Area Guide: The Hertfordshire village of Waterford
- Credit: Archant
Running along the River Beane in East Hertfordshire is the leafy village of Waterford. Rachel Love found out all about it…
A peaceful retreat from busy, urban life, Waterford has an inspiring past with tales of yesteryear still told today.
Peppered with historic sites, unusual architecture and acres of beautiful land, just moments away from thriving towns, Waterford has fast become an up-and-coming location for visitors and homebuyers alike.
Ways to travel
One of the many appealing traits of Waterford is its proximity to popular nearby towns. There are bus routes in the centre of the village that travel to Stevenage and Hertford, with stops at their railway stations for commuters heading into London. A train journey from Hertford North station to London King’s Cross takes 40 minutes and from Stevenage just 25 minutes. For those without a car there are bus routes to the local supermarket and easy access to other amenities. Waterford is also located on the A119, connecting Ware and Watton-at-Stone, a journey to either of these towns will take between five and 10 minutes.
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Things to see
Waterford has long been known for St Michaels and All Angels church, an extraordinary, historical construct with flourishes of Pre-Raphaelite artistry throughout. Built between 1871 and 1872 the Grade II listed building is a treasure trove of William Morris stained-glass windows, Powell mosaics and vibrant decoration. Inside there is an 1872 font, spacious nave, ornate organ and pulpit to admire. The church is located on the edge of the Goldings Estate, home to the former Goldings Chapel, which has since been converted into contemporary country apartments with a newly constructed modern wing. Aside from this, Goldings Estate has retained many of its 19th century features and is a grand sight for visitors and locals.
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Between 1922 and 1967 the Estate was known as The William Baker Technical School, a Dr. Barnardo follow-on school for orphaned boys. Once upholding the motto, ‘No destitute child ever refused admission’, the grand estate’s past conjurers many fond memories for the ex-pupils who continue to tell their stories today.
Things to do
Waterford village hall is a thriving community space run by volunteers from the Waterford Recreation Committee, keen to maintain the strong community spirit by providing regular events, social clubs and activities. The extensive list of clubs includes wine, bridge, lace and table tennis, as well as various exercise classes.
The hall is also a popular space to hire for functions, parties and meetings. Bright and roomy with plenty of kitchen space for banquets and events, Waterford village Hall can accommodate up to 80 people, and money paid goes to good use in maintaining the property. There is something to do at every time of year for example, this April there is an Easter Bazaar with a book sale, arts and crafts activities, plus drinks and hot cross buns. Simon Childs, from Thomas Childs & Co. estate agents, says that the committee is known for “hosting popular village events such as a Bonfire Night party, a Christmas bazaar and harvest supper.” There is also a playground on the grounds of the village hall for families with young children to enjoy.
Waterford Heath, originally quarry land, has been treated and restored to its former purpose, an area of green reserved for the public to enjoy. Staggering views accompany this space as well as great experiences for nature lovers, such as bird watching. An annual breeding spot for skylarks, willow warblers, fieldfares and redwings, this is an idyllic destination for someone in need of a tranquil retreat. The Chalk Stream and Heath Walk is one of the various walking paths dotted around the landscape. At its most glorious between April and July, the walk along the River Beane is a great opportunity to take in the sights, or to stop for a picnic at one of the designated spots. There are also cycle and horse friendly paths for active visitors. Simon Childs describes Waterford as “a very pleasant location to browse and while away some time.” Acres of land, wide open spaces and endless opportunities to explore make Waterford well worth visiting.
Amenities are best found in nearby towns, within walking distance of Waterford. In the neighbouring Bengeo you can find welcoming pubs with cosy cottage atmospheres and décor. The White Lion is particularly popular, serving lunch and dinner with real ales, a perfect spot for cosy drinks next to the log burning fire in the winter, or alfresco dining in the summer.
A convenience store, petrol station and doctor’s surgery can all be located within two miles of Waterford village for all the necessities. Simon Childs states that “with access to some of the best schools in east Hertfordshire it’s no wonder that Waterford is so popular with local families and those moving into the area.”
The number one location for those seeking a relaxing hideaway in East Hertfordshire, without the isolation of rural life, Waterford has a lot to offer with its wide, open spaces, cottage-lined roads and historic sites.