Inside Hitchin Magazine - March 2021 - Magazine - Page 20
Welcome to the seventeenth article about areas in and around
Hitchin that some of you may not be familiar with. There are
many hidden areas of Hitchin that are perfect for the local
explorers out there. So, if you’re an early morning jogger, a daily
dog walker or a Sunday lunch hunter then read on. You may
discover a new treasure right on your doorstep.
This month we are exploring a beautiful spot hidden in plain
sight. A perfect place to relax and unwind in. The Physic Garden
is in the heart of Hitchin and is approximately a 5-minute walk
from the town centre.
Opposite the garden is a stunning and currently unused
building, Charnwood House. Charnwood is a grade II-listed
19th-century house and was opened as a library in 1938 after
the Moss family of grocers gave it to the then Hitchin Urban
District Council. The upstairs later became a museum in 1941.
The library then moved to an extension next door in 1966.
Please do visit the thriving library. They hold many events there
throughout the year. Hitchin Museum closed to the public in
2012, and the town hall site was (eventually) opened as the
North Hertfordshire Museum in 2019.
The Physic Garden opened in 1990 in the grounds of
Hitchin library and former Hitchin museum in Paynes Park.
The Garden is open most days of the year during the day
and there is no entry charge.
It is divided into four sections:
Household; the William Ransom
border; External Ailments; Internal
Ailments. The garden has Victorian
benches that you can use to sit and
admire the surroundings.
In the centre is a stunning sundial forged in bronze from a large
pestle and mortar. The paving used was rescued from Hitchin
Priory, a place we explored way back in Issue 8 of Inside Hitchin When the house was gifted to the Hitchin Urban District
Magazine! The garden is lovingly maintained by local volunteers. Council, there were covenants attached requiring that the
building be used for a museum, library, or other public use.
There are over 100 different species of plant in the garden
Those covenants are still valid. The building belongs to the people
and most have a local connection. Hitchin’s lavender industry
of Hitchin. I think it’s about time we open it back up. Charnwood
is represented by Hidcote lavender edging the central path.
is an important and iconic public building which should not be
Foxglove, paeony, pansy, field poppies, dyer’s greenweed
lost to the residents of Hitchin!
and marigolds can also be found here.
If all this exploring has built up an
The garden is a real hidden hotspot for wildlife and a fantastic
appetite, or a thirst, then you are in
place for a variety of insects. The plants attract beautiful
luck. You are minutes away from the
butterflies including Ringlet and Large Skippers. The garden is
town centre which has an astonishing
also home to many different bird species and if you’re lucky you number of great places to eat and drink.
will spot the famous black squirrels jumping in the trees
But don’t just take my word for it. Get
out there and get exploring.
Danny Pearson is a writer of children’s books and comics who was born, and
raised, in Hitchin. He can often be found exploring Hitchin with his pug.