Area Guide: The pretty Hertfordshire village of Piccotts End, near Hemel Hempstead
- Credit: Archant
A quaint village lined with period cottages on the north-west edge of Hemel Hempstead, Piccotts End is a pretty place to be.
While it is in the Dacorum district, with a Hemel Hempstead postcode of HP1, lush greenery keeps Piccotts End firmly apart from the nearby town’s urban sprawl.
Situated on the River Gade, the village is home to many beautiful properties, from medieval cottages to Georgian villas.
There are only two homes currently on the market in the village, both of them three-bed; a Grade II listed cottage on Piccotts End dating back to the 17th century (£450,000) and a more modern terrace on Lomond Road (£310,000).
Famous residents include Radio 3 presenter Penny Gore, while former MP Robin Corbett – Lord Corbett of Castlevale – lived in the village from 1966 until his death in 2012.
A major village attraction is the Piccotts End Paintings. Found on the walls of the Grade I listed cottages at 132 Piccotts End in 1953, the images date back to the 15th century.
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They depict various Biblical images such as the baptism of Jesus, The Virgin Mary holding the body of Christ in front of the cross, and St Catherine of Alexandria.
Royal history has also been quite prominent in the village. In 1825, Sir Astley Paston Cooper, who was surgeon to George IV, founded the West Hertford Infirmary. The establishment was considered to be England’s first ‘cottage hospital’.
A cottage once served as a hiding place for master dyer Josiah Wright, who is believed to have plotted an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria in 1840.
Hemel Hempstead station is less than three miles away, with regular services to London Euston taking around half an hour.
Drivers are also ideally placed for commuting north to Luton or south to Watford on the M1, while the M25 is also close at hand.
With no village school, Piccotts End pupils tend to travel to Hemel. The closest schools are of varying quality, with a mixture of ‘good’ and ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted rankings. Maple Grove and Jupiter Community Free School both fall into the former camp.
Secondary schools are similarly mixed. The Cavendish School was rated ‘inadequate’ at its last inspection, though John F Kennedy Catholic School and The Astley Cooper School were both rated ‘good’.
Hemel is also home to a handful of independent schools - Abbot’s Hill, Lockers Park and Westbrook Hay.
The Marchmont Arms is a popular pub and restaurant on the edge of the village. The attractive 18th century building was once the home of Lord Marchmont, and its huge windows and striking, modern décor make it an attractive place to eat and drink.
The pub offers a varied menu of hearty meals and light bites, real ales and a large, child-friendly garden.
The Boar’s Head was the original village pub for a century, though it closed for good in 2010 and is now a family home.
There is a strong sense of community within the village, which is harnessed by the Piccotts End Residents’ Association (PERA). Set up by a group of newcomers to the village a quarter of a century ago, it organises a range of well-attended events, including an annual summer garden party and a fireworks party. A ‘safari supper’, in which members of the community go house to house to enjoy a home cooked meal by the host, also takes place every year.