Northchurch Area Guide
Although often considered part of Berkhamsted, Northchurch is very much a village in its own right and has its own Parish Council. With its proximity to Berkhamsted’s town centre and mainline station, picturesque walks along the Grand Union Canal Towpath and fine views from the elevated Northchurch Common, the village is popular with both young professionals and families through its diverse range of properties big and small.
About NorthchurchWith Berkhamsted so close you are somewhat spoilt for a collection of great places to eat, drink and shop along with, of course, the magnificently restored art-deco environs of the Rex Cinema - an auspicious evening out for anyone.
But you do not need to leave Northchurch for everyday supplies and comforts. The George and Dragon pub is run with love by Paul & Viv and has two bars, a large beer garden, a weekly quiz night and monthly live music, while Bon Soiree cafe serves English breakfasts, pots of tea and cakes and baps aplenty. The modern local shopping parade at the western end of the centre includes McCoys for fish-n-chips and a useful Tesco Express with a Post Office inside.
Berkhamsted’s mainline station and car park is about 1.5 miles away and an easy cycle ride, with a fast journey into London Euston of little more than 30 minutes. It is also just one stop to quaint Tring and larger Hemel Hempstead. There are also many local bus services passing through the centre and running to Berkhamsted, Chesham, Aylesbury and lots of neighbouring villages.
Education is famously excellent here and includes St Mary’s C-of-E Primary School.
Northchurch Common (part of the National Trust Ashridge Estate) and the Alpine Meadow Nature Reserve sit above the village and are wonderful and expansive spaces for walks and views, while the Grand Union Canal running through the centre of Northchurch provides a picturesque - and flat - setting for a leisurely stroll.
HistoryNorthchurch is built over Akeman Street, the original Roman road from London to Chester. In the 1970s a major Roman villa dating from about AD 60 was discovered here, confirming a settlement that predates neighbouring Berkhamsted. In fact, there is much to support the view that Northchurch is the site of the original Berkhamsted before it expanded down the Bulbourne Valley after Berkhamsted Castle was built.
Lying to the northwest of St. Peter’s Church in the centre of Berkhamsted, Northchurch took its name from its own parish church, St. Mary, one of the oldest churches in Hertfordshire. The churchyard contains the grave of one Peter the Wild Boy, a German feral child who was adopted at the court of King George I and II.
Skipping forward somewhat, pretty half-timbered alms houses were built in the 15th and 16th centuries and these are still in healthy condition, greeting you as you enter the village from the east.
- Take a walk on Northchurch Common and admire the view
- Pick up a dozen of the freshest eggs, from their own free-range chickens, at Sunnyside’s farm shop
- Join the locals for a game of pool, weekly quiz or monthly live music at The George & Dragon
- Take a stroll along the canal and feed the ducks
- Enjoy a fish-n-chip supper from McCoys
Types of PropertyThe High Street is lined predominantly with little Victorian workers cottages that are interspersed with some fine larger properties from the same period and into to the 1920s. Elsewhere in the village the housing stock is generally 20th century with a truly varied assortment of semi-detached and detached houses; there is even a cluster of bungalows in St Marys Avenue and Covert Road.
For seclusion, driveways and large gardens, head for Northchurch Common where you will find a number of substantial family homes, often with sizeable plots and stunning views.