WATTON-AT-STONE is daubing its pretty face with new development. The main street is where the older properties are – yellow and red brick houses, jettied timber and plaster. But most of the rest of the village is new, and building has been more or less constant throughout the last decade. A five-bedroom period house in the main street might cost around £500,000; a four-bedroom modern detached around £400,000. One of the developments has been to convert an old salmon-smoking factory into mews houses. The village combines the best of both worlds by being intensely rural (and horsey), and yet close enough to London for theatre and other trips. There is cricket, football and the bonus of tennis on floodlit courts, plus three pubs – one of which has the old pudding stone outside from which the village derives its name – a youth club, a flower club and other village societies. It has the Heath Mount private infant and junior schools as well the village nursery and primary. This is one of the villages to benefit from Lottery funding for a new community hall. The spring which gave the village the other half of its name (“wat”, meaning watery) and which gave it brief prominence as a popular spa, dried up long ago. But a hedgerow near the station is supposed to be one of the most ancient in Hertfordshire. Plans to build 93 houses by the railway are waiting for the go-ahead from Hertfordshire County Council.