Area Guide: The popular Hertfordshire village of Bricket Wood
- Credit: Archant
Nestled between St Albans and Watford, Bricket Wood is a compact pocket of village life. Jacob Savill found out more about this part of Herts.
Until the train station was built in 1861, the area now known as Bricket Wood was a scattered rural community utilised mainly by farmers. Then, in 1889, brothers Henry and William Gray bought up land in the area and built Woodside Retreat Fairground.
The fairground attracted droves of visitors from London and nearby towns, and a small settlement developed around the station.
In 1923, a rival fairground, Joyland, was built nearby by R.B. Christmas. Though both attractions were closed in 1929, Christmas used his leftover land to build up bungalows with their own water supplies.
During the 1950s, housing estates were built for the convenience of employees of aviation company Handley Page, who had a plant nearby.
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Soon the area would prove popular with commuters thanks to its convenient access to London and its offbeat blend of village and urban life.
Strangely, Bricket Wood is also known for its ties to Wiccan forefather Gerald Gardner. In 1945, Gardner purchased a plot of land near Bricket Wood, now known as Five Acres.
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When he dismantled the 16th century Wiccan witch cottage in Ledbury, Herefordshire, Gardner reconstructed it at Five Acres as a convening point for his brand of pagan witchcraft.
Mount Pleasant Lane JMI and Nursery School is the choice of the majority of children aged three to 11. The school was rated ‘good’ in its latest Ofsted report.
Other primary schools in the local area include Coates Way in Garston, and St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School (‘good’), both a five minute drive from Bricket Wood.
The village is served by a number of excellent senior schools, including Parmiter’s School, which is partially-selective, and St Michael’s Catholic High School, both rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
On the doorstep of both the M1 and M25, and just a 15-minute drive from St Albans and Watford, Bricket Wood is superbly connected to surrounding areas. Public transport is available from the bus network, while Bricket Wood train station connects residents to St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction. Trains run every 45-minutes in each direction Monday to Saturday. Commuters can then make a 15-minute journey from Watford Junction to Euston.
Local amenities are concentrated primarily in the hubs of Oakwood Road and Bricket Wood Parade.
Oakwood Road offers a functional variety of goods and services, including an off-licence, grocery, chemist, butcher and, barbers.
Bricket Wood Parade supplies two fine choices for a meal out: The Viceroy of India - a local chain of Indians which also serves How Wood, Chiswell Green and Park Street - and The Mayflower, a Chinese takeaway that prepares and cooks fresh food each day.
Two pubs flank the village. The Black Boy, founded in 1754, prides itself on its range of real ales and coverage of football and major sporting events. It is also the home of the Black Boy Golf Society.
The Gate, a hearty village pub, serves fantastic cask ale and home-cooked food - and keep an eye out for their famed antique brass light fittings.
Outstanding natural beauty is just a few yards away owing to the beloved Bricket Wood Common. Offering 78.5 hectares of biodiversity, the Common consists of a unique range of habitats, including woodland, wet lowland heath, acid grassland and streams.
The Common has been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest since the early 1980s.
The area plays host to a panoply of wildlife including great crested newts, heath spotted orchids, fungi, and 27 different butterfly species.
The community works closely with Hertfordshire County Council to preserve the Common’s rare biodiversity.