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In the rural, leafy district of North Hertfordshire and located on the north eastern outskirts of Stevenage lies the civil parish of Great Ashby. Development of the area began in 1999. Many of the homes built enjoy a modern feel, and house a broad community of professional people, young families and retired couples.
In 2010, North Hertfordshire District Council carried out a community governance review with regard to the alteration of the parish area of Graveley to create a new Parish for Great Ashby. The residents were asked to vote in a referendum if they agreed to the new parish being formed, and as a result of the vote, Great Ashby Community Council was created.
Great Ashby is conveniently accessed from the A1M junction 8 and A602 roads, and nearby Stevenage railway station offers a less than thirty minute journey direct into London Kings Cross, or under forty minuetes into Moorgate. The SB7 bus service between Great Ashby and Stevenage operates seven days a week.
The community shops sit off of Whitehorse Lane and provide residents with an array of services including free parking, groceries, a pharmacy, café, chip shop/chinese takeaway, hairdressing, barbering, a veterinary surgery and an estate agent. Great Ashby Community Centre is a welcoming venue and hosts all types of activities, from sport and physical activity groups to the Women’s Institute and is a fantastic space to hire for large, one off private functions, regular bookings or smaller meetings.
Across the road from the shops is Round Diamond Primary School, a two form entry school which serves a large proportion of Great Ashby’s families. Strawberry Fields Children’s Centre complements the popular Busy Bees nursery which runs from the community centre and the choice of play areas within the community provide safe places for little ones to play after school and at the weekends.
A bird’s eye view of Great Ashby will show Great Ashby District Park and the five areas of ancient woodland managed by North Hertfordshire District Council. Brooches Wood, Serpentine Wood, Thirlmere Wood, Hangbois Wood and Clay Pit Spring circulate Great Ashby, meaning a stroll among the trees and open grassland is no more than a five minute walk, wherever you live. Historically these areas have been home to traditional species such as oak and hornbeam, however human need has prevailed and so in some parts of the wood you can see conifers, hazel and sycamore, all of which have been planted to support timber production, or charcoal and fencing. Housing a more lively ecosystem, Clay Pit Spring in particular is a great place to hunt for minibeasts and fungi!
The woodlands each offer ideal spaces for embracing nature, walking dogs, admiring May bluebells, or exercising using the fitness equipment in the district park, complete with its locally famed spiral mound. A map showing the woodland walk routes can be downloaded here:
Woodland Walks Map