Welwyn Garden City was founded by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the 1920s following his previous experiment in Letchworth Garden City. Howard had called for the creation of planned towns that were to combine the benefits of the city and the countryside and to avoid the disadvantages of both.
The town is laid out along tree-lined boulevards with a neo-Georgian town centre. It has its own environmental protection legislation, the Scheme of Management for Welwyn Garden City. Every road has a wide grass verge. The spine of the town is Parkway, a central mall or scenic parkway, almost a mile long. The view along Parkway to the south was once described as one of the world's finest urban vistas. Older houses are on the west side of Parkway and newer houses on the east side
The original planners intended that all the residents of the garden city would shop in one shop and created the Welwyn Stores, a monopoly which caused some local resentment - This store is now John Lewis.
I had found a city trail that took us on a walk passed various sites of interest
including the Daily Mail Model Village of 1922
It was built in conjunction with the Ideal Home Exhibition, to showcase new building materials and construction methods. The village consisted of 41 houses demonstrating 16 different house constructions which also incorporating the latest hot water systems, cooking facilities and interior fittings. Rather than demolishing it after the exhibition finished the houses were sold and are still lived in today.
From there we gradually made our way back to the city centre via wide boulevards
but with a village feel
It was all very interesting, the huge variety of housing and the ethos behind it all.
Leaving WGC we passed the huge, derelict Shredded Wheat factory building
An eye sore at the moment but there are proposals for redevelopment here - a case of 'watch this space'
From WGC we went out to Hatfield House built in 1611 by Robert Cecil. It's a lovely 'warm looking' building with lots of interesting brick patterns, doors and corners
The courtyard has a cafe and shops
I ended up buying the primula above as I couldn't resist the colour and pattern. By this time the day was getting noticeable colder, so next stop was the caravan!