Area Guide: The peaceful hamlet of Gustard Wood
PUBLISHED: 13:01 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:35 12 March 2020
A rural idyll close to Harpenden and Wheathampstead, this leafy Hertfordshire hamlet is home to the best house in the St Albans area. We found out more...
With its very rural setting, Gustard Wood feels like it's in the middle of nowhere - but 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.
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 courses, and is well known for being unusual and challenging.
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 has a huge garden and accommodates local walkers, rambler groups and cyclists who pop in for a spot of lunch. A bed and breakfast service is also available.
B&B accommodation is also on offer at The Tin Pot, a former inn located at 33 Gustard Wood.
If you're looking for something more cultural, the historic villages of Kimpton, Whitwell, Knebworth and Ayot St Lawrence surround Gustard Wood.
The former 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.
St Peter's Church
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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.
During World War 1 an auxiliary hospital was built in Blackmore End, providing care and recovery for the injured with over 214 available beds. Locals and supporters from further afield kept the hospital running with their donations.
There are just two properties currently for sale in Gustard Wood, both priced at £1,450,000 - no, this particularly rural idyll definitely doesn't come cheap! These five-bed budget-busters are both located in a peaceful setting, adjacent to Gustard Wood Common.
As seen on TV
One homeowner put Gustard Wood on the map last year when her property won the St Albans episodes of BBC1's The Best House in Town. Chrissie Adams spent two years transforming her 1970s detached house into a striking modern home, which triumphed against stiff competition in the BBC1 show.