Area Guide: The upmarket rural idyll of Gustard Wood
- Credit: Archant
Between Wheathampstead and Kimpton is the attractive community of Gustard Wood. We found out more about this pretty place.
While this leafy Hertfordshire hamlet, with its large homes and very rural setting, may feel like it’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually within seven miles of Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and St Albans.
Harpenden is closer still, with just four miles dividing the village from its larger neighbour and its train station with fast rail links into London.
St Peter’s Church
The church was opened in 1910 as an outlying daughter church in the parish of Wheathampstead, serving the growing communities of Gustard Wood and Blackmore End. The cost of the building was provided generously by Mrs Laura Pearce of Tunbridge Wells in memory of her late husband, a former vicar of Ayot St Lawrence. In the 100 years since, St Peter’s has become a much loved landmark and place of Christian worship, and has enriched the work of St Helen’s, its parent church, in the process.
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Amenities and leisure
By the end of the 19th century it was agreed by landowners that Gustard Wood Common and its neighbouring forest would be converted into a golf course. Nine holes were ready for play by 1893, and the famous golfer and course designer James Braid later developed it into an 18-hole course. Today the Mid-Herts Golf Club is one of the oldest English golf courses, and is well known for being unusual and challenging.
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The Cross Keys on Ballslough Lane is a traditional 17th century pub with exposed beams, inglenook fireplace and a quirky, higgledy-piggledy structure.
The child-friendly pub accommodates many local walkers, rambler groups and cyclists who pop in for a spot of lunch. A bed and breakfast service is also available.
There is no end to the shopping, dining and entertainment options available in the nearby towns.
If you’re looking for something more cultural, the historic villages of Kimpton, Whitwell, Knebworth and Ayot St Lawrence surround Gustard Wood, with tales of historic figures, drama, scandal, deception and love to be found around every corner.
The previous home of playwright and author, George Bernard Shaw, known as Shaw’s Corner, is just two miles away and will provide the whole family with a delicious dose of literary history.
Gustard Wood is home to many fond historical accolades. For example, during WWI the largest of the auxiliary hospitals was built in Blackmore End, providing care and recovery for the injured with over 214 available beds. Many locals and supporters from further afield kept the hospital running with their donations.
Gustard Wood can be viewed from a number of perspectives, from quaint country village to golfing hub to convenient getaway to historical mine. All of them are equally as impressive, all of them unforgettable.