Area Guide: The Hertfordshire villages of Little Wymondley and Great Wymondley
- Credit: Archant
The villages of Little Wymondley and Great Wymondley are tucked away in a rural hideout, while remaining close to public transport links and main roads. Rachel Love found out more about them…
Nestled between the thriving towns of Hitchin and Stevenage are Little Wymondley and its earlier counterpart, Great Wymondley – two compact villages in North Hertfordshire that cram convenience and spirited community into 1.4 miles of glorious countryside.
With Luton airport just 12 miles away, a 30 minute drive will have you ready to jet off on your summer holidays and, what’s more, Little and Great Wymondley are undisturbed by the whirr of flight paths.
Stevenage town and Hitchin are both within four miles of the village, taking just eight minutes to join in the hustle and bustle of Hertfordshire nightlife. Not driving? There is a regular bus service that will have you in the neighbouring towns within 15 minutes. From Hitchin train station a journey to central London only takes 30 minutes, a brilliant commuting time for those working in the city.
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Still not sold? Wymondley is surrounded by the charming, historic villages of Knebworth, Great Offley, St Ippolyts and St Paul Walden, as well as the modern towns of Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, so spur of the moment trips to ancient sites, medieval pubs, Michelin star restaurants and high street shopping are always an option.
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The first thing you will notice of Little Wymondley as you drive into the village is its fondness for country pubs. The Plume of Feathers is located next to the welcome sign. With a spacious beer garden, 17th century features and a friendly atmosphere it is the perfect place to while away a summer evening.
The Buck’s Head, located just metres away from The Plume of Feathers is a 17th century public house that has retained the same antique features as recorded in history books; inglenook fireplaces, exposed beams and a slightly jaunty structure, all of which create an enjoyable time warp experience for the history loving punters.
There’s also the family-friendly Green Man in Great Wymondley and The Hermit of Redcoats, in Titmore Green. The latter is an option for those that enjoy pub grub with a contemporary twist. Serving up plates with Masterchef presentation and bagfuls of flavour, this place is the number one spot for visitors that want the best of both worlds; all the iconic features of the past, with generous splashes of modernity. Boasting an extensive list of prestigious gins and produce from trusted, local suppliers The Hermit of Redcoats is the ideal spot for gin connoisseurs and foodies alike.
Little Wymondley is the perfect place to spend the night, with plenty to see and do to last you a leisurely weekend. Needham House, on Blakemore End Road, is a newly refurbished, four star boutique hotel that offers leisure facilities, a spa, brasserie, bar and 79 spacious, modern bedrooms. The perfect place to escape the chaos of the working week, Needham House is surrounded by luscious, peaceful countryside with facilities that will make you never want to leave.
Red Coats Farmhouse Hotel and Restaurant, 2016’s winner of the Muddy Stilettos award, is located at the end of Blakemore End Road, surrounded by rolling countryside and unbeatable views. A popular hotel dating back to the 1400s with accommodating staff, period bedrooms and freshly prepared food served in various rooms throughout the house; The Conservatory, The Oak Room, The Old Kitchen and The Victorian Room.
In Little Wymondley you are spoilt for choice on where to spend the night, but rest assured that either destination will be a memorable one.
The mystery of Little Wymondley and Great Wymondley’s history is one yet to be fully unearthed, as there remain gaps in their timelines.
St Mary’s church dates back to the 12th century, though it fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in the late 15th. With illustrious stained glass windows, a decorative altar, ornate nave and woodwork, St Mary’s is well worth a look, for religious and non-religious visitors.
Wymondley House also reveals glimpses into the villages’ past. Now a residential property, it is often forgotten that Wymondley House was owned initially by a rich and powerful lawyer in the 1700s, at the time of the famous window tax. This lawyer is said to have been so wealthy that he paid tax on 25 windows, something that would have amazed the locals. Later, the property was converted into a Catholic school, used to educated child evacuees during WWII.
The Priory, a 16th century barn on Priory Lane, was built by the surveyor of works to Henry VIII, James Needham, in 1514. Said to be the finest timber barn in England, the historical barn has since played host to thousands of wedding receptions and celebratory events.
Leisure and Community
There is an extensive list of leisure activities available to Little and Great Wymondley locals. These include a tennis club, gardening club, horse riding and children’s social groups. Criss-crossing footpaths throughout Wymondley make it possible to walk as far as Pirton and admire the scenery of the famous Motte and Bailey.
A plan to make proper use of the recreation ground for regular football matches and training is just one of the current ideas for updating the amenities. Hopes of also adding a modern pavilion with changing facilities and a social area are high for the lively community too.
Wymondley junior and infant school on Siccut Road, rated Ofsted ‘good’ for overall effectiveness, is a perfectly positioned school for local children, with easy and speedy access to neighbouring villages and public transport links. Safely tucked away from main roads and city life, this rural school lives up to its motto, “respectful, responsible, remarkable.” A school that seeks to instil a love of learning into each child, it is the top choice for parents in the village and surrounding area. Prestigious and specialist Hertfordshire secondary schools are located within a five mile radius of Little and Great Wymondley.
With so much to see and do in Little and Great Wymondley it will be the location that you return to over and over again.