Area Guide: The Apsley area of Hemel Hempstead

Apsley Marina.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

Apsley Marina. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Historic Apsley is seen by many as the birthplace of paper’s industrial revolution. We found out more about this mill village-turned-Hemel suburb...

Apsley Marina is just half a mile from Hemel Hempstead.

Apsley Marina is just half a mile from Hemel Hempstead. - Credit: Jane Howdle

Apsley is situated in the valley of the Chiltern Hills, at the confluence of the rivers Gade and Bulbourne. 

Apsley Mill began making paper in 1778, and was bought by industry giant John Dickinson in 1809; his paper mills, which were based along the Grand Union Canal, dominated local industry, finally closing in 1999.

The canal meant Apsley was ideally located for the trade route between London and the Midlands, and is now beloved by walkers and cyclists travelling between Kings Langley and Hemel Hempstead.

The Grand Union Canal, Apsley. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Grand Union Canal, Apsley. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Housing has replaced some of the former industrial buildings, while others now operate as pubs and cafés, among other amenities.

Also of interest is St Mary's church, a Grade II listed building which was first consecrated in 1871.

Transport

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An excellent road network is close at hand, with the M1, M25 and A41 all nearby. Fast trains from Apsley to London Euston take half an hour. 

Property

Some of Apsley's period homes. Picture: DANNY LOO

Some of Apsley's period homes. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Apsley's housing stock consists mainly of flats and terraced houses, many of them with water views. 

Canalside homes currently for sale include a three-bed townhouse on Fourdrinier Way for £425,000 and a two-bed flat on Frogmore Road for £400,000.

Some of the waterside homes along the Grand Union Canal, Apsley. 

Some of the waterside homes along the Grand Union Canal, Apsley. - Credit: Jane Howdle

 Schools

There are some excellent educational institutions in Apsley, including Two Waters Primary School in High Ridge Close, which was rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted at its last inspection.

Nearby secondary schools include The Hemel Hempstead School, Kings Langley School and Longdean School (all 'good').

Independent alternatives include Abbot's Hill, for girls aged four to 16, and Lockers Park, a boys' prep school. 

Sport and leisure

Fishing is allowed along the canal, but don't forget your rod licence! Canoeing is permitted, too, and you can also tee off at the tranquil Victorian Shendish Manor golf course.

Apsley Marina is bordered by several restaurants. 

Apsley Marina is bordered by several restaurants. - Credit: Jane Howdle

Then there's the Frogmore Paper Mill museum on Fourdrinier Way. The world's oldest mechanised paper mill, it had been in operation since the 1700s and has more recently doubled as a not-for-profit attraction with its own visitor centre. 

Sadly, the site's visitor centre was devastated by fire in January of this year. It's hoped that a temporary replacement will be ready to host visitors by the autumn. 

Apsley Mills Retail Park on London Road is home to stores including The Range, Wren Kitchens, Carpetright and Argos. 

Food and drink

Your food needs are well catered for in Apsley, with the marina offering up a number of dining options. These include Marina Spice Lounge, which is considered one of the best restaurants in the wider Hemel area, and Calzone Essential pizzeria. Both are on Dickinson Quay.

The Paper Mill pub, Apsley.
Picture: Karyn Haddon

The Paper Mill pub, Apsley. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

The Paper Mill serves pub grub and refreshing beer at a relaxing terraced canalside location on Stationers Place.

The Oddfellows Arms on the corner of London Road and Weymouth Street is a popular live music pub with a cosy beer garden. 

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead

This area guide is sponsored by Frost's, who have offices in St Albans, Marshalswick, Wheathampstead and Harpenden (www.frosts.co.uk/branches) - Credit: Archant