Area Guide: Digswell
- Credit: Archant
The ancient Hertfordshire village of Digswell lies immediately north of Welwyn Garden City.
Back in June it made The Telegraph’s list of ‘designer villages’ whose average house prices top £1 million. The Digswell average was a whopping £1,046,944 - enough to join the so-called ‘Millionaire’s Club’ for the first time, along with neighbouring Tewin.
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, said: “Established residents of these new millionaire villages have seen their houses increase in value rapidly over the past few years.
“Many have been helped by the appeal of being within commuting distance of London, and others boosted by people cashing in on London prices, tempted by a bigger house in the country.”
The village has a couple of shops, a pub (The Cowper Arms) and benefits from services and all main shopping and leisure facilities in Welwyn Garden City (WGC) and surrounding towns.
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Part of the attraction of this area is a strong property market, with opportunities for people to trade up and down, meaning that there is a great community spirit, aided by residents tending to stay local even when they move.
Rather confusingly, Digswell Park is not in Digswell now but is classed today as being in Welwyn Garden City.
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Notable residents include former footballer turned talkSPORT radio presenter Alan Brazil, prolific English writer, H.G. Wells and American actor Barry Chapman.
Also known as the Welwyn Viaduct, this possibly unlikely gem is something of a tourist pull. The important local landmark and grade II listed structure carries the East Coast Main Line over the River Mimram and is situated between Digswell and Welwyn Garden City.
It took two years to build, involved moving a whopping one million tons of earth by human and horse power and was opened by Queen Victoria on August 6, 1850 – but in an historic PR blunder, she was petrified of the height and refused to go on it!
Welwyn North railway station is located in Digswell and serves Welwyn and Digswell villages. It is 22 miles north of King’s Cross on the East Coast Main Line. A half-hourly service southbound runs to King’s Cross and northbound to Peterborough and Cambridge between Mondays and Saturdays.
Trains from the middle of town (WGC) go straight to Moorgate every 20 minutes on weekdays, so the area increasingly appeals to commuters and those City workers who want more green open space for their money.
All main southern-based airports are reasonably accessible by road, and there are comprehensive bus and taxi services from and to Digswell.
St John’s Church of England Primary School in Hertford Road, Digswell, has a fabulous reputation and received a ‘good’ Ofsted rating at a recent inspection. For younger ones, Digswell Pre-School is based at the same site and is open every weekday afternoon, with a lunch club available if required.
Food and drink
The best – and only – pub in Digswell is The Cowper Arms, which boasts seasonal fresh food, a children’s menu, a brilliant dog-friendly beer garden, lunch and dinner menus with classics and light bites, Sunday roasts and a wide range of real cask and bottled ales and wines.
Not too far away is The Red Lion pub in Digswell Hill, Welwyn, on the edge of Sherradspark Wood – a perfect countryside setting for trying this season’s new must-have dishes, carefully selected ales, wines and lagers. But probably not all on the same visit (hic!). There might even be a roaring log fire to help warm your cockles…
Sport and leisure
Digswell is still seen as being in Sherradspark Wood – a woodland and nature reserve which is a recognised by English Nature as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Its 200 acre site includes footpaths and bridleways to facilitate exploration among the oak and hornbeam trees. Joggers, dog walkers, cyclists and horse riders typically use it.
In nearby Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, there are golf courses and clubs, cricket clubs, tennis clubs, bowls clubs, football and rugby clubs, a table tennis academy and soccer school. Gosling Sports Park is a 50-acre centre with a diversity of opportunities for physical activity. There is also a well-kept municipal parkland golf course at Panshanger.