Heritage: Pick up a leaflet for DIY Old Town heritage trail

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No Caption ABCDE PNL-140731-103805001

A new glossy guide is giving people a step by step guide of the Old Town’s colourful history.

The leaflet, produced by the Dacorum heritage Trust in partnership with Dacorum Borough Council, is part of a project to reveal the area’s heritage to the public.

Already heritage plaques have been posted at key locations in and around Hemel Hempstead’s High Street to guide history buffs on their way.

The borough council commissioned the round black and gold badges to fit in with the colour and materials used as part of the recent High Street revamp.

The heritage route takes people from Piccotts End to Queensway, including the Bury and the Old Town Hall.

Several pubs feature in the trail, along with notable businesses from history, the Charter Tower and Gadebridge Park - once part of the manorial lands of Hemel Hempstead.

Also included is a row of Grade I listed 15th century cottages at Piccotts End where, at number 132 pre-reformation paintings had lain hidden under a sheet of course linen on the wall. The murals include impressive scenes of the baptism of Jesus, Christ in Majesty and several saints with their emblems.

It is thought the cottages were a hostel for pilgrims on their journey to visit the holy relics at Ashridge Monastery.

The impressive 58 to 52 High Street buildings is also included - they were designed by George Low to complement the Town Hall and were erected in 1888.

And, of course, St Mary’s Church - the building of which began in 1140 and took 40 years to complete. The octagonal spire is said to be one of the highest in western Europe and contains a fine ring of eight bells.

The Old Town heritage trail leaflets are free to all and can be collected from the civic offices in Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring, the Old Town Hall and directly from the Dacorum Heritage Trust.

The walking trail takes around an hour to complete.