102 High Street
A delightful three bedroom detached period cottage set back from the High Street in one of the county’s most sought after villages. Easy access to London on the 23 minute Thameslink service, but in the middle of countryside fields.
Fairview Cottage was the home of the cartoonist Timothy Birdsall of The Spectator and Private Eye and the author James Birdsall and is the setting for one of his books, “The Boys and the Butterflies”. The sitting room post still has the height markers of the boys notched in by their father, Dr Birdsall, as described in the book.
The construction of this cottage was in the ancient manner of the time, with a former open hall of 2 Cruck frame bays with a fireplace in the centre with the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof. Part of the house was demolished, probably in the 1700s when the first floor bedrooms were introduced. An original unglazed oak mullion shuttered window is now preserved in the main bedroom wall, where the original oak floor boards are 14 inches wide. More was added to the north making two cottages at one point. Later the front gable was added, now the dining room. Here a ship’s timber can be seen, with the giveaway sign of an at sea running-repair of a broken saw blade. Champagne corks throughout the ages have been added to the honey coloured frame’s redundant peg holes, indicating a home where many celebrations have taken place. In the bathroom a priest hole now hides as a cupboard. The house is littered with beautiful nods to its history. A second back door leads from the sitting room onto a sunny patio.
The cottage is now ready for the next stage of development. Listed Building permission was granted for the addition of a two-storey oak frame rear extension. Containing a kitchen, with oak and glass end for the breakfast area looking out over the mature garden. The old kitchen with low headroom in parts becomes the downstairs WC and utility room. Above a fourth bedroom and additional bathroom off the landing to serve both bedroom three and four.
In the garden permission was granted for a significant oak frame building. It comprised a double garage, with store and WC at ground level. Above a six-desk office with kitchenette, breakout area with log burner and full height glass grain door detail, looking out onto the High Street.
In preparation for the new works the gas main has been installed. A full archeological dig and report was completed which gave the all clear for the projects. Significant repairs and clearance work was undertaken on the existing house and garden. The rear lean-to and existing garage, both without permissions have been removed to the listed building officers’ satisfaction. Dry heating in the form of smart radiators and log burners have replaced the inefficient old oil boiler and microbore surface mounted pipes. Wiring has been sensitively rerouted following the original lead wire hidden routes and all surface mounted cables removed. Fully signed off building control drawings were completed for both projects and are available to the buyer.
- Outstanding plot in the centre of a vibrant village high street.
- Listed Building Permissions for two storey extension and garage/garden building.
- On the first floor, bedrooms one and two, both doubles, have access to the family bathroom from the landing.
- There are two staircases giving independent access to the left hand and right hand side bedrooms, all of which are doubles.
- There are Charnwood Cove multifuel stoves to both the dining room and sitting room, with the sitting room also having a Contura log burner. Two benches are built into the inglenook, which has a flagstone floor and sufficient head height to stand up in. All stoves meet the new environmental standards coming into force in 2022.
- Plenty of parking and turning area for vehicles.
Summary of accommodation: Entrance porch, sitting room, dining room, downstairs WC, kitchen, rear porch, 1st floor; three bedrooms, modern fitted bathroom.
Gardens and grounds: Well-maintained lawns, mature well stocked flowerbeds, hedges giving seclusion and cobble drive with gravel area for turning and parking. Large garden shed, log store and coal bunker. In all about one third of a acre.
Local facilities: Walkern has a wonderful community with many facilities.
The High Street is the centre of the village, having a Village Store/Post Office, Doctor’s Surgery, thriving Primary School, Art Gallery, Hair and Beauty Salon, Brewery Tea Rooms , a cricket ground, a recreation ground with Sports and Community Centre which hosts many clubs and events. a new childrens’ play park, petrol station and drum shop. It has two well supported pubs, the White Lion and the Yew Tree both serving excellent food.
To the east lies the pretty chalk stream River Bean with ford leading to the medieval church, with a wall from the original church listed in the Doomsday Book. Walkern, was the home of Jane Wenham, who was in 1712 the last woman in England to be convicted of witchcraft. The village has an active History Society.
Also famous locally for The Magic of Christmas shop, restaurant and experience. Ardeley Church Farm shop is a short drive or walk across the fields with its fine butchers, delicatessen, grocery section and tea rooms. Its café does cooked breakfasts and the Jolly Waggoner Pub opposite, fantastic locally sourced food.
The village has fields for horses with a second tearoom and a well-run allotment. Footpaths abound through natural unspoilt countryside.
Connections: The A1(M) Junction 7 and 8 at Stevenage are within easy driving access for London and the North. Stevenage Mainline Train Station is now served by the cross London fast and frequent Thameslink service, which connects to major stations across central London (23 mins) avoiding changing trains or using the tube. Direct trains also serve Gatwick Airport (1hr 11min) and Cambridge (39min). Hertford and Hitchin towns are 20 mins drive away, with specialist shops and restaurants.
Schools: The village primary school is a 5 minute walk and Ofsted rated Good. A good selection of both private and state schools are within easy driving distance. A school coach serves the village for the Senior state school in Buntingford.