Wheathampstead Walking Heritage Trail

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By cgillies | Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 21:20

Wheatampstead village is only ten minutes away from Harpenden, but how much do we really know about it?

 Did you know that the TV series Band of Brothers was filmed there, the village doubled as Normandy for a tank battle; parts of the Harry Potter films were also filmed on a rural estate near Wheathampstead, it was temporarily converted into the Burrows- the Weasleys home? Further back in history Montgomery inspected the troops there before D-Day, Simon ("The Emerald Gem") Byrne died on Nomansland after a 99-round bare-knuckle fight and the village hosted the first steeplechases in Britain. 

The rich history of Wheathampstead will now be brought to life thanks to thousands of pounds' worth of funding towards a walking trail.  The circular route will pass by many places of interest with the star attraction being the village's restored train station platform - the platform was opened as an educational, recreational and wild-life friendly public space early last year.  The heritage trail will also detail more than 50 grade II listed buildings in the village centre alone, including the Domesday Mill, which is where Wheathampstead got its name from. The Mill has been part of Wheathampstead for over 1000 years and for nearly all of that time it was producing food for the community; Wheathampstead is traditionally known as the home of wheat and Bury Farm is supposed to have been the place where wheat was first grown in this country.   Another part of the trail is the 19th Century Crinkle-Crankle wall- if like me, you didn't know what a Crinkle Crankle wall is, it's a wall which is curved instead of straight!  If you want to see one for yourself they are situated on the eastern and western boundaries of the village's Old Rectory. And then there's Devil's Dyke, a 12m deep, 470m long and 40m wide ditch just to the west of Wheathampstead. The ditch is thought to have been constructed during the final part of the Iron Age and is also thought to have been the headquarters of Cassivellaunus, a British chieftan who it is thought was defeated by Julius Caesar in 54 BC.

The first phase of the project should be completed by late summer and the project team is organising an open evening presentation at 7.30pm, on Thursday, June 2, at the Memorial Hall in Wheathampstead.

So, if you are looking for something to do this weekend, why not give Wheathampstead a try!  

Photo courtesy of flickr- diamond geezer



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