Area Guide: The pretty village of Pirton
PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 April 2017
The Hertfordshire village of Pirton proudly describes itself as being ‘Pretty as a picture and proud of its past’.
Set in the heart of North Hertfordshire, Pirton is an idyllic village that borders Bedfordshire and the Chilterns. Attached to these areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but also just four miles from the popular town of Hitchin, Pirton provides the amenities and convenience of town life with all the peace and privacy of the country. Despite this country living, Pirton is far from a shy and retiring town. The residents are active and involved in the care and maintenance of the village, creating various environmental clubs and having zero tolerance for littering and vandalism. There are currently 54 listed buildings in the village and the compact community live almost entirely on conservation land. Friendly and approachable, the residents have a great knowledge and love for the area. Anna Ward, from Pirton Post Office says that “It’s the very nicest of areas with a really strong community spirit”.
There is a toddler playgroup setting, a pre-school and a primary school all within the village, the latter having received an Ofsted ‘good’ certification. There is also a local after and before school club and many activity groups. Reputable secondary schools can be found within a five mile radius and are easily reached by bus.
With the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church, built in the 11th century, at the centre of Pirton village as well as The Motte (The Mound), from the early 1500s, it is difficult to avoid Pirton’s rich history. Looking at St Mary’s you will notice its unusual lack of stained glass - a consequence of a war-time doodle bug - as well as its crenulated tower and staggered stonework. The well maintained churchyard and picturesque views attract locals for events and gatherings in the summer.
The people of Pirton are proud of their history and have previously carried out an extensive excavation project, discovering Bronze Age and Roman pottery in the process. The Domesday Book reveals that Pirton was once predominantly made up of arable land, farms and mills.
Today Pirton is a close-knit community with plenty of residential property and fantastic links to main towns and cities. It also has its own corner store, post office, dry cleaners and chapel library. Should you need anything else, Hitchin is moments away and other major towns such as St Albans, Harpenden and Biggleswade are easily reached by train, bus and car in just 20 minutes. Best of all is the quick journey from Hitchin to London King’s Cross, which only takes around half an hour.
Things to do
An avid country wanderer would find great pleasure in taking a stroll along The Bury, a vast area of green that holds the remains of the Old Pirton Village. Two miles away is also the Barn Owl Walk, a local conservation site which is successfully reintroducing the Barn Owl back into Hertfordshire. The walk is perfect for families with children that want to spot the birds taking flight at dusk and dawn and for cyclists, with its bike friendly paths. For the laid-back Sunday walker there are two pubs, The Fox and The Motte and Bailey. Both provide meals, with the stunning backdrop of The Mound, and nearby, the 17th century Highdown House.
The community have worked to create various clubs, including arts and crafts, cricket and football. Anna Ward confirms that there is always something going on, saying “we have a popular recreational centre and a lot of sport events”.
As well as this they also have a history club that worked together to create the book, A Foot on Three Daisies: Pirton’s Story. You can retrace the steps taken by those within the black and white photographs and note that the natural beauty of the place is unchanged. There is an undeniable feeling that this place has a true community spirit and an energy that is hard to come by. With endless rolling hills, farmland and country lanes that tumble away from you, you will feel as though you’ve fallen into a romantic novel.
There is a discovery to make around every corner in Pirton, a great place to start a new adventure.