ex­plore­an­den­joy

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES - with MARY TEBJE of the Chilterns Tourism Net­work

Laven­der is some­where I have wanted to visit for a long time, and had an en­joy­able visit there last week­end. Si­t­u­ated on the out­skirts of Hitchin, this is the north­ern-most area of the Chilterns and is of­ten over­looked as the Lu­ton sits right in-be­tween it and the Dun­sta­ble Downs.

This lovely mar­ket town has long been one of the few cen­tres for laven­der grow­ing in Eng­land and this tra­di­tion has been re­vived on Cald­well Farm.

In the 1760’s Hitchin’s as­so­ci­a­tion with laven­der grew when Harry Perks es­tab­lished a phar­macy.

His son Ed­ward started com­mer­cially grow­ing the plant in the 1800’s and in the lat­ter part of the 19th cen­tury Harry’s Grand­son Sa­muel forged a part­ner­ship with Charles LLewellyn.

As “Perks & Llewellyn” they es­tab­lished a coun­try­wide rep­u­ta­tion for their laven­der prod­ucts.

At its peak over 100 acres were grown and Hitchin be­came renowned na­tion­ally as they won a se­ries of awards. The in­dus­try went into de­cline but a replica of the shop sur­vives at the Hitchin Mu­seum.

There are around 25 miles of laven­der rows which you can walk through and pick your own fresh flow­ers and I have never seen so many but­ter­flies! T

hey were com­pet­ing with nu­mer­ous in­dus­tri­ous bees and I won­der who has the hives and what the honey tastes like? I didn’t spot the hives, but they can’t be far away.

The views back to­wards the Chilterns are lovely, and a visit can be easily en­joyed along with a walk through the sur­round­ing hills.

Dogs are welcome too (with well be­haved own­ers), and in­side the 17th cen­tury barn lunches and home made cakes are avail­able.

Hitchin Laven­der is open to ex­plore be­tween May and Septem­ber each year and the best time to visit is now.

There are lots more sum­mer ideas and in­spi­ra­tion to be found on www. Vis­itChilterns.co.uk and for visi­tor in­for­ma­tion http://www. hitchinlaven­der.com

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