Visit Thundridge Old Church
The Old Church is a permanently publicly available site. It is located in what is now a remote location, the nearest buildings, and the only ones visible, are Thundridge Hill House to the South up the hill towards Cold Christmas Lane. It is an iconic walking destination in the Rib Valley. For those that know this area well it is a familiar stopping point and whilst some may just pause before passing by, even regulars will often step into the churchyard for a moment.
There is no vehicular access to the Old Church, but is is easily accessible by a number of footpaths.. Please at all times be respectful of local road users, fellow walkers, cyclists and horseriders, and residents
1) The 331 bus from Hertford to Buntingford has stops on both sides of Cambridge Road at Maltons (Sow and Pigs) Pub at the end of Cold Christmas Road, Thundridge Village Hall, and The Feathers, Wadesmill
2) There are two on road parking spaces on Cold Christmas Lane at the junction of Bridleway 29 and Cold Christmas Lane https://w3w.co/pads.filer.freed From here, it is a short walk down Bridleway 29 and left a few hundred yards to the Church.
3) A few parking spaces lie beyond the bridge over the A10, at the southern end of Bridleway 54. From here the church can be reached by walking down Bridleway 54, and right onto Bridleway 24, east to the Old Church. A circular route would be to return up the hill along footpath 27 to Thundridge Hill House, and return to start west along Cold Christmas Lane. https://w3w.co/mass.bleat.pint
Youngsbury Circular Walk
A highly recommended way of visiting the Old Church is as part of a 4km (2.5mile) circular walk, taking perhaps an hour from Wadesmill through Youngsbury starting at either of two local Wadesmill eateries.
Clockwise, the walk can be started from the Feathers Inn, Wadesmill, and anticlockwise from Ermines Cafe and Stores serving ‘Tea Coffee Bakes Pastries Fresh Sandwiches Homemade cakes Provisions/Essentials’
From The Feathers, go up Youngsbury Lane and through a gate into the Capability Brown designed landscape of Youngsbury Park. Note the Old Church as a designed ‘borrowed view’ from Youngsbury, now obscured by trees in summer. You will pass the 1793 icehouse on the left, before the recently restored 1745 Youngsbury House on the right.
Beyond the picturesque North Lodge, at the T-junction with Bridleway 48, turn right Southwards past Home Farm and, after starting to come down the hill, Roman Tumuli. Where the path takes a ‘wiggle to the left, two paths are possible:
- Carry straight on (off the main path leading left) and follow footpath 33. This quiet path through sheepfields to the rear of Fabdens, a 14C early Weald house; over two small bridges and on to the church from the North.
- Descend the hill to paddle through the ford or across the footbridge, then to the right along Bridleway 24, approaching the Church from the East.
From the church, carry on along bridleway 24. This narrow gravel path was once a grand, paved, Elm lined ‘Causeway’ leading to the manor house and church, with a turning circle for the carriages at the walled churchyard.
At a T-junction go right, down and under the A10 and along footpath 25 back to Wadesmill.
What to do
- There are grassy areas in the churchyard to rest, relax and perhaps enjoy a picnic (there are no litter facilities – please take yours home).
- There is, for good or ill, mobile connectivity, so perhaps look in this website at the history of the church and the rib valley to learn more about what you are seeing
- Look at the gravestones, see who you can find
- From the Norman dog tooth moulded door, an imagine walking forward East along the Saxon chancel and nave, over memorials and crypts
- Look to the North into the trees – just in this woodland, full of snowdrops in spring, was the Tudor manor of Thundridgebury demolished in 1811
- Look to the West, back towards Thundridge, across the moated enclosure and wonder what is under the ground and what people did here in medieval and earlier times
After your visit
- Come back to the TOCAG website to learn more
- Sign up to the mailing list so we can keep in touch, or just Contact Us to let us know you visited – we’d love to hear from you.
- If you are inspired, consider getting involved to help us preserve this beautiful historic place
- Visit Ware Museum and see some of the rescued gravestones
- Visit new St Mary’s church and see some of the transferred memorials