Fleetville in St Albans to Lemsford last summer.
Maria describes herself as a private person, so the quietness of the village particularly suits her and her family.
She said: “We have lived in Lemsford since July 2016 so we are still quite new to the area. We always thought it was very pretty and liked how it seemed quite rural but was still very close to Welwyn and Wheathampstead. We also like that there are lots of nice walks nearby – the Lee Valley walk, and walks to Wheathampstead and to the Brocket estate, which is beautiful.”
In terms of transport and road links, Lemsford is just 20 miles north of London and has easy connections by road and rail to all major cities in the UK.
The village is next to the A1(M) and is served by several railway stations within a few miles, and there are bus links to Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, Potters Bar and Hertford.
Maria added: “There are quite good bus links to Welwyn town centre, about one per hour with a few two hourly around midday.
“Welwyn train station is only 1.5 miles from Lemsford so London is easily accessible.
“The only thing that has taken some getting used to is the lack of a local shop, so we have to use our car if we run out of milk. A local shop would be good.
“I think Lemsford is perfect if you drive but not so perfect if you rely on public transport. There are no take away places, no shops or high street at all in the village but enough amenities and facilities in close travelling distance at main towns.
“But all our neighbours have been very friendly and welcoming and we are happy here.”
St John’s Church of England Primary School is the only school in Lemsford, situated in attractive grounds by the church.
It educates children from the village as well as pupils living in Stanborough, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and surrounding areas.
It has a conservation area and visiting wildlife enriches the outdoor environment. St John’s was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and boasts strong community links.
Food and drink
Alongside the church and village hall, the two pubs are the hub of the Lemsford community.
Maria said: “There is a Lemsford Christmas party, where residents meet on the playing fields and sing carols and drink mulled wine, then go for Christmas-type dinner to The Sun Inn.
“The Sun is a very well loved pub at the end of our road; they do great Sunday lunches and it is friendly and welcoming.”
Also in the village is Long Arm Short Arm, a cosy, traditional pub with dart board and Sunday carvery, while The Crooked Chimney - renamed in 1968 after its distinctive bent brick chimney - is just outside Lemford on Cromer Hyde Lane.
Sport and leisure
Yoga classes are held on Tuesday evenings at the village hall, which also hosts monthly live jazz music events. In spring, residents participated in a bluebell walk, where they learned about the history of Cromer Hyde. Cycle routes are in operation around Lemsford.
Activities at St John’s Church include a toddler group, ‘friendship teas’, a monthly men’s breakfast, bell ringing and choir, which meet regularly.
Lemsford Springs is one of the village’s best-kept secrets. Owned by the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, it is a small nature reserve dating back to the Doomsday Book, when it was owned by the Bishop of Ely.
It does not freeze in winter, making it popular with birds and is home to water shrew, which feed on freshwater shrimps that live in the lagoons. It put Lemsford on the map when it featured on the BBC’s Springwatch programme.