Working life in Weston, Hertfordshire
PUBLISHED: 01:15 20 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:04 20 February 2013
Friendly, active, community-spirited and situated in a great location – that is how residents of Weston view their village, as Louise McEvoy finds out
SINCE 2003 Fairclough Hall Farm in Halls Green has offered a range of modern office and light industrial units, which have attracted dynamic businesses from far and wide.
Matthew Hale, who helps to run the family business, explains, We are a family farm but have diversified into having offices. We have an attractive working environment, currently with 15 businesses of varying sizes. We are very much hands-on and everything we do we try and gear to individual clients. Hopefully we cater for people who want to do something for themselves.
He adds, We have fantastic views, and there are a lot of people who come in and go for a walk at lunchtime.
Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design, one of the businesses based at Fairclough Hall Farm, employs highly qualified designers and experienced craftsmen, offering customers bespoke engagement, wedding or eternity rings made by a master goldsmith.
Fairclough Hall Farms units are close to the A1(M) and to Stevenage train station, where you can catch a train and be in Kings Cross within 20 minutes.
Nice people, great location, and theres always something going on
FARMER John Cherry, of Darnalls Hall Farm in Weston, enjoys the variety of his job.
What I like about farming is that theres no typical day, he enthuses. He has a herd of 120 cows which graze in the Victorian park which surrounds the house, but in winter they are indoors and fed on silage cut the previous spring. At this time of year they take up more time, he explains. In the summer, when we are busy with the crops, they look after themselves.
He says he is constantly exploring ways of cutting the farms carbon or nitrogen footprint. Ive always been worried that we face a massive energy shortfall in this country and feel that as farmers we could be helping plug the gap, explains John.
Plans for a wind farm were rejected by North Hertfordshire District Council. John says, We are now hoping to rejuvenate the woodlands here with some selective coppicing. We have installed a woodchip boiler in the main house, which very efficiently heats the whole place with a minimal carbon footprint. He hopes it will spawn other systems in the area so he can provide woodchips from the Weston woods to heat housing estates and schools. He continues, We are also planning to build a house out of straw bales very cosy, as long as there arent any wolves about!
Asked what he likes most about Weston, John says, The nice people, great location, and the fact theres always something going on.
Its defining feature has to be Jack OLegs the Weston giant. He was a highwayman who fed the poor people of Weston who otherwise had a miserable diet. He worked on Jacks Hill and hed liberate the odd bag of flour from the back of carts as they laboured. The millers of Baldock set an ambush, caught him, blinded him, and were looking for a very tall tree to hang him from when he made a request to be buried where his arrow fell. They gave him his bow, he fired, and his arrow hit the tower of Weston Church. His grave is there for all to see.
Weston is so welcoming and in a beautiful location surrounded
by pretty Countryside
WESTON Tennis Club is a small and friendly club located in the heart of the village, with more than 150 members.
Treasurer Elaine Bragg has been a club member for eight years and says, We want to encourage as many people as possible to learn and enjoy the game.
Elaine is a social player and says she enjoys the fact that members can play at any level, and that there are many others just like her. I can go to a Thursday club night and play with people who are much better than I, or if I want a gentle match and a coffee on a Friday morning, I can do that too, she explains. Its a great way of making friends even if youve been in the village for a long time, there are still new people to meet.
There is nothing nicer than being on the courts, or even just watching, on a balmy summer evening, looking out over the wildflower meadow around the recreation ground and listening to the bell-ringing practice.
Elaine has lived in Weston for 13 years and says, What made it right for us was its friendliness. We met more people here in the first week than we had in seven years in our previous village, and most of them are still friends and still here people dont leave unless they have to!
She adds, Weston is so welcoming and in a beautiful location surrounded by pretty countryside with many walks, yet it is still convenient for the nearby towns and you can even be in London in 30 minutes.
Weston Tennis Club welcomes new members of all ages and abilities, and an open afternoon will be held on Sunday, May 9.
People really do look after each other and support the local community
OPENED in 1890, Weston Primary School has grown from having two classrooms to boasting six and currently has 150 pupils.
Zoe Phillips has been the schools headteacher for almost three years and says, We have a caring atmosphere where everyone is a learner, including the adults. Everyone tries hard to do their best and be the best they can be.
She says the school has begun to improve its outdoor play space, and that the school council has plans for a football area. We have an old schoolhouse that should be used a lot more, she adds. I would like to win the lottery and turn it into a modern open learning space with laptops and a food tech room.
The school has grown and changed since Zoe has been there. I want it to be a school where everyone is welcomed and has the chance to learn new and exciting things in a fun environment, she enthuses.
Speaking about the village, 35-year-old Zoe says, Weston has a real community feel, people really do look after each other and support the local community.