Area Guide: The Hertfordshire village of Ickleford
- Credit: Archant
Along Hitchin’s northern border is the peaceful village of Ickleford. Rachel Love found out more about this pretty part of North Hertfordshire...
With close proximity to nearby towns, transport links to London, a primary school, local conveniences and plenty of manicured parklands, Ickleford is a popular option for professionals and families. Fondly described by Cllr Miles Maxwell, Chairman of Ickleford Parish Council, as “a rural, peaceful location”, Ickleford truly is a gem of a village that is proudly represented by its residents.
One of the greatest conveniences of Ickleford is its easy access to major towns, described by Cllr Maxwell, as having “the benefit of being only a short drive away from the amenities offered by Hitchin and Letchworth”. Hitchin station is just two miles away, with trains to London taking 30 minutes, while Letchworth Garden City station, three miles away, will have you in Cambridge within half an hour.
There is also a regular bus service available in the village, stopping at Hitchin and Bedford, for stations, restaurants, bars and shops. If you don’t fancy stepping out into town, there is a convenience shop in Ickleford for essentials and a free use ATM.
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Food and Drink
Ickleford boasts three popular pubs, each a relaxing place to spend a summer afternoon or a cosy evening. The Old George, dating back to the 17th century, is located in the heart of the village. The pub has retained some of its original features, like the inglenook fireplace and wooden beams, which create an authentic country pub experience.
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The Cricketers dates back to 1850 when it was first documented as an ale house. With fireplaces, cosy nooks and bagfuls of old-world charm, this family run pub is a popular stomping ground for locals. The Plume of Feathers has been serving real ales continuously since 1778, a hotspot for live sports, a quiet drink in the secluded beer garden or a dabble in classic pub games, this is a lively pub located in the heart of Ickleford village.
What’s more, all three pubs serve classic pub grub that is freshly prepared to order.
Ickleford Primary school was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted for overall effectiveness and is a reputable school with a thriving community. Extra curricular activities are of high importance to staff and pupils, with clubs such as sewing, reading and dance taking pride of place on their timetables. Sport is also another firm favourite at the school with pupils taking part in trampolining and gymnastics. A fun fact is that singer, James Bay, attended the school.
A selection of secondary schools can be found within a five mile radius of the village and are easily reached by bus.
The Ickleford Sports and Recreation Club hosts sporting events and team practice throughout the year. With a specific area dedicated to pétanque, plenty of field space for cricket and football and two squash courts, locals and visitors are spoilt for choice on leisurely days.
Cllr Maxwell says that “[Ickleford is] surrounded by beautiful countryside with opportunities for walking, cycling and horse riding.” The Ickleford Equestrian and Pony Club Centre is just a short walk away, offering riding lessons for any experience level. Based at a 16th century farmyard in Lower Green, riders have easy access to bridleways for long hacks through the countryside.
Not riding? There are plenty of beautiful walks to take in Ickleford that will have you exploring the neighbouring villages of Pirton and Hexton.
St Katharine’s church in the centre of Ickleford is an architectural time capsule, dating back to its construction in the early twelfth century with later Victorian additions advised by the great architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The church is an integral part of the community as a meeting place for locals. Hosting church groups, choir practice, mum and baby groups and social hours, St Katharine’s is the hub of the community, open to religious and non-religious visitors.
There are many things that make Ickleford the popular village it is today. The proactive attitude of locals attracts visitors from surrounding towns to join in events hosted in Ickleford throughout the year.
This summer Ickleford will be hosting an Open Village event. Cllr Maxwell extends an invitation, saying: “Several beautiful gardens will be open to enjoy, and teas will be held at various venues throughout the village.
“Hitchin Lavender will be open and donating the proceeds from entry to the fields, and the Ickleford Equestrian Centre will be offering pony rides and a dog show, as well as cream teas.”
With so much in Ickleford to see and do there is no better place to appreciate the many virtues of Hertfordshire.