Area Guide: The historic Hertfordshire village of Datchworth
- Credit: Archant
Datchworth is one of Hertfordshire’s easterly villages, located between Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Stevenage.
Wander over to Datchworth Green and you will find the site of the 1665 Whipping Post, where many public lashings took place.
Nearby is All Saints church, a landmark of the area with its unique hilltop spire. The renovations of medieval and modern times have created a unique patchwork effect on the exterior, whilst maintaining the dignity of its past. A moat that had once surrounded the grounds of the church is still traceable today, as well as evidence to suggest that the church was originally built by the townspeople themselves.
Since then the village has expanded and updated to keep up with the needs of locals. There is a convenience store, bus services, a pub, cafés and an outreach post office.
The local people are friendly and many have lived in the village for most of their lives. Jane Wallace, from The Old Post Office Tea Rooms, has lived in Datchworth for 48 years and describes the village with great enthusiasm. “We have a very popular pub, The Tilbury, cricket on the Green in the summer, rugby in the winter,” she says. “We have a beautiful village church and a lovely tea room.”
Just 1.5 miles away from Datchworth village is Knebworth station, making this a perfect location for people travelling to work in the city. Trains from Knebworth will get you to London King’s Cross in 25 minutes, to Hitchin in 10 minutes and Cambridge in under an hour. A bus service runs from Datchworth Green to Stevenage, Knebworth and Hertford.
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Food and drink
In the heart of the village you will find The Tilbury, the local pub and restaurant. Run by brothers, James and Tom Bainbridge, with a two AA rosette awards and a fantastic Trip Advisor rating, The Tilbury serves up modern pub grub with a French twist, an option for anyone that wants to try Michelin quality food without the price tag. Many visitors have recommended the rabbit and carrot cake starter!
The Bainbridge brothers also run The Old Post Office Tea Rooms across the street. They serve homemade cakes daily for afternoon tea as well as providing room for private functions and parties. Similarly, We R Cakes Vintage Tea Room, make cakes fresh in their workshop for afternoon tea or celebrations. Take in a design and choose from the extensive list of flavour combinations and the talented team will whip it up.
Culture, clubs and community projects
Attached to the We R Cakes Vintage Tea Room is the Mardleybury Gallery. There is a wide variety of artwork to view and purchase here, from intricate to abstract, painting to sculpture. The gallery also provides exclusive classes with professional artists. You can try the Graffiti Street Art Workshop with Mark Tanti or The Watercolour Workshop with Peter Massey, to name a couple. Plus, there is Vintage Paraphernalia next door, selling good-quality antiques from Tiffany stained glass lamps to Leonardo collectible dolls.
The Datchworth community is incredibly aware of environmental damage and waste caused by unwanted items so Vintage Paraphernalia is a great place to trade goods and recycle. They also have a Furniture Friends project, giving good-quality unwanted furniture to struggling families in the wider area.
Horse riding lessons are available at the stables opposite the gallery and there is free tennis coaching every Saturday at the Datchworth Green tennis court. Local sports clubs include football, cricket and rugby for adults and children. There are also many events that take place in the village hall; The Book Cupboard is a free book swapping project, the Tweenagers club offers Year 6, 7 and 8 students an opportunity to socialise and have fun in a safe environment, and The Elderberries for over 60s meet regularly for games, activities and conversation.
In the centre of the village is All Saints C of E Primary School, with views over the neighbouring countryside and All Saints church. The school was awarded a ‘good’ rating by Ofsted. Students are encouraged to take part in activities involving the local community such as inter-village sporting events and performing at local festivals. There are also plenty of extra curricular options like French club and adventure club.
There are many day trips you can take from Datchworth, one of the most popular being to Hatfield House with plenty to see and do and just 20 minutes away.
There are also plenty of pedestrian paths and bridleways for long strolls, dog walks, horse rides or cycles through the Hertfordshire countryside.
Jane Wallace describes Datchworth as “a very beautiful village, with lovely bridleways that extend out to other villages”. Walk along these and enjoy exploring the neighbouring villages of Watton-at-Stone, Bramfield and Aston.